Contemplative practices have long emphasized the development of mindfulness: a skill that involves present-focused attention and nonjudgmental acceptance of experiences. In the current study, we examine the relationship between these two facets of mindfulness—which are independent in novices—and helping behavior and its emotional correlates. Attention and acceptance each predicted self-reported engagement in real-world helping behavior. Additionally, present-focused attention predicted increased positive emotions during helping—such as love/closeness, moral elevation, and joy—but did not predict negative emotions. By contrast, nonjudgmental acceptance predicted decreased negative emotions during helping—such as stress, disgust, and guilt—but did not predict positive emotions. When helping others, it appears to take two processes—attention and acceptance—to support our intention and reap the richest emotional consequences.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Health(social science)
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Applied Psychology