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Balancing mindfulness and future planning can help consumers stay positive

It can also help shake off daily stressors

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Photo (c) BartekSzewczyk - Getty Images
Experts have found several benefits associated with positivity, including longer life and disease prevention

Now, researchers from North Carolina State University have discovered ways for consumers to be more positive in their daily lives. According to their study, finding a balance between planning for future stressors and staying present in the moment can help consumers keep a brighter disposition. 

“It’s well established that daily stressors can make us more likely to have a negative affect, or bad moods,” said researcher Shevaun Neupert. “Our work here sheds additional light on which variables influence how we respond to daily stress.” 

Letting go of daily stressors

The researchers had over 220 participants involved in the study; half of the group was between the ages of 18 and 36, while the other half of the group was between the ages of 60 and 90. 

At the start of the study, the participants completed surveys that allowed the researchers to assess their baseline level of positivity. The questions had them report on how they typically handle stressful situations and how likely they are to be proactive at handling such stressors. 

Then, for eight days, the researchers had the participants record their moods, things that were stressful, and the aspects of their days where they took the time to be mindful. 

The participants who planned for future stressors, took steps to cope ahead of time, and had high levels of mindfulness were better equipped to handle daily stressors than those with lower levels of mindfulness and fewer future plans. This was true of participants of all ages. 

“Basically, we found that proactive planning and mindfulness account for about a quarter of the variance in how stressors influenced negative affect,” said Neupert. 

Incorporating more mindfulness exercises, including meditating or art, can be a great way for consumers to stay in the present moment and let go of worries about what’s to come. 

“Interventions targeting daily fluctuations in mindfulness may be especially helpful for those who are high in proactive coping and may be more inclined to think ahead to the future at the expense of remaining in the present,” Neupert said. 

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