A Comparison of Two Brief Present Moment Awareness Training Paradigms in High Worriers

Abstract

High levels of worry are a common phenomenon in undergraduate populations, with 28 to 40% of undergraduates in introductory psychology courses classified as “high worriers.” Worry is characterized by a pervasive neglect of the present moment and persistent thoughts about the future. Various methods of increasing present moment focus have been devised. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of two brief present moment awareness training paradigms—Mindfulness Meditation and Present Moment Joy—in high worriers. Although both paradigms seek to increase present moment awareness, the processes by which each does so are different and potentially contradictory. Prior studies have not compared these two paradigms, and the field has yet to examine Present Moment Joy as an independent technique. Ninety-seven high worriers completed two, 20-minute training sessions across 2 days of either Mindfulness Meditation or Present Moment Joy. Participants rated levels of state mindfulness (curiosity and decentering), affect, and anxiety before and after each session. Both conditions increased curiosity and decentering, but Mindfulness Meditation led to greater decentering changes on day 2 than did Present Moment Joy. Both conditions decreased anxiety and negative affect. Only Present Moment Joy increased positive affect. Results suggest that, although Mindfulness Meditation and Present Moment Joy operate via different mechanisms, both increase present moment awareness and reduce anxiety and negative affect; however, when one’s goal is also to increase positive affect, Present Moment Joy may be the more effective intervention.

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Correspondence to Jessica D. Nasser.

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Nasser, J.D., Przeworski, A. A Comparison of Two Brief Present Moment Awareness Training Paradigms in High Worriers. Mindfulness 8, 775–787 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-016-0656-z

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Keywords

  • Worry
  • Present moment
  • Mindfulness
  • Meditation