Mindfulness training supports political compromise

Alkoby, Alon, et al. “Increased Support for Political Compromise in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Following an 8-Week Mindfulness Workshop.” Mindfulness, first online March 31, 2017, pp. 1-9, DOI: 10.1007/s12671-017-0710-5.
Abstract. We examined whether it would reduce negative emotions and perceptions and lead to increased support for compromise in the context of prolonged intergroup conflict. We also examined the effect of an intervention that combines mindfulness with cognitive reappraisal, a method that enhances emotion regulation.

Israeli students participated in a mindfulness course that either began in the winter semester (mindfulness group) or in the spring semester (control group). After the termination of the mindfulness course, all participants were invited to a laboratory session in which they were randomly assigned to either receive or not a short cognitive reappraisal training.

The results showed that after being presented with anger-inducing information related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, participants in the mindfulness condition only, the reappraisal condition only or the combined group (mindfulness and reappraisal), were more supportive of conciliatory policies compared to participants that received no mindfulness nor reappraisal training.

The increased support for conciliatory policies was mediated by a decrease in negative emotions in all groups, while in the mindfulness group, it was also mediated by reduction in negative perceptions. The combined impact of mindfulness and reappraisal did not reveal any additional effect.

Enhances self-control

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.

Quells desire, anger, anxiety — but how?

Achieving mindfulness through meditation has helped people maintain a healthy mind by quelling negative emotions and thoughts, such as desire, anger and anxiety, and encouraging more positive dispositions such as compassion, empathy and forgiveness. Those who have reaped the benefits of mindfulness know that it works.

But how exactly does it work?

Researchers have proposed a new model that shifts how we think about mindfulness. Rather than describing mindfulness as a single dimension of cognition, the researchers demonstrate that mindfulness actually involves a broad framework of complex mechanisms in the brain. More …