Mindfulness: Top–down or bottom–up emotion regulation strategy?

Alberto Chiesa, Alessandro Serretti, Janus Christian Jakobsen
2013 Clinical Psychology Review  
► Mindfulness training (MT) has shown efficacy for many clinical conditions. ► Little is known about the neural correlates supporting the clinical benefits of MT. ► MT could be associated with top-down emotion regulation in short-term practitioners. ► MT could be associated with bottom-up emotion regulation in long-term practitioners. ► Different instructions or mental conditions could influence the neural mechanisms of MT. a b s t r a c t The beneficial clinical effects of mindfulness
more » ... are receiving increasing support from empirical studies. However, the functional neural mechanisms underlying these benefits have not been thoroughly investigated. Some authors suggest that mindfulness should be described as a 'top-down' emotion regulation strategy, while others suggest that mindfulness should be described as a 'bottom-up' emotion regulation strategy. Current discrepancies might derive from the many different descriptions and applications of mindfulness. The present review aims to discuss current descriptions of mindfulness and the relationship existing between mindfulness practice and most commonly investigated emotion regulation strategies. Recent results from functional neuro-imaging studies investigating mindfulness training within the context of emotion regulation are presented. We suggest that mindfulness training is associated with 'top-down' emotion regulation in short-term practitioners and with 'bottom-up' emotion regulation in long-term practitioners. Limitations of current evidence and suggestions for future research on this topic are discussed.
doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2012.10.006 pmid:23142788 fatcat:6pqvvccderdojlgytnjh6puuw4