Mindfulness is Associated with Resilience
By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.
“Mindful people … can better cope with difficult thoughts and emotions without becoming overwhelmed or shutting down (emotionally). Pausing and observing the mind may (help us) resist getting drawn into wallowing in a setback.” – Tom Jacobs
Being mindful increases happiness, improves the ability to bounce back from difficulties, resilience, and reduces physiological and psychological responses to stress. These effects are well established. But it is not known how mindfulness, resilience, and attachment security interact.
In today’s Research News article “The role of mindfulness and attachment security in facilitating resilience.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8924741/ ) Yang and Oka recruited university students online and had them complete measures of mindfulness, attachment, and resilience.
They found that the higher the levels of both mindfulness and resilience the lower the levels of attachment insecurity, attachment anxiety, and attachment avoidance and that the higher the levels of mindfulness the higher the levels of resilience. Further the relationship between mindfulness and resilience was affected by attachment avoidance such that the higher the levels of attachment avoidance the weaker the relationship between mindfulness and resilience.
Hence, being mindful is associated with being resilient but avoiding attachment weakens the relationship. This suggests the being able to form attachments is helpful in creating resilience. Further research is needed to establish whether there are causal relationships between the variables.
“The emotional soup that follows a stressful event can whip up negative stories about yourself or others that goes on and on, beyond being useful. Mindfulness reduces this rumination and, if practiced regularly, changes your brain so that you’re more resilient to future stressful events.” – Shamash Alidina
CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies
This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch
Yang, F., & Oka, T. (2022). The role of mindfulness and attachment security in facilitating resilience. BMC psychology, 10(1), 69. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40359-022-00772-1
In recent years, there has been growing interest in exploring ways to facilitate positive psychological dispositions, including resilience. The goal of the present study was to explore the possibility that trait mindfulness facilitates attachment security and thus enhances resilience.
We conducted two studies based on cross-sectional surveys. In Study 1, data of 207 students studying in Japan was collected. In Study 2, we used a different sample of 203 participants and different measurements to replicate the findings of Study 1.
The results of Study 1 revealed that mindfulness positively predicted resilience, while attachment anxiety and avoidance were mediators between mindfulness and resilience. The results of Study 2 showed that mindfulness positively predicted resilience, and the mediating effect of attachment avoidance was significant, but the mediating effect of attachment anxiety was not significant.
It is possible to facilitate attachment security through cultivating trait mindfulness, and in this way, resilience could be enhanced. The effect of different components of mindfulness on attachment and resilience requires further studies.