Mindfulness and overcoming mental habits
The mindfulness movement seems to be everywhere. An accumulating body of evidence suggests widespread benefits of mindfulness ranging from attenuating anxiety and depressive symptoms to increasing creativity and even to diminishing racial biases. Is it possible that mindfulness can have such an extensive variety of effects? And if so, how? This talk will present a psychological model of mindfulness. The central element of this model advocates that mindfulness training increases psychological flexibility – the ability to overcome habitual thoughts and behavior that would otherwise impede our ability to function in the world. The model will also be used to discuss findings that mindfulness training can lead to null or even detrimental results.
Brian Ostafin is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Groningen. His research examines the relation between mindfulness and habitual mental processes in addiction, depression, and anxiety. He has gone through the teacher-training program of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and regularly teaches MBSR courses.