Decrease Teacher Stress and Improve Mental Health with a 4-Day Intensive Mindfulness Program

Decrease Teacher Stress and Improve Mental Health with a 4-Day Intensive Mindfulness Program

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

when teachers practice mindfulness, students’ misbehavior and other stressors become like water off a duck’s back, allowing them to stay focused on what teachers really want to do: teach.” – Vickie Zakrzewski

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. This often produces burnout; fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, and professional inefficacy. Teachers experience burnout at high rates. Roughly a half a million teachers out of a workforce of three million, leave the profession each year and the rate is almost double in poor schools compared to affluent schools. Indeed, nearly half of new teachers leave in their first five years.

 

Burnout frequently results from emotional exhaustion. This exhaustion not only affects the teachers personally, but also the students, as it produces a loss of enthusiasm, empathy, and compassion. Regardless of the reasons for burnout or its immediate presenting consequences, it is a threat to schools and their students. In fact, it is a threat to the entire educational systems as it contributes to the shortage of teachers. Hence, methods of reducing stress and improving teacher psychological health needs to be studied.

 

Mindfulness techniques are gaining increasing attention for the treatment of the symptoms of stress and burnout. They have been demonstrated to be helpful in reducing the psychological and physiological responses to stress and for treating and preventing burnout in a number of work environments including schools. Teachers, though, have very busy schedules and it is often difficult to find the time for mindfulness training. So, abbreviated programs may be very useful but their efficacy needs to be established.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of a Four-Day Mindfulness Intervention on Teachers’ Stress and Affect: A Pilot Study in Eastern China.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01298/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1373328_69_Psycho_20200709_arts_A) Song and colleagues recruited school teachers online and randomly assigned them to a wait-list or to receive a 4-day mindfulness training. The mindfulness training was based upon the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program (MBSR) that consists of discussion, meditation, yoga and body scan practices. They met for 8 hours per day for 4 days. They were measured before and after training for mindfulness, perceived stress, and positive and negative emotions.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list group, the teachers who received the mindfulness training had significantly higher levels of mindfulness and lower levels of perceived stress and negative emotions. Hence, a short-term, 4-day, mindfulness training is effective in reducing stress and negative emotions in school teachers.

 

The results demonstrate that a short-term intensive training can significantly increase mindfulness. Such a program is valuable in that it can be implemented before the start of a school year when the teachers have the available time to participate. In addition, it produces results that are similar to those observed in previous studies using trainings occurring over longer periods where mindfulness training decreases perceived stress and negative emotions. It will be important in future work to determine the long-term effectiveness of the training and whether it reduces burnout in teachers.

 

So, decrease teacher stress and improve mental health with a 4-day intensive mindfulness program.

 

“mindfulness training for teachers can help them cope better with stress on the job while also making the classroom environment more productive for learning.” – Jill Suttie

 

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

 

Song X, Zheng M, Zhao H, Yang T, Ge X, Li H and Lou T (2020) Effects of a Four-Day Mindfulness Intervention on Teachers’ Stress and Affect: A Pilot Study in Eastern China. Front. Psychol. 11:1298. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01298

 

Stress is becoming increasingly prevalent among teacher groups, and this is problematic for education. Mindfulness training (MT) is a well-supported way to help various populations cope with and reduce stress. In this study, a 4-day intensive MT program that aimed to increase teachers’ emotional health was developed and implemented into the existing post-service education for teachers in eastern China. A total of 161 teachers voluntarily enrolled in the course and were assigned to either the mindfulness group or the waitlist group. Participants completed measures of mindfulness, positive affect, negative affect, and perceived stress before and after the program. The results showed that MT had statistically significant positive effects on mindfulness, negative affect, and stress. The present findings indicate that a 4-day intensive MT program is a promising way to decrease teachers’ stress and improve their emotional health. The practical meaning of the short-term intensive MT program for teachers is discussed. It is easier for teachers to enroll such a short-term training program, as it may have higher acceptance and feasibility than an 8-week training program in some areas.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01298/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1373328_69_Psycho_20200709_arts_A

 

Improve Cognitive Flexibility with Mindful Non-Reactivity

Improve Cognitive Flexibility with Mindful Non-Reactivity

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindfulness meditation practice and self-reported mindfulness were correlated directly with cognitive flexibility and attentional functioning.” – Daphne Davis

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to be effective in improving physical and psychological health and particularly with the physical and psychological reactions to stress. Mindfulness also decreases the individual’s tendency to use tried and true solutions to problems and thereby improves cognitive flexibility. This has led to an increasing adoption of these mindfulness techniques for the health and well-being of both healthy and ill individuals.

 

Mindfulness, however, is complex and includes facets such as observing, describing, non-reacting, non-judging, and acting with awareness. It is not known which of these facets or which combinations of facets are responsible for the beneficial effects of mindfulness including improved cognitive flexibility. Hence there is a need to investigate the facets of mindfulness and their relationship to the psychological flexibility of the participants.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Mediating Role of Non-reactivity to Mindfulness Training and Cognitive Flexibility: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01053/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1365539_69_Psycho_20200630_arts_A), Zou and colleagues recruited online moderately stressed adults who did not have a mindfulness practice. They were matched and randomly assigned to a wait-list control condition or to receive a once a week for 2.5 hours for 8 weeks Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. MBSR includes meditation, body scan, yoga practices, and discussion along with 45-minute daily home guided meditation practice. They were measured, before, twice during, and after training for mindfulness, including observing, describing, non-reacting, non-judging, and acting with awareness facets, cognitive flexibility, and perceived stress.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control group, the group that received the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program had significant increases in cognitive flexibility. A mediation analysis revealed that MBSR training solely indirectly by increasing the non-reactivity facet of mindfulness which in turn increased cognitive flexibility. Surprisingly, although perceived stress decreased over the 8-week period, there was no significant difference between groups.

 

Cognitive flexibility is ‘the ability to flexibly and adaptively respond to the environments, as opposed to the rigid or automatic thinking style, triggered by prior experience”.  Non-reactivity involves allowing experiences to come and go without reacting in an effort to change them. By not reacting in an autonomic way, it opens up the ability to react flexibly and adaptively to the situation. This ability makes the individual better able to address events in their life and thereby improve their well- being.

 

So, improve cognitive flexibility with mindful non-reactivity.

 

“mindfulness involves cultivation of a “beginner’s mind”, and demonstrate that mindfulness practice reduces cognitive rigidity via the tendency to overlook simple novel solutions to a situation due to rigid and repetitive thought patterns formed through experience.” – Jonathan Greenberg

 

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

 

Zou Y, Li P, Hofmann SG and Liu X (2020) The Mediating Role of Non-reactivity to Mindfulness Training and Cognitive Flexibility: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Front. Psychol. 11:1053. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01053

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to have a beneficial effect on cognitive flexibility. However, little is known about the mediators that produce this effect. Cross-sectional studies show that there might be a link between Non-judgment, Non-reactivity and cognitive flexibility. Longitudinal studies examining whether Non-judgment or Non-reactivity mediate the effectiveness of mindfulness training on improving cognitive flexibility are lacking. The present study aims to test the effect of mindfulness training on increasing cognitive flexibility and to test whether this effect is mediated by Non-judgment or Non-reactivity. We conducted a single-blind randomized controlled trial in 54 nonclinical high-stress participants between October 2018 and January 2019. Participants were randomly assigned to a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) group or a waitlist control group. The experimenters were blind to the group assignment of participants. The MBSR group received 8-weekly sessions (2.5-h per week) and a one-day retreat (6-h), and was required to accomplish a 45-min daily formal practice during the intervention. The waitlist control group did not receive any intervention during the waiting period and received a 2-day (6-h per day) mindfulness training after the post-intervention. The primary outcome was self-report cognitive flexibility and perceived stress administered before and after MBSR. The secondary outcome was self-report mindfulness skills (including Non-reactivity and Non-judgment) measured at pre-treatment, Week 3, Week 6, and post-intervention. For cognitive flexibility, mixed-model repeated-measure ANOVA results showed that there were significant main effects of Time, Group and a significant interaction of Time by Group. Follow-up ANOVA indicated that the MBSR group was associated with greater improvements in cognitive flexibility than the waitlist. Path analysis results showed that the effect of the treatment on cognitive flexibility at post-treatment was fully mediated by Non-reactivity at Week 6. The mediation effects of Non-reactivity at Week 3, and Non-judgment at Week 3 and Week 6 were not significant. Our findings support the efficacy of MBSR on improving cognitive flexibility. Non-reactivity is an important element of the effectiveness of MBSR training on cognitive flexibility.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01053/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1365539_69_Psycho_20200630_arts_A

 

Improve Health, Well-Being, and Quality of Life with Breast Cancer with an Integrative Program Including Diet, Exercise, and Mindfulness

Improve Health, Well-Being, and Quality of Life with Breast Cancer with an Integrative Program Including Diet, Exercise, and Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Our cancer experiences take up a lot of energies, mental focus and can drain us emotionally. It is important to have a few tools to help us create ‘down’ and ‘out’ times, and to replenish and reconnect with who we are.  Mindfulness can also help during specific times of our cancer treatment – to prepare for surgery, while undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy, and before or during scans to help with scanxiety. “ – Karen Sieger

 

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 relieve chronic pain. It can also help treat the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress,  sleep disturbancefear, and anxiety and depression. Diet and exercise have also been shown to be effective for breast cancer patients who tend to become overweight or obese. The majority of research, however, explores mindfulness, diet, and exercise separately as treatments for breast cancer patients. It will be important to establish if the combination of these treatments may be especially effective.

 

In today’s Research News article “Influence of a Multidisciplinary Program of Diet, Exercise, and Mindfulness on the Quality of Life of Stage IIA-IIB Breast Cancer Survivors.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7265566/), Ruiz-Vozmediano and colleagues recruited breast cancer patients who had completed treatment at least 12 months earlier. They were randomly assigned to a no-treatment control group or to receive a 6-month program of diet, exercise, and mindfulness. The diet intervention consisted of a 5-hour workshop on healthy eating that was repeated after 2 months. Exercise consisted of 7-weeks of 3 times per week for an hour stretching and weekly 50-minutes of dancing. Mindfulness training consisted of a 4-week, twice a week for 90 minutes Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program including discussion, meditation, yoga, and body scan. They were measured before and 6 months after the intervention for body size, food intake, and cancer quality of life. They also provided a blood sample that was assayed for glucose, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels, and tumor markers.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control group the participants who received the diet, exercise, and mindfulness intervention had significantly higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet, and greater quality of life including physical, role, and social functioning quality of life. They also had significant reductions in body weight, body mass index (BMI), blood triglycerides, and high-density lipoprotein.

 

The results suggest that an integrated treatment of diet, exercise, and mindfulness training produces positive changes in breast cancer survivors including improvements in their quality of life, diet, body size, and blood lipid levels. Future research should perform a component analysis to determine the effects of each treatment component and their combinations on the patients. Regardless, the effects observed in the present study tend to predict maintained psychological and physical health in these patients.

 

So, improve health, well-being, and quality of life with breast cancer with an integrative program including diet, exercise, and mindfulness.

 

“mindfulness-based stress reduction can be effective in alleviating anxiety and depression, decreasing long-term emotional and physical side effects of treatments and improving the quality of sleep in breast cancer patients.” – BCRF

 

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

 

Ruiz-Vozmediano, J., Löhnchen, S., Jurado, L., Recio, R., Rodríguez-Carrillo, A., López, M., Mustieles, V., Expósito, M., Arroyo-Morales, M., & Fernández, M. F. (2020). Influence of a Multidisciplinary Program of Diet, Exercise, and Mindfulness on the Quality of Life of Stage IIA-IIB Breast Cancer Survivors. Integrative cancer therapies, 19, 1534735420924757. https://doi.org/10.1177/1534735420924757

 

Abstract

Background: Integrative oncology has proven to be a useful approach to control cancer symptoms and improve the quality of life (QoL) and overall health of patients, delivering integrated patient care at both physical and emotional levels. The objective of this randomized trial was to evaluate the effects of a triple intervention program on the QoL and lifestyle of women with breast cancer. Methods: Seventy-five survivors of stage IIA-IIB breast cancer were randomized into 2 groups. The intervention group (IG) received a 6-month dietary, exercise, and mindfulness program that was not offered to the control group (CG). Data were gathered at baseline and at 6 months postintervention on QoL and adherence to Mediterranean diet using clinical markers and validated questionnaires. Between-group differences at baseline and 3 months postintervention were analyzed using Student’s t test for related samples and the Wilcoxon and Mann-Whitney U tests. Results: At 6 months postintervention, the IG showed significant improvements versus CG in physical functioning (p = .027), role functioning (p = .028), and Mediterranean diet adherence (p = .02) and a significant reduction in body mass index (p = .04) and weight (p = .05), with a mean weight loss of 0.7 kg versus a gain of 0.55 kg by the CG (p = .05). Dyspnea symptoms were also increased in the CG versus IG (p = .066). Conclusions: These results demonstrate that an integrative dietary, physical activity, and mindfulness program enhances the QoL and healthy lifestyle of stage IIA-IIB breast cancer survivors. Cancer symptoms may be better managed by the implementation of multimodal rather than isolated interventions.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7265566/

 

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/

 

Reduce Biochemical Stress Responses in Hispanic Breast Cancer Patients with Mindfulness

Reduce Biochemical Stress Responses in Hispanic Breast Cancer Patients with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindfulness is a state of mind which we can all acquire and use to support our wellbeing physically, emotionally and mentally.  . . Having cancer, or specifically breast cancer. . . experiences take up a lot of energies, mental focus and can drain us emotionally. It is important to have a few tools to help us create ‘down’ and ‘out’ times, and to replenish and reconnect with who we are.“ – Karin Sieger

 

Because of great advances in treatment, many patients today are surviving cancer. But cancer survivors frequently suffer from anxiety, depression, mood disturbance, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sleep disturbance, fatigue, sexual dysfunction, loss of personal control, impaired quality of life, and psychiatric symptoms which have been found to persist even ten years after remission. Also, cancer survivors can have to deal with a heightened fear of reoccurrence. This is particularly true with metastatic cancer. So, safe and effective treatments for the symptoms in cancer and the physical and psychological effects of the treatments are needed.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with general cancer recovery . Mindfulness practice have been shown to improve the residual symptoms in cancer survivors. Most research, however, examines women from affluent western populations and may not be sensitive to the unique situations, cultures, and education levels of diverse populations. There are indications that mindfulness therapies may be effective in diverse populations. But there is a need for further investigation with different populations.

 

In today’s Research News article “). A Large Randomized Trial: Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for Breast Cancer (BC) Survivors on Salivary Cortisol and IL-6.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6700883/), Lengacher and colleagues recruited adult breast cancer survivors and randomly assigned them to receive either usual care of a once a week for 2 hours, 6 week program of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) modified for breast cancer patients. The program included meditation, body scan, yoga practices, and discussion along with daily home practice. At baseline, before and after the MBSR session at weeks 1 1nd 6, and after treatment the participants provided saliva samples that were assayed for cortisol and IL-6 levels. They also completed questionnaires measuring fear of cancer recurrence, depression, anxiety, perceived stress, sleep, fatigue, and quality of life.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the usual care group, the group that received Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) had significant reductions in both cortisol and IL-6 levels. In addition, both cortisol and IL-6 levels decreased significantly over the course of the MBSR sessions at weeks 1 1nd 6. They also found that the higher the levels of IL-6 at baseline and the end of treatment the higher the levels of fear of cancer recurrence, sleep problems and fatigue and the lower the levels of quality of life and physical health. After MBSR they found that the higher the levels of IL-6 the higher the levels of fear of cancer recurrence, depression, pain, perceived stress, sleep disturbance and fatigue and the lower the levels of quality of life and physical health.

 

Cortisol and IL-6 levels are markers of stress and inflammation. So, these results suggest that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) reduces the biochemical markers of stress and inflammation in breast cancer survivors and that the levels of IL-6, an inflammatory cytokine, are related to their health and well-being. These findings lend support to prior findings that mindfulness training is an effective treatment for the psychological health of breast cancer survivors and demonstrate that this may, at least in part, be due to the effects of mindfulness training on stress hormones and inflammatory biomarkers. The ability of mindfulness training to reduce stress and inflammatory responses is thought to be a primary mechanism by which it improves health and well-being.

 

The results also demonstrate that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) treatment is effective in Hispanic breast cancer survivors. This suggests that MBSR is an effective treatment across ethnic groups. MBSR appears to effectively reduce stress and inflammatory responses regardless of ethnicity and produce improvements in health and well-being.

 

So, reduce biochemical stress responses in Hispanic breast cancer patients with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness is a good resource for dealing with the physical and psychological symptoms of metastatic disease. Women who were more mindful tended to have lower symptoms of metastatic breast cancer, including pain severity and interference, fatigue, psychological distress, and sleep disturbance.” – Lauren Zimmaro

 

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

 

Lengacher, C. A., Reich, R. R., Paterson, C. L., Shelton, M., Shivers, S., Ramesar, S., Pleasant, M. L., Budhrani-Shani, P., Groer, M., Post-White, J., Johnson-Mallard, V., Kane, B., Cousin, L., Moscoso, M. S., Romershausen, T. A., & Park, J. Y. (2019). A Large Randomized Trial: Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for Breast Cancer (BC) Survivors on Salivary Cortisol and IL-6. Biological research for nursing, 21(1), 39–49. https://doi.org/10.1177/1099800418789777

 

Abstract

Breast cancer survivors (BCS) often experience psychological and physiological symptoms after cancer treatment. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), a complementary and alternative therapy, has reduced subjective measures of stress, anxiety, and fatigue among BCS. Little is known, however, about how MBSR affects objective markers of stress, specifically the stress hormone cortisol and the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6). In the present study, BCS (N = 322) were randomly assigned to a 6-week MBSR program for BC or usual-care control. Measurements of cortisol, IL-6, symptoms, and quality of life were obtained at orientation and 6 weeks. Cortisol and IL-6 were also measured prior to and after the MBSR(BC) class Weeks 1 and 6. The mean age of participants was 56.6 years and 69.4% were White non-Hispanic. Most had Stage I (33.8%) or II (35.7%) BC, and 35.7% had received chemotherapy and radiation. Cortisol levels were reduced immediately following MBSR(BC) class compared to before the class Weeks 1 and 6 (Wilcoxon-signed rank test; p < .01, d = .52–.56). IL-6 was significantly reduced from pre- to postclass at Week 6 (Wilcoxon-signed rank test; p < .01, d = .21). No differences were observed between the MBSR(BC) and control groups from baseline to Week 6 using linear mixed models. Significant relationships with small effect sizes were observed between IL-6 and both symptoms and quality of life in both groups. Results support the use of MBSR(BC) to reduce salivary cortisol and IL-6 levels in the short term in BCS.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6700883/

 

Reduce Physiological Indicators of Stress with Mindfulness

Reduce Physiological Indicators of Stress with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Learning how to accept your present-moment experience is really important for reducing stress,” – Emily Lindsay

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to be effective in improving physical and psychological health. One reason for these benefits is that mindfulness training improves the individual’s physical and psychological reactions to stress. Stress is an integral part of life, that is actually essential to the health of the body. In moderation, it is healthful, strengthening, and provides interest and fun to life. If stress, is high or is prolonged, however, it can be problematic. It can significantly damage our physical and mental health and even reduce our longevity, leading to premature deaths.

 

It is important that we develop methods to either reduce or control high or prolonged stress or reduce our responses to it. Mindfulness practices have been found routinely to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. and this appears to be important for health. So, it is important to study the mechanisms by which mindfulness reduces stress.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Student Training Leads to a Reduction in Physiological Evaluated Stress.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00645/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1332835_69_Psycho_20200519_arts_A), Voss and colleagues recruited university students and randomly assigned them to receive either no-treatment or a once a week for 90 minutes, 8-week mindfulness training program based upon Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). The program contained meditation, body scan, yoga, and discussion and daily 20-min home practice. They were measured before and after training with physiological indicators of autonomic nervous system activity with electrocardiogram (ECG), finger-pulse plethysmography, and respiration.

 

They found that in comparison to the baseline and the no-treatment control participants the participants who received mindfulness training had significantly lower blood pressure pulse wave variability in both their systolic and diastolic blood pressures. These results suggest that mindfulness training resulted in improved regulation of the autonomic nervous system suggesting lower physiological arousal and greater peripheral physiological relaxation. This normally suggests a dominance of the parasympathetic (relaxation) component of the system as opposed to the sympathetic (arousal) component. The study suggests that the mindfulness training produced lower levels of physiological indicators of stress.

 

Prior research has established the mindfulness training produces lower psychological responses to stress. It has also shown that mindfulness training produces higher levels of heart rate variability, another measure of parasympathetic predominance and improved autonomic regulation. So, the present study, using different physiological measures, also showed that mindfulness training improves autonomic regulation suggestive of greater ability to respond to stress with lower physiological reactivity.

 

The importance of the observed improvements in autonomic regulation should not be underestimated. The greater ability to respond adaptively to stress is thought to underlie many of the improvements in mental and physical health produced by mindfulness training. In other words, the physiological indicators of reduced stress responsivity observed here, are indicators of the improvements in the individual’s ability to withstand stress and thereby maintain their health and well-being

 

So, reduce physiological indicators of stress with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness can lead to less intense stress responses. This has many health benefits, such as lowering your blood pressure and strengthening your immune system.” – Healthy Aging

 

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

 

Voss A, Bogdanski M, Langohr B, Albrecht R and Sandbothe M (2020) Mindfulness-Based Student Training Leads to a Reduction in Physiological Evaluated Stress. Front. Psychol. 11:645. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00645

 

Background and Objective: In today’s fast-paced modern lifestyle, chronic stress has become a serious issue with potential consequences for our physical and mental health. The concept of mindfulness and its derived Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program is considered to be an effective stress management technique for patients as well as for healthy persons. The effects of MBSR interventions on their participants have been subject of previous research, especially with regard to psychological or social science approaches using self-reports and questionnaires. In contrast, medical investigations in this field have been less frequent and often somehow limited, for example, addressing only absolute (discrete) mean values for heart rate or blood pressure.

Methods: In this study, we have evaluated a Mindfulness Based Student Training program (MBST) by applying methods of biosignal analysis to examine its impact on the training participants’ autonomic regulation. This intervention program included classical MBSR elements but was adapted to suit the normal daily needs of university students. We obtained the electrocardiogram, finger-pulse plethysmography, and respiration activity from students participating in either the intervention group (IGR, 38 subjects) or a passive control group (CON, 35 subjects) prior to and after 8 weeks of MBST intervention.

Results: When comparing various indices from heart rate variability, pulse wave variability, and respiration in linear and nonlinear domains, significant changes in the autonomic regulation were observed for the IGR group after 8 weeks of MBST.

Conclusion: The results indicate a reduced stress level exclusively for the intervention participants, and therefore, we assume a health benefit from the MBST program.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00645/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1332835_69_Psycho_20200519_arts_A

 

Andreas.Voss@eah-jena.de

 

Reduce Intimate Partner Violence with Mindfulness

Reduce Intimate Partner Violence with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“teaching men mindfulness and emotional intelligence will help them develop self-awareness in moments of emotional trigger . . . and avoid violent reactivity.” – Prison Mindfulness Institute

 

The human tendency to lash out with aggression when threatened was adaptive for the evolution of the species. It helped promote the survival of the individual, the family, and the tribe. In the modern world, however, this trait has become more of a problem than an asset. It results in individual violence and aggression such as physical abuse, fights, road rage, and even murders, and in societal violence such as warfare.

 

These violent and aggressive tendencies can lead to violence directed to intimate partners, including sexual and physical violence. In the U.S. there are over 5 million cases of domestic violence reported annually. Indeed, it has been estimated that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced physical violence and 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men have experienced sexual violence from an intimate partner.

 

Obviously, there is a need to find ways to reduce intimate partner violence. Mindfulness training has been shown to reduce aggressionhostility and violence. Hence, mindfulness training may be effective in reducing intimate partner violence. In today’s Research News article “Cognitive behavioural group therapy versus mindfulness-based stress reduction group therapy for intimate partner violence: a randomized controlled trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7169006/), Nesset and colleagues explored therapeutic techniques for perpetrators of intimate partner violence.

 

They recruited adult men who were referred by physicians for treatment for violence against intimate partners. They were randomly assigned to be treated with either 15 2-hour group Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) sessions or 8 2-hour group Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) sessions. CBT explores and attempts to change inaccurate or negative thinking so the patient can view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in a more effective way. The MBSR program consisting on training in meditation, body scan, yoga, and discussions of using mindfulness in everyday life. They were measured at baseline and 3, 6, 9, and 12 months later for violence over the prior 3 months reported by both the patient and the intimate partner, including physical injury, and physical, psychological, and sexual violence.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline both Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) produced large and significant reductions in physical injury, and physical, psychological, and sexual violence over the 12-month follow-up period.

 

It is interesting that two very different therapeutic techniques were equally effective. This raises the possibility that the benefits may have been due to the confounding effects of participant expectancy (placebo) effects, demand characteristics, or experimenter bias effects. But the magnitude in the reductions in violence were striking and lasting. Confounding effects are usually short lived. So, it would seem that both therapies were effective in reducing violence in men with a history of intimate partner violence. Whether they act in different ways or share a common mechanism of action is a subject for future research.

 

So, reduce intimate partner violence with mindfulness.

 

Meditation is one of the most effective ways to calm the mind and clear built up stress from the nervous system.” – Diane Yeo

 

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

 

Nesset, M. B., Lara-Cabrera, M. L., Bjørngaard, J. H., Whittington, R., & Palmstierna, T. (2020). Cognitive behavioural group therapy versus mindfulness-based stress reduction group therapy for intimate partner violence: a randomized controlled trial. BMC psychiatry, 20(1), 178. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-020-02582-4

 

Abstract

Background

Violence in close relationships is a global public health problem and there is a need to implement therapeutic programs designed to help individuals who voluntarily seek help to reduce recurrent intimate partner violence. The effectiveness of such interventions in this population remains inconclusive. The aim of the present study was to compare the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioural group therapy (CBGT) vs mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) group therapy in reducing violent behavior amongst individuals who are violent in intimate partnerships and who voluntarily seek help.

Methods

One hundred forty four participants were randomized using an internet-based computer system. Nineteen withdrew after randomization and 125 participants were randomly assigned to the intervention condition (CBGT, n = 67) or the comparator condition (MBSR, n = 58). The intervention condition involved two individual sessions followed by 15 cognitive-behavioural group therapy sessions. The comparator condition included one individual session before and after 8 mindfulness-based group sessions. Participants (N = 125) and their relationship partners (n = 56) completed assessments at baseline, and at three, six, nine and twelve months’ follow-up. The pre-defined primary outcome was reported physical, psychological or sexual violence and physical injury as measured by the revised Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS2).

Results

The intent-to-treat analyses were based on 125 male participants (intervention group n = 67; comparator group n = 58). Fifty-six female partners provided collateral information. Baseline risk estimate in the CBGT-group was .85 (.74–.92), and .88 (.76–.94) in the MBSR-group for physical violence. At 12-months’ follow-up a substantial reduction was found in both groups (CBGT: .08 (.03–.18); MBSR: .19 (.11–.32)).

Conclusion

Results provide support for the efficacy of both the cognitive-behavioural group therapy and the mindfulness-based stress reduction group therapy in reducing intimate partner violent behavior in men voluntarily seeking treatment.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7169006/

 

Improve the Psychological Health in Breast Cancer Patients with Mindfulness

Improve the Psychological Health in Breast Cancer Patients with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindfulness is a state of mind which we can all acquire and use to support our wellbeing physically, emotionally and mentally.  . . Having cancer, or specifically breast cancer, is no exception. Our cancer experiences take up a lot of energies, mental focus and can drain us emotionally. It is important to have a few tools to help us create ‘down’ and ‘out’ times, and to replenish and reconnect with who we are. “ – Breast Cancer Now

 

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 relieve chronic pain. It can also help treat the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress,  sleep disturbancefear, and anxiety and depression. There has been considerable research conducted on the effectiveness of mindfulness practices in treating the psychological issues associated with cancer. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-based stress reduction for women diagnosed with breast cancer.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6436161/), Schell and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research studies investigating the effectiveness of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program for the treatment of the psychological problems that occur in women who survive breast cancer. MBSR includes meditation, body scan, yoga practices, and discussion along with daily home practice. They identified 14 randomized controlled trials.

 

They report that the published research studies provide evidence that the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program improves the quality of life and sleep and reduces anxiety, depression, and fatigue in breast cancer patients. The effect sizes are small and the effects were no longer present at long-term follow-up a year after the end of treatment. MBSR is a complex of practices and the research to date cannot differentiate which components or which combination of components are responsible for the benefits.

 

There is substantial evidence that mindfulness training improves quality of life and sleep and reduces anxiety, depression, and fatigue in a wide variety of healthy and ill individuals. The present results suggest that it also has these benefits for women suffering with breast cancer. Hence, MBSR may be recommended to improve the psychological health of breast cancer patients.

 

So, improve the psychological health in breast cancer patients with mindfulness.

 

Studies have shown mindfulness-based stress reduction can be effective in alleviating anxiety and depression, decreasing long-term emotional and physical side effects of treatments and improving the quality of sleep in breast cancer patients.” – Breast Cancer Research 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

 

Schell, L. K., Monsef, I., Wöckel, A., & Skoetz, N. (2019). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for women diagnosed with breast cancer. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 3(3), CD011518. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD011518.pub2

 

Abstract

Background

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Diagnosis and treatment may drastically affect quality of life, causing symptoms such as sleep disorders, depression and anxiety. Mindfulness‐based stress reduction (MBSR) is a programme that aims to reduce stress by developing mindfulness, meaning a non‐judgmental, accepting moment‐by‐moment awareness. MBSR seems to benefit patients with mood disorders and chronic pain, and it may also benefit women with breast cancer.

Objectives

To assess the effects of mindfulness‐based stress reduction (MBSR) in women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Search methods

In April 2018, we conducted a comprehensive electronic search for studies of MBSR in women with breast cancer, in the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, Embase, and two trial registries (World Health Organization’s International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (WHO ICTRP) and ClinicalTrials.gov). We also handsearched relevant conference proceedings.

Selection criteria

Randomised clinical trials (RCTs) comparing MBSR versus no intervention in women with breast cancer.

Data collection and analysis

We used standard methodological procedures expected by Cochrane. Using a standardised data form, the review authors extracted data in duplicate on methodological quality, participants, interventions and outcomes of interest (quality of life, fatigue, depression, anxiety, quality of sleep, overall survival and adverse events). For outcomes assessed with the same instrument, we used the mean difference (MD) as a summary statistic for meta‐analysis; for those assessed with different instruments, we used the standardised mean difference (SMD). The effect of MBSR was assessed in the short term (end of intervention), medium term (up to 6 months after intervention) and long term (up to 24 months after intervention).

Main results

Fourteen RCTs fulfilled our inclusion criteria, with most studies reporting that they included women with early breast cancer. Ten RCTs involving 1571 participants were eligible for meta‐analysis, while four studies involving 185 participants did not report usable results. Queries to the authors of these four studies were unsuccessful. All studies were at high risk of performance and detection bias since participants could not be blinded, and only 3 of 14 studies were at low risk of selection bias. Eight of 10 studies included in the meta‐analysis recruited participants with early breast cancer (the remaining 2 trials did not restrict inclusion to a certain cancer type). Most trials considered only women who had completed cancer treatment.

MBSR may improve quality of life slightly at the end of the intervention (based on low‐certainty evidence from three studies with a total of 339 participants) but may result in little to no difference up to 6 months (based on low‐certainty evidence from three studies involving 428 participants). Long‐term data on quality of life (up to two years after completing MBSR) were available for one study in 97 participants (MD 0.00 on questionnaire FACT‐B, 95% CI −5.82 to 5.82; low‐certainty evidence).

In the short term, MBSR probably reduces fatigue (SMD −0.50, 95% CI −0.86 to −0.14; moderate‐certainty evidence; 5 studies; 693 participants). It also probably slightly reduces anxiety (SMD −0.29, 95% CI −0.50 to −0.08; moderate‐certainty evidence; 6 studies; 749 participants), and it reduces depression (SMD −0.54, 95% CI −0.86 to −0.22; high‐certainty evidence; 6 studies; 745 participants). It probably slightly improves quality of sleep (SMD −0.38, 95% CI −0.79 to 0.04; moderate‐certainty evidence; 4 studies; 475 participants). However, these confidence intervals (except for short‐term depression) are compatible with both an improvement and little to no difference.

In the medium term, MBSR probably results in little to no difference in medium‐term fatigue (SMD −0.31, 95% CI −0.84 to 0.23; moderate‐certainty evidence; 4 studies; 607 participants). The intervention probably slightly reduces anxiety (SMD −0.28, 95% CI −0.49 to −0.07; moderate‐certainty evidence; 7 studies; 1094 participants), depression (SMD −0.32, 95% CI −0.58 to −0.06; moderate‐certainty evidence; 7 studies; 1097 participants) and slightly improves quality of sleep (SMD −0.27, 95% CI −0.63 to 0.08; moderate‐certainty evidence; 4 studies; 654 participants). However, these confidence intervals are compatible with both an improvement and little to no difference.

In the long term, moderate‐certainty evidence shows that MBSR probably results in little to no difference in anxiety (SMD −0.09, 95% CI −0.35 to 0.16; 2 studies; 360 participants) or depression (SMD −0.17, 95% CI −0.40 to 0.05; 2 studies; 352 participants). No long‐term data were available for fatigue or quality of sleep.

No study reported data on survival or adverse events.

Authors’ conclusions

MBSR may improve quality of life slightly at the end of the intervention but may result in little to no difference later on. MBSR probably slightly reduces anxiety, depression and slightly improves quality of sleep at both the end of the intervention and up to six months later. A beneficial effect on fatigue was apparent at the end of the intervention but not up to six months later. Up to two years after the intervention, MBSR probably results in little to no difference in anxiety and depression; there were no data available for fatigue or quality of sleep.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6436161/

 

Improve the Symptoms of Psychosis with Mindfulness

Improve the Symptoms of Psychosis with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“There is increasing evidence that specially adapted mindfulness techniques can be used safely and effectively in the management and treatment of severe mental health problems, such as psychosis.” – Carly Samson

 

Psychoses are mental health problems that cause people to perceive or interpret things differently from those around them. This might involve hallucinations; seeing and, in some cases, feeling, smelling or tasting things that aren’t objectively there, or delusions; unshakable beliefs that, when examined rationally, are obviously untrue. The combination of hallucinations and delusional thinking can often severely disrupt perception, thinking, emotion, and behavior, making it difficult if not impossible to function in society without treatment. Psychoses appear to be highly heritable and involves changes in the brain. The symptoms of psychoses usually do not appear until late adolescence or early adulthood. There are, however, usually early signs of the onset of psychoses which present as cognitive impairments.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to be beneficial for patients with psychosis. Implementing interventions early in the disease progression may maximize the benefits. This training improves a number of different facets of mindfulness. These include describing, observing, acting with awareness, non-judging, and nor-reacting facets. It has not been established which of these facets is critical for symptom improvement

 

In today’s Research News article “The Role of Five Facets of Mindfulness in a Mindfulness-Based Psychoeducation Intervention for People With Recent-Onset Psychosis on Mental and Psychosocial Health Outcomes.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7078358/), Chien and colleagues recruited patients in the early stages of psychosis (< 5 years since onset) including schizophrenia, schizophreniform/schizoaffective disorders or other psychotic disorders. They were randomly assigned to receive either mindfulness-based psychoeducation, conventional psychoeducation, or treatment-as-usual. The mindfulness-based psychoeducation program was a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) modified for psychotic patients and consisted of one session every other week for 24 weeks along with daily practice of 20 minutes. They were measured before and after the program and 6 and 18 months later for positive and negative psychotic symptoms, process of recovery, insight, treatment attitude, level of functioning, and mindfulness.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control groups the patients who received mindfulness-based psychoeducation had significantly greater increases in mindfulness that persisted at the 18-month follow-up. They also found that greater the increases in mindfulness the greater the improvements in positive and negative psychotic symptoms, process of recovery, insight, treatment attitude, and level of functioning. Psychosocial functioning was the most highly related symptom while psychotic symptoms were less associated. Of the facets of mindfulness, only the observing and acting with awareness facets were significantly associated with the symptom improvements.

 

These results are interesting and suggest that mindfulness can be improved in psychotic patients with training and that these improvements are related to improvements in symptoms. It appears that training that improves the patient’s ability to observe what is occurring in the present moment and to act with awareness in response to what is occurring are the most important aspects of mindfulness for symptom improvement. It would make sense that these abilities would be particularly useful for psychosocial functioning. Psychotic symptoms are extremely difficult to treat. So, these results suggest that mindfulness training may be a helpful program for psychotic patients in the early stages of the disease.

 

So, improve the symptoms of psychosis with mindfulness.

 

There is emerging evidence that mindfulness for psychosis – when used in an adapted form – is safe and therapeutic.” – Paul Chadwick

 

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

 

Chien, W. T., Chow, K. M., Chong, Y. Y., Bressington, D., Choi, K. C., & Chan, C. (2020). The Role of Five Facets of Mindfulness in a Mindfulness-Based Psychoeducation Intervention for People With Recent-Onset Psychosis on Mental and Psychosocial Health Outcomes. Frontiers in psychiatry, 11, 177. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00177

 

Abstract

Objective: This study aimed to examine how five facets of mindfulness may be associated with the changes in psychotic patients’ health outcomes after participating in a mindfulness-based psychoeducation group (MBPEG) program.

Methods: Longitudinal follow-up data from two pragmatic randomized controlled trials of MBPEG for psychotic patients were used for this study. A total of 124 patients who completed the MBPEG program were included in this analysis. Patient outcomes (psychotic symptoms, functioning, insight into illness/treatment, subjective recovery) and five facets of mindfulness were assessed at baseline and six, 12 and 24 months post-intervention. Areas under the curve of individual outcomes in repeated-measures were computed using trapezoidal method, rescaled to the original possible range of the underlying variable and used for correlation and regression analyses.

Results: All mean scores of the five facets increased across time and were significantly correlated with the improvements in all patient outcomes (p-values ranged from <0.001 to <0.05), except “non-judging” facet and symptom severity. Regression analyses revealed that only “observing” and “acting with awareness” were significantly associated with positive changes across all outcomes (increase in adjusted R2 ranged from 5.9% to 24.2%, p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Two facets of mindfulness, “observing” and “acting with awareness,” were related to positive outcomes of psychotic patients after participating in the MBPEG. More efforts in addressing these two facets of mindfulness can be considered to increase the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions in psychosis.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7078358/

 

Long-Term Meditators have More Frequent Lucid Dreams

How Tame Impala, Pink Floyd And The Doors Will Give You Lucid ...Long-Term Meditators have More Frequent Lucid Dreams

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

All that we see or seem/Is but a dream within a dream.” Edgar Allan Poe

 

We spend about a third of our lives in sleep, but we know very little about it. It is known that sleep is not a unitary phenomenon. Rather, it involves several different states that can be characterized by differences in physiological activation, neural activity, and subjective experiences. Dreaming occurs several times each night during a particularly deep stage of sleep called rapid eye movement or REM sleep. Dreams have been the subject of much speculation and theorization but little empirical research.

 

An intriguing form of dreaming is the lucid dream where the individual is aware that they are dreaming. They may even be able to affect the content of the dream. These are quite common with about three quarters of people having a lucid dream at least once. It has been reported that meditation and mindfulness may increase the likelihood of lucid dreams. But there is very little empirical research on the subject.

 

In today’s Research News article “Increased lucid dream frequency in long-term meditators but not following MBSR training.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6490164/), Baird and colleagues recruited adults who were meditation naïve and long-term meditators who meditated at least 200 minutes per week for over 5 years. The meditation naïve participants were randomly assigned to a wait-list condition or to receive 9-week programs of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or Health education. Training occurred over 9 weeks for 2.5 hours each week and included daily home practice. Participants were measured before and after training and 6 months later for how often they recalled dreams, lucid dreams, and mindfulness.

 

They found that long-term meditators had almost 2 and a half times more lucid dreams than meditation naïve participants while the groups did not differ on dream recall frequencies. There were no differences in lucid dream frequency with different meditation practices or amount of meditation experience. Among the long-term meditators those that had frequent lucid dreams were significantly higher in mindfulness especially the observing, acting with awareness, and decentering facets. Further, they found that neither the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or Health education programs produced any significant changes in lucid dreaming in the meditation naïve participants.

 

These findings have to be interpreted with caution as the types of people who engage in long-term meditation might be significantly different than those individuals who do not choose to meditate. It could be that people who have frequent lucid dreams are exactly the same kinds of people who are attracted to meditation practice. The fact that mindfulness training with the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) did not influence lucid dream frequency supports this interpretation. Additionally, the fact that there the amount of meditation experience was unrelated to lucid dreaming also supports this interpretation.

 

Nevertheless, the results suggest that long-term meditators have relatively frequent lucid dreams. It is not known why this might be true. But it can be speculated that this is due to the fact that meditation practice improves meta-cognition, the ability to be aware of one’s own thoughts. This ability may make the individual more aware of their conscious process during dreams, lucid dreaming. It is also possible that increased mindfulness produced by meditation practice promotes lucid dreaming. It remains for future research to investigate these potential mechanisms.

 

But it is clear that long-term meditators have more frequent lucid dreams.

 

You know that magical moment when you wake up within a dream and know you’re dreaming? That’s lucid dreaming. It’s a skill you can develop and a beneficial meditation practice you can do.” – Andrew Holecek

 

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

 

Baird, B., Riedner, B. A., Boly, M., Davidson, R. J., & Tononi, G. (2019). Increased lucid dream frequency in long-term meditators but not following MBSR training. Psychology of consciousness (Washington, D.C.), 6(1), 40–54. https://doi.org/10.1037/cns0000176

 

Abstract

Strong conceptual and theoretical connections have been made between meditation practice, mindfulness and lucid dreaming. However, only a handful of empirical studies have evaluated the relationship between lucid dreaming and meditation, and conclusions remain tempered by methodological limitations. Here we evaluate the relationship between meditation, mindfulness and lucid dream frequency using several complementary methods. First, using a cross-sectional design, we evaluate differences in lucid dream frequency between long-term meditators and meditation naïve individuals. Second, we evaluate the relationship between lucid dream frequency and specific facets of trait mindfulness in both meditators and non-meditators. Third, using a blinded randomized-controlled design, we evaluate the impact of an 8-week mindfulness course on lucid dreaming frequency. Our results show that lucid dreaming is more frequent in long-term meditators compared to meditation naïve individuals. Additionally, lucid dream frequency in meditation-naïve individuals was associated with a capacity to verbalize experience, while lucid dream frequency in long-term meditators was associated with observational and decentering facets of trait mindfulness. However, an 8-week mindfulness course did not increase the frequency of lucid dreams. Together these results support a continuity between increased awareness of waking and sleeping states, provide a novel form of evidence linking meditation training to meta-awareness, and support an association between meditation practice and lucid dreaming, but leave open the specific nature of this connection.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6490164/