Sitting with It: Examining the Relationship Between Mindfulness, Sustained Attention, and Boredom
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Concentrating on a stimulus or an activity seems like a trivial ability. Sustaining attention for extended periods of time, however, is a challenging experience which becomes increasingly difficult with time. When sustaining attention on an easy task, with the increase in difficulty, one also begins experiencing negative affect such as boredom and discomfort. Increased negative affect during the task is related to poorer performance on the task. This paper integrates and examines formulations derived from two distinct literatures, namely boredom and mindfulness. The present research both replicates and extends previous findings from the coming together of mindfulness and boredom research in the context of sustained attention. In extending past literature, this paper hypothesizes that trait mindfulness would be positively correlated with the ability to sustain attention. Furthermore, this paper argues that this relationship is a function of enhanced affect regulation and not due to enhanced cognitive capacity. While only replicating some findings in the literature, the results provide support for our novel hypotheses, linking mindfulness to sustained attention through enhanced affective regulation.