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Conceptualizing and contextualizing mindfulness: New and critical perspectives
University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. University of Skövde, Health and Education. Högskolan i Jönköping, Hälsohögskolan.
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation aims at analyzing mindfulness as a concept and a multidimensional phenomenon in its historic and primordial but also contemporary contexts. In the course of examining this more general question, this dissertation targets four specific objectives: 1) classifying existing definitions of mindfulness, 2) critically analyzing and interpreting the Buddhist and Western interpretations and practices of mindfulness, 3) elaborating on the social and existential dimensions of mindfulness, and 4) applying these dimensions in advancing the notion of mindful sustainable aging in the context of successful aging. Paper I examines and assesses the numerous definitions of mindfulness that have been presented over the years by a wide range of scholars from a variety of disciplines. Paper II traces the roots of modern mindfulness in Buddhism. It continues by exploring the utility and practices of mindfulness in the context of social work. The definitions provided in Paper I and the Buddhist underpinnings discussed in Paper II call attention to the fact that in addition to the more commonly considered physical and mental dimensions, mindfulness contains a social and an existential dimension as well – dimensions that remain under-researched and not well understood. To redress this imbalance, Paper III elaborates on these two latter dimensions, emphasizing their potential to enhance health, wellbeing and meaning in life. Paper III further argues that a more nuanced understanding of physical, mental, social and existential mindfulness can be obtained by examining the interconnectedness of all four fields. Paper IV continues the discussion of the social and the existential dimensions of mindfulness with specific emphasis on their utility for successful aging, and advances the notion of mindful sustainable aging. Paper IV highlights the potential of mindfulness for living a meaningful life and boosting the elderly’s capacity to find deeper meaning in their final stage of life.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Jönköping: Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare , 2015. , 77 p.
Series
Hälsohögskolans avhandlingsserie, ISSN 1654-3602 ; 60
Keyword [en]
mindfulness, Buddhism, sati, social work, health, sustainable aging
National Category
Social Work Gerontology, specializing in Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-11396ISBN: 978-91-85835-59-1 OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-11396DiVA: diva2:847333
Public defence
2015-09-04, Insikten, Högskolevägen, Skövde, 13:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-08-20 Created: 2015-08-20 Last updated: 2015-11-13Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Reconciling and thematizing definitions of mindfulness
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Reconciling and thematizing definitions of mindfulness
2015 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Mindfulness (or sati in Buddhism) can connote many plausible meanings; thus the concept is not easily defined and the definitions provided in the literature easily confuse the reader. Some mindfulness researchers offer definitions while others do not and take the definition of mindfulness for granted. Beyond the problem of defining mindfulness, the fact that the phenomenon is of great interest to a variety of disciplines, each of which has its own theoretical and methodological approaches, different authors employ different terms in describing this phenomenon. In the present article 30 definitions of mindfulness are reviewed and categorized in terms of four key themes, i.e., mindfulness conceived in terms of an activity, internal mind state, external stimuli, and cultivation. It is argued that until a more thorough, precise and comprehensive definition of mindfulness is formulated, it will be difficult to create protocols, scales and instruments that properly and precisely measure its effectiveness.

Keyword
mindfulness, Buddhism, sati, definition
National Category
Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:his:diva-11394 (URN)
Available from: 2015-08-03 Created: 2015-08-20 Last updated: 2016-03-29Bibliographically approved
2. From Buddhist sati to Western mindfulness practice: A contextual analysis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>From Buddhist sati to Western mindfulness practice: A contextual analysis
2016 (English)In: Journal of Religion & Spirituality in Social Work, ISSN 1542-6432, Vol. 35, no 1-2, 7-23 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Over the last three decades the practice of mindfulness has grown to become one of the most widespread health promoting applications in the West—so much that terms like yoga and meditation have now become standard household words. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the meaning of mindfulness within both its Buddhist and its Western context. In the former case, the aim will be to shed light on mindfulness as a concept and practice that is rooted in Buddhist understandings (i.e., the Buddhist perspective); and in the latter case, the meaning of mindfulness will be more broadly explored in terms of its relevance to society, social work and everyday life (i.e., the social (work) perspective).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2016
Keyword
mindfulness, Buddhism, social work, spirituality
National Category
Social Work Religious Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:his:diva-11393 (URN)10.1080/15426432.2015.1067582 (DOI)000384057700002 ()2-s2.0-84958169246 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2015-08-03 Created: 2015-08-20 Last updated: 2016-10-27Bibliographically approved
3. A four-dimensional model of mindfulness and its implications for health
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A four-dimensional model of mindfulness and its implications for health
2014 (English)In: Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, ISSN 1941-1022, E-ISSN 1943-1562, Vol. 6, no 2, 162-174 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Psychological Association (APA), 2014
National Category
Social Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:his:diva-9521 (URN)10.1037/a0036067 (DOI)000336573700008 ()2-s2.0-84900539934 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2014-06-18 Created: 2014-06-18 Last updated: 2016-03-21Bibliographically approved
4. Mindful sustainable aging: Advancing a comprehensive approach to the challenges and opportunities of old age
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Mindful sustainable aging: Advancing a comprehensive approach to the challenges and opportunities of old age
2015 (English)In: Europe's Journal of Psychology, ISSN 1841-0413, E-ISSN 1841-0413, Vol. 11, no 3, 494-508 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The primary aim of this article is to present a new concept called mindful sustainable aging (MSA), which is informed by mindfulness practices that support the physical, the mental, and especially, the social and the existential dimensions of old life. The concept of MSA is discussed and compared with four influential psychosocial theories in the field of gerontology, i.e., activity theory, disengagement theory, successful aging theory and gerotranscendence theory. The article ends with reviewing research on how mindfulness practice can help to manage, diminish and/or improve a number of serious physical conditions that are common among older people. The potential of mindfulness when it comes to facilitating for older adults in their quest for spiritual and existential meaning is discussed extensively throughout the article.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
PsychOpen, 2015
Keyword
mindfulness, social, existential, sustainable, ageing, activity theory, disengagement, successful aging, gerotranscendence
National Category
Gerontology, specializing in Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:his:diva-11395 (URN)10.5964/ejop.v11i3.949 (DOI)000360680400011 ()2-s2.0-84940197332 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2015-08-04 Created: 2015-08-20 Last updated: 2015-11-13Bibliographically approved

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