Monday, January 7, 2019

Few psychological or physiological processes are universally beneficial; most positive phenomena reach inflection points where their effects turn negative; mindfulness is unlikely to be an exception

Can Mindfulness Be Too Much of a Good Thing? The Value of a Middle Way. Willoughby B Britton. Current Opinion in Psychology, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2018.12.011

Highlights
•    Few psychological or physiological processes are universally beneficial.
•    Most positive phenomena reach inflection points where their effects turn negative.
•    Mindfulness is unlikely to be an exception to the inverted U-shape curved principle.
•    Some mindfulness-related processes have negative effects under certain conditions.
•    Research that includes the full range of possible effects would improve the efficacy of mindfulness.

Abstract: Previous research has found that very few, if any, psychological or physiological processes are universally beneficial. Instead, positive phenomena tend to follow a non-monotonic or inverted U-shaped trajectory where their typically positive effects eventually turn negative. This review investigates mindfulness-related processes for signs of non-monotonicity. A number of mindfulness-related processes—including, mindful attention (observing awareness, interoception), mindfulness qualities, mindful emotion regulation (prefrontal control, decentering, exposure, acceptance), and meditation practice—show signs of non-monotonicity, boundary conditions, or negative effects under certain conditions. A research agenda that investigates the possibility of mindfulness as non-monotonic may be able to provide an explanatory framework for the mix of positive, null and negative effects that could maximize the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions.