Understanding the underlying mechanisms and working ingredients of mindfulness and other well-being cultivating practices.

How do mindfulness practices support wellbeing and mental health? We currently focus on understanding specific mechanisms that we hypothesize lead to greater emotional regulatory flexibility, i.e., the ability of individuals to choose, from moment-to-moment, the most adaptive regulatory strategy to deal with difficult emotions, and suggest they mediate the effects of mindfulness on wellbeing. One such mechanism is increasing interoceptive information to supports greater emotion regulatory flexibility.

Another mechanism we are studying is attentional flexibility, i.e., the ability to flexibly move, expand, and contract attention, and shift between external and internal (bodily) stimuli, which we believe effects emotional flexibility and thus wellbeing and mental health.

We also hypothesize that the elaborate use of metaphors in mind-body practices is a working ingredient in mindfulness practices and are studying whether they increases the ability of individuals to embody the practices and apply them in real-life situations.