Improve the Psychological State of Heart Disease Patients with Mindfulness
By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.
“Not only can meditation improve how your heart functions, but a regular practice can enhance your outlook on life and motivate you to maintain many heart-healthy behaviors, like following a proper diet, getting adequate sleep, and keeping up regular exercise,” – John Denninger
Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. “Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack.” (Centers for Disease Control). A myriad of treatments has been developed for heart disease including a variety of surgical procedures and medications. In addition, lifestyle changes have proved to be effective including quitting smoking, weight reduction, improved diet, physical activity, and reducing stresses. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, 60% of heart failure patients decline participation, making these patients at high risk for another attack.
Safe and effective alternative treatments for cardiovascular disease are contemplative practices, such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga, have also been shown to be helpful for heart health. These practices have also been shown to reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress and to be helpful for producing the kinds of lifestyle changes needed to prevent heart disease such as smoking cessation, and weight reduction. They have also been shown to be effective in maintaining cardiovascular health and the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Hence it is reasonable to continue studying the effects of mindfulness training on patients with cardiovascular disease.
In today’s Research News article “Effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction program on quality of life in cardiovascular disease patients.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6465573/), Jalali and colleagues recruited patients with cardiovascular disease and randomly assigned them either to a wait-list control or to receive and 8-week program of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) that includes body scan and focused meditations, yoga practice, and discussion. Training occurred once a week for 2.5 hours and included daily home practice. They were measured before and after training and 3 months later for self-efficacy and their health.
They found that compared to baseline and the wait-list control group, the group that received the program of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) had significantly increased self-efficacy and quality of life that persisted 3 months after treatment. Hence. MBSR training appears to be safe, effective, and lasting treatment that is very helpful for patients with cardiovascular disease, improving self-efficacy and quality of life.
The improved self-efficacy is very important. It suggests that the patients feel better able to control their health. It suggests that they are more willing to take control of their lives to improve their health. It is well known that changes in lifestyle are very important for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. So, improved self-efficacy would predict that the patients would be more likely to adopt and maintain these lifestyle changes. This would inevitably lead to an improved health and quality of life.
So, improve the psychological state of heart disease patients with mindfulness.
“Given the proven role of stress in heart attacks and coronary artery disease, effective meditation would be appropriate for almost all patients with coronary artery disease.” – Joon Sup Lee
CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies
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Jalali, D., Abdolazimi, M., Alaei, Z., & Solati, K. (2019). Effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction program on quality of life in cardiovascular disease patients. International journal of cardiology. Heart & vasculature, 23, 100356. doi:10.1016/j.ijcha.2019.100356
Cardiovascular disease is one of the most fatal physical illnesses that impose many financial losses on societies every year.
This study was to investigate the effectiveness of a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program on self-efficacy and quality of life in patients with cardiovascular disease.
Material and methods
The samples of this clinical trial were 60 patients who were selected by convenience sampling from patients were diagnosed, clinically interviewed by a cardiologist and randomized to two groups; experimental and control, and then completed Sherer et al. General Self-Efficacy Scale and 36-item Short Form Survey three times; pre-test, post-test, and after 3 months of follow-up. MBSR Program includes the methods that patients learn to calm their minds and body to help them cope with disease that was based on self-efficacy and quality of life. Data analysis was performed by the SPSS v22 using t-test and ANOVA.
The results show that the mean pre-test scores of self-efficacy and quality of life of patients were not significantly different between the experimental and control groups (P > 0.05). However, the mean scores of the two variables were found to be significantly different between the experimental group and the control group on the post-test and follow-up as the research hypotheses were examined (P < 0.01). So that the means of self-efficacy were 60.80 ± 5.91 and 60.40 ± 7.03 and quality of life were 103.80 ± 9.35 and 101.10 ± 9.13 at post-test and 3 months later respectively in experimental group.
Self-efficacy and quality of life of cardiovascular patients could be improved by providing an MBSR program.