Mindfulness – how it works

Mindfulness is useful in dealing with negative emotions and thoughts. It is often described as a way of paying attention non-judgmentally in the present moment. Now researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have proposed a new model (S-ART) explaining how mindfulness works.

According to this model, several cognitive functions are activated during a mindfulness session. These functions help in developing self-awareness, self-regulation and self-transcendence (S-ART), unveiling the neuropsychological processes in the brain during mindfulness.

The neuropsychological processes supporting S-ART include intention and motivation, attention regulation, emotion regulation, extinction and reconsolidation, prosocial behavior, and non-attachment and de-centering.

Continued practice of mindfulness thus helps facilitate self-awareness, reduce biases and negative thoughts, enhance the ability to regulate one’s behavior, and increase positive, pro-social relationships with oneself and others.

References: Vago, DR, Silbersweig, DA (2012). Self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-transcendence (S-ART): a framework for understanding the neurobiological mechanisms of mindfulness. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 6 DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00296

ScienceDaily (20121029), More Than Good Vibes: Researchers Propose the Science Behind Mindfulness, Release

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