Mindfulness and Behavior Change

Author: Zev Schuman-Olivier1, Marcelo Trombka, David A Lovas, Judson A Brewer, David R Vago, Richa Gawande, Julie P Dunne, Sara W Lazar, Eric B Loucks, Carl Fulwiler
1 From the Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School (Drs. Schuman-Olivier, Trombka, Gawande, Lazar, and Fulwiler); Cambridge Health Alliance, Center for Mindfulness and Compassion, Cambridge, MA (Drs. Schuman-Oliver, Trombka, Gawande, Dunne, and Fulwiler); Department of Psychiatry, Hospital de Clinicas de Porto Alegre, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil (Dr. Trombka); Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Dalhousie University (Dr. Lovas); Brown Mindfulness Center (Drs. Brewer and Loucks), School of Public Health (Dr. Loucks), and Department of Psychiatry (Dr. Brewer), Brown University; Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN (Dr. Vago); Boston College School of Nursing (Dr. Dunne); Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA (Dr. Lazar); Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Massachusetts (Dr. Fulwiler).
Conference/Journal: Harv Rev Psychiatry
Date published: Nov/Dec 2020
Other: Volume ID: 28 , Issue ID: 6 , Pages: 371-394 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1097/HRP.0000000000000277. , Word Count: 172

Initiating and maintaining behavior change is key to the prevention and treatment of most preventable chronic medical and psychiatric illnesses. The cultivation of mindfulness, involving acceptance and nonjudgment of present-moment experience, often results in transformative health behavior change. Neural systems involved in motivation and learning have an important role to play. A theoretical model of mindfulness that integrates these mechanisms with the cognitive, emotional, and self-related processes commonly described, while applying an integrated model to health behavior change, is needed. This integrative review (1) defines mindfulness and describes the mindfulness-based intervention movement, (2) synthesizes the neuroscience of mindfulness and integrates motivation and learning mechanisms within a mindful self-regulation model for understanding the complex effects of mindfulness on behavior change, and (3) synthesizes current clinical research evaluating the effects of mindfulness-based interventions targeting health behaviors relevant to psychiatric care. The review provides insight into the limitations of current research and proposes potential mechanisms to be tested in future research and targeted in clinical practice to enhance the impact of mindfulness on behavior change.

PMID: 33156156 DOI: 10.1097/HRP.0000000000000277