Improve Breast Cancer Symptoms with Mindfulness

Improve Breast Cancer Symptoms with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Results show promise for mindfulness-based interventions to treat common psychological problems such as anxiety, stress, and depression in cancer survivors and to improve overall quality of life.” — Linda E. Carlson

 

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. Fatigue and insomnia are common symptoms in the aftermath of surviving breast cancer.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with cancer recovery and help to alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including fatiguestress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depression. One particularly effective mindfulness training program is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). The MBSR program consists of 8 weekly 2-hour group sessions involving meditation, yoga, body scan, and discussion. The patients are also encouraged to perform daily practice for 15-45 minutes. The research has been accumulating. It is thus important to take a step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on breast cancer symptoms: 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/PMC6282865/ ), Castanhel and Liberali review, summarize and perform a meta-analysis of the published research studies on the effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training for the symptoms of breast cancer patients. They identified 7 published research studies that included a total of 532 women.

 

They report that the literature finds that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training produces a decrease in fatigue in the breast cancer patients. This is significant as fatigue affects all facet of the patient’s life. Additionally, there is no drug treatments which successfully treat fatigue in these patients. This makes MBSR treatment particularly valuable to be included along with the usual treatments.

 

Mindfulness practices, in general have been shown to be effective in relieving fatigue. One of the components of MBSR treatment, yoga practice, has been previously been shown to also relieve fatigue in breast cancer patients. It is possible that this is the critical component of MBSR practice. But it will require further research to determine exactly which components or combinations of components are essential for the relief of fatigue.

 

So, improve breast cancer symptoms with mindfulness.

 

“some of the most difficult elements of the cancer experience are very well-suited to a mindfulness practice. When a person gets diagnosed, there’s fear and uncertainty about the future. There’s the loss of routine and predictability. There’s the physical aspect, the treatment or surgery, pain, insomnia, which almost everybody gets, and the post-treatment fatigue.” — Linda E. Carlson

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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Study Summary

 

Castanhel, F. D., & Liberali, R. (2018). Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on breast cancer symptoms: systematic review and meta-analysis. Einstein (Sao Paulo, Brazil), 16(4), eRW4383. doi:10.31744/einstein_journal/2018RW4383

 

ABSTRACT

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction practices increase the capacity for concentration and attention, and these practices are particularly effective for people with breast cancer. To analyze the effects of the application of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on breast cancer symptoms. Systematic review and meta-analysis were carried out. To find suitable studies, the PubMed/ MEDLINE database was searched using the keywords “breast cancer” and “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction”. Studies included were published between 2013 and 2017, written in English and showed methodological quality through the PEDro scale (score greater than 3). They also presented empirical evidence, had an experimental study design (randomized or non-randomized), and had full text available. For the meta-analysis, we used a random-effects model, with standardized mean differences and 95% confidence intervals. Seven studies were included, one non-randomized and containing only an intervention group of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, and six randomized including samples of two or three groups. The non-randomized study showed 6 points on the PEDro scale, the randomized studies of two groups 6 to 7 points and studies with three groups showed 7 points. In the meta-analysis of the two randomized studies, the results, although not significant, revealed a moderate effect for Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on the outcome of fatigue, with a mean difference of −0.42 (95%CI −0.92- −0.07; p=0.09). Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction seems to be a promising alternative for treatment of this disease’s symptoms.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6282865/

 

Reduce Painful Diabetic Neuropathy with Mindfulness

Reduce Painful Diabetic Neuropathy with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Meditation techniques can help people struggling with neuropathy symptoms live through their pain. It can help to lower stress, improve your coping skills, and decrease your pain intensity. Taking a mind-body approach is a noninvasive technique that provides you with more control over your condition.” – Healthline

 

Managing Diabetes can be difficult on the health and quality of life of the patient. In addition, Diabetes can lead to a very painful condition known as diabetic neuropathy. The high blood glucose levels associated with diabetes can damage nerves and result in a burning pain and numbness, particularly from the legs and feet. It affects the majority of long-term diabetes patients. This is not only painful but is also disruptive to the normal life functions of these patients. There are no cures, but diabetic neuropathy can be prevented by blood glucose control in the diabetic patient with a rigorous program of measured diet and exercise. Treatment for diabetic neuropathy usually involves pain management with drugs.

 

Mindfulness practices have been shown to help with pain management and with quality of life in diabetes patients. It is possible, then, that mindfulness practices may be effective in reducing pain and improving quality of life in patients with diabetic neuropathy. In today’s Research News article “Randomized Trial of the Effect of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on Pain-Related Disability, Pain Intensity, Health-Related Quality of Life, and A1C in Patients With Painful Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5734176/ ), Nathan and colleagues examined the effectiveness of mindfulness training on reducing pain and improving the quality of life in patients with Painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy (PDPN).

 

They recruited adults with Type II Diabetes and with Painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy (PDPN). The participants were maintained on their usual pharmacological treatments and randomly assigned to a wait-list or to receive an additional 8-week program, once weekly 2.5 hour sessions and home practice, of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). The mindfulness program consists of group discussion and training in sitting, walking, and body scan meditations, and yoga practice. They were measured before and after training and 3 months later for pain related disability, pain severity, pain catastrophizing, health related and diabetic neuropathy related quality of life, depression, diabetes self-care, blood sugar reactions, and A1C levels, a measure of long-term blood glucose control.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control, the participants who received Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training had significantly improved scores on all measures including lower pain related disability, pain severity, pain catastrophizing, depression health related and diabetic neuropathy related quality of life, diabetes self-care, blood sugar reactions, and A1C levels. These improvements were maintained at the 3-month follow-up. In addition, there was a high retention rate with 94% of the treated patients completing the 8-week training and the 3-month follow-up.

 

These results are striking and important. Diabetic Neuropathy is a torment for Type II Diabetes patients and mindfulness training was found to markedly improve this condition. It increased quality of life and health and decreased pain and pain associated psychological and physical difficulties. This relief of suffering in important and remarkable and should lead to a recommendation for mindfulness training to be included in the usual care of patients with Painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy (PDPN).

 

So, reduce painful diabetic neuropathy with mindfulness.

 

“When people with diabetes are more mindful – being calmly aware of what is going on around them, inside their bodies and in their minds – they can potentially make healthier lifestyle choices, such as diet, medication and exercise, that help lower their blood glucose. Additionally, stress reduction decreases the amount of stress hormones, such as cortisol, in the blood. When elevated for too long, cortisol can cause anxiety, depression, digestive problems, heart disease, sleep problems, weight gain and memory and concentration problems.” – Diabetes Canada

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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Study Summary

 

Nathan, H. J., Poulin, P., Wozny, D., Taljaard, M., Smyth, C., Gilron, I., Sorisky, A., Lochnan, H., … Shergill, Y. (2017). Randomized Trial of the Effect of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on Pain-Related Disability, Pain Intensity, Health-Related Quality of Life, and A1C in Patients With Painful Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy. Clinical diabetes : a publication of the American Diabetes Association, 35(5), 294-304.

 

Abstract

IN BRIEF Painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy (PDPN) has a large negative impact on patients’ physical and mental functioning, and pharmacological therapies rarely provide more than partial relief. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a group psychosocial intervention that was developed for patients with chronic illness who were not responding to existing medical treatments. This study tested the effects of community-based MBSR courses for patients with PDPN. Among patients whose PDPN pharmacotherapy had been optimized in a chronic pain clinic, those randomly assigned to treatment with MBSR experienced improved function, better health-related quality of life, and reduced pain intensity, pain catastrophizing, and depression compared to those receiving usual care.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5734176/

 

Mindfulness is Associated with Different Brain Responses to Angry Faces

Mindfulness is Associated with Different Brain Responses to Angry Faces

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Being mindful of anger means not suppressing, denying or avoiding it and also not acting out in harmful ways. Instead, connect with the direct experience of the anger, and then decide what action you want to take.” — Jessica Morey

 

Anger not only produces changes in our behavior and mood, it also produces changes in our physiology, including the brain. It activates the “fight or flight” system in the body, sympathetic nervous, and releases activating hormones. The net result is an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate, sweating, especially the palms, feeling hot in the neck/face, shaking or trembling, and decreased heart rate variability. In addition, anger affects and is affected by the brain. These physical effects can be used to objectively measure anger responses. They are also stressful and if prolonged can be damaging to the individual’s health.

 

If we can control our anger, we will generally be a happier person. But, at times, it is very difficult to do so. Mindfulness and meditation can help. It has been shown to improve our ability to regulate our emotions including anger.  Mindfulness appears to improve our ability not to suppress our emotions, but to fully experience them and yet be better able to respond to them constructively and adaptively.

 

In today’s Research News article “Relationship of mindful awareness to neural processing of angry faces and impact of mindfulness training: A pilot investigation.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5480240/ ), Lee and colleagues examine the relationship of mindfulness to the brain’s activity in response to angry stimuli.

 

They recruited right handed healthy adults. Ten of the 18 participants received an 8-week, once a week for 2.5 hours, program of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). ”It includes training in formal meditation practices like body scan, sitting meditation, walking meditation, and mindful movement, as well as informal practices to integrate mindfulness into everyday life.” Participants were asked to practice at home for 45 minutes a day for 6 days per week. The participants were measured before and after training for mindfulness and anger. They were also tested for their brain’s response to pictures of angry or neutral faces while simply indicating whether the face was male or female. While viewing the faces their brains were scanned with functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI).

 

They found at baseline, before training, that in response to angry faces the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the activation of the parietal lobe while the higher the level of anger the greater the activation of the middle frontal gyrus and bilateral angular gyrus. Hence, the participants’ brains responded to the angry faces differently than to the neutral faces and the level of response depended upon their baseline levels of mindfulness and anger. After MBSR training there was a significant increase in mindfulness but no significant change in the fMRI responses to the faces.

 

It is interesting that MBSR training did not change the neural responses to angry faces as it has been shown previously that MBSR training decreases anger in the participants and it would be assumed that changes in anger would be associated with changes in the brains activity in response to stimuli associated with anger. It may well be that viewing angry faces is totally different from actually being personally angry. Regardless, it is clear that mindfulness is associated with different brain responses to angry faces.

 

“Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we respond to it.” — Charles Swindoll

 

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

 

Lee, A., Gansler, D. A., Zhang, N., Jerram, M. W., King, J. A., & Fulwiler, C. (2017). Relationship of mindful awareness to neural processing of angry faces and impact of mindfulness training: A pilot investigation. Psychiatry research. Neuroimaging, 264, 22-28.

 

Abstract

Mindfulness is paying attention, non-judgmentally, to experience in the moment. Mindfulness training reduces depression and anxiety and influences neural processes in midline self-referential and lateralized somatosensory and executive networks. Although mindfulness benefits emotion regulation, less is known about its relationship to anger and the corresponding neural correlates. This study examined the relationship of mindful awareness and brain hemodynamics of angry face processing, and the impact of mindfulness training. Eighteen healthy volunteers completed an angry face processing fMRI paradigm and measurement of mindfulness and anger traits. Ten of these participants were recruited from a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) class and also completed imaging and other assessments post-training. Self-reported mindful awareness increased after MBSR, but trait anger did not change. Baseline mindful awareness was negatively related to left inferior parietal lobule activation to angry faces; trait anger was positively related to right middle frontal gyrus and bilateral angular gyrus. No significant pre-post changes in angry face processing were found, but changes in trait mindful awareness and anger were associated with sub-threshold differences in paralimbic activation. These preliminary and hypothesis-generating findings, suggest the analysis of possible impact of mindfulness training on anger may begin with individual differences in angry face processing.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5480240/

 

Improve Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) with Mindfulness

Improve Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“IBS causes a huge public health and economic burden in the U.S. The standard of care currently has been diet changes along with medications. A mind-based . . . has the potential to minimize both the public health and economic burden of this debilitating disease,” – Saurabh Sethi

 

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder with worldwide prevalence rates ranging from 9–23%. In the U.S. the rates generally in the area of 10–15% affecting between 25 and 45 million people. IBS is not life threatening but it is very uncomfortable producing changes in bowel movement patterns, bloating and excess gas, and pain in the lower belly. It is also a major source of absenteeism both at work and in school. IBS is also associated with a marked reduction in the individual’s health quality of life, with disruption of the physical, psychological and social routines of the individuals. At present, there are no known cures for IBS and treatments involve symptomatic relief, often with fairly radical dietary changes.

 

The cause(s) of IBS are not known. But emotion dysregulation is suspected to be involved. It is clear that psychological stress exacerbates the illnesses and anxiety amplifies the symptoms. This suggests that mindfulness or the lack thereof may be involved as mindfulness is known to be helpful in reducing the psychological and physical responses to stress and mindfulness is known to improve emotion regulation. In addition, It has been shown that meditation and yoga can help relieve IBS symptoms.  So, it would make sense to further investigate the effectiveness of mindfulness training and emotion regulation for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

 

In today’s Research News article “Comparing the Efficacy of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Therapy with Emotion Regulation Treatment on Quality of Life and Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6178327/ ), Ghandi and colleagues recruited patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and randomly assigned them to receive either an 8-week, once a week for 90 minutes program of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Emotion Regulation group training, or a wait-list. The MBSR treatment consisted of body scan, meditation, and yoga practices and group discussion with homework. Emotion Regulation training consisted in training on “emotional awareness” and “acceptance”. The patients were measured before and after training and 2 months later for IBS severity and quality of life with IBS.

 

They found that both Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Emotion Regulation training produced significant improvements in IBS severity and the quality of life with IBS and that this effectiveness was maintained 2 months later. There were no significant differences in the effectiveness of MBSR and emotion regulation training. Hence, both MBSR and emotion regulation training produce large and lasting improvements in the symptoms of IBS and the quality of life of the patients.

 

Since MBSR training is known to improve emotion regulation, the fact that MBSR and emotion regulation training produced equivalent benefits suggests that MBSR may be effective for IBS because of its ability to improve emotion regulation, particularly improving the emotional responses to stress. It will require further research to examine this possibility.

 

So, improve Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) with mindfulness.

 

“For a person who has IBS, mindfulness-based therapies are thought to help to reduce anxiety related to digestive symptoms. Due to our body’s natural stress response, such anxiety can actually exacerbate the very digestive symptoms that a person with IBS is most concerned about. The theory behind mindfulness-based therapies for IBS is that when you experience less reactivity to physical sensations related to your digestive system, you will experience less unwanted symptoms.” – Barbara Bolen

 

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

Abstract

 

Ghandi, F., Sadeghi, A., Bakhtyari, M., Imani, S., Abdi, S., & Banihashem, S. S. (2018). Comparing the Efficacy of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Therapy with Emotion Regulation Treatment on Quality of Life and Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Iranian journal of psychiatry, 13(3), 175-183.

 

Objective: Irritable bowel syndrome is a common gastrointestinal disorder. The perception of stress and GI-specific anxiety play a key role in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The present study aims at comparing the efficacy of mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy with emotion regulation on the quality of life and severity in patients IBS.

Method : This randomized clinical trial was conducted in 3 phases: pretest, posttest, and follow-up. Follow-up was performed 2 months after the last intervention. The study population consisted of 24 IBS patients who were randomly selected according to Rome-IV Criteria and were then divided into 3 eight-member groups: (1) mindfulness-based stress reduction, (2) emotion regulation, and (3) control group. IBS-QOL34 and IBS-SSS were administered as assessment tools to all the 3 groups. The experimental groups were subjected to MBSR and ER psychotherapy, while the control group received no psychological intervention. After the 2-month follow-up, the 3 groups were evaluated again.

Results: The results revealed that MBSR improved the quality of life of IBS patients and dicreased severity of their condition. The findings of between and within subjects design revealed that the difference between MBSR and control groups was significant in IBS at follow-up (p = 0.01).

Conclusion: MBSR could be considered as a new, effective, and stable method in psychotherapy, in irritable bowel syndrome.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6178327/

 

Mindfulness Improves the Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) by Altering Gene Expression

Mindfulness Improves the Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) by Altering Gene Expression

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness has been shown to be an effective stress reduction practices in general, but there may be other ways it works for people with PTSD as well. Recent research suggests that mindfulness may help to mitigate the relationship between maladaptive thinking and posttraumatic distress.” – Matthew Tull

 

Experiencing trauma is quite common. It has been estimated that 60% of men and 50% of women will experience a significant traumatic event during their lifetime. But only a fraction will develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). But this still results in a frightening number of people with 7%-8% of the population developing PTSD at some point in their life.

 

PTSD involves a number of troubling symptoms including reliving the event with the same fear and horror in nightmares or with a flashback. PTSD sufferers avoid situations that remind them of the event this may include crowds, driving, movies, etc. and may avoid seeking help because it keeps them from having to think or talk about the event. They often experience negative changes in beliefs and feelings including difficulty experiencing positive or loving feelings toward other people, avoiding relationships, memory difficulties, or see the world as dangerous and no one can be trusted. Sufferers may feel hyperarousal, feeling keyed up and jittery, or always alert and on the lookout for danger. They may experience sudden anger or irritability, may have a hard time sleeping or concentrating, may be startled by a loud noise or surprise.

 

Obviously, these are troubling symptoms that need to be addressed. There are a number of therapies that have been developed to treat PTSD. One of which, mindfulness training has been found to be particularly effectiveMindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has been found to improve PTSD symptoms. It has been shown that mindfulness practices can alter the brain structures and connectivity and this may underlie the beneficial effects of mindfulness on PTSD. These alterations probably involve changes in the chemistry of the brain particularly with systems associated with stress and depression.

 

In today’s Research News article “Methylation of FKBP5 and SLC6A4 in Relation to Treatment Response to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6153325/ ), Bishop and colleagues examine the activation of genes associated with stress and depression in patients with PTSD who responded and did not respond to treatment with Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), They examined patients from a previous study of the effectiveness of MBSR for the treatment of PTSD who showed a significant reduction in PTSD symptoms and those that did not. The MBSR treatment consisted of body scan, meditation, and yoga practices and group discussion and occurred in 9 weekly, 2.5 hour sessions. with homework. Blood samples were drawn before and after treatment. They measured the degree of methylation of genes in the he promoter region of SLC6A4 previously associated with depression risk and symptoms and genes in the FKBP5 Intron 7 region identified as a functional regulator of glucocorticoid signaling.

 

They found that after Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) treatment there was a significant reduction in methylation of genes in the FKBP5 Intron 7 region in responders but an increase in non-responders. These genes are associated with stress related responding. Methylation tends to suppress gene expression, So, decreased methylation indicates an increased level of activity in stress related hormonal pathways.

 

These findings are interesting but not surprising as MBSR was developed specifically to improve stress responses. It is interesting that only patients who responded to treatment had this change to the genes underlying stress responding. So, it appears that MBSR is effective for PTSD symptoms but only if it changes stress related gene expression. It will be interesting to examine in the future the factors that result in non-responders being resistant to treatment with MBSR.

 

So, improve the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by altering gene expression with mindfulness.

 

Many people cope with trauma by distancing themselves from the sensations in their bodies and minds (the most extreme example of this is dissociation). Therefore, bringing one’s attention deliberately back to the body can unzip trauma symptoms they may not be prepared to address. However, mindfulness meditation can be helpful to those with PTSD and a history of trauma when practiced under the guidance of a mental healthcare provider and modified to be better suited for trauma survivors.” – Julia Ozog

 

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

Bishop, J. R., Lee, A. M., Mills, L. J., Thuras, P. D., Eum, S., Clancy, D., Erbes, C. R., Polusny, M. A., Lamberty, G. J., … Lim, K. O. (2018). Methylation of FKBP5 and SLC6A4 in Relation to Treatment Response to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Frontiers in psychiatry, 9, 418. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00418

 

Abstract

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an effective non-pharmacologic treatment for veterans with PTSD. Extensive work has identified epigenetic factors related to PTSD disease risk and pathophysiology, but how these factors influence treatment response is unclear. Serotonin signaling and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis functioning may be perturbed in PTSD and are molecular pathways targeted by PTSD treatments. To identify potential biomarkers for treatment response, we utilized genomic DNA isolated from peripheral blood samples from veterans with PTSD who were responders (n = 11) or non-responders (n = 11) to MBSR as part of a clinical trial. We assessed methylation levels at CpG sites in regions of the serotonin transporter (SLC6A4) previously associated with expression and depression outcomes, as well as the Intron 7 region of the FK506 binding protein 5 (FKBP5) containing known glucocorticoid response elements suggested to regulate this gene. Selected subjects were matched across MBSR responder status by baseline symptoms, age, sex, current smoking status, and current antidepressant use. Percent methylation was compared between responders and non-responders at baseline (pre-MBSR treatment). Additionally, percent change in methylation from baseline to post-treatment was compared between responders and non-responders. There was a significant time x responder group interaction for methylation in FKBP5 intron 7 bin 2 [F(1, 19) = 7.492, p = 0.013] whereby responders had a decrease in methylation and non-responders had an increase in methylation from before to after treatment in this region. Analyses of the three CpG sites within bin 2 revealed a significant time x responder group interaction for CpG_35558513 [F(1, 19) = 5.551, p = 0.029] which resides in a known glucocorticoid response element (GRE). Decreases in FKBP5 methylation after treatment in responders as compared to increases in non-responders suggest that effective meditation intervention may be associated with stress-related pathways at the molecular level. These preliminary findings suggest that DNA methylation signatures within FKBP5 are potential indicators of response to meditation treatment in PTSD and require validation in larger cohorts.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6153325/

 

Improve Social Anxiety Disorder with Mindfulness

Improve Social Anxiety Disorder with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Using mindfulness, we can begin to notice what happens in the body when anxiety is present and develop strategies to empower clients to “signal safety” to their nervous system. Over time, clients feel empowered to slow down their response to triggers, manage their body’s fear response (fight-or-flight) and increase their ability to tolerate discomfort. The client experiences this as feeling like they have a choice about how they will respond to a trigger.” -Jeena Cho

 

It is a common human phenomenon that being in a social situation can be stressful and anxiety producing. Most people can deal with the anxiety and can become quite comfortable. But many do not cope well and the anxiety is overwhelming, causing the individual to withdraw. Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is characterized by a persistent, intense, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and feeling embarrassed or humiliated by their actions. This fear may be so severe that it interferes with work, school, and other activities and may negatively affect the person’s ability to form relationships.

 

Anxiety disorders have generally been treated with drugs. But there are considerable side effects and these drugs are often abused. There are a number of psychological therapies for anxiety. But, about 45% of the patients treated do not respond to the therapy. So, there is a need to develop alternative treatments. Recently, it has been found that mindfulness training can be effective for anxiety disorders including Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and also Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) have been shown to be effective in treating Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). It is not known, however, if they operate through similar or different mechanisms.

 

In today’s Research News article “Trajectories of social anxiety, cognitive reappraisal, and mindfulness during an RCT of CBGT versus MBSR for social anxiety disorder.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5600696/ ), Goldin and colleagues recruited patients with diagnosed Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) and randomly assigned them to receive 12 weekly 2..5 hour sessions with daily homework of either Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). MBSR consists of a combination of meditation, body scanning, and yoga practices. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is designed to alter how the patient relates to the thought processes that often underlie and exacerbate mood disorders. They were measured before treatment, once a week during treatment, and every 3 months for the following year for social anxiety, mindfulness, and cognitive reappraisal.

 

They found that both MBSR and CBT produced a progressive significant reduction in social anxiety and significant increases in mindful attitude and reappraisal, changing thinking about social anxiety, over the course of treatment that was maintained for the year following. They also found that the cognitive reappraisal strategy of disputing, challenging anxious thoughts and feelings and reappraisal success significantly increased over the course of treatment and were maintained for the year following but CBT produce a significantly greater increases than MBSR. In addition, they found that MBSR but not CBT produced significant increases in acceptance and acceptance success of anxiety over the course of treatment that were maintained for the year following. In examining the relationships between the variables they found that reappraisal and reappraisal success were significantly associated with the reduction of social anxiety for CBT but not MBSR. On the other hand, reappraisal disputing was significantly associated with reduction of social anxiety for MBSR but not CBT.

 

These are complex but interesting results that suggest that while both MBSR and CBT produce significant reductions in social anxiety and share many similar mechanisms, they also do so in different ways. CBT appears to reduce social anxiety by increasing the cognitive reappraisal strategy of disputing, challenging anxious thoughts and feelings, and its success in reducing anxiety. MBSR, on the other hand, appears to reduce social anxiety by increasing mindful acceptance of anxiety and its success.

 

So, improve social anxiety disorder with mindfulness.

 

“The power of a mindfulness practice, however, may come in the realization that one can live a meaningful life even with social anxiety. Schjerning says that he still feels nervous in social situations but now feels compassion — not judgment — for himself, and sees that “I can be more the person I want to be.” – Jason Drwal

 

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

 

Goldin, P. R., Morrison, A. S., Jazaieri, H., Heimberg, R. G., & Gross, J. J. (2017). Trajectories of social anxiety, cognitive reappraisal, and mindfulness during an RCT of CBGT versus MBSR for social anxiety disorder. Behaviour research and therapy, 97, 1-13.

 

Highlights

CBGT and MBSR produced similar decreases in social anxiety

CBGT (vs. MBSR): greater disputing anxiety and reappraisal success

CBGT: weekly reappraisal and reappraisal success predict social anxiety

MBSR (vs. CBGT): greater acceptance of anxiety and acceptance success

MBSR: weekly mindful attitude and disputing anxiety predict social anxiety

Abstract

Cognitive-Behavioral Group Therapy (CBGT) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) are efficacious in treating social anxiety disorder (SAD). It is not yet clear, however, whether they share similar trajectories of change and underlying mechanisms in the context of SAD. This randomized controlled study of 108 unmedicated adults with generalized SAD investigated the impact of CBGT vs. MBSR on trajectories of social anxiety, cognitive reappraisal, and mindfulness during 12 weeks of treatment. CBGT and MBSR produced similar trajectories showing decreases in social anxiety and increases in reappraisal (changing the way of thinking) and mindfulness (mindful attitude). Compared to MBSR, CBGT produced greater increases in disputing anxious thoughts/feelings and reappraisal success. Compared to CBGT, MBSR produced greater acceptance of anxiety and acceptance success. Granger Causality analyses revealed that increases in weekly reappraisal and reappraisal success predicted subsequent decreases in weekly social anxiety during CBGT (but not MBSR), and that increases in weekly mindful attitude and disputing anxious thoughts/feelings predicted subsequent decreases in weekly social anxiety during MBSR (but not CBGT). This examination of temporal dynamics identified shared and distinct changes during CBGT and MBSR that both support and challenge current conceptualizations of these clinical interventions.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5600696/

 

Improve Tolerance of Distress and Psychological State with Mindfulness

Improve Tolerance of Distress and Psychological State with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Distress Tolerance skills are used to help us cope and survive during a crisis, and helps us tolerate short term or long term pain (physical or emotional). Tolerating distress includes a mindfulness of breath and mindful awareness of situations and ourselves.” – DBT Self Help

 

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 “Dimensions of distress tolerance and the moderating effects on mindfulness-based stress reduction.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6130202/ ), Gawrysiak and colleagues recruited participants in an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. The program was specifically developed to improve coping with stress and consisted of weekly 2.5-hour group training sessions with home practice and included meditation, body scan, yoga practices, and discussion. They were measured before and after training for distress tolerance, perceived stress, and positive and negative emotions.

 

They found that following the MBSR program the participants demonstrated significant increases in distress tolerance and vigor and decreases in perceived stress, anger, confusion, depression, fatigue, and tension. In addition, they found that participants who were low in distress tolerance had the greatest decreases in perceived stress after the program while those high in distress tolerance had the least change.

 

Hence, they found that the MBSR program improved the psychological state in the participants. This is in line with previous research that demonstrated that mindfulness training improves psychological and physiological responses to stress and improves emotions. What this study contributes is the understanding that MBSR  improves that participants  ability to cope with psychological distress. Importantly, they also found that the participants who benefited the most were the ones who had the least ability to cope with distress to begin with. This suggests that one of the reasons that MBSR training is beneficial is that it improves the individuals ability to deal effectively with tough emotions and situations which, in turn, improves the individuals ability to deal effectively with stress. This, then, improves their emotional state.

 

So, improve tolerance of distress and psychological state with mindfulness.

 

“Mindfulness helps you go home to the present. And every time you go there and recognize a condition of happiness that you have, happiness comes.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

 

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

 

Gawrysiak, M. J., Leong, S. H., Grassetti, S. N., Wai, M., Shorey, R. C., & Baime, M. J. (2016). Dimensions of distress tolerance and the moderating effects on mindfulness-based stress reduction. Anxiety, Stress, and Coping, 29(5), 552–560. http://doi.org/10.1080/10615806.2015.1085513

 

Abstract

Background and Objectives:

This study examined the relationship between distress tolerance and psychosocial changes among individuals participating in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). The objective of the analysis was to discern whether individuals with lower distress tolerance measured before MBSR showed larger reductions in perceived stress following MBSR.

Design and Methods:

Data were collected from a sample of convenience (n = 372) using a quasi-experimental design. Participants completed self-report measures immediately prior to course enrollment and following course completion.

Results:

Perceived stress, distress tolerance, and mood states showed favorable changes from pre- to post-MBSR in the current study. Baseline distress tolerance significantly moderated reductions on perceived stress, supporting the primary hypothesis that individuals with lower baseline distress tolerance evidenced a greater decline in perceived stress following MBSR. For a one-unit increase on the self-reported baseline Distress Tolerance Scale, reported perceived stress scores decreased by 2.5 units (p < .0001).

Conclusions:

The finding that individuals with lower baseline distress tolerance evidenced a greater decline in perceived stress may offer hints about who is most likely to benefit from MBSR and other mindfulness-based treatments. Identifying moderators of treatment outcomes may yield important benefits in matching individuals to treatments that are most likely to work for them.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6130202/

Mindfulness Promotes Health and Well-Being in Stressed College Students

Mindfulness Promotes Health and Well-Being in Stressed College Students

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Student life can be stressful, but that doesn’t mean students have to let stress take over their lives. By incorporating mindfulness and meditation into daily routines, students can not only relieve the pressure, but also improve their memory, focus and ultimately their grades.“ – Todd Braver

 

In the modern world education is a key for success. Where a high school education was sufficient in previous generations, a college degree is now required to succeed in the new knowledge-based economies. There is a lot of pressure on students to excel so that they can be admitted to the best universities and there is a lot of pressure on university students to excel so that they can get the best jobs after graduation. This is particularly true in highly rated, elite, universities. This stress might in fact be counterproductive as the increased pressure can actually lead to stress and anxiety which can impede the student’s physical and mental health, well-being, and school performance.

 

It is, for the most part, beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress, so it is important that methods be found to reduce the college students’ responses to stress; to make them more resilient when high levels of stress occur. Contemplative practices including meditationmindfulness training, and yoga practice have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. Indeed, these practices have been found to reduce stress and improve psychological health in college students. So, it would seem important to examine various techniques to relieve the stress and its consequent symptoms in college students.

 

In today’s Research News article “There Is No Performance, There Is Just This Moment: The Role of Mindfulness Instruction in Promoting Health and Well-Being Among Students at a Highly-Ranked University in the United States.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871302/ ), Kerrigan and colleagues recruited college students from an elite university and provided them with an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. The program was specifically developed to improve coping with stress and consisted of weekly 2.5-hour group training sessions with home practice and included meditation, body scan, yoga practices, and discussion. They were interviewed before and after training on “personal goals, priorities, and background; current and past stressors and coping strategies; motivations to participate in the program; experiences with the program; barriers to attendance and practice of program techniques; and impact and future use of the MBSR tools and methods.”

 

The students described the high pressure, stressful, competitive environment of the university, their challenging schedules of academic studies, extracurricular activities, and volunteer work, and family pressure to succeed. About half of the participants reported chronic health conditions as a result of the stress. Reducing this stress was their primary motivation for participating in the MBSR program. They described the MBSR program as cultivating mindfulness, attention to the present moment and non-judgement. Non-judgement was particularly important as it stood in stark contrast to the competitive environment of the university. They also indicated that the program allowed them to step back and reframe their current existence and their lives. They described the benefits that they obtained from the MBSR program of reducing stress and anxiety and improving coping skills. They also reported improved relationships and academic performance.

 

These qualitative results suggest that participation in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program was of great benefit to these stressed college students, reducing their responses to stress and their self-judgement, and improving their mindfulness, productivity and overall well-being. These results mirror those seen with controlled quantitative studies. This suggests that participation in an MBSR program should be recommended for college students.

 

So, promote health and well-being in stressed college students with mindfulness.

 

“a mindfulness intervention can help reduce distress levels in college students during a stressful exam week, as well as increase altruistic action in the form of donating to charity.” – Julia Galante

 

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

Kerrigan, D., Chau, V., King, M., Holman, E., Joffe, A., & Sibinga, E. (2017). There Is No Performance, There Is Just This Moment: The Role of Mindfulness Instruction in Promoting Health and Well-Being Among Students at a Highly-Ranked University in the United States. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 22(4), 909–918. http://doi.org/10.1177/2156587217719787

 

Abstract

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has been shown to improve health outcomes across populations. We explored the feasibility, acceptability, and initial effects of a pilot MBSR program at a highly-ranked university in the United States. We conducted 23 in-depth interviews with 13 students. Interviews explored stressors and coping mechanisms, experiences with MBSR, and its reported impact and potential future use. Interviews were analyzed using thematic content and narrative analyses. Results indicated that students are exposed to a very high level of constant stress related to the sheer amount of work and activities that they have and the pervasive surrounding university culture of perfectionism. MBSR offered an opportunity to step back and gain perspective on issues of balance and priorities and provided concrete techniques to counter the effects of stressors. We conclude that MBSR and mindfulness programs may contribute to more supportive university learning environments and greater health and well-being among students.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871302/

 

Improve Mindfulness Treatment Outcomes with Home Practice

Improve Mindfulness Treatment Outcomes with Home Practice

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

 “An average course student practices 30 minutes daily at home, but the good news is that nevertheless, this practice is related to positive benefit. This can be measured as reduced stress, pain, better well-being and so on.” – Science Daily

 

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 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.

 

With impacts so great it is important to know how to optimize the development of mindfulness. Most forms of training require or strongly suggest that the participants practice at home. It is not established, however, how important this home practice is to the beneficial outcomes of mindfulness practice. In today’s Research News article “The Utility of Home-Practice in Mindfulness-Based Group Interventions: A Systematic Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5968057/ ),  Lloyd and colleagues reviewed and summarized the published research literature on the benefits of home practice in association with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).

 

They found 14 controlled studies, 8 of which employed MBSR and 6 employed MBCT treating a total of 725 participants. All of these studies used self-report measures of home practice that varied considerably in technique and variables measured. MBSR and MBCT trainings require home practice of 45 minutes per day for 6 days a week (270 minutes). They report that the studies found that actual home practice varied considerably from study to study ranging from 15% to 88% of the recommended amount. The results reported on the impact of home practice on clinical and non-clinical outcome measures were mixed partially due the wide differences in reporting techniques, analyses reported and procedures. Of the 14 reviewed studies only 7 examined the relationship between home-practice and clinical outcomes, of these 4 found that home-practice predicted small but significant improvements on clinical outcome measures.

 

Hence, there are indications suggesting that home practice may be useful for improving the clinical outcomes of mindfulness training. But, the research is so widely different that it is impossible to reach firm conclusions. There is a great need for more attention to the topic employing more standardized assessment techniques. It is important to establish what are the necessary components of practice to produce benefits. The reviewed studies suggest that home practice may be beneficial. This should help in the future in better delineating and refining the most beneficial training techniques.

 

So, improve mindfulness treatment outcomes with home practice.

 

“mindfulness home practice may have a small but positive effect on treatment outcomes, however the strength of this association was not found to depend on the length of time people spent practicing.” – Elena Marcus

 

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

Lloyd, A., White, R., Eames, C., & Crane, R. (2018). The Utility of Home-Practice in Mindfulness-Based Group Interventions: A Systematic Review. Mindfulness, 9(3), 673–692. http://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-017-0813-z

 

Abstract

A growing body of research supports the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs). MBIs consider home-practice as essential to increasing the therapeutic effects of the treatment. To date however, the synthesis of the research conducted on the role of home-practice in controlled MBI studies has been a neglected area. This review aimed to conduct a narrative synthesis of published controlled studies, evaluating mindfulness-based group interventions, which have specifically measured home-practice. Empirical research literature published until June 2016 was searched using five databases. The search strategy focused on mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), and home-practice. Included studies met the following criteria: controlled trials, participants 18 years and above, evaluations of MBSR or MBCT, utilised standardised quantitative outcome measures and monitored home-practice using a self-reported measure. Fourteen studies met the criteria and were included in the review. Across all studies, there was heterogeneity in the guidance and resources provided to participants and the approaches used for monitoring home-practice. In addition, the guidance on the length of home-practice was variable across studies, which indicates that research studies and teachers are not adhering to the published protocols. Finally, only seven studies examined the relationship between home-practice and clinical outcomes, of which four found that home-practice predicted improvements on clinical outcome measures. Future research should adopt a standardised approach for monitoring home-practice across MBIs. Additionally, studies should assess whether the amount of home-practice recommended to participants is in line with MBSR/MBCT manualised protocols. Finally, research should utilise experimental methodologies to explicitly explore the relationship between home-practice and clinical outcomes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5968057/

 

Improve Parenting and Reduce Stress with Mindfulness

Improve Parenting and Reduce Stress with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“We can practice ‘mindful listening’ by simply being present for the other person, and giving them space to talk without imposing our own agenda. As one person in a family consciously practicing mindfulness in this way, you may find that you are modeling it for the others, and quietly encouraging them to listen with greater attention and empathy.” – Tessa Watt

 

Raising children, parenting, is very rewarding. But, it can also be challenging. Children test parents frequently. They test the boundaries of their freedom and the depth of parental love. They demand attention and seem to especially when parental attention is needed elsewhere. They don’t always conform to parental dictates or aspirations for their behavior. They are often affected more by peers, for good or evil, than by parents. It is the parents challenge to control themselves, not overreact, and act appropriately in the face of strong emotions. Meeting these challenges becomes more and more important with adolescents, as here are the greatest struggles for independence and the potential for damaging behaviors, particularly, alcohol, drugs, and sexual behavior.

 

own emotions, and to be sensitive and attentive their child. These skills are exactly those that are developed in mindfulness training. It improves the psychological and physiological responses to stress. It improves emotion regulation. It improves the ability to maintain attention and focus in the face of high levels of distraction. Mindful parenting involves the parents having emotional awareness of themselves and compassion for the child and having the skills to pay full attention to the child in the present moment, to accept parenting non-judgmentally and be emotionally non-reactive to the child.

 

In today’s Research News article “Benefits of Mindfulness for Parenting in Mothers of Preschoolers in Chile.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01443/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_755938_69_Psycho_20180904_arts_A ),   Corthorn examined the effects of mindfulness training on parenting. They recruited healthy adult mothers of preschool children (2-5 years of age). They formed a no treatment control group and a mindfulness training group which received an 8 week program of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) that was adapted for mothers. They met for 2 hours per week for discussion and practiced mindful meditation and yoga. They were also instructed to practice at home. Both groups were measured before and after training and 2 months later for mindfulness, parenting stress, anxiety, depression, and mindful parenting, including subscales measuring listening with full attention, self-regulation in the parenting relationship, non-judgmental acceptance of self, and empathy and acceptance for the child.

 

They found in comparison to the control group and the baseline that after mindfulness training there was a significant reduction in parental stress and significant increases in mindfulness and mindful parenting including the subscales measuring non-judgmental acceptance of self as a mother, listening with full attention, self-regulation in the parenting relationship, and empathy and acceptance for the child. These improvements were maintained over the two months follow-up period. They also found that after training but not 2 months later there were significant decreases in overall stress and parental stress subscales of “Parental Distress” and “Difficult Child”.

 

These are interesting results that suggest that the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) adapted for mothers produced significant and lasting improvements in the mothers’ mindfulness and parenting skills and reduced their stress levels. It has been clearly shown by other research that mindfulness training reduces the psychological and physiological responses to stress, and improves parenting  Future research should investigate the effects of the mothers’ participation on the well-being of their children. But, it is clear that mindfulness training is beneficial for the mothers. The mothers are better able to listen to, empathize with, and accept their children and these benefits would predict greater psychological health in the children.

 

So, improve parenting and reduce stress with mindfulness.

 

“As parents, perhaps the most precious thing we can give our children is the gift of our full presence, in the moment. This is the deep intention and invitation for parents as they make space for mindfulness practice in their lives. Mindful parenting takes to heart the deep truth that we can only give to our children what we have given first and fundamentally to ourselves.” – Lisa Kring

 

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

 

Corthorn C (2018) Benefits of Mindfulness for Parenting in Mothers of Preschoolers in Chile. Front. Psychol. 9:1443. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01443

 

The present study evaluated whether mothers’ participation in a mindfulness-based intervention led to statistically significant differences in their general levels of stress, depression, anxiety, parental stress, mindful parenting, and mindfulness. Forty-three mothers of preschool-age children participated, 21 in the intervention group and 22 in the comparison group. Scores of mental health variables were within normal ranges before the intervention. All of the participants worked at the Universidad Católica de Chile (Catholic University of Chile), and their children attended university preschool centers. Repeated measured ANOVA analysis were performed considering differences between gain scores of each group, rather than post-treatment group differences. This was chosen in order to approach initial differences in some of the measures (mindfulness, mindful parenting, and stress) probably due to self-selection. As predicted, the intervention group showed a significant reduction in general and parental stress and an increase in mindful parenting and general mindfulness variables when compared with the comparison group. Effect sizes ranged from small to medium, with the highest Cohen’s d in stress (general and parental) and mindful parenting. In most cases, the significant change was observed between pre- and post-test measures. Follow-up measures indicated that the effects were maintained after 2 months.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01443/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_755938_69_Psycho_20180904_arts_A