Elkins-Brown, N., Teper, R., & Inzlicht, M. (in press). How Mindfulness Enhances Self-Control. In J.C. Karremans & E.K. Papies (Eds.), Mindfulness in Social Psychology. New York: Psychology Press. Full text.
Mindfulness is associated with better self-control, but the mechanisms of this association have only seen limitation examination. We propose that two components of mindfulness—interoceptive awareness and nonjudgmental acceptance—improve self-control by amplifying and drawing attention to the conflict-related affect that instantiates it.
Far from attenuating momentary negative emotions, mindfulness can sensitize individuals to incipient affective changes in the experiential field, including the transient affect that accompanies goal conflicts. In the present chapter, we describe how affect mobilizes self control, how mindfulness can ameliorate the affect-control relationship, and some future directions this work generates for both experimental and clinical researchers.