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The happy face of mindfulness: Mindfulness meditation is associated with perceptions of happiness as rated by outside observers



The last decade has witnessed an enormous increase in research examining the effects of mindfulness meditation. One of the basic assumptions guiding this research is that meditation ultimately makes people happier. In this article, in two studies we tested whether meditators actually look happier. To address this question, outside raters judged the happiness of meditators and non-meditators based on a 15-s video clip of their behaviour. Study 1 demonstrated that novice meditators looked happier after an intensive 9-day meditation retreat (as compared to before the retreat), while Study 2 demonstrated that experienced mindfulness meditators looked happier as compared to controls. The interpersonal implications of these findings are discussed.
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The happy face of mindfulness: Mindfulness meditation
is associated with perceptions of happiness as rated by
outside observers
Yowon Choi
, Johan C. Karremans
& Henk Barendregt
Institute for Computing and Informational Science, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The
Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Version of record first published: 20 Dec 2011.
To cite this article: Yowon Choi , Johan C. Karremans & Henk Barendregt (2012): The happy face of mindfulness: Mindfulness
meditation is associated with perceptions of happiness as rated by outside observers, The Journal of Positive Psychology:
Dedicated to furthering research and promoting good practice, 7:1, 30-35
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The Journal of Positive Psychology
Vol. 7, No. 1, January 2012, 30–35
The happy face of mindfulness: Mindfulness meditation is associated with perceptions
of happiness as rated by outside observers
Yowon Choi
, Johan C. Karremans
and Henk Barendregt
Institute for Computing and Informational Science, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands;
Behavioural Science
Institute, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
(Received 4 October 2010; final version received 15 September 2011)
The last decade has witnessed an enormous increase in research examining the effects of mindfulness meditation.
One of the basic assumptions guiding this research is that meditation ultimately makes people happier. In this
article, in two studies we tested whether meditators actually look happier. To address this question, outside raters
judged the happiness of meditators and non-meditators based on a 15-s video clip of their behaviour. Study 1
demonstrated that novice meditators looked happier after an intensive 9-day meditation retreat (as compared to
before the retreat), while Study 2 demonstrated that experienced mindfulness meditators looked happier as
compared to controls. The interpersonal implications of these findings are discussed.
Keywords: mindfulness; happiness
The past decade has witnessed an enormous increase in
research examining the potentially beneficial effects of
mindfulness meditation (Brown & Ryan, 2003; Kabat-
Zinn, 2003). Mindfulness, as defined by Kabat-Zinn
(2003), is the awareness that emerges through pur-
posely paying attention, in the present moment and
non-judgmentally, to the unfolding of experience
moment by moment. Moving beyond the question of
the subjective changes that take place within the
meditator, the current research addresses the question
whether mindfulness meditation affects how one is
perceived by outside observers. Specifically, we exam-
ine whether the practice of mindfulness meditation
(specifically Vipassana meditation) can cause medita-
tors to actually look happier.
Mindfulness is the English translation of the Pali
word ‘sati’. Sati is described in the Buddhist scripts as
constant presence of mind (Davids, 1881). Vipassana
meditation is a traditional Buddhist practice that
involves focusing on present-moment sensory aware-
ness in a non-reactive manner, a practice that has been
implemented in contemporary mindfulness meditation
techniques (Kabat-Zinn, 2003). Development of
greater awareness of and non-reactivity to sensory
stimuli during mindfulness meditation is predicted to
enhance self-awareness such that automated non-
adaptive reactions are more easily recognized and
overruled. The ability to inhibit such automatized
responses should promote more successful manage-
ment of stressful life situations, which may ultimately
result in greater happiness.
There is research evidence to suggest that mindful-
ness meditation can indeed increase happiness of
meditators. For example, Davidson et al. (2003)
found that meditation practice was associated with
significantly greater activity in the left prefrontal
cortex, an area of the brain often associated with
positive emotional experience. A study by Smith,
Compton, and West (1995) demonstrated that even
short meditation practices can positively affect self-
reports of happiness. Also, individual differences in
mindfulness are positively associated with happiness,
and interventions that increase mindfulness relate to
decreases in self-reported mood disturbances and stress
(Brown & Ryan, 2003). Moreover, mindfulness-based
therapeutic interventions have shown to be effective in
the treatment of psychological symptoms (e.g., depres-
sion; Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002; obsessive–
compulsive disorders; Schwartz, Stoessel, Baxter,
Martin, & Phelps, 1996) and physical symptoms such
as chronic pain, panic disorder, psychological hardi-
ness and coherence, immune function, and skin clear-
ing in psoriasis (Baer, 2003; Bishop, 2002; Grossman,
Niemann, Schmidt, & Walach, 2004; Kabat-Zinn,
*Corresponding author. Email:
ISSN 1743–9760 print/ISSN 1743–9779 online
! 2012 Taylor & Francis
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An interesting question is whether meditation not
only results in increased subjective happiness, but also
whether meditators are actually perceived as happier
by their social environment, that is, whether they look
happier. This is an important issue for at least two
reasons. First, it is common to assess happiness with
self-reports, which are prone to several biases,
including self-serving biases, demand characteristics
or social desirability. In this research, outside
observers rated meditators’ and non-meditators’
happiness levels without the observers knowing that
this study was investigating the effects of meditation.
Such ratings should be less prone to these biases.
Importantly, previous research suggests that outside
observers can be fairly accurate in judging a target
person’s happiness or mood level (Beer & Watson,
2008; Borkenau, Mauer, Riemann, Spinath, &
Angleitner, 2004). Internal mood states, including
happiness, can be objectively observed in an
individual’s appearance (e.g., through facial muscle
activity; Schwartz, Fair, Salt, Mandel, & Klerman,
Second, the perception of happiness by others has
potentially important interpersonal implications; in
general, people tend to avoid and respond negatively
towards unhappy people (Coyne, 1976; Sacco, 1999).
In other words, ‘looking happy’ may have a
profound impact on success in social life, which in
turn may benefit psychological well-being (Dush &
Amato, 2005). For example, Harker and Keltner
(2001) demonstrated that people displaying more
happiness on pictures in a college year-book were
rated more favourably on several personality
dimensions, and raters expected interactions with
them to be more rewarding. A recent study
demonstrated that happier people are perceived as
more sociable and friendly by their interaction partner,
which induces the interaction partner to be more
friendly in return (Dyrenforth et al., 2010). Thus,
increases in perceived happiness of meditators may
eventually extend to how interaction partners respond
to them.
To address the question of whether meditators
indeed look happier, we conducted two studies. Study
1 was designed to test our main hypothesis concerning
the direct impact of mindfulness meditation on outside
observers’ impression of happiness of the meditators.
We made short video clips of meditators (and a control
group of non-meditators) before and after a nine-day
intensive mindfulness meditation course, where medi-
tators train in mindfulness up to 100 h continuously.
Afterwards, these video clips were rated by indepen-
dent observers on the level of happiness exposed.
In Study 2, we compared long-time meditators with
non-meditators. Previous research suggests that, even
with short excerpts of social behaviour, outside
observers can draw fairly accurate inferences about
states, traits and other personal-relevant characteristics
(Ambady and Rosenthal, 1992).
Study 1
In this study, 13 meditators participated and were
recruited as they applied for a place in a nine-day
Vipassana (mindfulness meditation) retreat in
Denekamp, the Netherlands. Among the 20 retreat
applicants, 15 volunteered to be subjects for this study,
and two were excluded for not completing the required
questionnaire prior to the retreat. All participants were
novice meditators, with a maximum of only one
previous meditation retreat. A consent letter was sent
by e-mail and completed by each of the participants
before the retreat. Meditators consisted of three men
and 10 women, aged 25–62 years (M ¼ 41.30,
SD ¼ 12.16). Thirteen gender-, age-, and education-
matched controls with no prior meditation experience
were recruited. They consisted of three men and 10
women, aged 25–63 years (M ¼ 41.46, SD ¼ 12.37). All
participants were native Dutch speakers and of
Caucasian ethnicity. The subjects received a E15
check for the participations.
Video raters (outside observers)
For the evaluation of the video clips of the subjects, 80
students from the Radboud University were recruited.
Students taking psychology courses received extra
course credit or a E5 check for participation, and
were informed that the study was about emotion and
facial expression. Members of this group are referred
to as ‘Outside observers’ (N: men ¼ 9, women ¼ 71,
age; M ¼ 21.54, SD ¼ 4.20). All raters were native
Dutch speakers and 98% Caucasian (2% Dutch-
The mindfulness intervention was a nine-day intensive
Vipassana retreat during which participants meditated
from 6:30 in the morning to 22:00 in the evening. It is
noteworthy that the intervention took place during a
winter holiday period of the Christmas and the New
Year; participants in the control condition all had
Video clips of the meditators and non-meditators
were made before and after the retreat. These video-
tapes were later presented to outside observers who
had never met the participants before. To obtain
reliable and valid observational measures of the
participants’ behaviours, they were individually video-
taped while engaged in an approximately 7-min
The Journal of Positive Psychology 31
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structured interview with the following assignments;
introducing oneself (0 " 1–2 min), describing their lives
over the previous year and their hobbies ( "4.5 min),
and describing the weather of current day and their
activities that day (4.5–7 min). To control the environ-
ment of the videos, interviews were conducted in the
same room, with a white background screen.
The camera was angled to frame each participant
from the chest up. Each video clip was cut at the 5th of
the 7-min interview for a 15-s-length video slice
without sound (Carney, Colvin, & Hall, 2007).
Eighty students were then recruited as outside
observers (N: male ¼ 9, female ¼ 71) to rate one of two
sets of the 15-s video slices. The first set contained T1
video slices of both meditators and controls. The
second set contained video slices from T2 of both
groups. Raters were randomly assigned to only one set
of video slices, and were blind to conditions (in fact,
they did not know that the target persons consisted of
meditators and non-meditators). In this manner,
observers did not rate a target person twice (at T1
and T2), so as to prevent consistency effects. The
observers’ work stations were equipped with a com-
puter monitor, a keyboard and a mouse. Video clips
were presented in a random order. The instructions
were to carefully watch the participants in the video
slices and to answer presented questions following each
video. Raters evaluated the targets’ happiness with
three questions: (1) a 7-point pictorial ‘smiley frowny
faces’ scale, (2) ‘I think this person looks happy’ (10-
point scale, 1 ¼ strongly disagree to 10 ¼ strongly
agree) and (3) ‘I think this person looks satisfied’
(10-point scale, 1 ¼ strongly disagree to 10 ¼ strongly
agree). The reliability of outside observer ratings for
each of the 15 s video slices was computed by means of
intraclass correlations for all the judges combined
(Shrout & Fleiss, 1979), and ranged for each item from
0.96 to 0.98. We therefore averaged scores of the raters
for each item, and then created an index of observed
happiness by averaging the three items, ! ¼ 0.97, into
one average score.
To test our main prediction, namely that meditation
may lead to looking happier, an analysis of variance
revealed a significant interaction between group and
time, F(1, 24) ¼ 10.36, p 5 0.001, "
¼ 0.30. There were
no significant main effects of group or time, both
Fs 5 1. Within the meditator group, and in line with
our central prediction, observed happiness significantly
increased from T1, M ¼ 17.03, SD ¼ 2.82 to T2,
M ¼ 18.65, SD ¼ 2.74, F(1, 12) ¼ 5.02, p 5 0.05,
¼ 0.29. Unexpectedly, within the control group,
happiness significantly decreased, T1 M ¼ 18.52,
SD ¼ 3.02, T2 M ¼ 17.26, SD ¼ 2.86, F(1, 12) ¼ 5.66,
p 5 0.05, "
¼ 0.32.
We also examined whether meditators looked
happier, or perhaps unhappier, as compared to
non-meditators, both at T1 and T2 separately.
Separate t-tests revealed that at T1, there was no
difference between the meditators and non-meditators,
t(26) ¼#1.30, p ¼ 0.20. Also, at T2, there was no
difference between the groups, t(26) ¼ 1.26, p ¼ 0.21.
Thus, we found evidence in line with our prediction
that meditation practice is associated with increases
in looking happy (although meditators did not signif-
icantly look happier than non-meditators after the
retreat). We should also mention the unexpected
finding that the group of non-meditators looked
actually unhappier at T2 compared to T1. Although
it is difficult to pin down why this was happening, there
is some previous evidence suggesting that Christmas
holidays may actually be associated with decreases in
happiness (Kasser & Sheldon, 2002). Christmas and
New Year holidays appear to be risk factors for deaths
from many diseases (Phillips, Barker, & Brewer, 2010),
for higher psychiatric admissions (Velamoor,
Cernovsky, & Voruganti, 1999), and suicide attempts
(Jessen et al., 1999). Although we can only speculate
about the reason for this drop in happiness among the
control group, it does not undermine our central
finding that meditators did look happier at T2, as
observed by strangers.
Study 2
The findings of Study 1 provided initial evidence that
mindfulness meditation is associated with observed
happiness. In line with our central hypothesis, outside
observers rated meditators significantly happier after
the mindfulness meditation retreat, based on only a
15-s video clip of their behaviour. In Study 2, we
sought to extend Study 1 by focusing on long-term
experienced and skilful meditators, examining whether
experienced mindfulness meditators were perceived as
happier compared to a control group of non-medita-
tors in their daily lives.
We recruited 10 long-term meditators from the Dutch
Vipassana meditation communities, who had practised
mindfulness meditation extensively, and who were
considered and evaluated to be skilful in mindfulness
by their meditation teachers. On average, participants
had 17.1 $ 7.85 years of meditation experience. All the
32 Y. Choi et al.
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meditators have normal professions, and teaching and
practising mediation is not their livelihood, but rather
they incorporate their meditation practice into a daily
routine with a regular base practice. We recruited a
control group of healthy non-meditators with no prior
meditation experience, matched on gender and age.
Each group consisted of six men and four women, and
all participants were native Dutch speakers. All
respondents received a E10 check for their
For the evaluation of the video clips of the subjects,
46 students participated as ‘outside observers’ (age;
M ¼ 22.26, SD ¼ 5.53). They are different observers
from Study 1, and they received extra course credit or a
E5 check for participation. All outside observers were
native Dutch speakers and Caucasian.
Materials and procedure
Video clips were made and all outside observers rated
the video clips of both the 10 meditators and the 10
non-meditators, thus 20 video clips of 15 s in total that
were randomly presented. Procedure and materials
were identical to Study 1. The interrater-reliability for
each item was high, ranging from 0.96 to 0.99. The
three-item happiness scale was again highly reliable,
! ¼ 0.98.
To examine our main prediction, a paired t-test was
conducted to test whether observers rated meditators
as looking happier than non-meditators. Average
scores of ratings on all videos of meditators and non-
meditators by each observer were used for this anal-
ysis. In line with our main hypothesis, the analysis
showed that outside observers rated meditators
(M ¼ 17.21, SD ¼ 1.70) as happier than non-meditators
(M ¼ 16.24, SD ¼ 1.62), t(45) ¼ 4.96, p 5 0.001,
d ¼ 0.58.
General discussion
This research investigated the relationship between
practising mindfulness meditation and an individual’s
observed happiness. In Study 1, meditators looked
significantly happier after a 9-day mindfulness medi-
tation retreat (while we did not observe this effect in a
control group); Study 2 showed that experienced
meditators were rated as looking significantly happier
than non-meditators. Remarkably, these findings are
based on the observation of behaviour in video clips of
merely 15 s. Also, observers had no idea that the study
was about effects associated with meditation. Although
it is important to note that the present findings are
based on a quasi-experimental (Study 1) and cross-
sectional (Study 2) study, which prevents drawing
conclusions about causality, together these findings
provide compelling evidence that meditation practice is
associated with looking happier.
The uniqueness of this research was that we applied
structured behavioural observations as measurements
of happiness. Almost all the prior investigations in
happiness research have mainly focused on self-report
(Kahneman & Krueger, 2006). Given that self-report
measures have methodological limitations such as
social desirability, demand characteristics and positive
illusions, the present studies provide a less biased and
more objective way to measure happiness. Self-
reported happiness ratings may be influenced by
different views among the participants as to what
happiness is. Especially, after mindfulness meditation,
people could develop different values related to hap-
piness such as a eudemonic view instead of a hedonistic
one. Whatever the view of happiness an individual has,
rating facial appearance is a consistent method that
can be maintained to assess happiness which is less
influenced by personal values.
Until now, most interest in the effects of meditation
has focused on individual experiential levels. The
present findings may have important interpersonal
implications, as an individual’s appearance provides
strong interpersonal information and social effects.
For example, even with short exposure to facial
appearance, the evaluation of faces influences our
judgements of other people, such as their likeability,
trustworthiness, competence (Willis & Todorov, 2006)
and even voting choices in elections (Todorov,
Mandisodza, Goren, & Hall, 2005). Thus, if meditation
causes happier impressions to outsiders, given the
previous findings that happy people are considered
more attractive social company (Harker & Keltner,
2001; Umberson & Hughes, 1987), meditators may
receive more positive responses in social interaction.
We should acknowledge some limitations of this
research and address some remaining issues. Our study
did not focus on the specific ingredients of meditation
practice that may make meditators look happier. For
example, one mechanism by which meditation may
enhance happiness and a happy appearance is
improved emotion regulation. Mindfulness meditation
may enhance the awareness and acceptance of emo-
tional experiences, and may help in managing intense
emotional experiences (Coffey & Hartman, 2008;
Feldman, Hayes, Kumar, Greeson, & Laurenceau,
2007). Adaptive emotion regulation in turn may result
in greater happiness, and eventually in a happier
appearance. Related to this issue, future studies should
examine the exact overt behavioural and physiological
mechanisms by which meditators look happier. The
effects of meditation may, for example, be related to
activity in facial muscles associated with happiness
(e.g., decreased corrugator, increased masseter activity;
The Journal of Positive Psychology 33
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Schwartz et al., 1976), which may give meditators a
happier facial expression.
Another interesting possibility is the relationship
between looking happy and recall during the interview.
For example, meditators may come up with more
positive memories when asked about their lives during
an interview (as in our study), and may even interpret
the (same) weather as nicer than non-meditators.
Although it is possible that these potential biases
may in turn induce a more positive mood, such biases
may especially occur as a consequence of a happier
mood (Forgas, 1995). Since our studies were not
specifically designed to test this possible mechanism
(e.g., the 15 s videos were cut at the fifth minute, so we
had no control over what exactly participants were
talking about at that point) an interesting avenue for
future research is to examine the role of positive
memories, thoughts and judgements in the association
between meditation and (observed) happiness.
In Study 1, the meditation retreat was associated
with increased happiness after compared to before the
retreat. However, meditators in Study 1 did not look
significantly happier than controls, while in Study 2,
we did find that long-term meditators looked signifi-
cantly happier than a matched control group. This
seeming discrepancy might be explained by the notion
that more meditation experience and skillfulness of the
meditation practice would eventually lead to increased
and more sustainable happiness. In Study 1, medita-
tors indicated to have attended only one previous
meditation retreat prior to the current retreat,
although for most of them it was their first meditation
retreat. In Study 2, we specifically selected experienced
meditators, who on average had 17 years of experience
with meditation, and were judged by their teachers as
experienced. Thus, these findings suggest that while a
meditation retreat may be associated with increases in
happiness or at least in looking happier within the
individual, only sustained and long-term meditation
practice seems to be associated with looking happier
compared to non-meditators. It should be noted,
however, that our experienced participants may not
only have looked happier based on their experience
alone, but also on the basis of their skillfulness in
meditation (and were therefore selected by their
Finally, we should mention another limitation that
is more generally applicable to meditation research. In
Study 1, meditators and non-meditators in the control
group did not only differ in terms of time spent on
meditation between T1 and T2, they did differ in other
ways. For example, meditators followed a very regu-
lated schedule during the nine days; they did not speak;
they were almost constantly surrounded by other
people; they probably had less sleep (as waking up
time is very early during a meditation retreat); they did
not drink alcohol; etc. Although it is encouraging that
we found similar effects across the two studies, these
differences may also have been more structural between
meditators and non-meditators in Study 2. As is the case
with many studies examining the effects of mindfulness
meditation, ideally the present findings will be repli-
cated in future studies using different populations,
different control groups and different research methods.
Finally, we should acknowledge that due to the
relatively small sample size of meditators, future
research should examine whether the present findings
generalize to different populations of mindfulness
meditators, and importantly, whether the present find-
ings generalize to other forms of meditation.
Despite these limitations, this study suggests that the
effects of meditation are not confined to intrapersonal
experiences, but may have important interpersonal
effects a topic that has received surprisingly little
attention in the scientific literature. We hope that the
present findings will inspire future research to further
examine the long-term benefits of a happy appearance,
which are thus associated with mindfulness meditation.
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The Journal of Positive Psychology 35
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... Since the concept of genuine happiness comes from Buddhism, it is expected that the level of genuine happiness would be high in Buddhist or mindfulness practitioners. Indeed, several studies found support that mindfulness and compassion foster happiness (e.g., Campos, 2016;Choi et al., 2012;Coo & Salanova, 2018;Hollis-Walker & Colosimo, 2011;Mongrain et al., 2011). Furthermore, it is important to note that in the present study only a subset of existing measures assessing happiness or well-being were included in order to keep the subject burden low. ...
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Genuine happiness can be described as an unlimited, everlasting inner joy and peace undisturbed by external circumstances. The current study proposes a Genuine Happiness Scale (GHS) with four items. The sample consisted of 678 US young adults, with 432 completing the online surveys twice, approximately six weeks apart. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis provided evidence for a unidimensional factor structure of the GHS. Hierarchical regression analysis revealed that, after controlling for genuine happiness at baseline, caring for bliss, mindfulness, and compassion predicted genuine happiness approximately six weeks later. In addition, genuine happiness predicted later well-being after controlling for well-being at baseline.
... Many studies support mindfulness to achieve greater relaxation, well-being, and academic improvement (Amutio et al., 2015;Choi et al., 2012). Recent findings of neurodevelopment also showed that mindfulness and emotional, social, and learning programs are implemented in schools. ...
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In recent years, many studies showed positive effects of implementing mindfulness practices according to some cognitive and psychical well-being measurements among many participants; especially, adolescents and adults. Few studies appeared on the effectiveness of mindfulness practices for students with learning disabilities. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the effectiveness of mindfulness training programs on the impulsivity levels for participants with learning disabilities in inclusive elementary schools in Saudi Arabia. Thirty participating children with learning disabilities were divided randomly into two equivalent groups (experimental and control groups). Pre-and post-assessment using the Barratt Impulsivity Scale (BIS-11, Patton et al., 1995) were completed before and after the end of mindfulness sessions scheduled for ten weeks. Results indicated that the experimental group of children with learning disabilities significantly reduced their impulsivity in all impulsivity scale domains on the BIS-11. The authors discussed the impact of mindfulness intervention in reducing the impulsive behavior of students with learning disabilities. Finally, implications and recommendations were also noted in this study. Received: 30 March 2021 / Accepted: 5 June 2021 / Published: 8 July 2021
... Though our results showed that mindfulness and happiness of employees were not significantly related for the targeted population whereas earlier researches proved that mindfulness is positively and significantly correlated with happinessrelated constructs (psychological wellbeing) (Eollis-Walker & Colosimo, 2010;Choi, Karremans & Barendregt, 2012). Our findings show that the happiness of Indian employees is not significantly stimulated by their mindfulness, but it has the capability to affect their satisfaction towards their job. ...
Management literature is increasingly preoccupied with the studies on psychological stances and related emotional concepts. Studies on issues such as mindfulness have therefore recently gained momentum. Previous studies in mindfulness suggested that through increased mindfulness, employees in organizations exhibit better job outcomes. In the last few decades, considerable research has focused on the effects of mindfulness on job performance in different parts of the world. Nonetheless, there is a gap considering Indian environment. This study investigates the interactive effects of mindfulness and happiness in workplace on a sample of 101 employees in North India. Results suggest a partial interaction effect of mindfulness and happiness on employee job satisfaction. Mindfulness and happiness were seen as significant predictors of employee satisfaction in the Indian context.
... To our knowledge, only one prior study examined the effect of meditation training on thin slices of behavior using ratings at zero acquaintance. In two small independent samples (ns = 26 and 20), Choi, Karremans, and Barendregt [32] found that novice meditators were rated as looking happier after a meditation retreat and experienced meditators were rated as looking happier relative to control participants based on brief video snippets. While intriguing, this work included only one rating dimension, a modest sample size of targets (i.e., those being rated), and a lack of random assignment, limiting conclusions that can be drawn about the experimental effects of meditation training. ...
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The impact of meditation training on self-report psychological variables is well-established. Although meditation training is purported to have interpersonal impacts, whether naïve observers perceive differences associated with long- and short-term meditation training is largely unknown. The current study provided a stringent test of this possibility through observer ratings of a very thin slice of expressive behavior: still photographs. Photographs were drawn from a larger study investigating differences between long-term meditators (LTM) and meditation naïve participants (MNP) who were exposed to one of three experimental conditions. Photographs of ninety-nine targets (16 LTMs, 83 MNPs) were taken at baseline, prior to the randomization of MNPs to an eight-week mindfulness meditation course (mindfulness-based stress reduction; n = 27), an active control comparison condition (health enhancement program; n = 29), or a waitlist control group (n = 27) and again after the training period. Pre- and post-intervention photographs were then rated by 25 meditation teachers and 86 undergraduate raters on five domains theoretically linked to meditation training. Results indicated that relative to MNPs, LTMs were rated as less neurotic and more conscientious, mindful, and "comfortable in their own skin" at baseline (ds = 0.61 to 0.70, ps < .050), although not more agreeable or attractive. Results were largely unchanged when controlling for five observable confounds (age, gender, race/ethnicity, body mass index, attractiveness). No evidence was found supporting experimental effects of short-term meditation training on observer ratings. Thus, it seems that if meditation is associated with observable differences in facial behavior, effects may be limited to long-term training.
... Researchers have advocated that mindfulness meditation should be implemented in therapy (Wright, 1999). Some of the benefits found by researchers include increased well-being in cancer patients (Brown & Ryan, 2003), higher levels of happiness and self-compassion in frequent meditators compared to non-meditators (Campos et al., 2016), increased emotional regulation in stress clinic patients (Farb et al., 2010), increased life satisfaction among students (Hinterman, Burns, Hopwood, & Rogers, 2012), and people who engage in mindfulness meditation frequently are perceived as happier compared to those who do not engage in mindfulness meditation (Choi, Karremans & Barendregt, 2012). None of these studies included participants who were also clients, which further provides evidence for the need to research the effects of mindfulness with clients. ...
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Mindfulness mediation is an emerging trend, and previous research conducted focused on benefits of mindfulness meditation as a training technique for beginning counselors, symptoms mindfulness meditation may alleviate, and specific types of mindfulness meditation (e.g., Feldman, Greeson, & Senville, 2010; Greason & Welfare, 2013; Khoury et al., 2013; Sedlmeier, et al., 2012). Little research exists on the client’s experiences when mindfulness meditation is used within the counseling session; therefore the primary goal of the present study was to explore experiences and potential benefits of mindfulness meditation and its clinical application in session. Because previous research done on mindfulness meditation used a quantitative approach, the present study utilized a qualitative approach which allows richer and more descriptive data from the participants. Themes which emerged from the data included: (1) variations of individual experience, (2) mental, physical, and emotional components, (3) perceptions of mindfulness meditation, (4) preferences for mindfulness meditation, and (5) continued practice implications.
... Given that mindfulness is generally viewed as an adaptive quality, researchers also studied suspected beneficial effects of mindfulness, such as subjective well-being, flow and happiness (e.g. Choi et al. 2012;Kee and Wang 2008). Beyond these psychological constructs, the biopsychological aspects of mindfulness studied via examination of brain structures (e.g. ...
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Objectives As the volume of mindfulness research continues amassing exponentially, there have been attempts to review works in various aspects of mindfulness research systematically. The present study provides a scoping review via a topic modelling approach to supplement the overall research synthesis effort. Specifically, the objective is to scope the mindfulness research by identifying topics relevant to mindfulness research using the probabilistic topic modelling approach. Methods A literature search based on “mindfulness” returned 5947 bibliographical records from the Web of Science Core Collection platform (for records up to 20 October 2017). The combined field of titles and abstracts was subjected to probabilistic topic modelling based on latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA). Results The optimal number of topics suggested was 106. Further interpretation by the research team resulted in a total of 231 Suggested Terms. The terms were further categorised into Condition/Issue, Construct/Philosophy, Modality, Population/Setting and Research Methodology. Conclusions The topic modelling process obtained a panoptic view of mindfulness research, providing mindfulness researchers with some indicators regarding the range of topics researched. The outcome of this topic modelling effort has been made available at
Converging evidence shows that mindfulness is associated with various indicators of interpersonal behavior and well-being. Although promising, the effects of mindfulness should ultimately be expressed during interpersonal interactions and observed by interaction partners. The current study assessed the associations between trait mindfulness, interpersonal stress, and interpersonal perceptions during stressful interpersonal tasks between strangers. Sixty-seven same sex stranger dyads (134 individuals; all females) participated in a laboratory study. Trait mindfulness was measured via an online questionnaire. In the lab, participants were asked to engage in two tasks with a stranger: (1) a stressful interaction task (they were asked to introduce themselves standing only 27 cm apart) and (2) a joint coordination task. Afterwards, both partners’ levels of interpersonal stress and interpersonal perceptions (i.e. liking of the interaction, perceived attentiveness, and perceived coping) were assessed. Results of Actor Partner Interdependence Models (APIM) showed a negative association between trait mindfulness and experienced interpersonal distress. Trait mindfulness was positively associated with liking of the interaction, perceived attentiveness and perceived coping. Actors’ trait mindfulness was positively associated with the partners’ liking of the interaction (marginally significant), but no other partner effects were found. There was no association between trait mindfulness and performance on the joint coordination task. The current findings underscore the importance of studying trait mindfulness dyadically. In actual interpersonal interactions, trait mindfulness positively affects interaction experiences of actors, but we found little support for a transfer to experiences of interaction partners. We discuss the implications of these findings in light of several theoretical models.
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Introduction: Psychological health is recognized as an important source of adaptation to workplace problems. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy on the level of anxiety, happiness and mindfulness in nurses. Methods: The research method was experimental with pre- and post-test design with control group. For this purpose, 60 nurses of Babol city, Iran, in 2019 were randomly assigned to two experimental groups (30) and control (30). Mindfulness, Attention, and Awareness Scale (MAAS), Happiness Libomirsky (SHS), and Spielberger (STAAI-X) were performed before and after treatment. Participants in the experimental group were trained in groups for 8 sessions of 90 minutes. Multivariate analysis of covariance was used to analyze the data. Results: The mean of mindfulness and happiness for both groups increased in the post-test phase, which is higher in the experimental group; also, the results of analysis of covariance for anxiety showed that meditation has no significant effect on anxiety but has significantly increased happiness in the experimental group. Conclusion: The results of the present study showed that cognitive therapy based on mindfulness has increased awareness in the behavioral characteristics of the experimental group in the post-test stage. It seems that cognitive therapy based on mindfulness has a positive effect on increasing happiness and mindfulness in nurses.
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In recent decades, psychological research on the effects of mindfulness-based interventions has greatly developed and demonstrated a range of beneficial outcomes in a variety of populations and contexts. Yet, the question of how to foster subjective well-being and happiness remains open. Here, we assessed the effectiveness of an integrated mental training program The Art of Happiness on psychological well-being in a general population. The mental training program was designed to help practitioners develop new ways to nurture their own happiness. This was achieved by seven modules aimed at cultivating positive cognition strategies and behaviors using both formal (i.e., lectures, meditations) and informal practices (i.e., open discussions). The program was conducted over a period of 9 months, also comprising two retreats, one in the middle and one at the end of the course. By using a set of established psychometric tools, we assessed the effects of such a mental training program on several psychological well-being dimensions, taking into account both the longitudinal effects of the course and the short-term effects arising from the intensive retreat experiences. The results showed that several psychological well-being measures gradually increased within participants from the beginning to the end of the course. This was especially true for life satisfaction, self-awareness, and emotional regulation, highlighting both short-term and longitudinal effects of the program. In conclusion, these findings suggest the potential of the mental training program, such as The Art of Happiness , for psychological well-being.
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Objective (s): Artistic activities in a variety of forms can improve emotional health and quality of life by increasing understanding of self and others and the capacity for self-regulation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the moderating role of mindfulness in relationship between artistic activities and womenchr('39')s quality of life. Methods: This was a cross sectional study of a sample of women who were involved in carpet weaving inBojnord, Iran. Participants completed a self-designed questionnaire including items on artistic activities, mindfulness and quality of life. The data of 192 participants were explored using Pearsonchr('39')s correlation coefficient and hierarchical regression (moderator) analyses. Results: There was a meaningful relationship between artistic activities (r = 0.40), mindfulness (r = 0.20) and quality of life (P
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Physical attractiveness has been linked to mental health, intelligence, ability and performance. Most of the studies on attractiveness have been experimental in nature and focused on perceptions of mental health and achievement rather than actual mental health and achievement. Operating within a status characteristics framework, we analyze the impact of attractiveness on the actual achievement and mental health of individuals in a national sample. We find consistently significant and monotonic relationships of attractiveness with four measures of achievement and eight measures of psychological well-being. Based on these analyses, we conclude that survey research findings corroborate experimental findings on attractiveness; that one's attractiveness does impinge on achievement and psychological well-being; and that status characteristics theory can be used to explain the effects of attractiveness on well-being and achievement.
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This study examined the links among relationship status, relationship happiness, and a latent measure of subjective well-being. Using the study of Marital Instability over the Life Course, we found that married individuals reported the highest level of subjective well-being, followed (in order) by individuals in cohabiting relationships, steady dating relation- ships, casual dating relationships, and individuals who dated infrequently or not at all. Individuals in happy relationships reported a higher level of subjective well-being than did indi- viduals in unhappy relationships, irrespective of relationship status. Even with relationship happiness controlled, however, relationship status was associated with subjective well-being. A longitudinal analysis suggested that shifting into more committed relationships was followed by improvements in subjective well-being. Little support was found for the assumption that people with a high level of well-being select themselves into more committed relationships.
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Considerable evidence has shown that the way others respond to depressed people may play an important role in the development and course of depression. A model is presented that conceptualizes depressogenic interpersonal processes in terms of social-cognitive processes that may underlie interactions involving depressed persons. This working model is intended to be integrative and heuristic. Relevant theory and research from the following areas are incorporated into the model: social cognition (e.g., attributions and trait representations), marital-relationship satisfaction, cognition and affect, and perceptions of others' appraisals. The model is most applicable to the role that interpersonal processes may play in the maintenance or worsening of depression; however, it also suggests ways that similar interpersonal processes may be involved in the development of depression. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Both dispositional mindfulness and mindfulness-based interventions have been found to be associated with less psychological distress. The current study investigated three mechanisms by which mindfulness might exert its beneficial effects: emotion regulation, nonattachment, and reduced rumination. Correlational self-report data were collected from two independent, nonclinical samples of undergraduates. Structural equation modeling was then used to test the role of these three mechanisms in mediating the relationship between mindfulness and a psychological distress factor, consisting of measures for depressive and anxious symptomatology. The model was respecified based on the first sample and retested in the second sample. Results confirmed an inverse relationship between mindfulness and psychological distress. Furthermore, emotion regulation, nonattachment, and rumination significantly mediated this relationship.
Objective: The aim of the study was to examine the relationship between suicide attempts and major public holidays in Europe.Method The analysis was based on data on 24388 suicide attempts by persons aged 15 years or older in the period 1989–1996. Data from 13 centres (representing 11 countries) participating in the WHO/EURO Multicentre Study on Parasuicide were analysed. The analysis of the fluctuation of suicide attempts around public holidays was based on the daily number of suicide attempts for each centre. For each day in the period under examination a mean number of suicide attempts (μ) was calculated. The analysis was based on the assumption that the data followed a Poisson distribution. The observed number of daily suicide attempts was compared with the expected number of attempts. A multiplicative model for the expected number in each centre was developed.Results: Before Christmas there were fewer suicide attempts than expected, and after Christmas there were approximately 40% more attempts than expected. In addition, more attempts than expected were registered on New Year's Day. In countries where people have the day off work on Whit Monday there were significantly fewer attempts during the 3 days before, but where Whit Monday is a normal working day significantly fewer attempts occurred on the Monday to Wednesday after Whit Sunday.Conclusion: There appears to be a transposition of a significant number of suicide attempts from before (and during) a major public holiday until after it. The division of holidays into non-working and working days showed that a ‘holiday effect’ could only be found around major public holidays, particularly Christmas, Easter and Whitsun. These findings support the theory of the ‘broken-promise effect’ for major public holidays.
A meta-analysis was conducted on the accuracy of predictions of various objective outcomes in the areas of clinical and social psychology from short observations of expressive behavior (under 5 min). The overall effect size for the accuracy of predictions for 38 different results was .39. Studies using longer periods of behavioral observation did not yield greater predictive accuracy; predictions based on observations under 0.5 min in length did not differ significantly from predictions based on 4- and 5-min observations. The type of behavioral channel (such as the face, speech, the body, tone of voice) on which the ratings were based was not related to the accuracy of predictions. Accuracy did not vary significantly between behaviors manipulated in a laboratory and more naturally occurring behavior. Last, effect sizes did not differ significantly for predictions in the areas of clinical psychology, social psychology, and the accuracy of detecting deception. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Interventions based on training in mindfulness skills are becoming increasingly popular. Mindfulness involves intentionally bringing one's attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, and is often taught through a variety of meditation exercises. This review summarizes conceptual approaches to mind-fulness and empirical research on the utility of mindfulness-based interventions. Meta-analytic techniques were incorporated to facilitate quantification of findings and comparison across studies. Although the current empirical literature includes many methodological flaws, findings suggest that mindfulness-based interventions may be helpful in the treatment of several disorders. Methodologically sound investigations are recommended in order to clarify the utility of these interventions.