Mindfulness and Cardiovascular Disease Risk: State of the Evidence, Plausible Mechanisms, and Theoretical Framework
Department of Medicine; Department of Psychiatry
Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Cardiovascular Diseases
The purpose of this review is to provide (1) a synopsis on relations of mindfulness with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and major CVD risk factors, and (2) an initial consensus-based overview of mechanisms and theoretical framework by which mindfulness might influence CVD. Initial evidence, often of limited methodological quality, suggests possible impacts of mindfulness on CVD risk factors including physical activity, smoking, diet, obesity, blood pressure, and diabetes regulation. Plausible mechanisms include (1) improved attention control (e.g., ability to hold attention on experiences related to CVD risk, such as smoking, diet, physical activity, and medication adherence), (2) emotion regulation (e.g., improved stress response, self-efficacy, and skills to manage craving for cigarettes, palatable foods, and sedentary activities), and (3) self-awareness (e.g., self-referential processing and awareness of physical sensations due to CVD risk factors). Understanding mechanisms and theoretical framework should improve etiologic knowledge, providing customized mindfulness intervention targets that could enable greater mindfulness intervention efficacy.
Cardiovascular disease, Etiology, Mindfulness
DOI of Published Version
Curr Cardiol Rep. 2015 Dec;17(12):112. doi: 10.1007/s11886-015-0668-7. Link to article on publisher's site
Current cardiology reports
Loucks, Eric B.; Schuman-Olivier, Zev; Britton, Willoughby B.; Fresco, David M.; Desbordes, Gaelle; Brewer, Judson A.; and Fulwiler, Carl E., "Mindfulness and Cardiovascular Disease Risk: State of the Evidence, Plausible Mechanisms, and Theoretical Framework" (2015). University of Massachusetts Medical School Faculty Publications. 833.