Gaining perspective: Evaluating links between mindfulness, temporal perspective, and subjective trajectories for life satisfaction
Naisani Samani, Mojan
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Mindfulness is defined as the present-focused awareness of one’s moment-to-moment experiences. Studies have found links between greater mindfulness and more positive outcomes. Such links have been interpreted as indicating that greater emphasis on the present is beneficial. However, despite the conceptual link between mindfulness and the present, mindfulness has yet to be investigated in relation to temporal perspective. Temporal perspective encompasses cognitive involvement across the subjective past, present, and anticipated future, and comprises multiple components, including temporal focus, distance, overlap, and value. Similarly, mindfulness has not been examined in relation to well-being utilizing a temporally-expanded approach – for example, based on how individuals view their life satisfaction (LS) to be unfolding over time. The aim of this Master’s thesis was to evaluate the relations between: mindfulness and LS, including beliefs about how one’s LS is unfolding over time (Goal 1); mindfulness and temporal perspective (Goal 2); temporal perspective and LS (Goal 3); and temporal perspective as a mediator of the relations between mindfulness and LS (Goal 4). A community sample of younger adults (N = 305, 55% female) completed an on-line questionnaire containing measures of trait mindfulness, temporal perspective (focus, distance, overlap, and value of the past, present, and future), and LS (recollected past, present, and anticipated future). Regarding Goal 1, mindfulness was associated with higher past, present, and anticipated future LS, but unrelated to how individuals view their LS as unfolding over time. Regarding Goal 2, mindfulness was linked with temporal perspective concerning the present (temporal focus, value), but also the past (temporal focus, distance, value), and the future (temporal focus, value). Regarding Goal 3, various aspects of temporal perspective were linked with LS, including current temporal focus, past-current temporal overlap, and current temporal value. Regarding Goal 4, temporal focus and value mediated the predictive effect of mindfulness on current LS. Together, these results suggest that mindfulness can be understood from a temporally-expanded perspective, encompassing not only how we view our present lives, but also how we view our past and anticipated future lives. Implications for existing conceptualizations of mindfulness, temporal perspective, and LS are discussed.