How Does Mindfulness Improve Self-Control?

English: Facial emotions.

Emily Nauman writes:

We have emotions for a reason. Anger in response to injustice can signal that the situation needs to change; sadness in response to loss can signal that we’d like to keep the people we love in our lives.

It’s when we ruminate, or get caught up in our emotions, that they might become maladaptive. That’s when emotion regulation can be helpful and healthy.

Previous research has shown that mindfulness can be an effective tool to help regulate our emotions. But why? A new model suggests that the ability to control one’s behavior—a concept that researchers call executive control—may play a role.

In a recent paper published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, researcher Rimma Teper and her colleagues at the University of Toronto write that, despite the common misconception that meditation “empties our head” of emotions, mindfulness actually helps us become more aware and accepting of emotional signals—which helps us to control our behavior.

I talked with Rimma Teper about how mindfulness relates to emotion regulation, and how executive control fits into the picture.

Get the rest of the article here: How Does Mindfulness Improve Self-Control? | Mindful.

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