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Habitual worrying and benefits of mindfulness

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>10/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Mindfulness
Issue number5
Volume5
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)566-573
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date11/04/13
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Although worry is in essence an adaptive mental activity, habitual worrying (repetitive and automatic worried thinking) is dysfunctional. Two studies investigated whether mindfulness mitigated adverse consequences of habitual worrying. The beneficial role of mindfulness was hypothesized on the basis of two key features: a focus on the immediate experience and an attitude of acceptance towards whatever arises in the stream of consciousness. These features map inversely on habitual worrying, which is characterized by a focus away from the present and a non-accepting attitude towards the object of worry. In study 1, it was found that, while habitual worrying correlated significantly with test anxiety, dispositional mindfulness partially mediated this relationship. Study 2 demonstrated that experimentally induced mindfulness made habitual worriers more tolerant to viewing distressing images. Together the studies suggest that mindfulness may function as an antidote to unconstructive consequences of habitual worrying.