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This Senior Project is an investigation into the Buddhist practice of mindfulness meditation as having implications for health, stress, emotional, and attentional regulation, mainly through an analysis of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. Chapter 1 explores psychological interpretations of Buddhism; both psychology and Buddhism are fields of study where interpretation and application of theories are necessary components of an insight process. An analysis of the Four Noble Truths, anattā (no-self) and meditation, is conducted in the context of the Western psychological tradition. The second chapter surveys the successes and criticisms of configuring mindfulness meditation as an operationally defined psychological variable. In Chapter 2, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy are explained as methods for treatment intervention. The third chapter is an evaluation of current theories of the stress response including a discussion of allostasis, allostatic load, Han Selye’s general adaptation syndrome, the experience of emotion, and coping. The fourth chapter is a literature review of studies concerning the psychobiology of stress and mindfulness correlates. Changes in autonomic nervous system, the endocrine system, the limbic system, and the immune system can be observed in cases of chronic stress. Evidence that mindfulness practice can reduce the impact of such stress is evaluated. The fifth chapter is a phenomenological investigation of a 7-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at Bard College. This entire project demonstrates the use and practicality of mindfulness meditation, both formally and informally, in the Western psychological tradition as a form of stress reduction and therapy.
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Kidd, Alison Marie, "Meditation-as-Therapy: How Buddhist Psychology Can Improve Health" (2014). Senior Projects Spring 2014. 322.
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