The Importance of Acceptance in Mindfulness

In this paper, the critical role of acceptance is explored in the context of mind wandering reduction as a result of brief mindfulness training.

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Acceptance seems like an important concept to highlight this week. Not the kind of acceptance akin to waving a white flag and 'putting up and shutting up' but the kind of deeper acceptance spoken about by the mystics and sages throughout the ages. Acceptance is not the same as resignation. Acceptance is about being with our experience, whatever it might be, without any attempt to manipulate our inner feeling of it. There can be response with acceptance, yet this response is steeped in a willingness to see and be with something as it is presenting itself to us.

In this paper, the critical role of acceptance is explored in the context of mind wandering reduction as a result of brief mindfulness training. Two competing accounts for how mindfulness training reduces mind wandering are evaluated in terms of whether the attention-monitoring component of mindfulness training alone reduces mind wandering or whether the acceptance training component is necessary for reducing mind wandering.

147 adults were randomised to either a 3-day brief mindfulness training condition incorporating instruction in both attention monitoring and acceptance, a mindfulness training condition incorporating attention monitoring instruction only, a relaxation training condition, or an active reading-control condition. Acceptance training was found to be important for reducing mind wandering, such that the attention-monitoring plus acceptance mindfulness training condition had the lowest mind wandering relative to the other conditions, including significantly lower mind wandering than the attention-monitoring only mindfulness training condition. Researchers conclude that acceptance skills may facilitate emotion regulation on attention tasks that foster mind wandering.

Peace to you all this Thursday.

Heather Mason

Founder of the Minded Institute, The Minded Institute

Heather Mason is a leader in the field of mind-body therapy and the founder of Yoga Therapy for the Mind. She develops innovative methods for mental health treatment drawing on her robust educational background including an MA in Psychotherapy, an MA in Buddhist Studies, studies in Neuroscience and a current MSc in Medical Physiology.. She is also a 500 RYT, a yoga therapist and an MBCT facilitator. Heather offers various professional trainings for yoga teachers, healthcare professionals and therapists, lectures around the world, and delivers training to medical students. She also develops protocols for different client populations by translating cutting edge research from the psycho-biology and neuro-biology of stress into yoga practices, breathwork, mindfulness interventions and therapeutic holding. Further she is involved in research on the efficacy of these practices, holds the annual UK yoga therapy conference and is blazing the trail for the integration of yoga therapy into the NHS