Mindfulness Broadens Awareness and Builds Eudaimonic Meaning: A Process Model of Mindful Positive Emotion Regulation

Eric L. Garland, Norman A. Farb, Philippe R. Goldin, Barbara L. Fredrickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

276 Scopus citations


Contemporary scholarship on mindfulness casts it as a form of purely nonevaluative engagement with experience. Yet, traditionally mindfulness was not intended to operate in a vacuum of dispassionate observation, but was seen as facilitative of eudaimonic mental states. In spite of this historical context, modern psychological research has neglected to ask the question of how the practice of mindfulness affects downstream emotion regulatory processes to impact the sense of meaning in life. To fill this lacuna, here we describe the mindfulness-to-meaning theory, from which we derive a novel process model of mindful positive emotion regulation informed by affective science, in which mindfulness is proposed to introduce flexibility in the generation of cognitive appraisals by enhancing interoceptive attention, thereby expanding the scope of cognition to facilitate reappraisal of adversity and savoring of positive experience. This process is proposed to culminate in a deepened capacity for meaning-making and greater engagement with life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-314
Number of pages22
JournalPsychological Inquiry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • affective science
  • broaden-and-build
  • emotion regulation
  • eudaimonic well-being
  • interoception
  • mindfulness
  • mindfulness-to-meaning theory
  • positive emotion
  • posttraumatic growth
  • reappraisal
  • upward spiral

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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