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Recent theory suggests that positive psychological processes integral to health may be energized through the self-reinforcing dynamics of an upward spiral to counter emotion dysregulation.The present study examined positive emotion–cognition interactions among individuals in partial remission from depression who had been randomly assigned to treatment with mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT; n = 64) or a waitlist control condition (n = 66). We hypothesized that MBCT stimulates upward spirals by increasing positive affect and positive cognition. Experience sampling assessed changes in affect and cognition during 6 days before and after treatment, which were analyzed with a series of multilevel and autoregressive latent trajectory models. Findings suggest that MBCT was associated with significant increases in trait positive affect and momentary positive cognition, which were preserved through autoregressive and cross-lagged effects driven by global emotional tone. Findings suggest that daily positive affect and cognition are maintained by an upward spiral that might be promoted by mindfulness training. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a prevalent functional disorder characterized by abdominal pain and hypervigilance to gastrointestinal sensations. We hypothesized that mindfulness training (MT), which promotes nonreactive awareness of emotional and sensory experience, may target underlying mechanisms of IBS including affective pain processing and catastrophic appraisals of gastrointestinal sensations. Seventy five female IBS patients were randomly assigned to participate in either 8 weeks of MT or a social support group. A theoretically grounded, multivariate path model tested therapeutic mediators of the effect of MT on IBS severity and quality of life. Results suggest that MT exerts significant therapeutic effects on IBS symptoms by promoting nonreactivity to gut-focused anxiety and catastrophic appraisals of the significance of abdominal sensations coupled with a refocusing of attention onto interoceptive data with less emotional interference. Hence, MT appears to target and ameliorate the underlying pathogenic mechanisms of IBS.

This study sought to investigate whether washing dishes could be used as an informal contemplative practice, promoting the state of mindfulness along with attendant emotional and attentional phenomena. We hypothesized that, relative to a control condition, participants receiving mindful dishwashing instruction would evidence greater state mindfulness, attentional awareness, and positive affect, as well as reduce negative affect and lead to overestimations of time spent dishwashing. A sample of 51 college students engaged in either a mindful or control dishwashing practice before completing measures of mindfulness, affect, and experiential recall. Mindful dishwashers evidenced greater state mindfulness, increases in elements of positive affect (i.e., inspiration), decreases in elements of negative affect (i.e., nervousness), and overestimations of dishwashing time. Implications for these findings are diverse and suggest that mindfulness as well as positive affect could be cultivated through intentionally engaging in a broad range of activities.