A neurobehavioral account for decentering as the salve for the distressed mind.


University of Michigan, United States. Electronic address: [Email]


Distress is commonly characterized by prolonged internal suffering that can range from self-focused processing of negative emotions and stressors, to highly intensely aversive and prolonged emotional states, thereby, worsening or complicating emotional and physical conditions. Decentering represents a metacognitive capacity thought to reflect three interrelated processes: meta-awareness, disidentification from internal experience, and reduced reactivity to thought content-which is reliably increased with mindfulness-based interventions. In this essay, we seek to link the clinical presentation of distress disorders to known or hypothesized disruptions in neural networks that underlie emotion, cognition, and goal directed behavior, and offer a neurobehavioral account for how and why treatments imbued with mindfulness meditation might ameliorate these conditions, in part through increases in decentering.