A new study from the University of Utah shows that individuals who describe themselves as being more mindful have more stable emotions and perceive themselves to have better control over their mood and behavior throughout the day.
Higher mindful people also describe less cognitive and physiological activation before bedtime, suggesting that greater emotional stability during the day might even translate into better sleep.
The study results will be presented later this month at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society.
Prior studies of mindfulness -- paying attention in a particular way, on purpose in the present moment and non-judgmentally -- have typically been conducted with participants trained in mindfulness, for example meditation or other interventions.
In contrast, this study examines naturally-occurring traits of mindfulness. Using a novel method for data collection, the participants wore a monitor that measured cardiac functioning and were prompted periodically throughout the day to rate their emotional state and mental functioning. Examining these processes during normal daily living builds on prior mindfulness research conducted in laboratory-controlled settings.
Researchers found that greater emotional stability, better self-rated control of emotions and behaviors and lower pre-sleep arousal (a measurement of cognitive and physical symptoms of anxiety) were all significantly associated with higher trait mindfulness. Results suggest that mindfulness may be linked to self-regulation throughout the day, and that this may be an important way that mindfulness contributes to better emotional and physical well-being.
The above story is based on the March 7, 2013 news release by University of Utah.
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