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Being Present and Enjoying It: Dispositional Mindfulness and Savoring the Moment Are Distinct, Interactive Predictors of Positive Emotions and Psychological Health

Abstract

Mindfulness and savoring the moment both involve presently occurring experiences. However, these scientific constructs are distinct and may play complementary roles when predicting day-to-day positive emotions. Therefore, we examined the unique and interactive roles of dispositional mindfulness and perceived ability to savor the moment for predicting daily positive emotions as well as related psychological health benefits. Participants completed a 9-week longitudinal field study. At baseline, dispositional mindfulness and perceived ability to savor the moment were assessed, along with three indicators of psychological health: depressive symptoms, psychological well-being, and life satisfaction. Each day for the subsequent 9 weeks, participants reported on their emotions. At the end of the study, participants again completed the three psychological health measures. Results showed that baseline dispositional mindfulness and perceived ability to savor the moment interacted to predict mean positive emotion levels over the reporting period and, in turn, residualized changes in psychological health. Specifically, the relation between perceived ability to savor the moment and positive emotions and, in turn, residualized change in psychological health indicators was amplified at greater levels of mindfulness and fell to non-significance at lower levels of mindfulness. Dispositional mindfulness only predicted positive emotions and, in turn, residualized changes in psychological health, for those very high in perceived ability to savor the moment. This research provides preliminary evidence that dispositional mindfulness and perceived ability to savor the moment, though related constructs, may serve unique and synergistic roles in predicting benefits for and through positive emotions.

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Correspondence to Laura G. Kiken.

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Funding

This work was partially supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health. For the lead author, these include T32AT003378 and R01HL119977. For the third author, these include R01MH59615; R01NR012899, R01CA170128, and R01AT007884. R01NR012899 is supported by the NIH Common Fund, which is managed by the NIH Office of the Director/Office of Strategic Communication. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Kiken, L.G., Lundberg, K.B. & Fredrickson, B.L. Being Present and Enjoying It: Dispositional Mindfulness and Savoring the Moment Are Distinct, Interactive Predictors of Positive Emotions and Psychological Health. Mindfulness 8, 1280–1290 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-017-0704-3

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Keywords

  • Mindfulness
  • Savoring
  • Positive
  • Emotion
  • Health