Biological Pathways Linking Mindfulness with Health
In order to consider how this capacity of the mind (‘mindfulness’) impacts our biology, this chapter is divided into three parts. First, I formalize an account for how mindfulness might affect health: the mindfulness stress-buffering hypothesis—and then consider the available evidence for this account. Second, I will ground this stress buffering account in an evidence-based biological model (Miller, Chen, & Cole, 2009) depicting how mindfulness influences stress-related neural and peripheral biological pathways, which in turn might explain a broad range of stress-related mental and physical health outcomes. Third, I conclude with thoughts about how this account stimulates new questions that could be fruitfully explored in subsequent research.