Relating Mindfulness, Heartfulness, and Psychological Well-Being: the Role of Self-Compassion and Gratitude

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to shed light on the heartfulness-related aspects of mindfulness, explaining their relationship with optimal human functioning. In particular, we investigated the role of self-compassion and gratitude, two variables linked to mindfulness that we considered as indicators of heartfulness towards the self, and towards others, respectively. We tested the mediation of self-compassion and gratitude in the relationship between mindfulness and the six psychological well-being dimensions of autonomy, self-acceptance, environmental mastery, personal growth, positive relations with others, and purpose in life. Based on the literature, we hypothesized that self-compassion would mediate the association between mindfulness and self-acceptance, autonomy, environmental mastery, and positive relations, and that gratitude would mediate the association between mindfulness and all the above dimensions, except for autonomy. Across two studies, involving both meditators and non-meditators, and two different assessment tools for dispositional mindfulness, our hypotheses were supported, even after controlling for two concurrent variables (social support and resilience). These findings suggest that heartfulness is an important underlying mechanism of mindfulness: it seems to foster higher levels of psychological well-being, or optimal human functioning, through a warm and aware attitude towards the self and others.

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Contributions

AV conceptualized the research questions, designed the studies, assisted with data analyses, and drafted parts of the introduction, results, and discussion sections. CAV conducted data analyses, drafted the method sections and parts of the introduction, results, and discussion sections. GF assisted with interpretation of the data and drafted parts of the introduction and discussion sections. All authors contributed to and approved the final version of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Alberto Voci.

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The manuscript does not contain clinical studies or patient data.

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Ethical Committee for Psychological Research at the University of Padova (protocol number 1948) and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments, or comparable ethical standards.

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

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Voci, A., Veneziani, C.A. & Fuochi, G. Relating Mindfulness, Heartfulness, and Psychological Well-Being: the Role of Self-Compassion and Gratitude. Mindfulness 10, 339–351 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-018-0978-0

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Keywords

  • Mindfulness
  • Self-compassion
  • Gratitude
  • Psychological well-being
  • Mediation
  • Meditators