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Benefits of Mindfulness at Work: The Role of Mindfulness in Emotion Regulation, Emotional Exhaustion, and Job Satisfaction

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Mindfulness describes a state of consciousness in which individuals attend to ongoing events and experiences in a receptive and non-judgmental way. The present research investigated the idea that mindfulness reduces emotional exhaustion and improves job satisfaction. The authors further suggest that these associations are mediated by the emotion regulation strategy of surface acting. Study 1 was a 5-day diary study with 219 employees and revealed that mindfulness negatively related to emotional exhaustion and positively related to job satisfaction at both the within- and the between-person levels. Both relationships were mediated by surface acting at both levels of analysis. Study 2 was an experimental field study, in which participants (N = 64) were randomly assigned to a self-training mindfulness intervention group or a control group. Results revealed that participants in the mindfulness intervention group experienced significantly less emotional exhaustion and more job satisfaction than participants in the control group. The causal effect of mindfulness self-training on emotional exhaustion was mediated by surface acting. Implications for using mindfulness and mindfulness training interventions in organizational research and practice are discussed in conclusion. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
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Benefits of Mindfulness at Work: The Role of Mindfulness in Emotion
Regulation, Emotional Exhaustion, and Job Satisfaction
Ute R. Hülsheger, Hugo J. E. M. Alberts, Alina Feinholdt, and Jonas W. B. Lang
Maastricht University
Mindfulness describes a state of consciousness in which individuals attend to ongoing events and
experiences in a receptive and non-judgmental way. The present research investigated the idea that
mindfulness reduces emotional exhaustion and improves job satisfaction. The authors further suggest that
these associations are mediated by the emotion regulation strategy of surface acting. Study 1 was a 5-day
diary study with 219 employees and revealed that mindfulness negatively related to emotional exhaustion
and positively related to job satisfaction at both the within- and the between-person levels. Both
relationships were mediated by surface acting at both levels of analysis. Study 2 was an experimental
field study, in which participants (N64) were randomly assigned to a self-training mindfulness
intervention group or a control group. Results revealed that participants in the mindfulness intervention
group experienced significantly less emotional exhaustion and more job satisfaction than participants in
the control group. The causal effect of mindfulness self-training on emotional exhaustion was mediated
by surface acting. Implications for using mindfulness and mindfulness training interventions in organi-
zational research and practice are discussed in conclusion.
Keywords: mindfulness, emotional exhaustion, emotional labor, job satisfaction, intervention
In the last three decades, the concept of mindfulness—a state of
nonjudgmental attentiveness to and awareness of moment-to-
moment experiences (Bishop et al., 2004; Brown & Ryan, 2003)—
has received considerable attention in clinical as well as in per-
sonality psychology. Sparked by the introduction of mindfulness-
based treatment programs (e.g., mindfulness-based stress reduction
[MBSR]: Kabat-Zinn, 1982; mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
[MBCT]: Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002), clinical practitio-
ners have integrated mindfulness in the treatment of a host of
emotional and behavioral disorders, such as borderline personality
disorder, major depression, chronic pain, or eating disorders (cf.
Bishop et al., 2004). This trend has been accompanied by a
growing body of empirical evidence for the effectiveness of
mindfulness-based interventions (a) to reduce symptoms in clinical
samples (for meta-analytic reviews, see Bohlmeijer, Prenger, Taal,
& Cuijpers, 2010; Grossman, Niemann, Schmidt, & Walach, 2004)
and (b) to promote psychological well-being in non-clinical sam-
ples (Collard, Avny, & Boniwell, 2008; Irving, Dobkin, & Park,
2009). In personality psychology, researchers have focused on
naturally occurring variation in mindfulness as a trait, and they
have assembled evidence suggesting that mindfulness is distinct
from earlier established constructs like openness to experience,
neuroticism, emotional intelligence, or absorption (Baer, Smith,
Hopkins, Krietemeyer, & Toney, 2006; Brown & Ryan, 2003;
Brown, Kasser, Ryan, Linley, & Orzech, 2009; Weinstein, Brown,
& Ryan, 2009). Furthermore, this line of research has also estab-
lished effects of trait mindfulness on psychological functioning
and well-being.
Recently, mindfulness has started to garner attention in the
industrial and organizational (IO) psychology literature. Two the-
oretical articles on the potential role of mindfulness in the work-
place have suggested that mindfulness has a relevant role in
work-related outcomes such as task performance (Dane, 2011;
Glomb, Duffy, Bono, & Yang, 2011) or physical and psycholog-
ical health (Glomb et al., 2011). Additionally, two empirical stud-
ies appeared: A cross-sectional study investigated direct and indi-
rect relationships between trait mindfulness and work-family
balance (Allen & Kiburz, 2012), and an intervention study com-
pared a mindfulness-based stress reduction program to a yoga-
based stress reduction program and a no-treatment control group
(Wolever et al., 2012). Despite this initial evidence, empirical
research on mindfulness in the workplace is still scarce. As Glomb
et al. (2011) have noted, the vast majority of studies demonstrating
the salutary effects of mindfulness have been conducted outside
the work context, using student samples or clinical samples such
that empirical findings may not generalize to the work context.
Furthermore, Glomb et al. have called for an understanding of
“why” and “how” mindfulness relates to employee well-being (p.
116).
In this article, we build upon and extend findings on the role of
mindfulness in the workplace and study the impact of mindfulness
on emotional exhaustion and job satisfaction in interactive service
This article was published Online First December 31, 2012.
Ute R. Hülsheger, Alina Feinholdt, and Jonas W. B. Lang, Faculty of
Psychology and Neuroscience, Department of Work and Social Psychol-
ogy, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands; Hugo J. E. M.
Alberts, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Clinical Psychological
Science, Maastricht University, the Netherlands.
We thank Felix Sion, Evelien Lambrigts, Lies Daenen, Tessa Claes, and
Annika Krause for their help in collecting data.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Ute R.
Hülsheger, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Department of Work and
Social Psychology, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maas-
tricht, the Netherlands. E-mail: ute.hulsheger@maastrichtuniversity.nl
Journal of Applied Psychology © 2012 American Psychological Association
2013, Vol. 98, No. 2, 310–325 0021-9010/13/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/a0031313
310
work. A majority of employees are working in the service sector or
hold interactive service jobs that require them to interact directly
with customers or clients regardless of economic sector (Leidner,
1999). In these jobs, employees are frequently confronted with
emotional labor, they face emotionally charged encounters, and
they need to manage their emotions as part of their job. Emotional
labor makes employees especially prone to emotional exhaustion
and reduced job satisfaction (Côté & Morgan, 2002; Hochschild,
1983; Hülsheger & Schewe, 2011). Emotional exhaustion is the
core burnout dimension (Maslach, Schaufeli, & Leiter, 2001),
whereas job satisfaction is an evaluative judgment of a person’s
work situation (Weiss, 2002). Both relate to other important orga-
nizational outcomes such as task and contextual performance,
turnover, and absenteeism (Cropanzano, Rupp, & Byrne, 2003;
Halbesleben & Bowler, 2007; Harrison, Newman, & Roth, 2006;
Ybema, Smulders, & Bongers, 2010) making them two key out-
comes in the IO and occupational stress literature (Örtqvist &
Wincent, 2010).
Our research seeks to contribute to the emerging literature on
mindfulness in the workplace and investigates the role of trait
mindfulness, state mindfulness, and a brief mindfulness interven-
tion for these key outcomes. In doing so, we theoretically link
previous work on mindfulness with research on emotional labor in
organizations and suggest that effects of mindfulness on emotional
exhaustion and job satisfaction are mediated by surface acting. We
report two studies using various operationalizations of the con-
struct of mindfulness. Study 1 is an observational diary study
investigating the link of trait- and state-mindfulness with daily
reports of emotional exhaustion and job satisfaction, and the me-
diating role of surface acting. To our knowledge, this study is the
first that simultaneously incorporates trait and state aspects of
mindfulness in the context of work. Study 2 complements Study 1
by combining a diary design with a field experiment implementing
a brief mindfulness intervention in the experimental group. Study
2 thereby provides insights into the causal nature of relationships
between mindfulness, surface acting, emotional exhaustion, and
job satisfaction in a field setting.
Mindfulness
Mindfulness has its roots in Eastern spiritual, especially Bud-
dhist traditions. It has been defined as a state of being in which
individuals bring their “attention to the experiences occurring in
the present moment, in a nonjudgemental or accepting way” (Baer
et al., 2006, p. 27; see also Brown & Ryan, 2003). Mindfulness has
several key characteristics (Brown, Ryan, & Creswell, 2007):
First, mindfulness involves a receptive awareness and registration
of inner experiences (emotions, thoughts, behavioral intentions)
and external events. Second, mindful information processing is
pre-conceptual. In a mindful state, individuals are purely noticing
what is happening without evaluating, analyzing, or reflecting
upon it. Third, mindfulness is characterized by a present-oriented
consciousness in which individuals focus on moment-to-moment
experiences rather than thinking about the past or fantasizing about
the future. Fourth, mindfulness is an inherent human capacity that
varies in strength, both across situations and persons. Research has
documented that meditation practice enhances mindfulness and
thereby promotes psychological health in clinical and non-clinical
samples (for meta-analyses, see Chiesa & Serretti, 2009; Gross-
man et al., 2004). However, mindfulness is not a “rarified state
open only to those undergoing . . . training” (Brown, Ryan, Lov-
erich, Biegel, & West, 2011, p. 1042; also see Brown & Ryan,
2004). Researchers have convincingly argued that mindfulness is a
natural human capacity that can be experienced by untrained
layperson (Brown & Ryan, 2003, 2004; Brown, Ryan, et al., 2011;
Dane, 2011; Glomb et al., 2011). Natural variations in mindfulness
are likely due to variations in genetic predisposition and environ-
mental influences (Davidson, 2010).
Trait and State Mindfulness
Research investigating mindfulness in the general population
involving individuals without any formal meditation experience
has shown that mindfulness varies between individuals, that it has
trait-like properties and that these can be reliably assessed with a
number of self-report measures explicitly designed for untrained
respondents (e.g., Brown & Ryan, 2003; Brown, West, Loverich,
& Biegel, 2011; Feldman, Hayes, Kumar, Greeson, & Laurenceau,
2007; Walach, Buchheld, Buttenmüller, Kleinknecht, & Schmidt,
2006). A growing number of studies using these self-report mea-
sures have shown that naturally occurring mindfulness is mean-
ingfully related to behavior regulation and psychological health in
non-clinical samples without experiences with meditation or mind-
fulness training (e.g., Allen & Kiburz, 2012; Bowlin & Baer, 2012;
Brown et al., 2009; Brown & Ryan, 2003; Kiken & Shook, 2012;
Niemiec et al., 2010; Weinstein et al., 2009).
Most research on natural variations in mindfulness has focused
on trait mindfulness (Glomb et al., 2011). However, researchers
have repeatedly argued that mindfulness inherently is a psycho-
logical state that varies from moment to moment within individ-
uals (Allen & Kiburz, 2012; Bishop et al., 2004; Brown & Ryan,
2003; Dane, 2011; Glomb et al., 2011; Heppner et al., 2008; Lau
et al., 2006; Robins, Keng, Ekblad, & Brantley, 2012). This idea
stems from the definition of mindfulness as a nonjudgmental
experience of the present moment, including inner and outer
events, regardless of whether these are positive or negative. Ex-
amples of the experience of mindful states stem from a qualitative
question we asked participants during the second study reported in
this article: A primary school teacher reported that she was fully
aware and attentive when a child clung herself to her leg. She
reported paying attention to her thoughts and feelings and realized
that she was experiencing joy, but also concern, and a bit of anger.
A physiotherapist reported that she was fully immersed in the
present moment when she was giving a massage and felt every
move of her hand and fingers intensely. These examples show that
there are countless opportunities to be mindful in our everyday life.
The degree to which one is fully immersed in the present moment
as well as the duration of such a moment and the frequency with
which they occur vary, between and within persons. Individuals
with a high natural capacity of being mindful (trait mindfulness) or
individuals engaging in regular meditation practice are likely to
experience mindfulness more intensely, more often, and over
longer periods of time but even these individuals experience days
and situations when they are running on autopilot without paying
attention to the present moment (see, e.g., Siegel, 2010, p. 28).
Overall, empirical studies on these natural intra-individual vari-
ations in mindfulness are still rare and—to our knowledge—even
nonexistent in the IO literature. However, a few studies that have
311
BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS AT WORK
appeared in the personality literature have shown that state mind-
fulness can be reliably measured in naturalistic settings with a
measure specifically designed for this purpose (Brown & Ryan,
2003; Weinstein et al., 2009).
In light of the obvious discrepancy between the definition of
mindfulness as a state and the current one-sided focus of the
literature on trait mindfulness, Study 1 considers mindfulness on
both construct levels—at the between-person level (trait) and at the
within-person level (state) simultaneously, allowing us to disen-
tangle to what extend the relationships between mindfulness and
well-being outcomes are driven by trait- and state-aspects of
mindfulness. To shed light on the causal nature of relationships,
we complement Study 1 with an experimental field study (Study
2), in which the experimental group receives a mindfulness self-
training intervention while the control group does not.
The Role of Mindfulness for Job Satisfaction and
Emotional Exhaustion
Affective events theory (AET; Weiss & Cropanzano, 1996)
suggests that mindfulness may be positively related to job satis-
faction. According to AET, work events are proximal causes of
employee affective reactions and these reactions, in turn, predict
job satisfaction. Previous research has documented that mindful-
ness facilitates adaptive stress appraisal (Weinstein et al., 2009).
The experience of stress emerges not only from an event itself but
also from the appraisal of the event as being negative and as
exceeding a person’s coping capacity (Lazarus & Follkman, 1984;
Weinstein et al., 2009). As the Greek Stoic philosopher Epiktet
noted, it is not the things themselves, but our opinions about things
that trouble us. When mindful individuals attend to the present
moment in a receptive, non-judgmental way, they observe stressful
events more objectively and refrain from attaching a meaning or
evaluation to it. This helps individuals not to be influenced by
biased, negative thought patterns which may lead to an overly
dramatic appraisal of the situation. At work, where individuals are
confronted with challenging situations every day, mindfulness may
thus facilitate adaptive appraisal of stressful events. To the extent
that mindfulness affects employees’ appraisal of challenging work
events as less stressful, these elicit more positive and less negative
affective reactions, which, in turn, lead to a more positive evalu-
ative judgment of one’s work situation (i.e., job satisfaction).
Furthermore, mindfulness may relate positively to job satisfac-
tion by promoting self-determined behavior (Glomb et al., 2011).
By reducing habitual and automatic functioning and drawing at-
tention and awareness to current experiences, mindfulness helps
individuals get in contact with their basic values and needs (Sha-
piro, Carlson, Astin, & Freedman, 2006). It thereby cultivates
self-determined behavior—behavior that is consistent with an
individual’s needs and values (Brown & Ryan, 2003; Deci &
Ryan, 1985; Glomb et al., 2011). Given that value attainment and
goal self-concordance are closely linked to job satisfaction (Bono
& Judge, 2003; George & Jones, 1996; Judge, Bono, Erez, &
Locke, 2005), one can expect mindfulness to be positively related
to job satisfaction.
Hypothesis 1: (a) Naturally occurring variations in mindful-
ness at the between-person level (trait), (b) naturally occur-
ring variations in mindfulness at the within-person level
(state), and (c) a mindfulness self-training intervention will be
positively related to job satisfaction.
We also expect mindfulness to be negatively related to emo-
tional exhaustion. Most work environments confront employees
with a variety of demands and challenges. Confronting these
demands with self-control and regulatory behavior results in a
depletion of cognitive and emotional resources (Baumeister, Brat-
slavsky, Muraven, & Tice, 1998), which leads to emotional ex-
haustion in the long run. In contrast, mindfulness promotes auton-
omous self-regulation (Brown & Ryan, 2003), which preserves
vitality and energy (Ryan & Deci, 2008). Accordingly, mindful-
ness has previously been shown to be associated with vitality in
cross-sectional field studies (Allen & Kiburz, 2012; Brown &
Ryan, 2003). Similarly, a lab study revealed that participants who
were instructed to accept and stay in contact with negative emo-
tions (a core component of mindfulness) showed less depletion
effects than a control group (Alberts, Schneider, & Martijn, 2012).
Hypothesis 2: (a) Naturally occurring variations in mindful-
ness at the between-person level (trait), (b) naturally occur-
ring variations in mindfulness at the within-person level
(state), and (c) a mindfulness self-training intervention will be
negatively related to emotional exhaustion.
Apart from investigating these main relationships of mindful-
ness with emotional exhaustion and job satisfaction, the present
study aims at shedding further light on a specific process through
which mindfulness may facilitate work-related well-being.
The Mediating Role of Emotion Regulation
The literature has witnessed a number of theoretical advances on
(e.g., Bishop et al., 2004; Glomb et al., 2011; Shapiro et al., 2006)
and a few empirical tests of (e.g., Allen & Kiburz, 2012; Coffey &
Hartman, 2008; Weinstein et al., 2009) potential mechanisms
underlying the salutary effects of mindfulness. In the present
article, we focus on a mechanism that has consistently been de-
scribed as a central process in the mindfulness literature (emotion/
affect regulation; Bishop et al., 2004; Brown et al., 2007; Glomb
et al., 2011; Shapiro et al., 2006) and its manifestation in an
applied work-related context. Specifically, we focus on a central
element of work-related emotion regulation (i.e., surface acting) as
a potential mediator for two main reasons: First, because emotion
regulation has repeatedly been proposed as a central mechanism in
theoretical work on mindfulness (Bishop et al., 2004; Glomb et al.,
2011; Hayes & Feldman, 2004; Roemer & Orsillo, 2003; Shapiro
et al., 2006). Second, researchers suggested that the effects of
mindfulness in the workplace may be particularly strong when
emotion regulation is required (Glomb et al., 2011), and we in-
vestigate the role of mindfulness in a broad range of service jobs
for which emotion regulation is a central demand and a major
source of strain (Côté, 2005; Grandey & Diamond, 2010).
Emotion Regulation at Work
Employees working in occupations involving interactions with
the public are confronted with emotional labor (Hochschild, 1983);
they have to comply with emotional display rules that are pre-
scribed by the work role, occupation, or organization and that
312 HU
¨LSHEGER, ALBERTS, FEINHOLDT, AND LANG
govern the expression of emotions (Rafaeli & Sutton, 1987).
Emotional labor theory suggests that employees make use of two
different emotion regulation strategies when they face a discrep-
ancy between actually felt and required emotions—namely, sur-
face acting and deep acting (Grandey, 2000; Holman, Martínez-
Iñigo, & Totterdell, 2008). A large body of cross-sectional (for a
meta-analysis, see Hülsheger & Schewe, 2011) and longitudinal
(Côté & Morgan, 2002; Hülsheger, Lang, & Maier, 2010) research
documents that surface acting negatively affects employees’ job
satisfaction and emotional exhaustion, while deep acting has not
shown consistent links with these outcomes. Surface acting aims at
altering the outward emotional expression without changing the
actual feeling, and it involves suppressing negative and faking
positive emotional expressions for jobs holding positive emotional
display rules (Grandey, 2000). It has been argued that surface
acting affects employee well-being in general and emotional ex-
haustion and job satisfaction in particular, because it is effortful
and depletes mental resources, undermines employees’ sense of
authenticity, and hampers positive social interactions with custom-
ers (Brotheridge & Lee, 2002; Côté, 2005; Grandey, 2003; Holman
et al., 2008; Hülsheger & Schewe, 2011). Research linking emo-
tion regulation strategies to affective events at work has revealed
that surface acting is frequently used, especially when employees
interact with unpleasant clients and are confronted with stress and
anger events (Diefendorff, Richard, & Yang, 2008; Grandey,
Dickter, & Sin, 2004; Grandey, Tam, & Brauburger, 2002; Tot-
terdell & Holman, 2003).
In sum, when it comes to emotion regulation at work, surface
acting is the central variable of interest (a) because it is a strategy
used frequently to respond to affective events at work among
service employees and (b) because it has consistently been shown
to be negatively related to job satisfaction and positively to emo-
tional exhaustion.
Surface Acting as a Mediator of the Link of
Mindfulness With Emotional Exhaustion
and Job Satisfaction
Referring to Gross’s process model of emotion regulation, sur-
face acting can be described as a response-focused form of emo-
tion regulation (Grandey, 2003; Gross, 1998a, 1998b). It targets
the modification of the emotional expression after emotional cues
have already been evaluated and after experiential, physiological,
and behavioral response tendencies have been initiated. The pro-
cess of surface acting in service jobs holding positive display rules
thus involves three sub-processes: (a) a negative evaluation of a
work event that (b) triggers response tendencies that (c) need to be
overridden by response modulation in terms of faking and/or
suppressing emotions.
We expect mindfulness to relate negatively to surface acting
because it affects the first two sub-processes. First, through a
process called reperceiving (Shapiro et al., 2006), also referred to
as decoupling of the self from events (Glomb et al., 2011), mind-
fulness promotes the experience of internal and external events
without evaluation. By deliberately turning attention to the present
moment with a non-judgmental attitude, mindful individuals stand
back and witness their thoughts and feelings more objectively,
without being immersed in them. “We experience what is instead
of a commentary or story about what is” (Shapiro et al., 2006, p.
379). Mindfulness creates a separation between the ego and inter-
nal/external events (Glomb et al., 2011). Employees may be fully
aware that they are being insulted and accused by a customer but
by observing the incidence as well as their own thoughts from a
meta-perspective they realize that this has nothing to do with their
true self. They experience a shift in perspective and realize that
what they are experiencing are simply insubstantial thoughts that
are no accurate representations of reality and that they eventually
pass by (Chambers, Gullone, & Allen, 2009; Sedlmeier et al.,
2012). Support stems from functional magnetic resonance imaging
(fMRI) research demonstrating that simply observing and labeling
negative emotions reduces the experience and expression of neg-
ative emotions by reducing limbic system activation (Glomb et al.,
2011; Hariri, Bookheimer, & Mazziotta, 2000). Work events, such
as an interaction with a rude or offensive customer or a complain-
ing patient, will consequently be evaluated in a much less negative
and less impactful light.
Second, mindfulness decreases automaticity of mental processes
which impedes the second sub-process of surface acting—namely,
the automatic triggering of experiential, physiological, and behav-
ioral response tendencies. Various authors have argued that mind-
fulness promotes self-regulation by interrupting automatic thought
and behavior patterns and thereby allowing individuals to react in
a self-determined and flexible way (Brown & Ryan, 2003; Brown
et al., 2007; Glomb et al., 2011; Shapiro et al., 2006). Oftentimes,
our information processing is heuristic, informed by prior experi-
ences, response patterns, and acquired knowledge. Accordingly, a
work event such as a customer who reports difficulties with a
product usually triggers a host of response tendencies, for exam-
ple, anger or fear, physiological arousal, and the impetus to re-
spond harshly. In jobs with positive display rules, these response
tendencies in turn need to be suppressed and disguised by surface
acting. In contrast, mindfulness involves a nonjudgmental attitude
toward thoughts and emotions—positive or negative ones—and
promotes the willingness to stay in contact with them without
reacting upon them (Bishop et al., 2004). Accordingly, research
has shown that mindfulness displays negative links with thought
suppression (one element of surface acting; Baer et al., 2006).
Similarly, a series of studies by Fetterman, Robinson, Ode, and
Gordon (2010) revealed that trait mindfulness was negatively
related to impulsivity and positively to self-control, supporting the
notion that mindfulness promotes self-regulation by interrupting
automatic thought and behavior patterns. Thus, a customer service
employee who has been offended may feel sad, ashamed, or angry
but instead of reacting upon it, he/she simply notices and observes
these negative emotions and accepts them.
Notably, accepting negative emotions does not mean that em-
ployees act them out and thereby break display rules by showing
them. Quite the contrary, attending to and accepting emotions is
more effective in reducing them than trying to change or fight
them (Siegel, 2010). Accordingly, mindfulness has been shown to
display negative links with verbal aggression, hostility, and anger
(Borders, Earleywine, & Jajodia, 2010). Furthermore, research
revealed that mindfulness-based coping with negative thoughts
and emotions is more effective in dissolving them and reducing the
urge to react upon them than control-based strategies such as
suppression (Alberts et al., 2012; Marcks & Woods, 2005).
313
BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS AT WORK
We therefore expect mindfulness to be negatively related to
surface acting, which will be negatively related to job satisfaction
and positively related to emotional exhaustion.
Hypothesis 3: Surface acting will mediate the relationship of
(a) naturally occurring variations in mindfulness at the
between-person level (trait), (b) naturally occurring variations
in mindfulness at the within-person level (state), and (c) a
mindfulness self-training intervention with job satisfaction.
Hypothesis 4: Surface acting will mediate the relationship of (a)
naturally occurring variations in mindfulness at the between-
person level (trait), (b) naturally occurring variations in mind-
fulness at the within-person level (state), and (c) a mindfulness
self-training intervention with emotional exhaustion.
Study 1
Method
Sample and procedure. Participants were recruited from var-
ious organizations in the Netherlands and the Dutch-speaking part
of Belgium. A total of 568 diary booklets were distributed to
potentially interested persons holding interactive service jobs.
They worked in various organizations, such as hospitals, schools,
shops, public offices, nursing homes, or kindergartens. A total of
219 valid questionnaires were returned, resulting in a response rate
of 38.6%. The comparably low response rate may be due to the
fact that not all questionnaires were distributed individually to
participants. Some were handed out by intermediaries (e.g., super-
visors, colleagues, team leaders), which might have led to a some-
what lower commitment to complete and return the booklet. Fur-
thermore, participants received no monetary compensation or other
kinds of incentives such as gifts which might have increased the
response rate (Anseel, Lievens, Scholleart, & Choragwicka, 2010).
Participants completed a diary twice a day over 5 consecutive
work days, providing a total of 1,095 daily records. Each record
consisted of two measurement occasions—one report after work,
and one in the evening before going to bed. Participants (83%
female, 17% male) had a mean age of 39.9 years (SD 12.2), and
an average tenure of 13 years (SD 11.6). The sample was
comprised of nurses (38.5%), teachers (20.4%), human resources
(HR) consultants (5%), pedagogues (5%), sales clerks (3.6%),
social workers (3.2%), and customer care employees (1.4%). The
remaining participants had other occupations in health care or
education or failed to indicate their occupation.
Each day participants were asked to fill in their diary directly
after work and in the evening before going to bed. In order to
assess employees’ daily levels of mindfulness and surface acting
during working hours, mindfulness and surface acting were as-
sessed directly after work. To reduce common method bias, out-
come variables (job satisfaction and emotional exhaustion) were
assessed at a different time point—namely, in the evening.
Measures. Data collection consisted of a general survey and a
diary booklet. The general survey was completed once before
participants started to fill in the diary booklet. The general survey
assessed demographic variables (age, gender, tenure, occupation)
and trait mindfulness. All other variables were assessed on a daily
basis. Items were answered on 5-point rating scales. Cronbach’s
alphas are depicted in Table 1.
Mindfulness. Trait mindfulness was assessed with the 15-item
Mindful Attention and Awareness Scale (MAAS; Brown & Ryan,
2003), a measure explicitly designed for and frequently used to
measure mindfulness in the general population involving partici-
pants who did not undergo any kind of mindfulness training and
who have no formal meditation experience. A sample item is “I
tend to walk quickly to get where I’m going without paying
attention to what I experience along the way” (reverse scored).
Daily levels of mindfulness during work were assessed with the
five-item state measure of the MAAS (Brown & Ryan, 2003).
Sample items are “Today I found it difficult to stay focused on
what’s happening in the present,” and “Today I found myself
doing things without paying attention.” Participants were asked to
indicate to what extent these items described their feelings and
behavior “during working hours.” Answers were scored such that
high values indicate high levels of mindfulness.
Surface acting. Surface acting during work was assessed with
the respective three-item subscale of Brotheridge and Lee’s (2002)
Emotional Labor Scale. Since this scale is a global, time-
insensitive measure of emotional labor strategies, the items were
adapted to measure daily levels of surface acting. Sample items are
“Today I pretended to have emotions that I did not really have,”
and “Today I resisted expressing my true feelings.” Again, partic-
ipants were instructed to indicate to what extend these items
described their behavior “during working hours.”
Table 1
Intercorrelations Between Study Variables of Study 1
Variable Cronbach’s ICC MSD 2345
Person level
1. Trait mindfulness .84 3.70 0.49 .35
ⴱⴱ
.56
ⴱⴱ
.12 .19
ⴱⴱ
Day level
2. Surface acting .72 .47 2.11 0.70
3. State mindfulness .77 .62 3.87 0.61 .47
ⴱⴱ
4. Job satisfaction .60 3.76 0.83 .27
ⴱⴱ
.25
ⴱⴱ
5. Emotional exhaustion .49 2.18 0.91 .37
ⴱⴱ
.34
ⴱⴱ
.25
ⴱⴱ
Note. Below the diagonal, correlations at the day level are displayed (n1,071–1,083); above the diagonal, correlations at the person level averaged
across the 5 days are displayed (n217–219). For variables assessed at the day level, Cronbach’s was calculated individually for every day, and then
the respective five reliabilities were averaged. ICCintraclass correlation coefficient.
p.05 (two-tailed).
ⴱⴱ
p.01 (two-tailed).
314 HU
¨LSHEGER, ALBERTS, FEINHOLDT, AND LANG
Job satisfaction. In the evening, participants indicated their
momentary level of job satisfaction with a one-item measure that
has been developed to assess job satisfaction in event-sampling
studies (Bono, Foldes, Vinson, & Muros, 2007; see also Beckers et
al., 2008): “At this moment, I am fairly satisfied with my job.”
Emotional exhaustion. The burnout dimension of emotional
exhaustion (Maslach & Jackson, 1981) was assessed in the evening by
asking participants to indicate to what extent they “felt emotionally
drained.” This measure has previously been used in a number of
diary- and event-sampling studies (Teuchmann, Totterdell, & Parker,
1999; Totterdell & Holman, 2003) to measure emotional exhaustion.
Analyses. Given the hierarchical data structure (daily reports
nested in persons), hypotheses were tested with multilevel struc-
tural equation modeling (MSEM) using Mplus, Version 5.21
(Muthén & Muthén, 2007) and following Preacher and colleagues’
recommendations for testing multilevel mediation (Preacher,
Zhang, & Zyphur, 2011; Preacher, Zyphur, & Zhang, 2010).
Unlike traditional multilevel models that combine within- and
between-person effects in one single slope, one of the advantages
of this approach is that it decomposes the variance of Level 1
variables (day level) into within and between components and
thereby accounts for the fact that relationships might differ be-
tween the between- and the within-person levels. In consequence,
using daily mindfulness (dM), analyses reveal information on (a)
the effect of daily variations from a person’s mean level of mind-
fulness on, for example, job satisfaction (within-person; state
component); (b) the effect of a person’s mean level of mindfulness
on, for example, job satisfaction (between-person; trait compo-
nent); and (c) the extent to which this relationship is mediated by
surface acting on the within- and the between-person levels, re-
spectively. How the mediated relation between dM and the out-
come variables is modeled on the within- and the between-person
levels is illustrated in Figure 1. This corresponds to a 1–1-1 design
where predictor, mediator, and outcome variables are all assessed
at Level 1, the day level (Preacher et al., 2010).
One might argue that the between-person component of mind-
fulness assessed on a daily basis (dM) differs from traditional
assessments of trait mindfulness where participants indicate at one
point in time how they generally behave and feel. To replicate
findings regarding between-person effects of mindfulness from the
1–1-1 model, we therefore used a traditional measure of trait
mindfulness in the general survey and tested a 2–1-1 mediation
model, with trait mindfulness (tM) as a Level 2 (person level)
predictor and surface acting and the outcome variables assessed at
Level 1 (see Figure 2).
Variance decomposition. Before starting to test hypotheses,
we inspected the relative amount of variance in study variables
lying between- and within-persons by inspecting the ICC1 based
on an unconditional random coefficient model (Bliese, 2006;
Bliese & Ployhart, 2002; Hox, 2002). Results are indicated in
Table 1. Mindfulness displayed an ICC1 of .62, indicating that
62% of the variance in mindfulness was between-person variation,
while 38% lay within persons. This suggests that mindfulness can
indeed be conceptualized as a trait and a state construct and that it
is appropriate to use multilevel modeling.
Results
Means, standard deviations, and intercorrelations between study
variables are displayed in Table 1. Table 2 shows results of a
multilevel analysis investigating direct relationships between
mindfulness and emotional exhaustion/job satisfaction. On the
within- and between-person levels, daily mindfulness displayed
significant relationships with emotional exhaustion and job satis-
faction as did trait mindfulness. These relationships were signifi-
cant when applying a conservative two-tailed test of significance.
The relationship of trait mindfulness with job satisfaction was
somewhat weaker but still significant when using a one-tailed test
of significance, which is suitable when testing a directional hy-
pothesis. Hypotheses 1a and 1b and Hypotheses 2a and 2b were
thus fully supported. Table 3 further reveals significant indirect
effects of mindfulness on emotional exhaustion and job satisfac-
tion through surface acting, (a) when using daily mindfulness as a
predictor on the within- and between-person levels in a 1–1-1
multilevel mediation model and (b) when using trait mindfulness
as a predictor in a 2–1-1 mediation model. Surface acting conse-
quently mediated the relationship of mindfulness with job satis-
faction and emotional exhaustion on the between- and on the
within-person level, supporting Hypotheses 3a and 3b and Hypoth-
eses 4a and 4b.
Brief Discussion of Study 1
Study 1 confirmed that state and trait mindfulness are related to
emotional exhaustion and job satisfaction on a daily basis and that
the relationships are mediated by surface acting.
Study 1 was a diary study spanning across 5 work days, and
mindfulness and surface acting were assessed at different time
points (after work) than dependent variables (in the evening).
Nevertheless, analyses of these kinds of diary studies focus on
within-day relationships between variables and they are conse-
quently cross-sectional in nature. Causal inferences can therefore
not be drawn and it remains unclear whether mindfulness truly
leads to a reduction in surface acting, emotional exhaustion, and
dM
SA
O
dM SA O
SA
O
Between
Within
Observed
a
b
b
b
c
b
a
w
b
w
c
w
dM
Figure 1. Multilevel structural equation model showing a 1-1-1 multi-
level mediation model between day-level (state) mindfulness (dM), surface
acting (SA), and an outcome variable (O; i.e., emotional exhaustion or job
satisfaction). Figure is based on Preacher et al. (2011).
315
BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS AT WORK
job satisfaction as suggested by the literature reviewed above. An
alternative explanation of the relationships found in Study 1 may
be that surface acting is a stressful experience that results in a
reduction of mindfulness. Similarly, employees experiencing emo-
tional exhaustion and reduced job satisfaction may be less moti-
vated or capable of being attentive to the present moment with a
nonjudgmental attitude. Fredrickson, Cohn, Coffey, Peik, and Fin-
kel’s (2008) findings that positive emotions help build consequen-
tial personal resources including mindful attention suggest that
directions of effects may also be reversed.
Study 2
To investigate whether mindfulness is the causal agent and
precedes surface acting and emotional exhaustion/job satisfaction,
goal of Study 2 was to conduct an experimental field study with a
control group (CG) and a mindfulness intervention group (MIG),
receiving a mindfulness self-training intervention. Apart from the
mindfulness intervention, the set-up of the study was equivalent to
Study 1, a daily diary study extending over 10 rather than 5 work
days. To the extent that participants in the MIG display lower
levels of surface acting and emotional exhaustion and higher levels
of job satisfaction than the CG, one may infer that mindfulness
actually leads to more surface acting, emotional exhaustion, and
job satisfaction.
The mindfulness self-training intervention was based on two
closely linked mindfulness programs—namely, mindfulness-based
cognitive therapy (MBCT; Segal et al., 2002) and mindfulness-
based stress reduction (MBSR; Kabat-Zinn, 1982), both consisting
of (a) mindfulness meditation and (b) informal daily exercises.
Mindfulness meditation is a specific form of meditation. Although
different approaches to meditation bear similarities and some even
argue that they might not exist in a pure form, the literature has
differentiated meditation techniques by the type of attention that is
cultivated (concentration vs. awareness) and the cognitive pro-
cesses involved (e.g., simply observing emotions vs. deliberately
modifying them; Sedlmeier et al., 2012). A frequently used dif-
ferentiation is that between concentrative techniques (e.g., tran-
scendental meditation) and mindfulness techniques (Kristeller &
Rikhye, 2008; Sedlmeier et al., 2012). In concentrative techniques,
meditators turn their attention to an object like a mantra, picture,
breath, or physical experience and learn to disengage from
thoughts and emotions attempting to experience deep rest and
comfort (Sedlmeier et al., 2012). Mindfulness meditation places
emphasis on staying present in the current moment and promoting
a state of awareness in an alert, nonjudgmental way. Goal is to
learn to observe and become aware of thoughts and emotions
without getting caught up in chains of associations and without
reacting upon them. The primary aim of mindfulness is not to
experience rest or comfort, but to learn to observe thoughts and
feelings and to cope with discomfort by means of acceptance and
compassion. “The mind of a highly experienced meditator should
observe just thoughts, just feelings, or just sensations (without
letting thoughts create emotions, and these emotions other
thoughts, etc.)” (Sedlmeier et al., 2012, p. 1141). In addition to
formal meditation practice (e.g., sitting on a cushion), mindfulness
practice involves daily awareness of automatic habitual patterns of
thinking, reacting, and feeling. As a unique feature, mindfulness-
based interventions therefore involve both formal meditation ex-
ercises and daily awareness exercises.
Table 2
Multi-Level Models Predicting Daily Emotional Exhaustion and Job Satisfaction From State and Trait Mindfulness in Study 1
Parameter
Daily mindfulness (dM) as predictor Trait mindfulness (tM) as predictor
Emotional exhaustion Job satisfaction Emotional exhaustion Job satisfaction
Estimate SE Estimate SE Estimate SE Estimate SE
Between level
Intercept 2.183
ⴱⴱ
0.044 3.766
ⴱⴱ
0.044 2.178
ⴱⴱ
0.047 3.769
ⴱⴱ
0.046
Mindfulness 0.575
ⴱⴱ
0.093 0.480
ⴱⴱ
0.097 0.275
0.108 0.157
0.096
Residual variance 0.333
ⴱⴱ
0.046 0.359
ⴱⴱ
0.044 0.384
ⴱⴱ
0.055 0.406
ⴱⴱ
0.049
Within level
Mindfulness 0.405
ⴱⴱ
0.096 0.133
0.058
Residual variance 0.400
ⴱⴱ
0.035 0.274
ⴱⴱ
0.030 0.423
ⴱⴱ
0.040 0.275
ⴱⴱ
0.031
Note. Models are random intercept models; n217–219 at the person level. Average number of observations per person 4.944.96.
p.05 (one-tailed).
p.05 (two-tailed).
ⴱⴱ
p.01 (two-tailed).
tM
SA
O
tM SA O
SA O
Between
Wit hin
Observed
a
b
b
b
c
b
b
w
Figure 2. Multilevel structural equation model showing a 2-1-1 multi-
level mediation model between trait mindfulness (tM), surface acting (SA),
and an outcome variable (O; i.e., emotional exhaustion or job satisfaction).
Figure is based on Preacher et al. (2011).
316 HU
¨LSHEGER, ALBERTS, FEINHOLDT, AND LANG
Method
Sample. To recruit participants, employees holding a broad
range of jobs were approached individually in, for example, hos-
pitals, schools, kindergartens, medical practices in Berlin and
various cities in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, and were
invited to participate in the study. In line with similar studies
(Fredrickson et al., 2008), they received a flyer describing the
project as a scientific study investigating the benefits of mindful-
ness meditation and including practical information such as length
of the study and confidentiality. No monetary compensation for
study participation was offered. A total of 203 participants enrolled
in the study. On a random basis, 102 participants were assigned to
the MIG and 101 to the waitlist control group (CG). In the
following they received a package containing a general question-
naire, the diary booklet, and—in case of the MIG—mindfulness
meditation instructions and material. A total of 102 participants
dropped out of the study and failed to return diaries in time,
resulting in a sample of 101 participants (overall response rate of
49.8%). This response rate is close to the average response rate
(52.3%) reported in a recent meta-analysis on response rates in
organizational survey research (Anseel et al., 2010). With 50
participants remaining in the MIG and 51 in the CG, the response
rate did not differ between the treatment and the control groups
(49.5% MIG, 50.5% CG). This finding suggests that the dropout
was independent of the intervention. A total of 37 participants
were excluded from analyses: Six participants stopped filling in
their diaries, 12 participants did not hold interactive service jobs or
failed to indicate their job, and 19 participants assigned to the MIG
did not comply with the mindfulness meditation instructions and
meditated less than 6 min per day on average. A multivariate
analysis of variance testing for potential differences regarding age,
tenure, trait mindfulness, trait surface acting, trait job satisfaction,
and trait emotional exhaustion revealed no significant differences
between compliant and non-compliant participants within the
MIG: F(12, 48) 0.41, ns. A chi-square test further revealed no
significant gender differences between compliant and non-
compliant participants in the MIG,
2
(1) 3.2, ns. The final
sample comprised 64 participants, 22 in the MIG and 42 in the CG.
Participants (18 men, 46 women) had a mean age of 38.6 years (SD
11.1), and an average organizational tenure of 9 years (SD
8.6). The sample consisted of teachers (17.2%), social workers/
social pedagogues (15.6%), kindergarten teachers (7.8%), physi-
cians (7.8%), waiters/hotel service employees (6.3%), industrial
clerks, bankers, medical assistants (4.7%, respectively), nurses,
psychologists, retail salesmen, pharmacists (3.1%, respectively),
and other interactive service jobs (18.8%).
Procedure. Both groups (CG and MIG) received a diary
booklet containing a general survey assessing demographic infor-
mation and baseline measures. They were asked to fill in this
general survey before starting with the diary covering 10 work
days. Each day, participants were asked to fill in their diary after
work. Participants in the MIG received the intervention described
below, while the waitlist-CG received no intervention and just
filled in the diary. After completion of the study, they received a
booklet containing the same self-training intervention as the MIG.
The mindfulness self-training intervention. For the MIG, a
mindfulness self-training approach was used consisting of differ-
ent standardized exercises of MBCT (Segal et al., 2002) and
MBSR (Kabat-Zinn, 1982). These are training programs in which
participants learn to become aware of thoughts and feelings and
are taught to observe them through the repeated practice of inten-
tionally returning attention to an object (e.g., the breath or body
sensations). MBCT and MBSR consist of guided mindfulness
meditation and informal daily exercises both aiming to cultivate an
Table 3
Multi-Level Mediation Models Predicting Daily Emotional Exhaustion and Job Satisfaction From Mindfulness and Surface Acting in
Study 1
Parameter
1–1-1 mediation models (dM as predictor) 2–1-1 mediation models (tM as predictor)
Emotional exhaustion Job satisfaction Emotional exhaustion Job satisfaction
Estimate SE Estimate SE Estimate SE Estimate SE
Between level
Intercept 2.183
ⴱⴱ
0.041 3.766
ⴱⴱ
0.043 2.178
ⴱⴱ
0.042 3.770
ⴱⴱ
0.044
Path a
b
0.588
ⴱⴱ
0.087 0.592
ⴱⴱ
0.084 0.371
ⴱⴱ
0.081 0.369
ⴱⴱ
0.081
Path b
b
0.531
ⴱⴱ
0.136 0.376
ⴱⴱ
0.127 0.659
ⴱⴱ
0.121 0.530
ⴱⴱ
0.106
Path c
b
0.262
0.116 0.259
0.120 0.034 0.103 0.044 0.090
Indirect effect 0.312
ⴱⴱ
0.088 0.223
ⴱⴱ
0.073 0.245
ⴱⴱ
0.067 0.195
ⴱⴱ
0.053
Residual variance outcome 0.289
ⴱⴱ
0.044 0.338
ⴱⴱ
0.042 0.298
ⴱⴱ
0.047 0.349
ⴱⴱ
0.043
Residual variance surface acting 0.153
ⴱⴱ
0.023 0.149
ⴱⴱ
0.021 0.198
ⴱⴱ
0.028 0.198
ⴱⴱ
0.028
Within level
Path a
w
0.457
ⴱⴱ
0.058 0.466
ⴱⴱ
0.057
Path b
w
0.208
ⴱⴱ
0.069 0.117
0.047 0.285
ⴱⴱ
0.063 0.136
ⴱⴱ
0.043
Path c
w
0.310
ⴱⴱ
0.104 0.077 0.063
Indirect effect 0.095
ⴱⴱ
0.035 0.055
0.022
Residual variance outcome 0.390
ⴱⴱ
0.034 0.271
ⴱⴱ
0.031 0.402
ⴱⴱ
0.037 0.268
ⴱⴱ
0.030
Residual variance surface acting 0.233
ⴱⴱ
0.025 0.234
ⴱⴱ
0.025
Note. Models are random intercept models; n217–219 at the person level. Average number of observations per person 4.944.96. dM daily
mindfulness; tM trait mindfulness. The paths refer to Figures 1 and 2. Path a
b
/a
w
mindfulness ¡surface acting; Path b
b
/b
w
surface acting ¡
outcome variable; Path c
b
/c
w
mindfulness ¡outcome variable.
p.05 (two-tailed).
ⴱⴱ
p.01 (two-tailed).
317
BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS AT WORK
accepting, nonjudgmental attitude to what one experiences in each
moment. Whereas mindfulness programs like MBCT and MBSR
span over 8 weeks and involve regular group-training sessions
with a mindfulness trainer, the present intervention was based on
a self-training approach, spanned over 2 weeks (10 working days)
and focused on some key mindfulness practices that were rela-
tively brief and could be readily integrated into participants’ daily
(work-) life. The following exercises of the MBCT and the MBSR
protocol were employed: the BodyScan, the Three-Minute Breath-
ing Space, the Daily Routine Activities, and the Raisin Exercise. In
order to further cultivate a compassionate mindset, which is con-
sidered an essential aspect of mindfulness practice (e.g., Kuan,
2008; Sanharakshita, 2004; Shapiro & Carlson, 2009; Siegel,
2010), a Loving Kindness Meditation was added to the interven-
tion. Essential to all of these mindfulness practices is developing
an open and compassionate mindset. Instead of criticizing or
blaming oneself, for instance because one gets distracted during
the exercises, the program teaches to be kind toward oneself.
To familiarize participants with mindful attention and aware-
ness, they conducted the Raisin Exercise (eating with awareness)
and the Body Scan on the first training day (M. Williams, Teas-
dale, Segal, & Kabat-Zinn, 2007). The BodyScan is a formal
meditation practice, where bodily sensations are used as an anchor
for attention. In this exercise, awareness of the body and the
observing of distracting thoughts are trained. Second, we intro-
duced the Three-Minute Breathing Space (Siegel, 2010; M. Wil-
liams et al., 2007) as a cornerstone of our mindfulness interven-
tion. It is an exercise that helps to (re)connect with the present
moment. It aims at training awareness of thoughts, feelings, and
bodily sensations by paying attention to them. It has specifically
been designed to be applicable in everyday live (M. Williams et
al., 2007). Participants were asked to follow this meditation at a
minimum twice a day, every morning and evening throughout the
study. In the morning of Day 4, participants received instructions
to practice being fully aware during daily routine activities. To
bring mindfulness to their everyday life, they were asked to choose
at least one routine activity (e.g., taking a shower, driving to work,
drinking coffee) and try to conduct it in a mindful way, bringing
full awareness and attention to it. Lastly, a Loving-Kindness
Meditation was introduced on the evening of Day 4. It cultivates
caring, kindness, and love for the meditator him-/herself and others
(Shapiro & Carlson, 2009). It starts with an initial focus on the
breath and then directs warm, compassionate, and tender feelings
to oneself and subsequently to others, including loved ones, neutral
persons, and difficult persons. It teaches mindful attitudes of
acceptance, compassion for oneself and for others which is par-
ticularly important for employees working in the helping profes-
sions (Shapiro & Carlson, 2009) but also in other interactive
service jobs where employees need to respond to the needs of
others and face emotionally demanding situations. Participants
were asked to conduct the Loving-Kindness Meditation every day.
These mindfulness exercises were presented in written format.
A general introduction to mindfulness and mindfulness meditation,
description of the mindfulness meditation practices and detailed
instructions on how and when to conduct these practices were
incorporated in the diary booklet starting on Day 2. Moreover,
participants received a CD containing audio-files of the guided
meditations. In addition, participants received a postcard with a
citation from Thich Nhat Hanh which they were asked to put up in
a place where it reminds them of their daily meditation practice. To
further remind and inspire them to engage in daily meditation
practice, mindfulness-related citations from mindfulness scholars
like Eckhart Tolle or Thich Nhat Hanh were provided in the diary
booklet from Day 4 to Day 10. Lastly, participants received daily
e-mails with additional mindfulness-related citations.
Measures. Data collection consisted of a general survey and a
diary booklet. The general survey was completed once before
participants started to fill in the diary booklet. It assessed demo-
graphic variables, trait mindfulness, and general levels of surface
acting, emotional exhaustion, and job satisfaction as baseline mea-
sures. Items were answered on 5-point rating scales. Cronbach’s
alphas are depicted in Table 4.
Trait mindfulness. For trait mindfulness, the MAAS was used
as in Study 1.
Surface acting. General levels of surface acting were assessed
with four items: three items from Brotheridge and Lee’s (2002)
Emotional Labor Scale and one item (“Show emotions that are
expected rather than what I feel”) from Lee and Brotheridge
(2011) to assess the hiding and faking sub-aspect of surface acting
with two items each.
Table 4
Intercorrelations Between Study Variables of Study 2
Variable Cronbach’s ICC
1
MSD23456789
Person level
1. Trait mindfulness .83 3.54 0.58 .23 .49
ⴱⴱ
.20 .04 .56
ⴱⴱ
.28
.36
ⴱⴱ
.04
2. Trait surface acting .62 2.54 0.65 .35
ⴱⴱ
.16 .14 .26
.37
ⴱⴱ
.31
.21
3. Trait emotional exhaustion .77 1.99 0.58 .46
ⴱⴱ
.15 .27
.17 .49
ⴱⴱ
.27
4. Trait job satisfaction .81 3.98 0.77 .07 .21 .07 .30
.58
ⴱⴱ
5. Average meditation time 3.17 4.57 .24 .38
ⴱⴱ
.18 .25
Day level
6. State mindfulness .88 .66 3.86 0.91 .62
ⴱⴱ
.58
ⴱⴱ
.33
7. Surface acting .88 .50 2.16 0.97 .55
ⴱⴱ
.49
ⴱⴱ
.24
8. Emotional exhaustion .82 .54 2.03 0.99 .52
ⴱⴱ
.44
ⴱⴱ
.45
ⴱⴱ
9. Job satisfaction .37 3.42 1.05 .27
ⴱⴱ
.23
ⴱⴱ
.39
ⴱⴱ
Note. Below the diagonal, correlations at the day level are displayed (N384); above the diagonal, correlations at the person level averaged across the
5 days are displayed (N64). For variables assessed at the day level, Cronbach’s was calculated individually for every day, and then the average of
the respective five reliabilities was taken. ICC intraclass correlation coefficient.
p.05 (two-tailed).
ⴱⴱ
p.01 (two-tailed).
318 HU
¨LSHEGER, ALBERTS, FEINHOLDT, AND LANG
Emotional exhaustion. The nine respective items of the
Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) were used (Büssing & Perrar,
1992; Maslach & Jackson, 1984).
Job satisfaction. Job satisfaction was assessed with five items
from Judge, Locke, Durham, and Kluger (1998).
Furthermore, state mindfulness, surface acting, emotional ex-
haustion and job satisfaction were assessed on a daily basis, after
work.
Mindfulness. The state MAAS was used as in Study 1.
Surface acting. The four items used in the general survey
were adapted to the day level by asking participants to indicate to
what extent these items applied to them during their work day.
Job satisfaction. The same item as in Study 1 was used.
Emotional exhaustion. To assess emotional exhaustion after
work, we used three items of the respective MBI scale that was
used in the general survey and asked participants how they cur-
rently feel. Sample items are “I feel emotionally drained,” and “I
feel burnt out.”
Meditation time per day. To assess compliance with the treat-
ment, participants in the experimental condition were asked every
evening to indicate how many minutes they dedicated to their
meditation practice in the morning and in the evening.
Analyses. As in Study 1, we had a hierarchical data structure
(daily reports nested in persons) and therefore tested hypotheses
with MSEM using Mplus, Version 5.21 (Muthén & Muthén,
2007). Multilevel mediation analyses were conducted following
Preacher and colleagues’ recommendations (Preacher et al., 2011,
2010). As described in the Method section, the intervention con-
sisted of various mindfulness meditation practices that were grad-
ually introduced in the training phase of the study, with the last
practice (Loving-Kindness Meditation) being introduced on the
evening of Day 4. To investigate effects of the intervention as a
whole, analyses are based on data from the assessment phase of the
study ranging from Day 5 to Day 10.
Results
Means, standard deviations, intercorrelations and ICC1s for all
study variables are depicted in Table 4. As a manipulation check,
we first analyzed whether the experimental manipulation had an
effect on daily levels of mindfulness (see Table 5). A multilevel
model using condition as a person-level predictor of daily mind-
fulness and controlling for baseline levels of trait mindfulness
confirmed that participants in the MIG had significantly higher
levels of daily mindfulness compared to participants in the CG.
Similarly, condition was a significant predictor of emotional ex-
haustion and job satisfaction, confirming Hypotheses 1c and 2c.
Finally, we tested multilevel mediation models (2–1-1) where
daily surface acting mediated the relationship of condition with
daily emotional exhaustion and job satisfaction (see Table 6). To
control for pre-intervention differences in dependent variables
between the MIG and the CG, we controlled for baseline levels of
emotional exhaustion and job satisfaction. Results revealed a sig-
nificant indirect path via surface acting for emotional exhaustion
but not for job satisfaction. A close inspection of Tables 5 and 6
Table 5
Multi-Level Models Predicting Daily Mindfulness, Emotional Exhaustion, and Job Satisfaction From Group Membership in Study 2
Parameter
Mindfulness Emotional exhaustion Job satisfaction
Estimate SE Estimate SE Estimate SE
Between level
Intercept 3.86
ⴱⴱ
0.077 2.030
ⴱⴱ
0.080 3.422
ⴱⴱ
0.070
Condition 0.328
0.161 0.428
ⴱⴱ
0.169 0.342
0.147
Outcome at baseline
a
0.729
ⴱⴱⴱ
0.132 0.705
ⴱⴱ
0.140 0.535
ⴱⴱ
0.092
Residual variance 0.330
ⴱⴱ
0.067 0.336
ⴱⴱ
0.073 0.197
ⴱⴱ
0.057
Within level
Residual variance 0.286
ⴱⴱ
0.023 0.458
ⴱⴱ
0.036 0.702
ⴱⴱ
0.056
Note. Models are random intercept models; N64 at the person level. Average number of observations per person 5.92–5.94. Condition was coded
0control group, 1 experimental group.
a
Outcome at baseline was trait mindfulness/trait emotional exhaustion/trait job satisfaction.
p.05 (two-tailed).
ⴱⴱ
p.01 (two-tailed).
Table 6
Multi-Level Mediation Models (2-1-1) Predicting Daily
Emotional Exhaustion and Job Satisfaction From Group
Membership and Daily Surface Acting in Study 2
Parameter
Emotional
exhaustion Job satisfaction
Estimate SE Estimate SE
Between level
Intercept 2.033
ⴱⴱ
0.073 3.430
ⴱⴱ
0.069
Path a
b
0.545
ⴱⴱ
0.182 0.545
ⴱⴱ
0.182
Path b
b
0.388
ⴱⴱ
0.127 0.119 0.119
Path c
b
0.206 0.169 0.270
0.158
Path Baseline ¡Outcome
a
0.597
ⴱⴱ
0.128 0.518
ⴱⴱ
0.090
Indirect effect 0.212
0.099 0.065 0.068
Residual variance outcome 0.278
ⴱⴱ
0.061 0.187
ⴱⴱ
0.054
Residual variance surface
acting 0.405
ⴱⴱ
0.086 0.405
ⴱⴱ
0.086
Within level
Path b
w
0.353
ⴱⴱ
0.051 0.248
ⴱⴱ
0.066
Residual variance outcome 0.399
ⴱⴱ
0.032 0.671
ⴱⴱ
0.053
Note. Models are random intercept models; N64 at the person level.
Average number of observations per person 5.92. The paths refer to
Figure 2. Path a
b
condition ¡surface acting; Path b
b
surface acting
¡outcome variable; Path c
b
condition ¡outcome variable. Condition
was coded 0 control group, 1 experimental group.
a
The path Baseline–Outcome depicts the link between the baseline mea-
surement of trait emotional exhaustion/job satisfaction and the respective
outcome variable.
p.05 (one-tailed).
p.05 (two-tailed).
ⴱⴱ
p.01 (two-tailed).
319
BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS AT WORK
reveals that the missing indirect effect for job satisfaction was due
to a missing link between daily surface acting and job satisfaction
(Path b) while the effect of condition on surface acting and job
satisfaction was significant. Hypothesis 4c was thus confirmed,
while Hypothesis 3c was not.
1
Brief Discussion of Study 2
Study 2 largely confirmed findings of Study 1 with the excep-
tion of the missing mediation for job satisfaction which may be
due to the relatively lower power of Study 2. Given the experi-
mental set-up of the study, findings suggest that decreases in
surface acting, emotional exhaustion and increases in job satisfac-
tion are causally driven by mindfulness meditation. Furthermore,
our study helps clarifying the relationship between various con-
ceptualizations of mindfulness. Researchers have used different
conceptualizations of mindfulness including experimentally in-
duced mindfulness, mindfulness-based treatment programs, and
naturally occurring mindfulness in terms of trait and state mind-
fulness (Glomb et al., 2011). The literature has witnessed some
debate as to whether these different operationalizations tab the
same construct or whether natural variations in mindfulness mea-
sured with self-report measures capture something else than what
is targeted by experimentally induced mindfulness or mindfulness-
based treatment programs following Buddhist traditions (Brown,
Ryan, et al., 2011; Davidson, 2010). The present findings suggest
that mindfulness-based meditation practices and naturally occur-
ring trait and state mindfulness are closely interrelated and func-
tion similarly: Not only was our measure of state mindfulness
significantly affected by the mindfulness intervention, we also
found the same pattern of results for trait mindfulness, state mind-
fulness, and a mindfulness self-training intervention.
Study 2 is certainly not without limitations. One limitation is
that we used a wait-list control design where the CG received no
treatment in the period when the MIG received the treatment. The
CG was not provided with the treatment until data collection had
been completed. In contrast to an active control group which
typically receives a different kind of treatment during the time
when the treatment group receives the treatment of interest, a
potential disadvantage of such a no-treatment control group is that
extra attention might be drawn to the treatment, which might have
introduced expectation biases.
General Discussion
Findings of Studies 1 and 2 suggest that for employees working
in emotionally demanding jobs, mindfulness promotes job satis-
faction and helps preventing burnout in terms of emotional ex-
haustion. Results showed that state and trait mindfulness are in-
versely related to employees’ emotional exhaustion and positively
related to their job satisfaction. The same relationships were found
when mindfulness was induced by a self-training intervention,
suggesting that the direction of effects is such that mindfulness
precedes and affects emotional exhaustion and job satisfaction.
Since our findings do not exclude the existence of reverse causa-
tion, it is important to note, that effects may in fact be bidirec-
tional. Mindfulness may decrease emotional exhaustion and in-
crease job satisfaction and set free resources that may, in turn, lead
to even higher levels of mindfulness creating a positive upward
spiral (Fredrickson et al., 2008). Future research my thus investi-
gate potential recursive effects between mindfulness and these
constructs.
We argued that surface acting mediates the relationship between
mindfulness and employee-well-being, implying not only that
mindfulness precedes surface acting and emotional exhaustion/job
satisfaction but also that surface acting precedes emotional exhaus-
tion and job satisfaction. While Study 2 confirmed that mindful-
ness affects surface acting, emotional exhaustion, and job satisfac-
tion, our findings do not allow to conclude that surface acting also
precedes emotional exhaustion and job satisfaction. Longitudinal
studies in the emotional labor literature have, however, suggested
that the direction of effects is such that surface acting (or a
sub-aspect of it) precedes increased psychological distress and job
satisfaction (Côté & Morgan, 2002; Hülsheger et al., 2010). Hül-
sheger and colleagues explicitly tested for reverse causation. They
conducted a two-wave longitudinal panel study, testing longitudi-
nal lagged effects between surface acting and irritation (an indi-
cator of psychological distress that is related to emotional exhaus-
tion) using structural equation modeling (SEM), which is
considered to be the most adequate method to analyze cross-lagged
panel designs (Finkel, 1995; L. J. Williams & Podsakoff, 1989).
Results indicated that surface acting led to increases in subsequent
strain, but not vice versa. To provide further insights into the
directions of effects of surface acting with emotional exhaustion
and job satisfaction on a daily basis, future research might consider
assessing surface acting as well as emotional exhaustion and job
satisfaction at several time points during one working day and
perform cross-lagged analyses within days.
The present findings also contribute to the mindfulness literature
by shedding light on a central mechanism underlying the salutary
effects of mindfulness in the work-context. Researchers have long
been speculating about the processes driving the beneficial effects
of mindfulness and emotion and affect regulation has always been
a cornerstone of it (Bishop et al., 2004; Glomb et al., 2011; Shapiro
et al., 2006). By identifying surface acting as a mediator, our field
studies add to the incipient body of experimental laboratory re-
search focusing on the role of emotion regulation in the salubrious
effects of mindfulness (Arch & Craske, 2006; Erisman & Roemer,
2010).
Overall, results of Study 1 and Study 2 revealed unanimously
that mindfulness was more strongly related to emotional exhaus-
1
As described in the Method section of Study 2, we removed non-
compliant participants from the sample: Participants who were assigned to
the experimental group but did not comply with the instructions and
meditated less than 6 min per day on average were thus removed from the
sample. Doing so, we lost 19 participants from the experimental condition.
As a supplementary analysis we used the full sample of 83 participants (41
MIG, 42 CG) and used the average meditation time per day across the
study in minutes as a predictor in the analyses. The average meditation time
per day in the MIG ranged between 1.8 min and 13.4 min, with a mean of
6.8 min (SD 3.3). The average meditation time of the control group was
set as 0. We then conducted the same set of analyses and found the same
patterns of results: Average daily meditation time across the study as a
between-person variable significantly predicted daily levels of mindful-
ness, emotional exhaustion, and job satisfaction. Furthermore multilevel
mediation models (2-1-1) revealed that daily surface acting significantly
mediated the relationship of average meditation time with daily emotional
exhaustion but not with job satisfaction due to a missing link between daily
surface acting and job satisfaction.
320 HU
¨LSHEGER, ALBERTS, FEINHOLDT, AND LANG
tion than to job satisfaction, both when considering trait as well as
state mindfulness. A potential explanation of this finding is that
surface acting—which we identified as an important mediating
mechanism—may have a stronger effect on burnout, especially
emotional exhaustion, than on job satisfaction. Supporting this
idea, the present data revealed that zero-order correlations of
surface acting were lower with job satisfaction than with emotional
exhaustion. This pattern of relationships is consistent with findings
from a recent meta-analysis on emotional labor, revealing consis-
tently stronger relationships of surface acting with emotional ex-
haustion than with job satisfaction (Hülsheger & Schewe, 2011).
The present findings also add to the emotional labor literature.
To date, the emotional labor literature has predominantly focused
on unraveling the consequences of emotion regulation at work and
researchers have repeatedly called for more research on how to
diminish employees’ use of surface acting and promote more
healthy strategies to cope with emotional job demands (e.g.,
Grandey, 2003; Judge, Woolf, & Hurst, 2009; Martínez-Iñigo,
Totterdell, Alcover, & Holman, 2007). The present findings sug-
gest that mindfulness is a fruitful way to deal with emotional job
demands. Future research may continue exploring to what extent
mindfulness-based interventions prove useful in helping emotion
workers cope with daily job demands.
Another distinctive feature of the present research, specifically
Study 1, was the diary design allowing us to analyze state and trait
aspects of naturally occurring mindfulness simultaneously and
thereby adopting a multilevel perspective (Bliese & Jex, 2002).
With 62% of the variance lying between and 38% within persons,
results confirmed what has been suggested in theoretical accounts
on mindfulness (Bishop et al., 2004; Dane, 2011; Glomb et al.,
2011)—namely, that individuals naturally vary in their stable
disposition to be more or less mindful. Above and beyond these
stable dispositions, however, there are daily fluctuations in indi-
viduals’ levels of mindfulness. It has previously been argued that
it may not be taken for granted that a given construct displays the
same association with an outcome at different hierarchical levels
of investigation (Enders & Tofighi, 2007). Importantly, the present
findings revealed that three different conceptualizations of mind-
fulness function similarly with regard to employee well-being: The
disposition to be more mindful over time and across situations
apparently bears similar relationships with employee well-being as
do fluctuating levels of mindfulness and mindfulness induced by a
brief mindfulness intervention.
Limitations and Future Directions
Focusing on the role of mindfulness for emotional exhaustion
and job satisfaction, the present study addressed two important
organizational outcomes that have received no attention in the
mindfulness literature yet. The mindfulness literature outside IO
psychology has provided a wealth of evidence that mindfulness is
a very powerful trait/state that promotes mental and physical
health for a broad range of individuals in different life situations.
We therefore believe that the present findings on the salutary
effects of mindfulness and the mediating role of surface acting
extent to other indicators of employee well-being. Future research
may test this notion using, for example, physiological indicators of
well-being (e.g., cortisol levels) or investigate mindfulness as a
means to promote recovery from work stress. Apart from well-
being outcomes, performance outcomes are equally important in
organizational research. Given extant experimental research show-
ing that mindfulness training improves cognitive functioning
(Chiesa, Calati, & Serretti, 2011), it may thus be fruitful to exam-
ine the link of mindfulness with job performance in future research
(see also Dane, 2011; Glomb et al., 2011).
Although our study findings are based on a sample including a
broad range of jobs, it was limited to employees holding interac-
tive service jobs. For this sample of employees in emotionally
demanding occupations, we were able to show that mindfulness
affects emotional exhaustion and job satisfaction and it does so via
the emotion regulation strategy of surface acting. This finding is in
line with Glomb et al.’s (2011) argumentation that the effects of
mindfulness may be particularly strong in jobs that require emo-
tion regulation. Future research may thus be warranted to investi-
gate whether findings generalize to other jobs that are not emo-
tional labor intensive.
In the present studies, we focused on the role of emotion
regulation, specifically surface acting, as an important mediator of
the relationship between mindfulness and job satisfaction/emo-
tional exhaustion in interactive service work. Notably, however,
the mindfulness literature suggests that emotion regulation is
not the only mechanisms underlying the mindfulness–well-being
relationship (Bishop et al., 2004; Glomb et al., 2011; Shapiro et al.,
2006). Other mechanisms, such as the use of more adaptive coping
strategies (Weinstein et al., 2009) or increased vitality and sleep
quality (Allen & Kiburz, 2012), have also been shown to play a
role in the general mindfulness-well-being relationship. In addi-
tion, we mentioned processes that may specifically drive the rela-
tionship of mindfulness with job satisfaction and emotional ex-
haustion—namely, increased self-determination and positive and
negative affect (for job satisfaction) and a reduction in ego deple-
tion (for emotional exhaustion). In future research it may thus be
interesting to extend our research and investigate these and other
potential processes underlying the beneficial effects of mindful-
ness. As a starting point, we conducted a set of supplementary
analyses using our data set of Study 1 containing data on positive
and negative affect. Specifically, we tested whether positive and
negative affect mediate the relationship between mindfulness and
job satisfaction as suggested by affective events theory (see intro-
duction). Results revealed some evidence for negative affect as a
mediator at the within-person level.
2
The present article as well as the current mindfulness literature
has focused almost exclusively on positive outcomes of mindful-
ness. However, mindfulness may not always be functional and it
may also bear negative consequences for organizations. Mindful-
ness promotes awareness of one’s emotions, thoughts, and values
and thereby promotes behavior that matches a person’s needs and
interests (Brown & Ryan, 2003). To the extent that an employee’s
2
We conducted two supplementary analyses testing negative affect and
positive affect as potential mediators in the mindfulness–job satisfaction
relationship: With the Study 1 data set, we tested two separate 1-1-1
mediation models using negative affect and positive affect, respectively
(both assessed in the evening), as mediators. Negative affect had a signif-
icant indirect effect at the within-person level (.06, p.05) but not at the
between-person level (.10, ns). Positive affect had no significant indirect
effect on neither the between-person level (.03, ns) nor the within-person
level (.01, ns).
321
BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS AT WORK
personal needs and goals (e.g., spending more time with family,
taking on less duties, taking it slower at work) do not coincide with
organizational goals, mindfulness may foster behavior that runs
counter to organizational interests (Glomb et al., 2011). Future
research may investigate whether there is not only a bright but also
a dark side to mindfulness and scrutinize under which circum-
stances negative consequences for individuals and/or organizations
may appear.
We shed light on the link between trait/state mindfulness and a
brief mindfulness-self-training intervention with employee emo-
tional exhaustion and job satisfaction. Considering that in Study 2
beneficial effects of mindfulness on emotional exhaustion and job
satisfaction already emerged within a 10-day self-training pro-
gram, one may expect a typically 8-week mindfulness training
under the supervision of a trained professional to yield even
stronger results. Together with extant research on the effectiveness
of comprehensive mindfulness-based interventions for employee
well-being (Cohen-Katz, Wiley, Capuano, Baker, & Shapiro,
2005; Galantino, Baime, Maguire, Szapary, & Farrar, 2005; Irving
et al., 2009; Krasner et al., 2009; Wolever et al., 2012), our
findings suggest that it may prove useful to promote the integration
of mindfulness-based interventions into workplace health promo-
tion programs. It is, however, important to consider that there
already exist various workplace stress management trainings that
typically focus on cognitive-behavioral and relaxation techniques
and that have proven effective in reducing employee distress (for
a meta-analysis, see Richardson & Rothstein, 2008). Further re-
search is consequently needed to evaluate the relative efficacy of
mindfulness-based interventions compared to existing stress man-
agement trainings. Jain et al. (2007) took a first step in doing so
and revealed that a mindfulness meditation intervention and a
relaxation intervention had similar effects on distress, while the
meditation intervention had unique effects in decreasing rumina-
tion, which, in turn, has been shown to play an important role for
sleep quality and recovery from work stress (Querstret & Cropley,
2012).
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Received June 7, 2011
Revision received October 12, 2012
Accepted November 21, 2012
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... Our findings suggest that mindful people tend to think about upcoming work in less negative and more positive ways, suggesting that interventions related to mindfulness may be beneficial. Numerous studies have found that mindfulness trainings and interventions were effective in improving general health (Creswell, 2017), organizational outcomes (Jamieson & Tuckey, 2017), and emotional regulation (Hülsheger et al., 2013), and may be so as well in promoting positive and preventing negative affective work prospection. Additionally, the way work is organized may influence the extent to which employees anticipate their work. ...
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In this chapter, we argue that state and trait mindfulness and mindfulness-based practices in the workplace should enhance employee outcomes. First, we review the existing literature on mindfulness, provide a brief history and definition of the construct, and discuss its beneficial effects on physical and psychological health. Second, we delineate a model of the mental and neurobiological processes by which mindfulness and mindfulness-based practices improve self-regulation of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, linking them to both performance and employee well-being in the workplace. We especially focus on the power of mindfulness, via improved self-regulation, to enhance social relationships in the workplace, make employees more resilient in the face of challenges, and increase task performance. Third, we outline controversies, questions, and challenges that surround the study of mindfulness, paying special attention to the implications of unresolved issues for understanding the effects of mindfulness at work. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of our propositions for organizations and employees and offer some recommendations for future research on mindfulness in the workplace.
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As mindfulness research advances on a variety of fronts, it has become increasingly important to carefully define and measure the construct. In this commentary, we draw from our recent research experience on these topics in addressing four issues of primary concern to Bishop et al: The nature of mindfulness, the role of acceptance in the phenomenon, the relation between mindfulness and meditation, and the measurement of mindfulness in meditative and other contexts. © American Psychological Association D12 2004; all rights reserved.
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This book identifies what is meant by sati (smrti), usually translated as 'mindfulness', in early Buddhism, and examines its soteriological functions and its central role in the early Buddhist practice and philosophy. Using textual analysis and criticism, it takes new approaches to the subject through a comparative study of Buddhist texts in Pali, Chinese and Sanskrit. It also furnishes new perspectives on the ancient teaching by applying the findings in modern psychology. In contemporary Buddhism, the practice of mindfulness is zealously advocated by the Theravada tradition, which is the only early Buddhist school that still exists today. Through detailed analysis of Theravada's Pali Canon and the four Chinese Agamas - which correspond to the four main Nikayas in Pali and belong to some early schools that no longer exist - this book shows that mindfulness is not only limited to the role as a method of insight (vipassana) meditation, as presented by many Theravada advocates, but it also has a key role in serenity (samatha) meditation. It elucidates how mindfulness functions in the path to liberation from a psychological perspective, that is, how it helps to achieve an optimal cognitive capability and emotional state, and thereby enables one to attain the ultimate religious goal. Furthermore, the author argues that the well-known formula of ekaayano maggo, which is often interpreted as 'the only way', implies that the four satipa.t.thaanas (establishments of mindfulness) constitute a comprehensive path to liberation, and refer to the same as kaayagataa sati, which has long been understood as 'mindfulness of the body' by the tradition. The analysis shows that kaayagataa sati and the four satipa.t.thaanas are two different ways of formulating the teaching on mindfulness according to different schemes of classification of phenomena.
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Experience sampling methodology was used to examine how work demands translate into acute changes in affective response and thence into chronic response. Seven accountants reported their reactions 3 times a day for 4 weeks on pocket computers. Aggregated analysis showed that mood and emotional exhaustion fluctuated in parallel with time pressure over time. Disaggregated time-series analysis confirmed the direct impact of high-demand periods on the perception of control, time pressure, and mood and the indirect impact on emotional exhaustion. A curvilinear relationship between time pressure and emotional exhaustion was shown. The relationships between work demands and emotional exhaustion changed between high-demand periods and normal working periods. The results suggest that enhancing perceived control may alleviate the negative effects of time pressure.
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Baer (2003; this issue) has provided a thoughtful conceptual and empirical review of mindfulness-based clinical interventions, emphasizing the need for further research. In this commentary we elaborate on some of the areas needing further study. The promising initial data suggest a need for basic experimental and treatment outcome research in order to determine active ingredients and mechanisms of action in mindfulness-based interventions. In addition, questions remain regarding the optimal mode of delivery of this treatment, as well as how to integrate the nonstriving aspect of mindfulness into clinical intervention.