Mechanisms of Mindfulness

Mechanisms of Mindfulness. A review of:Hölzel, B. K., Lazar, S. W., Gard, T., Schuman, Z.-O., Vago, D. R., & Ott, U. (2011). How does mindfulness meditation work? Proposing mechanisms of action from a conceptual and neural perspective. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6(6), 537-559. doi:10.1177/174569 by Susan Thorn. Considering the wave of emerging research investigating the effects mindfulness and/or meditation has on mental health and physiological functioning, Holzel, Lazar, Gard, Schuman-Olivier, Vago, & Ott (2011) identified a need in the literature that provides a more comprehensive framework for reference of the functions of mindfulness. They propose a definition, more specifically, that includes both a conceptual and neural perspective of the mechanisms that take action toward effectiveness, particularly creating a multi-faceted model that can be interchanged when analyzing effects among specific mental health disorders or when analyzing the relationship with various types of neuronal-functioning. Holzel, et al. (2011) propose the benefit of creating a working model of mindfulness meditation would not only assist in propelling the scientific knowledge base toward further understanding of all aspects of this research area, but also aid in gaining progress in building mental health treatment practices that better utilize specific meditation regimens focusing on primary symptomology. They specify the objective of this paper is neither meant to be seen as a concrete explanation of how mindfulness meditation works nor a complete account of the literature, but meant to provoke debate regarding the subject within the scholarly community while creating a base for the construction of future research. The need is discussed in relation to the majority of the literature reviewed focused exclusively on the process and effects of mindfulness meditation and not identifying possible explanation to how it works and how it can be used to work more efficiently. Mindfulness is defined within this article as “nonjudgmental attention to experiences in the present moment (Holzel, et al., 2011, pg. 538).” Some of the more simplistic attempts within the literature to create a description of the mechanisms of mindfulness are described as containing two...

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