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Positive psychology has been criticized for the lack of research on the role of the body in wellbeing. As the research into the many variables that influence subjective wellbeing (SWB) continues, the important role of body awareness (BA) on SWB has been neglected. It was hypothesised that there would be a significant predictive relationship between BA and SWB, and moreover that this relationship would be moderated by mindfulness. One hundred and nineteen participants from the general population completed relevant self-report scales through an online survey. BA had a positive relationship with SWB, but this relationship was not moderated by mindfulness. These findings have implications for positive psychology that reinforce the argument for more body-based interventions and overall embodiment within the discipline.
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THE ART AND SCIENCE OF SOMATIC PRAXIS
INCORPORATING US ASSOCIATION FOR BODY PSYCHOTHERAPY JOURNAL
volume thirteen number one spring 2014
EUROPEAN
ASSOCIATIONFOR
BOD Y-
PSYCHOTHERAPY
EABP
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THE IMPACT OF BODY AWARENESS
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The Impact of Body Awareness on Subjecve Wellbeing:
The Role of Mindfulness
Olga Brani, BA MSc1, Kate Heeron, PhD, Tim Lomas, PhD, Itai Ivtzan,
PhD, Joan Painter, PhD, University of East London
Received 4 February 2013; accepted in November 2013
Abstract
Positive psychology has been criticized for the lack of research on the role of the
body in wellbeing. As the research into the many variables that influence subjective
wellbeing (SWB) continues, the important role of body awareness (BA) on SWB
has been neglected. It was hypothesised that there would be a significant predictive
relationship between BA and SWB, and moreover that this relationship would be
moderated by mindfulness. One hundred and nineteen participants from the general
population completed relevant self-report scales through an online survey. BA had
a positive relationship with SWB, but this relationship was not moderated by
mindfulness. These findings have implications for positive psychology that reinforce
the argument for more body-based interventions and overall embodiment within
the discipline.
Keywords: body awareness, subjective wellbeing, mindfulness, positive psychology
International Body Psychotherapy Journal The Art and Science of Somatic Praxis
Volume 13, Number 1, spring 2014 ISSN 2169-4745 Printing, ISSN 2168-1279 Online
© Author and USABP/EABP. Reprints and permissions secretariat@eabp.org
Introduction
The Mind-Body Problem
The nature of the connection between the physical body and the subjective psyche has
been of great interest to the field of psychology for many years (Hefferon, 2013). Indeed, this
‘mind-body problem’ has occupied thinkers throughout the centuries, giving rise to a range
of philosophical positions on the subject. For example, materialistic monism grants primacy
to the physical body while the subjective mind is regarded as an illusion or epiphenomenon.
Conversely, transcendental monism (or idealism) gives ontological primacy to the mind
while the material body is viewed as an aspect of mind (e.g., a mental construct). Finally, a
number of perspectives acknowledge the reality of both material body and subjective mind,
with different positions on the nature of their interaction. For instance, in Chalmer’s (1995)
dual-aspect theory, the fundamental ‘reality’ underlying both mind and body is information;
this information is then manifested both physically (as the body and brain) and experienced
subjectively (as the mind).
Amidst debates around the mind-body problem, further confusion is generated by the
ambiguous semantics of the word ‘body’. In the philosophical positions above, ‘body’ refers
to the physiological organism — which includes the brain — in contrast with the subjective
mind. However, subjectivity also includes the felt experience of our own bodies, a construct
i Corresponding author: olga.brani@gmail.com
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referred to as ‘embodiment’ (Riva et al., 2003). Thus, there are two ways of conceptualizing
and approaching the mind-body question: the relationship between the material body
(including the brain) and subjective mind; and the relationship between somatic aspects of
conscious experience (e.g., embodied sensations) and mental aspects of conscious experience
(e.g., thoughts). Examining the mind-body connection has become a prominent point of
concern in psychology, particularly in consciousness studies under the rubric of the ‘neural
correlates of consciousness’ paradigm (Fell, 2004). However, in many areas of psychology, the
relevance of the body is under-researched and under-theorised. One such deficiency pertains
to our understanding of wellbeing.
Wellbeing and Positive Psychology
The notion of wellbeing is of interest to many areas of psychology (e.g., health
psychology) as well as other disciplines more broadly (e.g., economics). Recent years have
seen the emergence of ‘positive psychology’, a term uniting scholars interested in issues
of happiness and wellbeing (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). Among the concepts
articulated and explored in positive psychology is ‘subjective wellbeing’ (SWB). SWB is
viewed as comprising a cognitive and an affective component (Diener, Suh, Lucas, &
Smith, 1999). The cognitive component refers to satisfaction with life. The affective
component pertains to the balance or “ratio” of positive and negative affect. Thus, broadly
speaking, SWB reflects how people think and feel about their lives (Ozmete, 2011).
SWB is viewed as a substantive good, desirable on its own terms. However, researchers
have also investigated the extent to which it is an instrumental good, that is, associated with
other positive outcomes. Lyubomirsky, King, and Diener (2005) have identified beneficial
consequences of SWB in four areas of life. First, SWB is correlated with increased sociality.
Second, SWB is linked to greater work enjoyment and higher levels of remuneration
(Diener, Nickerson, Lucas, & Sandvik, 2002). Third, SWB has been causally associated
with greater health and indeed longevity (Roysamb, Tambs, Reichborn-Kjennerud, Neale,
& Harris, 2003). Fourth, not only does SWB have a positive impact on an individual level,
but also on societies as a whole (Tov & Diener, 2008). For example, individuals with high
SWB tend to be less prejudiced, more trusting, and show higher levels of cooperation.
In addition to the concept of SWB, related constructs have been proposed to account
for other dimensions of wellbeing. For example, the importance of purpose and meaning
in life have been recognized and incorporated within the idea of psychological wellbeing
(PWB), which is also referred to as ‘eudaimonic wellbeing’ (Ryff, 1989). Eudaimonia —
from the Greek term meaning ‘true self ’ — is used within positive psychology to refer to
flourishing in life.
However, positive psychology has received criticism for not having sufficiently engaged
with the body and its relevance to wellbeing (Hefferon & Boniwell, 2011; Hefferon, 2013).
Recent efforts have been made to redress this lacuna. For instance, the concept of a ‘positive
body’ has been proposed, featuring five components thought to promote SWB and PWB
(Hefferon & Boniwell, 2011). These five components include: “human touch, positive
sexual behavior, physical activity, nutrition, and even physical pain” (Hefferon & Boniwell,
2011, p.176). More recently, bringing together diverse disciplines, Hefferon (2013) has
explored anthropological, sociological, neurological, biological, and phenomenological
perspectives on the role of the body on wellbeing and flourishing. This paper continues
this emergent focus on the body in positive psychology, with body awareness being a
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potentially useful area that has hitherto not been investigated.
Body Awareness
The notion of body awareness (BA) is an “overall concept for experience and use of the
body, representing body consciousness, body management and deepened body experience”
(Roxendal, 1985, p.10). Although there are many definitions of BA (Bekker et al., 2008),
Mehling et al. (2009) usefully conceptualise it as attention to and awareness of internal body
sensation. In the early 1990s, BA was predominantly studied in relation to anxiety or panic
disorder, where it was believed that over-attention to symptoms or body reactions had adverse
consequences (Cioffi, 1991). For example, high BA was associated with somatosensory
amplification — a tendency to experience somatic qualia in an intense and often noxious way
— leading to hypochondriasis, anxiety, and somatization (Cioffi, 1991). However, opposing
this negative appraisal of BA, recent studies indicate that attending to inner sensations can
have beneficial physiological and psychological consequences (Mehling et al., 2009). For
example, studies involving patients with chronic back pain found that patients who focused
on the ‘sensory components’ of their physical pain experienced reduced subjective pain
compared to patients who tried to suppress their pain (Burns, 2006). There have also been
intriguing studies exploring the impact of BA on symptomology in those recovering from
physiological or psychological trauma (Price & Thompson, 2007) and people suffering from
eating disorders and substance abuse (Burns, 2006).
Findings on the benefits of BA have led to the emergence of various therapies, referred
to collectively as body awareness therapies (BAT), centered on increasing BA (Gard, 2005).
BATs include Basic Body Awareness Therapy (BBAT; Gyllensten, 2001), Feldenkrais therapy
(Feldenkrais, 1977), and the Mensedieck system (Gard, 2005). These BAT therapies, especially
BBAT, are becoming increasingly utilized in treating psychiatric disorders, particularly
in Nordic countries such as Sweden (Archer, 2005). The main components of BBAT are
massage, breathing regulation, presence in the situation, and a focus on the experience of the
individual’s own movement2 (Johnsen & Raheim, 2010).
A number of studies have shown the impact of BATs on wellbeing, particularly in clinical
populations. For example, Skateboe, Friis, Hope and Vaglum (1989) suggest that personality
disorders are associated with issues around BA, such as distortions of body image, limited
BA, and disturbed emotional awareness and psychomotor functioning. Exploring the use of
BBAT with this population, Skateboe et al. found that BBAT promoted psychological growth
and personal development through the “harmonizing” of movements (measured with the
Global Physiotherapy Muscle Examination, observations, and self reports). Similarly, a study
with female patients with severe personality disorder found that patients who undertook
BBAT showed greater improvement than those given psychodynamic group therapy, and
also reported greater satisfaction with their treatment (Leirvag, Pedersen & Karterud, 2010).
Furthermore, a pilot study with patients suffering from eating disorders found that BBAT
improved symptomology (Catalan-Matamoros, Helvik-Skjaerven, Labajos-Manzanares,
Martinez-de-Salazar-Arboleas, & Sanchez-Guerrero, 2011). Finally, Johnsen & Raheim
(2010) studied patients with a range of psychiatric disorders, reporting that BBAT had a
positive impact on sleep and rest patterns, ability to overcome demanding situations, and
overall physiological and psychological balance.
The studies above indicate that BATs can have a beneficial impact in clinical
2 Some of these components are very similar to the theories of mindfulness and its practices, and this will be
discussed later.
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populations, with patients already suffering from pain, illness, or stress. However,
Anderson (2006) suggests that it may be easier for people to proactively develop BA
when they are in a healthy state, rather than waiting until a physical or mental health
issue arises. Anderson thus proposes that BA training should begin early in life, in the
same period of childhood as language acquisition.
What motivation would a person in good health — with no stress, pain or illness
— have to train in BA? A possible answer from positive psychology is that BA may be
linked to SWB. As such, as individuals come to experience incrementally greater BA,
they might enjoy corresponding rises in SWB, thus motivating them to increase BA still
further. This link between BA and SWB is as yet untested — reflecting the lack of focus
on the body in positive psychology as noted above — a deficiency the current study seeks
to remedy. However, studies have made a connection between SWB and a concept that
shares conceptual kinship with BA, namely, mindfulness.
Mindfulness
Academic and clinical interest in mindfulness, a construct derived from Buddhism,
has significantly grown in recent years (Brown et al., 2007). Questions around how to
conceptualize, define, operationalize, and measure mindfulness are a source of much
debate in the field of psychology (Hart, Ivtzan, & Hart, in press). However, Jon Kabat-
Zinn (2003, p.145) offers a widely cited “operational working definition” of mindfulness
as “the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present
moment, and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment”.
Beyond orienting definitions, efforts have also been made to construct more detailed
theoretical models of mindfulness. For example, Bishop et al. (2004) have proposed
a two-component model: The first component concerns self-regulation of attention,
such that “it is maintained on immediate experience thereby allowing for increased
recognition of mental events in the present moment” (p.232). The second component
involves the adoption of a particular attitudinal orientation to experiences, characterized
by “curiosity, openness and acceptance” (p.232).
A large body of work has consistently linked mindfulness to wellbeing, both in
terms of the alleviation of distress and mental health issues as well as the promotion of
positive outcomes like SWB (Ivtzan et al, 2011; see Mars & Abbey, 2010, for a recent
review). There are various explanations for this positive impact. Ryan and Deci (2000)
suggest that mindfulness helps individuals disengage from automatic actions and
thoughts, such as unhealthy behaviors and habits, and thus plays a role in promoting
behavioral regulation. Additionally, Brown and Ryan (2003) hold that mindfulness
promotes wellbeing by increasing the “moment to moment” intensity of a person’s
life. In terms of accounting for the beneficial impact of mindfulness on wellbeing,
of particular interest in the context of the present study are explanations focusing on
the parallels between mindfulness and BA. Mehling et al. (2009) have highlighted the
close conceptual kinship between the two constructs. They argue that mindfulness
encompasses awareness of inner sensations (as well as thoughts), which overlaps with
the concept of BA. Similarly, in terms of the development of mindfulness and BA, skills
required in order to achieve mindfulness (e.g. attention, non-judging, concentration)
are also of importance in developing BA. Lastly, and perhaps most relevantly, Mehling
et al. (2011) report that one motivation for people in the West to practice mindfulness
is as a means of getting “closer” to their bodies, with the aim of enhancing wellbeing.
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This last finding pertains to the as-yet untested possibility, noted above, of people
seeking to develop BA as a route to greater SWB.
Thus, we have a nexus of three interrelated constructs: mindfulness, BA, and SWB.
This study seeks to examine the relationship that might exist between these, as it has not
hitherto been researched. More specifically, we broke this question down into a number
of sub-questions. First, we investigated whether mindfulness and BA both predicted SWB
(and if so, which had the greater impact). Second, we observed whether mindfulness
mediated the relationship between BA and SWB. There were two main hypotheses:
H1: There will be a significant predictive relationship between BA and SWB, and
also a significant predictive relationship between mindfulness and SWB.
H2: The relationship between BA and SWB will be moderated by mindfulness.
Methods
Participants
The research sample consisted of 119 males (42.9%) and females (57.1%) who
undertook an online survey. Participants were all adults from the general population.
Participants were contacted with an email, which included a description of the research
purpose and procedure as well as a link to the online survey. Inclusion criteria were
that individuals had to be over 18 years old and have a good knowledge of the English
language. Demographic variables, including age, country of origin, and gender, were
also collected at the start of the online survey. The first author’s nationality is Greek,
so consequently the largest percentage of participants was of Greek nationality (67%).
Participants’ ages ranged from 18 to 69 with a mean age of 32.3 (SD=13.41).
Design
Data were gathered through an online survey featuring three questionnaires measuring
the three variables of interest: SWB, BA and mindfulness. Firstly, SWB was assessed
using the Satisfaction with Life Scale (Diener et al., 1985). This scale is a well-validated
self-report tool that allows respondents to assess their lives as a whole according to their
own chosen criteria (Diener & Pavot, 1993). The scale features five statements that
participants are asked to rate on a 7-point Likert scale, ranging from (1) strongly disagree
to (7) strongly agree (Diener et al., 1985). The scale has strong reliability and stability
(with an alpha coefficient of 0.87, and a 2-month test-retest stability coefficient of 0.82)
(Pavot & Diener, 1993).
Secondly, BA was assessed using the Body Awareness Questionnaire (Shields et al.,
1989). This is a self-report measurement tool that assesses the level of attention given
by respondents to normal ‘non-emotive’ body processes. The questionnaire has 18 items
(e.g. ‘I notice differences in the way my body reacts to various foods.’) which are rated on
a 7-point Likert scale ranging from (1) not at all true of me to (7) very true of me. This
questionnaire is reliable for men (alpha coefficient = .82) and women (alpha coefficient
= .80), has good test-retest reliability (r =.80), and has discriminant validity and stability
in factor structure (Shields et al., 1989).
Finally, mindfulness was measured by the Mindful Awareness and Attention Scale
(Brown & Ryan, 2003). This assesses an individual’s frequency of mindful states, and
focuses on attention on and awareness of what is happening in the present (Brown &
Ryan, 2003). It includes 15 items (e.g. ‘I could be experiencing some emotion and not
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be conscious of it until sometime later.’), rated on a 6-point Likert scale ranging from
(1) almost always to (6) almost never. The scale has been validated for diverse groups and
has a test-retest reliability of .81 (Brown & Ryan, 2003).
Procedure
This study was designed and conducted according to the guidelines of the British
Psychology Society (BPS) Code of Ethics and Conduct as well as in accordance with
the guidelines of the University of East London (UEL) Code of Good Practice. Initially,
participants were contacted by email to invite them to participate. Prior to the study,
participants were informed of the procedure through an information sheet and asked to
sign an informed consent form. After completion of the surveys, participants were fully
debriefed about the purpose of the study and given the contact details of the researchers
should any questions or problems occur. Anonymity and confidentiality were protected, and
data collected were stored in a password-protected computer. This study received ethical
approval from the ethics committee of the University of East London.
Analysis and Results
Hypothesis 1
In order to examine whether there was a predictive relationship between BA and SWB,
or between mindfulness and SWB, a multiple regression analysis was conducted. BA and
mindfulness were the predictor variables, and SWB was the DV. The results of the standard
multiple regression are detailed in Table 1 below.
Table 1. Standard Multiple Regression results for BA and Mindfulness as the predictor
variables and SWB as the DV.
BStd.Error Beta Sig.
BA .087 .041 .184 .034
Mindfulness .212 .049 .374 .000
R Squared=.182, Adj. R Squared=.167
A significant predictive relationship was observed between BA and SWB, and between
mindfulness and SWB. However, mindfulness had greater predictive power, accounting for
14% of the variance in SWB, against 3% for BA.
Hypothesis 2
A moderation analysis was conducted with BA as the main effect, mindfulness as the
mediator, and SWB as the dependent variable. BA was entered into the analysis first,
followed by mindfulness and then the interaction term (it must be noted that the predictor
variables were centered prior to the analysis). The results, shown in Table 2, indicate that the
relationship between BA and SWB is not moderated through mindfulness.
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Table 2. Results of the Moderation Analysis between BA and Mindfulness
BStd.Error Beta Sig.
Step1 ba .098 .044 .207 .027
Step2 ba .087 .041 .184 .034
mind .212 .049 .374 .000
Step3 ba .103 .044 .218 .021
mind .219 .049 .387 .000
ba x
mind
-
.003
.334 -.091 .334
Step 1: R Square= .043 , Adj. R Square=.034
Step 2: R Square=.182, Adj. R Square=.167
Step 3: R Square=.189, Adj. R Square=.167
Discussion
The data analysis produced a set of intriguing findings that both confirmed and also
challenged our expectations. Firstly, we observed a predictive relationship between BA
and SWB. While this was in line with our hypothesis, this is the first study to confirm
an explicit statistical link between these two constructs. There was also a strong predictive
relationship between mindfulness and SWB. This too confirmed our hypothesis, since the
connection between these constructs has been well-established in the literature (Mars &
Abbey, 2010). However, it was striking to see the extent to which the predictive power of
mindfulness on SWB (14%) exceeded that of BA (3%). Evidently, these two constructs are
not interchangeable, but can influence SWB in different ways. Secondly, corroborating this
last point, we were surprised to observe that the impact of BA on SWB was not moderated
by mindfulness. Again, this tends to indicate that BA and mindfulness, while conceptually
similar constructs, both have their own contributions to make vis-à-vis individual wellbeing.
The predicted finding that BA has a positive predictive relationship with SWB is notable
for many reasons. First of all, participants were drawn from the general population. To
our knowledge, all the research studies in the current literature have been conducted on a
targeted sample of physiologically or psychologically unhealthy participants, or with people
who had undertaken a form of BAT. These previous studies have shown that BAT has the
potential to reduce mental health issues and improve symptomology in clinical populations
(Johnsen & Raheim, 2010). However, the present study indicates a link between BA and
SWB in a nonclinical population. The implication here is that BAT has the potential to
be used with “healthy” populations as a way of promoting SWB. Indeed, as Anderson
(2006) suggests, it may be desirable to factor BA training into the early-years education of
children, thus engendering BA from a young age. Moreover, these finding are one answer to
Anderson’s question of what might motivate healthy individuals to undergo BAT training:
one inducement would be experiencing increments in SWB as a result of improving BA.
A predictive relationship was also observed between mindfulness and SWB. This finding
adds to the ever-increasing body of work linking mindfulness to various outcomes of wellbeing.
Studies indicate that interventions to train and develop mindfulness, like Mindfulness-Based
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Stress Reduction, can serve to elevate levels of SWB (Carmody & Baer, 2008). Moreover,
so-called ‘trait’ mindfulness — relatively stable levels of mindful awareness conceptualized
as a personality characteristic, indexed by the Mindful Awareness and Attention Scale
used in the present study (Brown & Ryan, 2003) — has been linked with higher levels
of SWB (Carlson & Brown, 2005). Although this particular finding in the current study
simply serves to corroborate these previous studies, the unique angle offered here concerns
the interrelationship of mindfulness, BA, and SWB. The 3% predictive power offered by
BA constitutes a further discriminant predictive power over and above the 14% given by
mindfulness. This indicates that both mindfulness and BA make unique contributions to
wellbeing and that conceptually one cannot be reduced to or subsumed within the other.
This latter point is also supported by the rejection of the second hypothesis in the
analysis, namely the prediction that the link between BA and SWB would be moderated by
mindfulness. This prediction was informed by literature that indicated that many aspects of
BA, such as somatic awareness and attention-focusing techniques, were perhaps captured more
directly by the concept of mindfulness (Mehling et al., 2011). Indeed, Mehling et al. (2009)
suggest that many people who practice mindfulness use it as a means to develop BA, thus
directly implicating mindfulness as a key process within the development of BA. However, the
independent predictive powers of mindfulness and BA, and the regression analysis indicating
that mindfulness was not a meditating factor in the BA-SWB link, show that mindfulness
and BA are distinct, albeit related, concepts. One explanation for the greater predictive power
of mindfulness can perhaps be found in Bishop et al.’s (2004) two-component model. This
holds that the efficacy of mindfulness does not reside in people simply becoming more aware
of subjective qualia, but imbuing this awareness with particular qualities such as kindness
and compassion (Shapiro et al., 2006). While mindfulness and BA both share a common
emphasis on internal awareness, only mindfulness implies a particular attitudinal stance. This
stance may well itself play a crucial role in SWB, thus giving mindfulness “the edge” over BA.
However, it is also notable that in our study BA offered predictive power not accounted for
by mindfulness, indicating that BA does not completely overlap or fall within the concept
of mindfulness. Indeed, while some adaptations of mindfulness do focus specifically on the
body (Ditto, Eclache, & Goldman, 2006), mindfulness practices arguably focus more on
cognitions rather than somatic qualia (Teasdale, Segal, & Williams, 2003). In this sense
then, it appears that mindfulness practices may be able to learn from BA practices, like BAT,
in terms of engaging more with the body. Indeed, this last comment could equally apply to
positive psychology more generally, as noted above.
However, the limitations of the study mean that caution should be exercised with these
interpretations of the findings, and show the need for future research in this area. One key
limitation is that participants were not screened for previous knowledge or experience with the
concept or practice of mindfulness, or the concept or practice of BATs. Issues around relying
on self-report scales assessing ‘trait’ levels of mindfulness, such as the Mindful Attention
and Awareness Scale, have been raised by Grossman (2011). It is argued that such scales
lack content validity and overlook external referents that would determine the validity of
the construct. Grossman (2011) queries whether the self-reported mindfulness “skills” of an
individual are reflective of actual behavior. Further issues include response biases influenced
by each respondent’s level of knowledge and practice of mindfulness, and variations in
the semantic interpretations of each item. There are further limitations around the data-
gathering techniques in the present study. Using an online survey makes it hard to control
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the participatory environment: participants may have different software, equipment, and
even Internet connectivity. Thus, it cannot be assured that all received the information and
measurement tools correctly (Riva et al., 2003). Another limitation to online data collection
is that it may exclude particular sections of the population from participating (i.e, those with
less access to or familiarity with the Internet, such as older populations) and skew the sample
towards those from the higher ends of the socioeconomic and educational spectra (Riva et
al., 2003).
Recognition of these limitations illuminates the way ahead for further research. The current
research has indicated that there may be complex links between mindfulness, BA, and SWB.
Responding to the first limitation raised above, future studies will ideally screen participants
in terms of previous mindfulness experience, to shed further light on whether mindfulness
plays a moderating role between BA and SWB. Issues around online data collection methods
skewing the sample in particular directions means greater efforts should be made to recruit
from harder-to-reach populations as well as to explore alternative methods of data collection.
In addition, it would be interesting to explore the intersections of mindfulness, BA, and SWB
with people from different cultural backgrounds. Mindfulness as presented in the West tends
to be generally decontextualized from its antecedent Buddhist origins (Kabat-Zinn, 2003).
However, people from Asian cultures may have a more contextualized appreciation and
understanding of mindfulness (i.e., awareness of the broader religious context in which it was
developed), which may alter the way in which their experience of mindfulness intersects with
BA and SWB. Such cross-cultural research will help to refine and develop the connections
revealed in the current study.
Conclusion
The study found a predictive relationship between BA and SWB. This finding is valuable
as it suggests that individuals could benefit from becoming more bodily aware as a potential
route to increased SWB. Further research on whether healthy individuals from the general
population could be trained to increase levels of BA would be a fruitful line of inquiry. In
addition, a predictive relationship was found between mindfulness and SWB. Compared
to the BA-SWB relationship, mindfulness had greater predictive power. However, it was
notable that BA still had an impact independent of mindfulness. Similarly, it was striking
that mindfulness was not found to mediate the relationship between BA and SWB. This
indicates that BA and mindfulness are not isomorphic constructs, but that each impact upon
SWB in subtly different ways. Future research will be able to further tease out the subtle
connections among these three constructs.
BIOGRAPHIES
Olga Brani holds a BA in psychology and an MSc in applied positive psychology. Her clinical
experience mostly focuses on adolescents and her research interests include wellbeing, positive
aging, and embodiment. Dr. Kate Hefferon, PhD, is a chartered research psychologist
and senior lecturer at the University of East London. She is the author of several peer-
reviewed papers, books, and book chapters and has presented at conferences nationally and
internationally. Her research interests include wellbeing, post-traumatic growth, resilience,
physical activity, and embodiment.
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Dr. Itai Ivtzan is a chartered psychologist and holds a position as a senior lecturer of
positive psychology at the University of East London as part of the Masters in applied positive
psychology (MAPP) programme. He is also the programme leader of the MAPP Distance
Learning. He has run seminars, lectures, workshops, and retreats at conferences and various
educational institutions, in the UK and around the world, while focusing on a variety of
psychological and spiritual topics such as psychological and spiritual growth, consciousness,
meditation, and positive psychology. Itai is the author of a variety of peer-reviewed papers
and book chapters. His main areas of research are mindfulness, spirituality, personal
meaning, eudaimonic happiness, and self-actualisation. He is the co-author of Applied
Positive Psychology: Integrated Positive Practice due for publication by Sage in September 2014.
Dr. Tim Lomas is a lecturer and module leader in the MSc in applied positive psychology
program at the University of East London. Tim undertook an MA (Hons) and an MSc in
psychology at the University of Edinburgh. During that time he also worked as a psychiatric
nursing assistant and was a Samaritans volunteer. In 2012 he completed his PhD, funded by
the Institute of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Westminster. His thesis, entitled
Journeys towards wellbeing: Men, meditation, and mental health, explored the impact of
meditation on wellbeing using a mixed methods design comprising narrative interviews,
cognitive testing, and EEG measurement. On completing the PhD Tim worked as a researcher
at Warwick University, before taking up his first academic post at UEL in March 2013.
His interests include meditation, religion/spirituality, neuroscience, and multidimensional
models of wellbeing. His first academic book, entitled Masculinity, Meditation and Mental
Health, is due to be published by Palgrave MacMillan in spring 2014. He is also co-authoring
a positive psychology textbook, entitled Applied Positive Psychology: Integrated Positive Practice,
due for publication by Sage in September 2014.
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INCORPORATING US ASSOCIATION FOR BODY PSYCHOTHERAPY JOURNAL
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This is the 14th Congress of the European Association for Body Psychotherapy (EABP),
organized together with the International Scientific Committee of Body Psychotherapy.
The Congress focuses on Body Psychotherapy in its current richness, bringing together
professionals from many European countries, Latin America and the United States. It
covers theory, clinical practice, the embeddedness of our work in society as well as the
cultural diversity of the movement.
We welcome you to this exchange and to a celebration of the many methodological
approaches and cultural stances in the understanding of human beings that Body
Psychotherapy represents.
Website: http://lisbon2014.eabp-isc.eu/
TABLE OF CONTENTS
04 Editorial
Jacqueline A. Carleton, PhD
08 Self-ReeconsonArtandPsychotherapy
Terry Marks-Tarlow, PhD
10 Two Poems
Jeanne Denney, BS, MA
ARTICLES
03 ShadowsintheHistoryofBodyPsychotherapy:PartI
Courtenay Young with Gill Westland
31 TheEndoSelf:ASelfModelforBody-OrientedPsychotherapy?
Will Davis
52 TowardanIntegraveModelforDevelopmentalTrauma
Homayoun Shahri, Ph.D., M.A.
67 AwarenessandMindfulnessinConsciousness-CentredBodyPsychotherapy
 ChrisanGowald,MD
80 HelpingtheBodyGrieve:ABodyPsychotherapyApproachtoSupporngthe
 CreaonofConnuingBondsAeraDeathLoss
Dyana Reisen, MA, CT
95 TheImpactofBodyAwarenessonSubjecveWellbeing:
 TheRoleofMindfulness
 OlgaBrani,KateHeeron,TimLomas,ItaiIvtzan,JoanPainter
108 TheEntericNervousSystemandBodyPsychotherapy:Culvanga
 RelaonshipwiththeGutBrain
Stephanie Pollock, MA
Journal (ISSN 2169-4745)
EUROPEAN
ASSOCIATIONFOR
BOD Y-
PSYCHOTHERAPY
EABP
THE ART AND SCIENCE OF SOMATIC PRAXIS
INCORPORATING US ASSOCIATION FOR BODY PSYCHOTHERAPY JOURNAL
volume thirteen number one spring 2014
... To have all these dimensions, people first may be aware of inner sensations and experiences. However, in psychology-and particularly in positive psychology-the body awareness still remains under investigation (Brani et al. 2014;Hefferon 2013). Anderson (2006), meanwhile, indicates that body awareness is respectably related to mental health and flourishing. ...
... Furthermore, both interpersonal emotion regulation (Gable and Reis 2010;Puterman et al. 2010;Marroquín et al. 2016) and body awareness (Anderson 2006;Brani et al. 2014;Mehling et al. 2009;Tihanyi et al. 2016a) result in flourishing. However, to our knowledge, there are no specific studies examining the nature of the relationships between interpersonal regulation, body awareness and flourishing. ...
... In other words, as individuals pay attention, monitor, and accept their inner experiences (bodily, emotionally, and cognitively), their flourishing also increases. Most studies (Brani et al. 2014;Hanley et al. 2017) indicated the relationship among body awareness, mindfulness, and flourishing. ...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this study was to adapt the Scale of Body Connection into Turkish and to test the mediating role of body awareness and body dissociation in the relationship between interpersonal emotion regulation, mindfulness, and flourishing. Data was sourced from a total of 440 participants (125 males, 315 females) from Istanbul Medeniyet University, as well as their relatives through a snowball sampling method. The participants had an age range between 15 and 84, with a mean age of 24.41 (SD = 9.35). The construct validity of the scale was tested via a confirmatory factor analysis. The Cronbach’s Alpha coefficients were analyzed to test the internal consistency. Finally, a path analysis was used to test the research model. The results of the CFA showed that the scale is a valid instrument after eliminating few items. In addition, the reliability level of the scale was found to be satisfactory. The findings of the path analysis indicated that both mindfulness and interpersonal emotion regulation have significantly positive relationship with body awareness while mindfulness has a significantly negative relationship with body dissociation. In addition, there is a negative relationship between body dissociation and flourishing while body awareness has a significantly positive relationship with flourishing. The adjusted model accounted for a 9% variance in body awareness, 22% variance in body dissociation, and 6% variance in flourishing scores of participants.
... Such characteristics are mindfulness (Kabat-Zinn 2003;Lu, Tito, and Kentel 2009), spirituality (Brown 2013;Hyland et al. 2010;Wheeler and Hyland 2008), body-awareness (Bakal 1999;Mehling et al. 2009Mehling et al. , 2011Lu 2009) and self-compassion (Neff 2003). These constructs received considerable research attention and were shown to contribute to psychological and subjective well-being 1 (Brani et al. 2014;Brown and Ryan 2003;Ivtzan et al. 2013;Levine and Targ 2002;Neff 2011), and so to mental health (Vaillant 2012). ...
... Given that greater mindfulness, spirituality, body-awareness and self-compassion could be associated with better overall health (Brani et al. 2014;Brown and Ryan 2003;Ivtzan et al. 2013;Levine and Targ 2002;Neff 2011), the current results underscore the possible health-benefits of the Eastern movement disciplines. In our study, yoga, aikido and judo were related to greater levels of spirituality and body awareness than a blend of non-Eastern forms of popular exercises represented by the control group. ...
Article
Yoga, judo and aikido are popular exercises expected to promote physical and mental health. This study examined four characteristics rooted in Eastern philosophy and religious practice, i.e. spirituality, mindfulness, body awareness, and self-compassion in healthy individuals regularly practicing these movements and a control group (n = 341). The results revealed that practitioners of the exercises of Eastern origin reported greater spirituality than control participants, with practitioners of yoga reporting the highest values. Yoga practitioners also scored higher on mindfulness compared to controls but did not differ from aikidokas and judokas. Practitioners of the Eastern exercises did not differ from each other with respect to body awareness, but they all scored higher than the controls. Finally, yoga practitioners scored higher than all other groups on self-compassion. Results suggest that the regular practice of movement forms of Eastern origin has additional psychological benefits compared to pure physical activity.
... Body consciousness has been shown to be associated with kinetic skills and overall wellbeing 1,2 . It reflects the understanding of what, where, and how one's body is 3 . ...
Article
Full-text available
Body consciousness is associated with kinetic skills and various aspects of wellbeing. Physical activities have been shown to contribute to the development of body consciousness. Methodological studies are needed in improving the assessment of body consciousness in adults with distinct physical activity backgrounds. This study (1) examined whether dancers, athletes, and lightly physically active individuals differed regarding the level of their body consciousness, and (2) evaluated the usability of different methods in assessing body consciousness. Fifty-seven healthy adults (aged 20–37) were included in the study. Three experimental methods (aperture task, endpoint matching, and posture copying) and two self-report questionnaires (the Private Body Consciousness Scale, PBCS, and the Body Awareness Questionnaire, BAQ) were used in assessing body consciousness. Athletes outperformed the lightly physically active participants in the posture copying task with the aid of vision when copying leg postures. Dancers performed better than the athletes without the aid of vision when their back and upper body were involved, and better than the lightly active participants when copying leg postures. Dancers and athletes had higher self-reported cognitive and perceptual knowledge of their body than lightly physically active participants. To examine the role of different physical activities in developing body consciousness, experimental methods involving the use of the whole body might be most suitable. Subjective measures may provide complementary evidence for experimental testing.
... By focusing on ESR and ST, the current study highlighted the role of body-mind interaction and spiritual aspect for promoting cognitive flexibility and persistence. Relatedly, the current study built on the emerging research on the role of the body in positive psychology (Brani et al., 2014) for optimal functioning. ...
Article
Full-text available
Ford India operations ended up losing roughly two billion dollars due to lack of demand and sales. The pandemic has placed the company on the back foot, unprecedented failures and affecting the livelihoods of employees. The shutdown of the company’s Indian wing will reduce up to 4,000 factory jobs, with over 2,600 regular employees and around 1,000 contract workers. The shutdown will also affect auxiliary companies that sell minor components and parts to Ford. Data were collected from workers, union leaders, union members, dealers, customers, and management to understand the issues faced by Ford. Indian operations were typically marginal and vulnerable to significant economic shifts; export was a face-saver. The study attempts to present the impact of the closure on the socio-economic conditions of workers.
... In fact, body awareness can be defined as the dynamic and interactive process through which the body's psychological states, processes, actions, and functions are perceived, at both interoceptive and proprioceptive levels (Mehling et al., 2009). Multiple studies have shown a link between increased body awareness and improved regulation of negative affect (Füstös et al., 2012;Price & Hooven, 2018), subjective well-being (Brani et al., 2014), empathic responses (Fukushima et al., 2011;Singer et al., 2004), mindfulness (Cebolla et al., 2016), interpersonal social problem-solving performance (Henderson & Paterno, 1986), social connectedness (Arnold et al., 2019), and interpersonal emotion regulation (Özcan & Sünbül, 2020). Training in body awareness (such as body scan during mindfulness-based programs or mind-body skills) showed also positive impacts on interpersonal skills (Alexander et al., 2015) and emphatic leadership among college students (Fonow et al., 2016). ...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives Previously developed mindfulness measures focused on its intrapersonal dimensions and did not measure the interpersonal aspects of mindfulness. Furthermore, recently developed interpersonal mindfulness measures were either specific to a certain context (e.g., parenting, conjugal, teaching) or omitted/minimized the role of the body in the interpersonal dynamic. The proposed Interpersonal Mindfulness Questionnaire (IMQ) aims to operationalize the theoretical notion of embodied and embedded mindfulness by grounding it into four dimensions, each representing a set of skills that can be cultivated through training and practice: (1) Detachment from the Mind, (2) Body-Anchored Presence, (3) Attention to and Awareness of the Other Person, and (4) Mindful Responding. Methods The IMQ subscales were developed through consultations with a panel of eight graduate students and ten experts in the field. Three studies were conducted to evaluate the construct, internal consistency, reliability, convergent validity, and utility of the IMQ. Results Findings from the three studies supported the proposed four subscales of IMQ and suggested that these four subscales are independent and supported by convergent evidence. In addition, results suggested that IMQ subscales’ scores are sensitive to meditation experience and are associated with better intrapersonal and interpersonal outcomes. Conclusions IMQ subscales are valid and are consistent with the proposed embodied and embedded conception of interpersonal mindfulness. IMQ subscales are associated with intrapersonal mindfulness, but not strongly enough to be conceived as the same phenomenon. Limitations, as well as theoretical and practical implications of IMQ subscales, are thoroughly discussed.
... There is an old proverb in research that "the more data points, the better." Crouch & McKenzie (2006) suggest that having fewer than twenty (20) participants in a qualitative study helps the researchers shape and sustain a strong relationship, which promotes the "open" and "frank" exchange of information. Furthermore, when the research scope is narrow and the responders are homogeneous, only 6-12 people can understand the situation [31]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The fundamental aim of this study is to demonstrate the positive consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic while everyone else is talking about COVID-19's adverse effects. Researchers collected data through FGD (Focus Group Discussion) via an internet platform from April 2021 to June 2021. FGD was conducted with final-year undergraduate students from Bangladesh's Sylhet division. We purposively selected 20 students who have good knowledge about the consequences of COVID-19 and who were voluntarily involved at the university's different social clubs. According to this study, COVID-19 has positive impacts on people's life. People spent crucial time with their families, explored their interests, developed a range of new skills, and appreciated the need for sanitation, hygiene, and social separation. Nature recovers energy, and greenhouse gas emissions are significantly reduced to protect the ecosystem. Among other notable positive effects, people build religious learning's in conjunction with crime reduction notions. Researchers study a particular division (Sylhet) of a country, which may differ from that of other cultures and countries. As a result, generalizing the research findings is complex; more research in different divisions of Bangladesh, countries, and cultures is required. The study outcomes are intended to assist the community in building positive psychology to confront the covid-19 and establish a new normal and a guideline for dealing with any impending pandemic. To the best of our knowledge, this is one of the most comprehensive studies on the positive effects of covid-19, as well as a guideline for dealing with any pandemic that may occur in the near future.
... In addition, participating in MBCT increased body awareness, which was found to be a mediator of the positive effects of MBCT on depression severity (de Jong et al., 2016). Multiple studies have furthermore shown a link between increased body awareness and improved regulation of negative affect (Füstös et al., 2012), subjective well-being (Brani et al., 2014), empathic responses (Singer et al., 2004), and mindfulness (Cebolla et al., 2016). Body awareness is a core component in the notion of "embodied mindfulness," as it is an integral part of the bidirectional mind-body link proposed by the theory of embodiment. ...
Article
Full-text available
Recently developed mindfulness scales have integrated aspects of the body in measuring mindfulness unlike other established scales. However, these scales focused solely on body awareness and did not embrace all aspects of mindfulness and the body. Specifically, they did not integrate embodiment in mindfulness. The proposed Embodied Mindfulness Questionnaire (EMQ) aims to operationalize the proposed notion of “embodied mindfulness” by grounding it into five dimensions, each representing a set of skills that can be cultivated through training and practice: (a) Detachment from Automatic Thinking, (b) Attention and Awareness of Feelings and Bodily Sensations, (c) Connection with the Body, (d) Awareness of the Mind-Body Connection, and (e) Acceptance of Feelings and Bodily Sensations. The EMQ items were developed through consultations with a panel of eight graduate students and a group of 10 experts in the field. Results from a series of three studies supported the proposed five subscales of EMQ and suggested that these subscales are independent and supported by convergent and discriminant evidence. In addition, results suggested that scores of EMQ subscales are different in terms of sensitivity to mindfulness training or meditation practice and experience. Limitations, as well as theoretical and practical implications of the EMQ subscales, are thoroughly discussed.
... In recent years, a branch of psychology (Positive psychology) gained popularity which can be described as "the science and practice of enhancing well-being" (Brani et al., 2014). However, though the branch has grown in demand, it has also come under some limitations, with one of the most common criticisms being that it does not pay enough attention to the social context of well-being (Becker & Marecek, 2008). ...
Article
During the time being, while everybody else is busy conversing about the adverse effects of COVID‐19, researchers solemnly look forward to intensifying the positive effects of COVID‐19 on political, economic, social, technological, environmental, and ethical (PESTEL) aspects, as it was unrevealed. The FGD (Focus Group Discussion) and Delphi methods were conducted from April 2020 to January 2021 through the online platform to collect the data. In this research, 40 graduates from 40 families were taken as our sample size who carried out the opinions of their family members. The average duration of the interview was 30–40 min. This article highlighted that COVID‐19 has some positive effects on social‐psychological aspects (PESTEL) and, people are trying to adapt to new practices (New Normal) to improve their lifestyles against the deadly virus. COVID‐19 would pass, but life will never be the same; thus, researchers conduct the research based on a country, which may not be similar to the other cultures and countries' perceptions. This is the first and foremost study on the positive effects of covid‐19 and a guideline to cope with any pandemic in the near future. The study's findings are intended to assist the community in developing positive social psychology to call the covid‐19 into question and look forward to a new standard.
Article
Full-text available
Socialization is not just training an individual for social life and his future role in society, but it is very important for personality formation, which is formed through learning with certain characteristics, and thus becomes a member of one culture [1]. Conflicts in the family, inconsistent discipline, affective cold, parents' hostility, poor monitoring and non-inclusion of parents in the everyday life of a minor, but also his psychological and emotional state, as well as crime and alcoholism in the family can be important factors, causers and triggers of the appearance of delinquent behaviour. The research was conducted for the duration of one school year, and it is represented by the central, southern and northern regions of Montenegro, in integrated departments at regular schools (PI Primary school ‘Ilija Kisic’ Herceg Novi, PI Primary school ‘Vuk Karadzic’ Berane, PI Primary school ‘Dusan Korac’ Bijelo Polje, PI Primary school ‘Njegos’ Kotor, PI Primary school ‘Bosko Buha’ Pljevlja, PI Primary school ‘Olga Golovic’ Niksic and PI Primary school ‘Yugoslavia’ Bar. Starting from the nature, essence and importance of the defined problem, the subject of our study is focused on the social development of children with disabilities, as well as on the influence of social development on the presence of problematic behaviour. The most significant results of this research, and we think that they have an impact on the social development of the child are: the fact that 23% of children grew up, lived and formed a socio-emotional status with their parent, who was not in the marital union of another child's parent. Parent’s education: the most frequent is secondary school with 45.5%, and the number of parents with non-completed primary school is relatively high with 14.5%. A significant number of parents of children with disabilities are unemployed (fathers 26.4%, mothers 60.0%). We can conclude that economic characteristic can be very unfavourable for the functioning of the family. Our research shows that there are quarrels between 51.8% of parents. Regarding the presence of psychological violence against children with disabilities, we have concluded that in 14.5% of children there are indications of experiencing some form of psychological violence. The quarrel between parents, as a serious disorder in the social and overall development of children with disabilities, are expressed as a problem in the amount of 23.6% and there are indications that they reach up to 33.7%. So, we can say that the presence of this problem is high. It is not negligible that 40% of children with disabilities have an inadequate relation towards teachers. Keywords: Social development, children with disabilities, unadjusted behaviour
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