A broad range of studies conducted over the past 50 years suggest that perceived control is an important construct to physical health and psychological well-being. When people feel that they can exert control, they demonstrate better immune responses, cardiovascular functioning, physical strength, increased longevity, increased life satisfaction, and decreased anxiety and depressive symptoms. The authors discuss how perceived control can be understood through lens of mindfulness without meditation. In this framework, mindfulness is defined as the act of noticing new things, a process that promotes flexible responding to the demands of the environment. It is the opposite of mindlessness, which describes the overreliance on previously learned categories. Both lack of perceived control and mindlessness are rooted in rigidity and a view of the world as unchangeable. The authors present insights into how clinicians can use Langerian mindfulness to improve the perception of control, and therefore well-being, in their clients.
- perceived control