According to recent research, dispositional mindfulness may not affect people during the experience of active stressors, solely their perspective of the experience afterward.
Dispositional mindfulness is mindfulness as a trait that can be developed over time with repeated practice. It has been linked to aspects of personality and mental health, including emotional intelligence, dissociation, absorption, neuroticism and alexithymia, or problems with feeling emotions.
There is some evidence that dispositional mindfulness is associated with enhanced stress coping, particularly among relatively stressed individuals, especially by helping people with coping through acceptance. However, the cardiovascular responses to stressful performance tasks had not yet been tested.
This new study took 1,001 total participants and used the biopsychosocial model of challenge/threat to assess the degree to which individuals cared about a stressor in the moment and whether or not they had a negative psychological experience.
The findings showed that although there was a small association between mindfulness -- particularly the awareness part of mindfulness, there was no link in the cardiovascular markers between mindfulness and exhibiting a more positive psychological response while the stressor was active. However, the individuals higher in mindfulness did report having had a more positive experience afterward, suggesting that mindfulness can help people respond to stressors once they have passed.
This study suggests that the benefits of mindfulness require further study and may not be as we expect.
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