Research: FREDRICKSON and COLLEAGUES,

Listed in Issue 163

Abstract

FREDRICKSON and COLLEAGUES, Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.  blf@unc.edu tested the hypothesis that meditation and positive emotions create increases in people's experiences of positive resources.

Background

BL Fredrickson's (1998, 2001) broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions asserts that people's daily experiences of positive emotions compound over time to build a variety of consequential personal resources.

Methodology

The authors tested this build hypothesis in a field experiment with working adults (n = 139), half of whom were randomly-assigned to begin a practice of loving-kindness meditation.

Results

Results showed that this meditation practice produced increases over time in daily experiences of positive emotions, which, in turn, produced increases in a wide range of personal resources (e.g., increased mindfulness, purpose in life, social support, decreased illness symptoms). In turn, these increments in personal resources predicted increased life satisfaction and reduced depressive symptoms.

Conclusion

Discussion centres on how positive emotions are the mechanism of change for the type of mind-training practice studied here and how loving-kindness meditation is an intervention strategy that produces positive emotions in a way that outpaces the hedonic treadmill effect. (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved.

References

Fredrickson BL, Cohn MA, Coffey KA,  Pek and Finkel SM. Open hearts build lives: positive emotions, induced through loving-kindness meditation, build consequential personal resources. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology. 95(5):1045-62. Nov 2008.

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