How Mindfulness Helps You Cope with Stress

A new study finds that being mindful can affect not only how you feel about the stressors of your life, but how you actively cope with them.

tonktiti / Adobe Stock

A growing body of research finds that mindful people tend to be happier and feel less stressed. We’re not entirely sure why this happens. One possible explanation is that mindful individuals have an easier time taking life’s challenges in stride, and are more flexible in the ways they deal with difficulties. This, in turn, may improve their health and well-being. 

To find out if this might be true, researchers asked 157 undergraduate students at the University of Connecticut to fill out an online mindfulness questionnaire at the beginning of the school year. The following month, students completed a daily online questionnaire at the end of each day for seven days.

The daily survey included a list of 17 potential stressors. Students indicated which of those stressors they’d experienced that day, then rated which event was the “worst or most bothersome.” They then answered questions about the “worst” event that day, such as how stressful it was and how much control they felt. Next, they were given a list of possible coping strategies like acceptance, positive reappraisal, self-blame, or giving up,…