Improve Tolerance for Distress with Brief Mindfulness Training

Improve Tolerance for Distress with Brief Mindfulness Training

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

when you are being mindful of your emotions you don’t fight the wave, but instead allow the wave to carry you over its crest and down the other side, or you might choose to surf the wave allowing it to carry you into shore.” – Lisa Saulsman

 

Psychological distress is related to an increase in physiological stress responses. That is, when the individual is anxious, ruminating, or having negative emotions, the physiology including the hormonal system reacts. The increased activity can be measured in heightened stress hormones in the blood and increased heart rate, blood pressure etc. These physiological stress responses on the short-term are adaptive and help to fight off infection, toxins, injury, etc. Unfortunately, psychological distress is often persistent and chronic and resulting in chronic stress which in turn can produce disease.

 

Many of the symptoms of psychological distress have been shown to be related to a lack of mindfulness. Anxiety is often rooted in a persistent dread of future negative events while rumination is rooted in the past, with persistent replaying of negative past events. Since mindfulness is firmly rooted in the present it is antagonistic toward anything rooted in the past or future. Hence, high levels of mindfulness cannot coexist with anxiety and rumination. In addition, high mindfulness has been shown to be related to high levels of emotion regulation and positive emotions. So, mindfulness would appear to be an antidote to psychological distress.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effect of a Brief Mindfulness Training on Distress Tolerance and Stress Reactivity.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6494113/), Carpenter and colleagues recruited undergraduate students who had no experience with mindfulness or meditation practices and measured them for mindfulness, anxiety, depression, perceived stress. mindfulness use, and respiration. They were then measured for distress tolerance with a cold pressor task in which they were asked to keep their arm in very cold water for as long as they could (up to a maximum of 180 seconds). They were also asked to hyperventilate for as long as they could (up to a maximum of 300 seconds). After having completed these tasks they were randomly assigned to receive either 15 minutes of relaxation with music or mindfulness training with meditation and non-judgmental awareness. They then repeated the distress tasks. Finally, only after training they were asked to write a sentence stating that a good friend will be in a bad car accident and think about and visualize the scene. Participants were asked to rate their level of distress prior to each task and after the task to rate their maximal level of distress during the task,

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the relaxation condition, after mindfulness training there was a significant increase in persistence of hyperventilation, time continuing to hyperventilate. The mindfulness participants also were less likely to attempt to neutralize feelings produced by stating and visualizing a friend in a future car accident. There were no significant effects of training on the reported levels of distress. They also found that using mindfulness nonjudging and nonreacting mediated the effect of mindfulness training on persistence in the cold pressor and urge to neutralize feelings in the car accident tasks, such that mindfulness training not only directly affected these outcomes but also indirectly by increasing these uses of mindfulness which in turn affected performance.

 

These results suggest that a brief mindfulness training produces a greater ability to tolerate physical and psychological distress. They also suggest that mindfulness has these effects in part by inducing mindful nonjudgment and nonreaction. The ability to engage in a stressful task appears to be improved by observing it in the present moment nonjudgmentally and nonreactively.

 

Mindfulness training has been previously shown to reduce distress, pain, and responding to stress. What is new and interesting here is that such a brief mindfulness training can have significant effects like these. This suggests that brief mindfulness training may be beneficially employed whenever and individual is about to engage in a distressful task, such as working through traumatic experiences, engaging in athletic endeavors, etc., making the individual better able to focus on the present moment and better cope with the distress.

 

So, improve tolerance for distress with brief mindfulness training.

 

mindfulness is believed to facilitate increased distress tolerance and nonjudgmental acceptance of unpleasant experiences.” – Andrew Bliesner

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Carpenter, J. K., Sanford, J., & Hofmann, S. G. (2019). The Effect of a Brief Mindfulness Training on Distress Tolerance and Stress Reactivity. Behavior therapy, 50(3), 630–645. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beth.2018.10.003

 

Highlights

  • Mindfulness training increased distress tolerance on the hyperventilation challenge
  • Mindfulness training led to reduced urges to neutralize an upsetting thought
  • No effect of the intervention was seen on subjective distress
  • Lower trait awareness predicted a greater effect of mindfulness on hyperventilation

Abstract

Distress tolerance (DT) is considered an underlying facet of anxiety, depression and a number of other psychological disorders. Mindfulness may help to increase DT by fostering an attitude of acceptance non-judgment toward distressing experiences. Accordingly, the present study examined the effects of a brief mindfulness training on tolerance of different types of distress, and tested whether trait mindfulness moderates the effect of such training. Undergraduates (n = 107) naïve to mindfulness completed a measure of trait mindfulness and underwent a series of stress tasks (cold pressor, hyperventilation challenge, neutralization task) before and after completing a 15-minute mindfulness training or a no-instruction control in which participants listened to relaxing music. Participants in the mindfulness condition demonstrated greater task persistence on the hyperventilation task compared to the control group, as well as a decreased urge to neutralize the effects of writing an upsetting sentence. No effect on distress ratings during the tasks were found. Overall trait mindfulness did not significantly moderate task persistence, but those with lower scores on the act with awareness facet of mindfulness demonstrated greater relative benefit of mindfulness training on the hyperventilation challenge. Mediation analyses revealed significant indirect effects of mindfulness training on cold pressor task persistence and urges to neutralize through the use of the non-judge and non-react facets of mindfulness. These results suggest that a brief mindfulness training can increase DT without affecting the subjective experience of distress.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6494113/

 

Improve Well-Being and Relaxation of Patients Undergoing Rehabilitation for Acquired Brain Injuries with Yoga Practice

Improve Well-Being and Relaxation of Patients Undergoing Rehabilitation for Acquired Brain Injuries with Yoga Practice

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“One of the things about yoga that is different from traditional rehabilitation exercises is that it is more whole-body focused. It helps people learn to take their nervous systems to a more calm and relaxed state, which helps with healing.” –Kristine Miller

 

Brain damage is more or less permanent. The neurons and neural structures that are destroyed when the brain is damaged for the most part do not regrow. Brain Injury is caused by a number of different events from a violent blow to the head (Traumatic Brain Injury, TBI), to interruption of the blood supply to the brain (strokes), and to demyelinating diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS). These neurological diseases are common and disabling. In the United States it is estimated that annually 1.7 million people sustain Traumatic Brain Injury, while 400,000 people are diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and about 800,000 people have strokes.

 

Regardless of the cause, the brain is damaged, and the tissues that are destroyed are permanently lost. But we know that people can recover to some extent from brain injury.  How is it possible that recovery can occur when there is no replacement of the damaged tissue? There appears to be a number of strategies that are employed by the brain to assist in recovery. Other areas of the brain can take over some of the function, other behavioral strategies can be employed to accomplish the task, and non-injured areas of the brain can adapt and change to compensate for the lost function.

 

Rehabilitation for brain injury patients usually involves strategies to promote these recovery mechanisms. Mindfulness training has been found to be helpful in recover from Traumatic Brain InjuryMultiple Sclerosis, and stroke. Yoga is both a mindfulness practice and an exercise making it a potentially ideal practice to promote rehabilitation from brain injury.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Lived Experience and Patient-reported Benefits of Yoga Participation in an Inpatient Brain Injury Rehabilitation Setting.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6937874/), Seeney and Griffin recruited adults with acquired brain injuries who were inpatients in a brain injury rehabilitation unit. They participated in once weekly 1-hour Hatha yoga classes that were modified for brain injury patients. They were measured before and after each yoga class for relaxation, well-being, and satisfaction with the class. After the second yoga class they completed a semi-structured interview on their lived experience while in rehabilitation.

 

They found that over each class and over the first 3 classes compared to baseline there were significant improvements in the relaxation and well-being of the patients. Qualitative analysis of the semi-structured interviews revealed that the participants found that participation in the yoga classes improved their levels of relaxation, their physical well-being including flexibility and movements, present moment awareness, and self-awareness.

 

Although this study was small, short-term, and lacked a control group, the results suggest that yoga training can be successfully implemented in a brain injury rehabilitation unit. It suggests that yoga practice is seen as beneficial by the patients with acquired brain injuries and it improved their well-being and relaxation. Although not investigated, it would be expected that this would improve their rehabilitation.

 

So, improve well-being and relaxation of patients undergoing rehabilitation for acquired brain injuries with yoga practice.

 

A growing science is showing that the dynamic and multifaceted nature of yoga has tremendous potential to foster healing from brain injury. Not only does yoga offer a pathway to improved strength, attention control, and stress management, it can also provide people with powerful opportunities to look inward, connect with themselves more deeply, and discover their capacity to move forward.” – Kyla Pearce

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Seeney, R., & Griffin, J. (2020). The Lived Experience and Patient-reported Benefits of Yoga Participation in an Inpatient Brain Injury Rehabilitation Setting. International journal of yoga, 13(1), 25–31. https://doi.org/10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_46_19

 

Abstract

Context:

The multifactorial benefits of yoga have been well documented in the literature, with the integration of yoga therapy into healthcare being an emerging field. In general, yoga therapy programs are utilized in the community as an adjunct to other therapy. At present, limited rehabilitation units routinely incorporate integrative therapy options within a hospital environment.

Aims:

The aim of this study is to explore the lived experience and patient-reported benefits of yoga in an inpatient brain injury rehabilitation setting.

Settings and Design:

Thirty-one participants were recruited to the study after voluntarily participating in a yoga class within an inpatient brain injury rehabilitation unit of a major metropolitan hospital. Yoga sessions were held weekly for 60 min and consisted of a modified Hatha yoga style. This was a mixed-methods, quasi-experimental one-group pretest–posttest study.

Methodology:

Quantitative data were collected to measure perceptions of relaxation and well-being before and after yoga classes, along with the satisfaction of the class. Semi-structured interviews were utilized to collect qualitative data of experiences and perceptions associated with yoga participation.

Statistical Analysis Used:

Thematic analysis was completed for qualitative data. Quantitative data were analyzed using nonparametric statistical methods, and descriptive statistics were also provided.

Results:

The benefits described by participants are reported in this paper. These include improved relaxation, physical well-being, emotional well-being, being present, and self-awareness.

Conclusions:

This study describes the personal benefits experienced from regular yoga participation within an inpatient rehabilitation setting.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6937874/

 

Tai Chi Improves the Quality of Life and Relieves Physical and Psychological Symptoms of Breast Cancer Survivors.

Tai Chi Improves the Quality of Life and Relieves Physical and Psychological Symptoms of Breast Cancer Survivors.

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

For patients with cancer, Tai Chi and Qigong provide benefit to many of the side effects associated with cancer and cancer treatment.” – Susan Yaguda

 

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer has a huge impact on most people. Feelings of depression, anxiety, and fear are very common and are normal responses to this life-changing and potentially life-ending experience. But cancer diagnosis is not necessarily a death sentence. Over half of the people diagnosed with cancer are still alive 10 years later and this number is rapidly increasing. But, surviving cancer carries with it a number of problems. Anxiety, depression, fatigue and insomnia are common symptoms in the aftermath of surviving breast cancer. These symptoms markedly reduce the quality of life of the patients.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with cancer recovery and help to alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depressionTai Chi or Qigong practice has been shown to improve quality of life, reduce fatigue, and lower blood pressure and cortisol levels. They are very gentle and safe practices. The research on the effectiveness of Tai Chi training for breast cancer patients is accumulating. So, it makes sense to take a step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of Tai Chi Chuan in Breast Cancer Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7191057/), Luo and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published randomized controlled clinical trials of the effectiveness of Tai Chi training for breast cancer patients. They found 15 published research controlled clinical trials.

 

They report that the published research found that Tai Chi training practice produced significant improvements in the quality of life of the patients that persisted for 6 months after the cessation of training. They also report that Tai Chi training improved shoulder function including arm function and reduced shoulder pain. They also found significant reductions in anxiety and fatigue with Tai Chi training in breast cancer patients.

 

These results demonstrate that Tai Chi training produces substantial and lasting improvements in the physical and psychological well-being of breast cancer patients, relieving suffering and improving quality of life. Tai Chi is an ancient mindfulness practice that involves slow prescribed movements. It is gentle and completely safe, can be used with the elderly and sickly, are inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility or even public park, and can be quickly learned. In addition, it can be practiced in social groups without professional supervision. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice. Hence Tai Chi training should be recommended for breast cancer patients.

 

So, Tai Chi improves the quality of life and relieves physical and psychological symptoms of breast cancer survivors.

 

tai chi helps counteract the body’s natural inflammatory response when it’s subjected to harsh cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy.” – Karen Mustian

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Luo, X. C., Liu, J., Fu, J., Yin, H. Y., Shen, L., Liu, M. L., Lan, L., Ying, J., Qiao, X. L., Tang, C. Z., & Tang, Y. (2020). Effect of Tai Chi Chuan in Breast Cancer Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in oncology, 10, 607. https://doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2020.00607

 

Abstract

Background: Tai Chi Chuan(TCC), as a mind-body exercise, may have a positive impact on physical function and psychological well-being in breast cancer patients. The latest systematic review and meta-analysis of TCC for breast cancer was made 4 years ago and some new clinical trials about it were published. We remade a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the effect of TCC in breast cancer patients.

Methods: In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we searched MEDLINE (via PubMed), EMBASE (via embase.com), CENTRAL, CNKI, COVIP, Wanfang, Chaoxing, CiNii, J-SSTAGE, DBpia, and ThaiJO with no language restrictions from inception to December 31, 2018 (updated on February 16, 2020), for randomized clinical trials comparing TCC with non-exercised therapy in breast cancer patients. The primary outcome was quality of life in patients with breast cancer and data pooled by a random-effects model. Subgroup analyses were conducted to estimate the effect of different durations of TCC for breast cancer patients. This study was registered in PROSPERO, number CRD 4201810326.

Results: Fifteen articles involving a total of 885 breast cancer participants were included in this review. Compared with non-exercised therapy, TCC had a significant effect on quality of life in breast cancer patients (SMD = 0.37, 95% CI 0.15–0.59, p = 0.001), and subgroup analysis found that TCC showed beneficial effect in 12 weeks and 25 weeks (12 weeks: SMD = 0.40, 95% CI 0.19–0.62, p = 0.0003; 25 weeks: SMD = 0.38, 95% CI 0.15–0.62, p = 0.002). Meta-analyses of secondary outcomes showed that 3 weeks TCC increased shoulder function (SMD = 1.08, 95% CI 0.28–1.87, p = 0.008), 12 weeks TCC improved pain (SMD = 0.30, 95% CI 0.08–0.51, p = 0.007), shoulder function (SMD = 1.34, 95% CI 0.43–2.25, p = 0.004), strength of arm (SMD = 0.44, 95% CI 0.20–0.68, p = 0.0004), and anxiety (MD = −4.90, 95% CI −7.83 to −1.98, p = 0.001) in breast cancer patients compared with the control group.

Conclusions: TCC appears to be effective on some physical and psychological symptoms and improves the quality of life in patients with breast cancer. Additional randomized controlled trials with a rigorous methodology and low risk of bias are needed to provide more reliable evidence.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7191057/

 

Improve Resilience and Inner Peace to Reduce Negative Views of the Past with Mindfulness

Improve Resilience and Inner Peace to Reduce Negative Views of the Past with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness promotes a more balanced time perspective, with a reduced focus on negative aspects of the past and negative anticipations of the future.” – Michael Rönnlund

 

Mindfulness stresses present moment awareness, minimizing focus on past memories and

future planning. Depression is characterized by a focus on the past while anxiety is characterized by focus on the future. This is representative of a past-negative time perspective which is a pessimistic negative view of what transpired in the past. Although awareness of the past and future are important, focus on the present moment generally leads to greater psychological health and well-being. This is generally characterized by inner peach which is a mild positive state with calmness and harmony in the mind. Although these concepts are well known, their interrelationships and the effect of meditation practice on them, have not been well studied.

 

In today’s Research News article “Dispositional Mindfulness and Past-Negative Time Perspective: The Differential Mediation Effects of Resilience and Inner Peace in Meditators and Non-Meditators.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7212969/), Ge and colleagues recruited adults over the internet who regularly meditated and those who did not. They completed questionnaires measuring their meditation experience, mindfulness, resilience, inner peace, and past-negative time perspective.

 

They found that mindfulness, resilience, and inner peace were all significantly and positively inter-related and negatively related to past-negative time perspective. They also found that the meditators had significantly higher levels of mindfulness and inner peace and lower levels of past-negative time perspective than the non-meditators. Structural equation modelling revealed that the negative relationship between mindfulness and past-negative time perspective was mediated by the relationships of mindfulness with resilience and inner peace. That is the higher the levels of mindfulness the higher the levels of resilience and inner peace which in turn were related to lower levels of past-negative time perspective. Non-meditators also had an additional direct negative relationship between mindfulness and past-negative time perspective.

 

It should be kept in mind that these results are correlational and causation cannot be determined. But they suggest that mindfulness is associated with greater ability to cope with difficulties, resilience, greater calmness and mental harmony, inner peace, and a less negative pessimistic perspective of past events. In addition, mindfulness’ relationship with less past-negative time perspective, in part, occurs due to mindfulness’ relationship with resilience and inner peace.

 

It can be postulated that mindfulness produces a positive state that is resistant to disruption by events and this produces a more positive assessment of what occurred in the past. This, in turn, prevents the emergence of negative emotional states such as anxiety and depression. This may represent a mechanism whereby mindfulness alters the individual’s psychological makeup resulting in greater psychological health and well-being.

 

So, improve resilience and inner peace to reduce negative views of the past with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness is about being fully aware of each moment in your life. Each thought, feeling, sensation and experience are accepted for what it is. There’s no battle going on in your head and heart. You are open to it ALL.” – Bev Janisch

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Ge, J., Yang, J., Song, J., Jiang, G., & Zheng, Y. (2020). Dispositional Mindfulness and Past-Negative Time Perspective: The Differential Mediation Effects of Resilience and Inner Peace in Meditators and Non-Meditators. Psychology research and behavior management, 13, 397–405. https://doi.org/10.2147/PRBM.S229705

 

Abstract

Purpose

Past-negative time perspective (PNTP) can affect our everyday lives and is associated with negative emotions, unhealthy behaviors, rumination, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Dispositional mindfulness may be able to reduce the negative effects of PNTP; however, few studies have investigated their relationship. Thus, the purpose of this study was to explore the effect dispositional mindfulness has on PNTP, as well as the mediating role of resilience and inner peace in this regard.

Methods

This study investigated the cross-sectional relationship between self-reported mindfulness, resilience, inner peace, and PNTP. In order to further explore the relationship between mindfulness and PNTP, this study specially selected and analyzed the samples of 185 meditators and 181 non-meditators.

Results

Correlation analysis revealed that mindfulness is significantly positively correlated with resilience and inner peace. Conversely, PNTP is significantly negatively correlated with mindfulness, resilience, and inner peace. Structural equation model analysis revealed that resilience and inner peace partially mediated the relationship between mindfulness and PNTP. Furthermore, a multi-group analysis showed that the mediating effects are different between meditators and non-meditators. For meditators, the effect of mindfulness on PNTP was fully mediated by resilience and inner peace. For non-meditators, the effect of mindfulness on PNTP was only partially mediated by resilience and inner peace.

Conclusion

Based on the significant differences between the mediational models of meditators and non-meditators, we believe that dispositional mindfulness can negatively predict PNTP, and practicing meditation consistently improves dispositional mindfulness, resilience and inner peace and effectively reduces PNTP. Our findings indicate that a combination of mindfulness and PNTP could be used to design new psychological interventions to reduce the symptoms of mental health concerns such as negative bias, rumination, depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7212969/

 

Lunchtime Mindfulness and Exercise Training have only Weak Benefits for Stress and Mental Health

Lunchtime Mindfulness and Exercise Training have only Weak Benefits for Stress and Mental Health

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

The research is strong for mindfulness’ positive impact in certain areas of mental health, including stress reduction, emotion and attention regulation, reduced rumination, for reducing mild to moderate depression and anxiety, and preventing depressive relapse.” – Kelle Walsh

 

Over the last several decades, research and anecdotal experiences have accumulated an impressive evidential case that the development of mindfulness has positive benefits for the individual’s mental, physical, and spiritual life. Mindfulness appears to be beneficial both for healthy people and for people suffering from a myriad of mental and physical illnesses. It appears to be beneficial across ages, from children to the elderly. And it appears to be beneficial across genders, personalities, race, and ethnicity. The breadth and depth of benefits is unprecedented. There is no other treatment or practice that has been shown to come anyway near the range of mindfulness’ positive benefits.

 

Exercise can also improve emotions and their regulation. More and more businesses are employing mindfulness training for their employees improving their well-being and promoting creativity and productivity. So, it makes sense to study the relative abilities of exercise and mindfulness training in the workplace in promoting well-being.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness versus Physical Exercise: Effects of Two Recovery Strategies on Mental Health, Stress and Immunoglobulin A during Lunch Breaks. A Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7215846/), Díaz-Silveira and colleagues recruited mid-level professionals with moderate stress levels who were nor either regularly exercising or practicing mindfulness from a large multinational company. They were randomly assigned to a no-treatment, mindfulness, or exercise group. Mindfulness training consisted of a modified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. Exercise consisted of aerobic gym and outdoor workouts. “The intervention took place during the five working days of five consecutive weeks, during which the two active groups practiced MM or PE during the lunch break (before having lunch), with equal time intervals of 15 min in the first week, 20 min in the second week, 25 min in the third week and 30 min in the fourth and fifth weeks.” They were measured before and after training and 1 and 6 months later for perceived stress and general mental health and provided saliva samples that were assayed for immunoglobulin A.

 

They found that immediately after the 5-weeks of training both the mindfulness and exercise groups had significant reduction in perceived stress including harassment, overload, and irritability-tension-fatigue dimensions. But these improvements were no longer present 1 and 6 months later. They also found that at the 6-month follow up the mindfulness group had significantly improved mental health.

 

These are interesting but somewhat disappointing results. Mindfulness training and exercise appeared to reduce perceived stress levels but the benefits did not last. Also, the mental health benefit for mindfulness training was only apparent at the 6-month follow-up. Prior research has routinely reported lasting reductions in perceived stress and mental health. This suggests that mindfulness and exercise training during the work lunch hour is not the best way to approach mindfulness training in the workplace. The reasons for this should be explored in future research. But it is possible that the rest and relaxation during lunchtime is important for well-being and that filling this time with mindfulness and exercise practice is somewhat counterproductive.

 

So, lunchtime mindfulness and exercise training have only weak benefits for stress and mental health.

 

Mindfulness is recommended as a treatment for people with mental ill-health as well as those who want to improve their mental health and wellbeing.” – Mental Health Foundation

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Díaz-Silveira, C., Alcover, C. M., Burgos, F., Marcos, A., & Santed, M. A. (2020). Mindfulness versus Physical Exercise: Effects of Two Recovery Strategies on Mental Health, Stress and Immunoglobulin A during Lunch Breaks. A Randomized Controlled Trial. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(8), 2839. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17082839

 

Abstract

This research analyses the effects of mindfulness meditation (MM) and physical exercise (PE), practised as daily recovery activities during lunch breaks, on perceived stress, general mental health, and immunoglobin A (IgA). A three-armed randomized controlled trial with 94 employees was conducted for five weeks including two follow-up sessions after one and six months. Daily practice lasted 30 min maximum. Perceived stress and general mental health questionnaires and saliva samples were used. There were significant differences in time factor comparing pre- and post-test of Perceived Stress Questionnaire (PSQ) both for PE [Mdiff = 0.10, SE = 0.03, p = 0.03], and for MM [Mdiff = 0.09, SE = 0.03, p = 0.03]. Moreover, there were significant differences of interaction factor when comparing MM vs. PE in total score at pre-post [F = −2.62 (6, 168.84), p = 0.02, ω2 = 0.09], favoring PE with medium and high effect sizes. Regarding General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) variable, practicing MM showed significant effects in time factor compared to pre-Fup2. No significant differences were found for IgA. Thus, practicing both MM and PE as recovery strategies during lunch breaks could reduce perceived stress after five weeks of practice, with better results for PE. Moreover, practicing MM could improve mental health with effects for 6 months.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7215846/

 

Mindfulness Improves Physical Health

Mindfulness Improves Physical Health

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness benefits our bodies, not just our minds.” – Jill Suttie

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to be effective in improving physical and psychological health and particularly with the physical and psychological reactions to stress. Techniques such as Mindfulness Training, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) as well as Yoga practice and Tai Chi or Qigong practice have been demonstrated to be effective. This has led to an increasing adoption of these mindfulness techniques for the health and well-being of both healthy and ill individuals.

 

The evidence has been accumulating. So, it is reasonable to step back and summarize what has been learned and examine possible mechanism by which mindfulness may improve physical health. In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness Training and Physical Health: Mechanisms and Outcomes.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6613793/), Creswell and colleagues review and summarize the published controlled research studies on mindfulness effects on physical health.

 

They report that the published randomized controlled trials found that mindfulness training produced significant improvements in chronic pain management, including low back pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia. They also report that mindfulness training produced significant improvements in stress related health conditions, including psoriasis, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), irritable bowel syndrome, type 2 diabetes, HIV progression, inflammatory responses, and even colds. Hence, mindfulness training appears to significantly improve the physical health of the individual.

 

They postulate that mindfulness training improves health primarily through improving the physiological, psychological, and behavioral responses to stress. They postulate that it affects the physiological stress responses by modulating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal hormonal responses to stress.  They further postulate that it affects the psychological stress responses by improving the monitoring and acceptance of stress. Finally, they postulate that mindfulness training improves health behaviors including reduced smoking, and improved diet, sleep, and activity all of which promote health.

 

The review indicates that there is substantial evidence that mindfulness training is good for health and improves a wide range of physiological, psychological, and behavioral responses that contribute to good health. It appears that reactions to stress may be central to these benefits. Regardless, it is clear that mindfulness improves health.

 

So, mindfulness improves physical health.

 

If greater well-being isn’t enough of an incentive, scientists have discovered that mindfulness techniques help improve physical health in a number of ways. Mindfulness can: help relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, , improve sleep, and alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties.” – Harvard Health

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Creswell, J. D., Lindsay, E. K., Villalba, D. K., & Chin, B. (2019). Mindfulness Training and Physical Health: Mechanisms and Outcomes. Psychosomatic medicine, 81(3), 224–232. https://doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0000000000000675

 

Abstract

Objective:

There has been substantial research and public interest in mindfulness interventions, biological pathways, and health over the past two decades. This article reviews recent developments in understanding relationships between mindfulness interventions and physical health.

Methods:

A selective review was conducted with the goal of synthesizing conceptual and empirical relationships between mindfulness interventions and physical health outcomes.

Results:

Initial randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in this area suggest that mindfulness interventions can improve pain management outcomes among chronic pain populations, and there is preliminary evidence for mindfulness interventions improving specific stress-related disease outcomes in some patient populations (i.e., clinical colds, psoriasis, IBS, PTSD, diabetes, HIV). We offer a stress buffering framework for the observed beneficial effects of mindfulness interventions and summarize supporting biobehavioral and neuroimaging studies that provide plausible mechanistic pathways linking mindfulness interventions with positive physical health outcomes.

Conclusion:

We conclude with new opportunities for research and clinical implementations to consider in the next two decades.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6613793/

 

Adherence to a Mindfulness Intervention Assists in Preventing Alcoholism Relapse

Adherence to a Mindfulness Intervention Assists in Preventing Alcoholism Relapse

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Thoughts and feelings, including urges to use substances or activities, are always temporary. Through mindfulness and its related practices (including meditation) it is possible to learn how to face uncomfortable, painful thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations, and let them pass—without obsessing on or avoiding them.” – Dan Mager

 

Inappropriate use of alcohol is a major societal problem. In fact, about 25% of US adults have engaged in binge drinking in the last month and 7% have what is termed an alcohol use disorder. Alcohol abuse is very dangerous and frequently fatal. Nearly 88,000 people in the US and 3.3 million globally die from alcohol-related causes annually, making it the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Drunk driving accounted for over 10,000 deaths; 31% of all driving fatalities. Excessive alcohol intake has been shown to contribute to over 200 diseases including alcohol dependence, liver cirrhosis, cancers, and injuries. It is estimated that over 5% of the burden of disease and injury worldwide is attributable to alcohol consumption.

 

Obviously, there is a need to find effective methods to prevent and treat alcohol abuse. There are a number of programs that are successful at stopping the abuse, including the classic 12-step program emblematic of Alcoholics Anonymous. Unfortunately, the majority of alcohol abusers relapse and return to drinking. Hence, it is important to find an effective method to both treat alcohol abuse and to prevent relapse. Mindfulness practices have been shown to improve recovery from various addictions and reduce relapse. Mindfulness training has been successfully applied to treating alcohol abuse. It appears to increase the ability of the drinker to control alcohol intake. Since, mindfulness appears to hold promise as a treatment for excessive alcohol intake, there is a need to examine the ability of mindfulness training to reduce relapse after successful cessation.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-based relapse prevention for alcohol dependence: Findings from a randomized controlled trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6508889/), Zgierska and colleagues recruited alcohol dependent adults who were in early recovery in an alcohol treatment program. They were randomly assigned to either continue to receive their current treatment or to receive an 8 weekly 2-hour Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) program with home practice tailored for alcohol abuse. They were measured before and after treatment and a year later for alcohol consumption, drinking-related consequences, mindfulness, and perceived stress.

 

They reported that over the one-year follow-up period there were no significant differences between the treatment as usual or the Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) participants on any of the outcome measures. But, for the MBRP participants who attended at least 4 sessions, the greater the number of sessions attended, and the greater the amount of home practice the lower the percentage of drinking days and the fewer the heavy drinking days during the 1-year follow-up.

 

The results of the present study are surprising as prior research has consistently demonstrated that mindfulness training improves relapse prevention. The present findings may have been due to a ceiling effect. The participants in both groups were committed to stopping drinking and already had up to 14 days of sobriety prior to entry into the study. This was reflected in that 60% of the participants in both groups were abstinent at the 1-year follow-up. This is an exceptionally high success rate for alcohol relapse prevention. So, the treatment as usual group may have been so successful that it left little room for the Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) participants to show any further improvement.

 

The results of the present study indicate that participation in the program and adherence to the program requirements are exceptionally important. After taking out those non-adherent participants there was a positive relationship between adherence and relapse prevention.

 

So, adherence to a mindfulness intervention assists in preventing alcoholism relapse.

 

“We need to consider many different approaches to addiction treatment. It’s a tough problem,” Mindfulness therapy is “another possibility for people to explore,” – Sarah Bowen

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Zgierska, A. E., Burzinski, C. A., Mundt, M. P., McClintock, A. S., Cox, J., Coe, C. L., Miller, M. M., & Fleming, M. F. (2019). Mindfulness-based relapse prevention for alcohol dependence: Findings from a randomized controlled trial. Journal of substance abuse treatment, 100, 8–17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsat.2019.01.013

 

Highlights

MBRP-A plus usual care and usual care alone resulted in similar health benefits.

Addition of MBRP-A to usual care did not further improve drinking-related outcomes.

Greater MBRP-A intervention adherence was associated with better outcomes.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To assess the effects of mindfulness-based relapse prevention for alcohol dependence (MBRP-A) intervention on drinking and related consequences.

METHODS:

123 alcohol-dependent adults in early recovery, recruited from outpatient treatment programs, were randomly assigned to MBRP-A (intervention plus usual-care; N=64) or Control (usual-care-alone; N=59) group. MBRP-A consisted of eight-weekly sessions and home practice. Outcomes were assessed at baseline, 8 weeks and 26 weeks (18 weeks post-intervention), and compared between groups using repeated measures analysis.

RESULTS:

Outcome analysis included 112 participants (57 MBRP-A; 55 Control) who provided follow-up data. Participants were 41.0±12.2 years old, 56.2% male, and 91% white. Prior to “quit date,” they reported drinking on 59.4±34.8% (averaging 6.1±5.0 drinks/day) and heavy drinking (HD) on 50.4±35.5% of days. Their drinking reduced after the “quit date” (before enrollment) to 0.4±1.7% (HD: 0.1±0.7%) of days. At 26 weeks, the MBRP-A and control groups reported any drinking on 11.5±22.5% and 5.9±11.6% of days and HD on 4.5±9.3% and 3.2±8.7% of days, respectively, without between-group differences (ps≥0.05) in drinking or related consequences during the follow-up period. Three MBRP-A participants reported “relapse,” defined as three-consecutive HD days, during the study. Subgroup analysis indicated that greater adherence to session attendance and weekly home practice minutes were associated with improved outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS:

MBRP-A as an adjunct to usual-care did not show to improve outcomes in alcohol-dependent adults in early recovery compared to usual-care-alone; a return to drinking and relapse to HD were rare in both groups. However, greater adherence to MBRP-A intervention may improve long-term drinking-related outcomes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6508889/

 

Improve Follower Well-Being with Leader Mindfulness

Improve Follower Well-Being with Leader Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness will help you clear away the trivia and needless worries about unimportant things, nurture passion for your work and compassion for others, and develop the ability to empower the people in your organization.” – Bill George

 

Work is very important for our health and well-being. We spend approximately 25% of our adult lives at work. How we spend that time is immensely important for not only to productivity in the workplace but also to our psychological and physical health. Mindfulness practices have been implemented in the workplace and they have been shown to markedly reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. This, in turn, improves productivity and the well-being of the employees. As a result, many businesses have incorporated mindfulness practices into the workday.

 

Mindfulness may also help to promote leadership in the workplace. It can potentially do so by enhancing emotion regulation, making the individual better able to recognize, experience, and adaptively respond to their emotions, and making the leader better able to listen to and to understand the needs and emotion of the workers they lead. Hence, the mindfulness of the leader may well be associated with the follower’s perception of their leadership abilities and in turn with the follower’s well-being.

 

In today’s Research News article “Follower Mindfulness and Well-Being: The Mediating Role of Perceived Authentic Leadership and the Moderating Role of Leader Mindfulness.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00879/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1339331_69_Psycho_20200528_arts_A), Zhang and colleagues recruited team leaders and followers at 2 Chinese manufacturing plants and had them complete questionnaires measuring mindfulness, perceived authentic leadership, and well-being.

 

They found that the higher the leader mindfulness the higher the follower mindfulness and the higher the follower mindfulness the greater the levels of perceived authentic leadership, and follower well-being. In addition, the higher the perceived authentic leadership the higher the follower well-being. So, both mindfulness and the perception of authenticity of the leader are associated with greater well-being in the employee.

 

A mediation analysis revealed that the relationship between follower mindfulness and follower well-being was mediated by perceived authentic leadership with the higher the perceived authentic leadership the stronger the relationship between follower mindfulness and follower well-being. They also found that the leader’s mindfulness was associated with higher levels of perceived authentic leadership.

 

These results suggest that the well-being of the employee is positively related to both the employee’s and the supervisor’s mindfulness; the more they are mindful, the greater the employee’s well-being. In addition, the perception that the leader is authentic is positively associated with both the leader’s and the follower’s levels of mindfulness. Hence, the leader is perceived as authentic if they are mindful and also if the employee is mindful. Finally, the results suggest that the perception that the leader is authentic is important for the ability of the follower’s mindfulness to be associated with greater well-being.

 

This study is correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. But the results indicate that mindfulness in the workplace is highly associated with the well-being of the employees. It does so directly and also indirectly by being associated with the perception that the supervisor is an authentic leader. This underscores the importance of mindfulness to the workplace and suggests that mindfulness training for both the employees and their supervisors could results in improved morale and well-being.

 

So, improve follower well-being with leader mindfulness.

 

A mindful leader is someone who embodies leadership presence by cultivating focus, clarity, creativity and compassion in the service of others.” – Janice Marturano

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Zhang J, Song LJ, Ni D and Zheng X (2020) Follower Mindfulness and Well-Being: The Mediating Role of Perceived Authentic Leadership and the Moderating Role of Leader Mindfulness. Front. Psychol. 11:879. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00879

 

Drawing on implicit leadership theory and the mindfulness literature, we propose that perceived authentic leadership mediates the relationship between follower mindfulness and follower well-being. Leader mindfulness plays a moderating role in this process. We validated these hypotheses with the two-wave data from 56 leaders and 275 followers in two private enterprises located in China. We used Mplus 8.0 to test our hypotheses. Consistent with our hypotheses, the results showed that perceived authentic leadership mediated the positive relationship between follower mindfulness and follower well-being. Higher leader mindfulness enhanced the effect of follower mindfulness on perceived authentic leadership and also strengthened the indirect effect of follower mindfulness on follower well-being via perceived authentic leadership. The theoretical and managerial implications are further discussed in the light of these findings.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00879/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1339331_69_Psycho_20200528_arts_A

 

Reduce Anxiety and Improve Self-Efficacy in Pregnancy with Mindfulness

Reduce Anxiety and Improve Self-Efficacy in Pregnancy with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindfulness practices during pregnancy has several benefits: better manage chronic pain, depression, and anxiety, reduce fears about childbirth, reduce fears surrounding your pregnancy and parenting, increase confidence for birth and parenting, reduce perception of pain in birth.” – Cara Terreri

 

The period of pregnancy is a time of intense physiological and psychological change. Anxiety, depression, and fear are quite common during pregnancy. More than 20 percent of pregnant women have an anxiety disorder, depressive symptoms, or both during pregnancy. A debilitating childbirth fear has been estimated to affect about 6% or pregnant women and 13% are sufficiently afraid to postpone pregnancy. It is difficult to deal with these emotions under the best of conditions but in combinations with the stresses of pregnancy can turn what could be a joyous experience of creating a human life into a horrible worrisome, torment.

 

It is clear that there is a need for methods to treat depression, and anxiety during pregnancy. Since the fetus can be negatively impacted by drugs, it would be preferable to find a treatment that did not require drugs. Mindfulness training has been shown to improve anxiety and depression normally and to relieve maternal anxiety and depression during pregnancy.

 

In today’s Research News article “The effect of mindfulness-based stress reduction on maternal anxiety and self-efficacy: A randomized controlled trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7177577/), Zarenejad and colleagues recruited women pregnant with their first child between 24 and 36 weeks of pregnancy. They were randomly assigned to either usual care or to receive 6 weeks of twice a week for 1-hour group mindfulness training based upon the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. The training employs meditation, body scan, yoga, discussions, and home practice. They were measured before and after training and 1 month later for mindfulness, pregnancy related anxiety, and self-efficacy.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the usual care group, the women who received mindfulness training had significant increases in mindfulness and significant decreases in pregnancy related anxiety immediately after training and one month after training where there was also a significant increase in self-eficacy..

 

Mindfulness training has been repeatedly demonstrated in prior research to decrease anxiety and increase self-efficacy in a wide range of healthy and ill populations. The present study demonstrates that this training has similar effects with late-term pregnant women in Iran. The increase in self-efficacy suggests that mindfulness training improves the women’s beliefs that they can deal with their situation and the reduction in anxiety suggests that they can approach delivery with greater levels of confidence and relaxation. This should reduce the stress of delivery and increase the likelihood of a satisfactory and health outcome.

 

So, reduce anxiety and improve self-efficacy in pregnancy with mindfulness.

 

By learning mindfulness skills as part of their childbirth education, expectant mothers can reappraise the impending birth as something they can handle instead of viewing it as something they fear,”- Larissa Duncan

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Zarenejad, M., Yazdkhasti, M., Rahimzadeh, M., Mehdizadeh Tourzani, Z., & Esmaelzadeh-Saeieh, S. (2020). The effect of mindfulness-based stress reduction on maternal anxiety and self-efficacy: A randomized controlled trial. Brain and behavior, 10(4), e01561. https://doi.org/10.1002/brb3.1561

 

Abstract

Objective

The aim of the study was to assess the effect of mindfulness‐based stress reduction (MBSR) on anxiety and self‐efficacy in coping with childbirth.

Material and Methods

This randomized controlled trial was conducted on 70 pregnant women in Abyek city of Qazvin province in Iran. The convenient sampling method was recruited. Samples were assigned to control and intervention groups using random blocks. In addition to routine care, individuals in the intervention group received 6 MBSR training sessions. The data gathering questionnaire in this study included mindfulness, Pregnancy‐Related Anxiety Questionnaire, and self‐efficacy in coping with childbirth questionnaire.

Results

There was no statistically significant difference between the demographic characteristics in the control and intervention groups. The results of the analysis of variance (ANOVA) with repeated measures indicated the effect of time on the change in the total score of anxiety in the intervention group (p = .001). There was a significant difference between the two groups (p = .001). Also, the results of ANOVA with repeated measures showed that time had no impact on the score of self‐efficacy in delivery coping (p = 0/1) and that there was no significant difference between the two groups in this respect (p = .6).

Conclusion

The result of this study showed that mindfulness reduces anxiety of pregnant mothers, and it is suggested that mindfulness programs be educated for healthcare providers and pregnant mothers to reduce maternal anxiety and improve pregnancy outcomes and delivery.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7177577/