Mental balance and well-being: building bridges between Buddhism and Western psychology

Am Psychol. 2006 Oct;61(7):690-701. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.61.7.690.


Clinical psychology has focused primarily on the diagnosis and treatment of mental disease, and only recently has scientific attention turned to understanding and cultivating positive mental health. The Buddhist tradition, on the other hand, has focused for over 2,500 years on cultivating exceptional states of mental well-being as well as identifying and treating psychological problems. This article attempts to draw on centuries of Buddhist experiential and theoretical inquiry as well as current Western experimental research to highlight specific themes that are particularly relevant to exploring the nature of mental health. Specifically, the authors discuss the nature of mental well-being and then present an innovative model of how to attain such well-being through the cultivation of four types of mental balance: conative, attentional, cognitive, and affective.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology*
  • Affect / physiology
  • Attention / physiology
  • Buddhism / psychology*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Humans
  • Mental Health*
  • Models, Psychological
  • Psychology, Clinical / methods*
  • Psychology, Clinical / trends
  • Religion and Psychology*