Habitual worrying and benefits of mindfulness

Bas Verplanken, Naomi Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (SciVal)


Although worry is in essence an adaptive mental
activity, habitual worrying (repetitive and automatic worried
thinking) is dysfunctional. Two studies investigated whether
mindfulness mitigated adverse consequences of habitual
worrying. The beneficial role of mindfulness was hypothesized
on the basis of two key features: a focus on the
immediate experience and an attitude of acceptance towards
whatever arises in the stream of consciousness. These features
map inversely on habitual worrying, which is characterized
by a focus away from the present and a nonaccepting
attitude towards the object of worry. In study 1,
it was found that, while habitual worrying correlated significantly
with test anxiety, dispositional mindfulness partially
mediated this relationship. Study 2 demonstrated that experimentally
induced mindfulness made habitual worriers more
tolerant to viewing distressing images. Together the studies
suggest that mindfulness may function as an antidote to
unconstructive consequences of habitual worrying.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)566-573
Issue number5
Early online date11 Apr 2013
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014


  • Habitual worrying . Mindfulness, Anxiety , Test anxiety


Dive into the research topics of 'Habitual worrying and benefits of mindfulness'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this