Trait and State Equanimity: The Effect of Mindfulness-Based Meditation Practice

Abstract

Objectives

Buddhist and scientific theories have described equanimity as a general outcome of mindfulness practices. Equanimity is a calm and balanced state of mind regardless of the valence of situations or objects and is a decoupling between the evaluation of this valence and the resulting common automatic approach or avoidance reactions. The relation between the practice of mindfulness and equanimity still remain to be empirically explored.

Methods

We conducted a correlational study (N = 106) to investigate the relation between hours of mindfulness practice among former mindfulness-based stress reduction program participants and two components of equanimity: even-minded state of mind and hedonic independence, using the EQUA-S. A second study (N = 86) investigated experimentally the effect of two meditation practices on equanimity among novice participants.

Results

The results of the first study revealed positive correlations between the components of equanimity and both formal and informal mindfulness practices. Results from the second study revealed that the increase in even-minded state of mind during the experimental session was significantly greater in the mindfulness practice condition than in the active control condition. Hedonic independence was not significantly affected by the short mindfulness practice.

Conclusions

These results confirmed the importance of empirically studying equanimity at both trait and state levels, and identifying its relation and specificities with meditation and related phenomena.

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Data Availability

The following information was supplied regarding data availability: Juneau, Catherine; Shankland, Rebecca; Dambrun, Michael (2020): Trait and State Equanimity: The Effect of Mindfulness-Based Meditation Practice. figshare. Dataset https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.12162090.v3

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Contributions

CJ: designed, executed, analyzed studies, and wrote a first draft. RS: collaborated with the study design and the writing of the article. MD: collaborated with the study design, the data analyses and the writing of the article. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript for submission.

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Correspondence to Catherine Juneau.

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The studies were approved by the ethical committee of University Clermont-Auvergne. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were carried out in accordance with the ethical standards and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Juneau, C., Shankland, R. & Dambrun, M. Trait and State Equanimity: The Effect of Mindfulness-Based Meditation Practice. Mindfulness 11, 1802–1812 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-020-01397-4

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Keywords

  • Equanimity
  • EQUA-S
  • Mindfulness-based practice
  • Body scan
  • Breathing