The Impact of Mindfulness on Emotion Regulation


  • Philip Ischebeck University of Vienna


This study investigates the relationship between mindfulness and emotion regulation, building on the Emotion Regulation 23 study by the Mind & Brain Lab Ljubljana. Mindfulness, an ancient Eastern practice, has gained prominence in Western culture for its potential to alleviate human suffering by fostering nonjudgmental attention to the present moment, contrasting with distracted mental states [1]. Previous research suggests that mindfulness enhances well-being by reducing stress, boosting positive emotions, and improving psychological resources [2].  

Two classical theories explain how mindfulness influences well-being: the Mindfulness-to-Meaning Theory (MMT) and the Monitor-and-Acceptance Theory (MAT). MMT posits that mindfulness enhances cognitive emotion regulation skills, whereas MAT suggests that mindfulness promotes emotional acceptance, reducing the need for active regulation [1]. Recently, the Dynamic Model of Mindfulness has been proposed, suggesting that the effects of mindfulness on affective well-being depend on the practitioner's proficiency. Initially, mindfulness reduces pain perception through cognitive regulation, but as practice deepens, it shifts to dissociating sensory processing from cognitive-affective processing [3]. According to the Dynamic Model, MMT may better explain mindfulness effects in early practice stages, while MAT is more applicable to experienced meditators.

This study aims to determine which theory best explains the relationship between mindfulness and well-being through emotion regulation. It examines three emotion regulation strategies—reappraisal, distancing, and expressive suppression—and includes a control condition of viewing, in a sample of 63 non- and novice mindfulness practitioners. Using the Emotional Picture Task, participants are presented with emotionally charged images to assess their emotional reactions while instructed to use a specific emotion regulation strategy.

We hypothesize that for our sample of non- and novice mindfulness practitioners, mindfulness will moderate the outcomes of emotion regulation. By elucidating the underlying mechanisms of mindfulness, this study seeks to provide valuable insights that could inform interventions aimed at enhancing well-being.


[1] Garland, E. L., Farb, N. A., Goldin, P., & Fredrickson, B. L. (2015). Mindfulness broadens awareness and builds eudaimonic meaning: A process model of mindful positive emotion regulation. Psychological Inquiry, 26(4), 293-314.

[2] Mandal, S. P., Arya, Y. K., & Pandey, R. (2017). Mindfulness, Emotion Regulation, and Subjective Well-Being: Exploring the Link. SIS Journal of Projective Psychology & Mental Health, 24(1).

[3] Lu, C., Moliadze, V., & Nees, F. (2023). Dynamic processes of mindfulness-based alterations in pain perception. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 17, 1253559.