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Psychol Res Behav Manag. 2015 Jun 29;8:171-80. doi: 10.2147/PRBM.S31458. eCollection 2015.

Cultivating multiple aspects of attention through mindfulness meditation accounts for psychological well-being through decreased rumination.

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1
Department of Psychiatry, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, NY, USA.

Abstract

In the last few decades, mindfulness meditation has gained prominence as an adjunctive psychotherapeutic technique. In fact, a vast literature of controlled studies has found that mindfulness meditation is related to improved mental health across a variety of disorders. Elucidating the components involved in mindfulness meditation's positive impact on psychological well-being is an important step in more precisely identifying the populations that would most benefit from its therapeutic utilization. Yet, a consensus regarding the particular underlying mechanisms that contribute to these outcomes is very much limited. There are many reasons for this, including the inconsistent operationalization and use of mindfulness meditation across research investigations. Despite the elusive mechanisms, many studies seem to indicate that cultivating different aspects of attention is a feasible, consistent, and parsimonious starting point bridging mindfulness practice and psychological well-being. Attention in itself is a complex construct. It comprises different networks, including alerting, orienting, and executive attention, and is also explained in terms of the way it is regulated. This paper supports a previously suggested idea that cultivating all aspects of attention through mindfulness meditation leads to greater psychological well-being through decreased ruminative processes. Ruminative processes are decreased by engaging in both focused and receptive attention, which foster the ability to distract and decenter.

KEYWORDS:

attention; mindfulness; psychological well-being; rumination

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