Mindfulness Training has Long-Lasting Positive Effects

Mindfulness Training has Long-Lasting Positive Effects

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“These findings suggest that mindfulness training has both short-term and long-term effects on coping. These effects (six years on) were found despite poor to moderate adherence to formal mindfulness practice.” – de Vibe et al.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to improve health and well-being. It has also been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. As a result, mindfulness training has been called the third wave of therapies. The vast majority of studies of mindfulness, however, are conducted over relatively short periods of time, often without follow-up and if there is follow-up it is often only for a few weeks. Hence, it is not known whether mindfulness training has long-term persisting benefits that are detectable years later.

 

In today’s Research News article “Six-year positive effects of a mindfulness-based intervention on mindfulness, coping and well-being in medical and psychology students; Results from a randomized controlled trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5916495/ ), de Vibe and colleagues examine whether mindfulness training has detectable benefits 6 years after training. They recruited second year medical and clinical psychology students and randomly assigned them to either receive a 7-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program or a no-treatment control condition. MBSR consists of training in meditation, yoga, and body scan. The students were measured at baseline and then one month and two, four and six years after training for mindfulness, well-being, coping, and class attendance.

 

“During the six-year follow-up period, students in the intervention group were invited to participate in optional 1.5-hour mindfulness booster sessions once every semester.” Two thirds of the students attended one or no booster sessions. “During the six-year follow-up period, the number of participants in the intervention group who reported to practice formal mindfulness exercises decreased from 112 of 140 (80%), one month after the intervention to 28 of 48 (58%), at six-year follow-up.”

 

They found that in comparison to the control group and regardless of attendance at booster sessions or home practice, participants in the MBSR training demonstrated higher levels of mindfulness, improved well-being, decreased avoidance coping, and increased problem focused coping at the six year follow-up. Hence mindfulness training resulted in improvements in mindfulness, well-being, and adaptive coping ability that lasted over a six years period with no trend toward weakening.

 

These are remarkable results that suggest that the benefits of mindfulness training are not fleeting, but rather last over substantial periods of time. To my knowledge, this is the first demonstration that the effects last for such a prolonged, 6-year, period. They underscore the ability of mindfulness training to fundamentally alter the individual’s approach to life resulting in relatively permanent improvements in their mental and physical well-being.

 

So, produce long lasting positive effects with mindfulness training.

 

“mindfulness exercises can result in long-lasting positive psychological effects, especially for people new to these experiences.” – Monique Tello

 

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

 

Michael de Vibe, Ida Solhaug, Jan H. Rosenvinge, Reidar Tyssen, Adam Hanley, Eric Garland. Six-year positive effects of a mindfulness-based intervention on mindfulness, coping and well-being in medical and psychology students; Results from a randomized controlled trial, PLoS One. 2018; 13(4): e0196053. Published online 2018 Apr 24. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0196053

 

Abstract

Longitudinal research investigating the enduring impact of mindfulness training is scarce. This study investigates the six-year effects of a seven-week mindfulness-based course, by studying intervention effects in the trajectory of dispositional mindfulness and coping skills, and the association between those change trajectories and subjective well-being at six-year follow-up. 288 Norwegian medical and psychology students participated in a randomized controlled trial. 144 received a 15-hour mindfulness course over seven weeks in the second or third semester with booster sessions twice yearly, while the rest continued their normal study curricula. Outcomes were subjective well-being, and dispositional mindfulness and coping assessed using the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire and the Ways of Coping Checklist. Analyses were performed for the intention-to-treat sample, using latent growth curve models. At six-year follow-up, students receiving mindfulness training reported increased well-being. Furthermore, they reported greater increases in the trajectory of dispositional mindfulness and problem-focused coping along with greater decreases in the trajectory of avoidance-focused coping. Increases in problem-focused coping predicted increases in well-being. These effects were found despite relatively low levels of adherence to formal mindfulness practice. The findings demonstrate the viability of mindfulness training in the promotion of well-being and adaptive coping, which could contribute to the quality of care given, and to the resilience and persistence of health care professionals.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5916495/

Reduce Menopausal Symptoms, Anxiety, and Depression during Menopause with Mindfulness

Reduce Menopausal Symptoms, Anxiety, and Depression during Menopause with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness cannot entirely remove the symptoms of menopause, but it can help you deal with them in a calmer and more compassionate way – and self compassion boosts mental health.” – Karita Cullen

 

Menopause occurs in the 40s and 50s in most women, on average at 51 years of age. It is a natural physical process that marks the end of the menstrual cycle. The symptoms that occur over the years preceding menopause include irregular periods, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, chills

night sweats, sleep problems, mood changes, weight gain and slowed metabolism, thinning hair and dry skin, and loss of breast fullness. This is a natural process that is healthy and needs to occur. So, treatments are designed for symptomatic relief and include drugs and hormone treatments.

 

Mindfulness training may be a more natural treatment for the symptoms of menopause. Indeed, the mindful practice of yoga has been shown to improve the cardiac symptoms of menopause. It is important to study the effectiveness of other mindfulness practices in relieving these symptoms. In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or Psychoeducation for the Reduction of Menopausal Symptoms: A Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5919973/ ), Wong and colleagues examine the effectiveness for the treatment of menopausal symptoms of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, which includes meditation, yoga, and body scan practices.

 

They recruited women 40-60 years of age who were experiencing menopausal symptoms. They were randomly assigned to receive either Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training of once-a-week 2.5-hour sessions for 8 weeks or Menopausal education on a similar schedule. Both groups were encouraged to practice at home for 40 minutes daily. They were measured before and after training and 3 and 6 months later for menopausal symptoms, perceived stress, health related quality of life, and mindfulness.

 

They found that both groups had significant reductions in menopausal symptoms at all follow-up measurements including the 6-month follow-up, but the MBSR group had significantly greater improvement than the menopausal education group. In addition, the MBSR group had significantly greater reductions in anxiety and depression at the follow-up measurements. Hence, MBSR appears to produce greater improvements in menopausal symptoms than an active control condition.

 

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a complex program including, meditation, yoga, and body scan practices. In the present study, it cannot be determined which of these components or combinations of components are effective and which are not. It has been previously shown, however, that yoga practice improves the cardiac symptoms of menopause. So, it would seem likely that at least the yoga component is effective. It remains for future research to determine whether meditation and body scan are necessary or sufficient to relieve the symptoms of menopause. Regardless, it is clear that the complex of practices of MBSR has beneficial effects for women undergoing menopause.

 

So, reduce menopausal symptoms, anxiety, and depression during menopause with mindfulness.

 

“The degree of bother reported from hot flashes and night sweats in the mindfulness group decreased over time, indicating time and persistence using mindfulness techniques may be key to obtaining beneficial results.” – Lena Suhaila

 

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

 

Carmen Wong, Benjamin Hon-Kei Yip, Ting Gao, Kitty Yu Yuk Lam, Doris Mei Sum Woo, Annie Lai King Yip, Chloe Yu Chin, Winnie Pui Yin Tang, Mandy Mun Tse Choy, Katrina Wai Key Tsang, Suzanne C. Ho, Helen Shuk Wah Ma, Samuel Yeung Shan Wong. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or Psychoeducation for the Reduction of Menopausal Symptoms: A Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trial. Sci Rep. 2018; 8: 6609. Published online 2018 Apr 26. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-24945-4

 

 

Abstract

Psychological and behavioural interventions may be effective in reducing menopause-related symptoms. This randomized controlled trial aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in reducing menopause-related symptoms by comparing with an active control group, the menopause education control (MEC). Symptomatic peri-menopausal and post-menopausal women with mild to moderate symptoms were recruited. The primary outcome was overall menopausal symptoms measured by modified Greene Climacteric Scale (GCS). Secondary outcomes include subscales of the GCS perceived stress, mindfulness and health related Quality of Life. All outcome measures were collected at baseline, 2 months (immediately post intervention), 5 and 8 months (3 and 6 months post intervention respectively). Both MBSR (n = 98) and MEC (n = 99) groups reported a reduction in total GCS score at 8 months. Between group analysis show significant symptom score reduction in MBSR group on Anxiety and Depression subscales of GCS. No differences were found between groups on other GCS subscales and majority of the secondary outcome measures. The findings show that menopausal symptoms in both MBSR and MEC significantly reduced over the study period. MBSR show a greater reduction of psychological symptoms of depression and anxiety above active controls but do not reduce other somatic, urogenital and vasomotor symptoms.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5919973/

Manage Stress in Cancer Patients with Mindfulness

Manage Stress in Cancer Patients with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“For many people who have been diagnosed with cancer — or have been diagnosed with advanced cancer and are facing end-of-life issues — their mind is so full of worries about the future… that they can’t fully be aware and enjoy the time they have now. Emotional distress, in turn, can have a significant impact on the course of the illness. Depression has been shown to hasten decline in cancer patients, and also to increase the risk of death. By reducing stress and negative emotions, mindfulness programs could potentially play an important role in the treatment process. [Cancer] is very demanding on the body and the mind, so the aim of this program is to help people learn ways to focus and calm their mind, and live more fully in the present moment so they can better manage difficult thoughts and difficult feelings,” – Joanna Bell

 

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. These feeling can result from changes in body image, changes to family and work roles, feelings of grief at these losses, and physical symptoms such as pain, nausea, or fatigue and insomnia. People might also fear death, suffering, pain, or all the unknown things that lie ahead. So, coping with the emotions and stress of a cancer diagnosis is a challenge and there are no simple treatments for these psychological sequelae of cancer diagnosis.

 

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. It is estimated that 15 million adults and children with a history of cancer are alive in the United States today. But, surviving cancer carries with it a number of problems. “Physical, emotional, and financial hardships often persist for years after diagnosis and treatment. Cancer survivors are also at greater risk for developing second cancers and other health conditions.” National Cancer Survivors Day. It is estimated that nearly a third of breast cancer survivors have major disturbances of sleep that adds to the stress and damages recovery.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with cancer recovery and help to alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depression. In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction as a Stress Management Intervention for Cancer Care: A Systematic Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871193/ ), Rush and Sharma review and summarize the findings of the published research on the effectiveness of one particular frequently used mindfulness training technique,  Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in reducing stress in cancer patients. MBSR is generally a 8-week program including meditation, yoga, and body scan, combined with home practice.

 

They identified 13 published research studies, 8 of which involved breast cancer. They found that the studies indicate that MBSR is effective in reducing the psychological and physiological responses to the stress of cancer and its treatment. Since, this stress produced can interfere with the patients ability of withstand treatment and its’ psychological consequences, reducing stress responding may be greatly beneficial to the patients’ health and well-being. Hence, the published literature supports the use of MBSR training for patients diagnosed with cancer, improving their physiological and psychological responses to the diagnosis and treatment of the disease. This can improve quality of life with cancer and hopefully lead to improved health and survival.

 

So, manage stress in cancer patients with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).

 

“Women who had the most stress before the study started benefited the most from the Mindfulness-Based Stress-Reduction for Breast Cancer program. The results of this study echo results from other small studies showing that mindfulness-based meditation can help ease the stress, anxiety, fear, and depression that often come along with a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.” – BreastCancer.org

 

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

 

Rush, S. E., & Sharma, M. (2017). Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction as a Stress Management Intervention for Cancer Care: A Systematic Review. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 22(2), 348–360. http://doi.org/10.1177/2156587216661467

 

Abstract

Cancer is acknowledged as a source of stress for many individuals, often leading to suffering, which can be long-lasting. Mindfulness-based stress reduction offers an effective way of reducing stress among cancer patients by combining mindfulness meditation and yoga in an 8-week training program. The purpose of this study was to inspect studies from October 2009 to November 2015 and examine whether mindfulness-based stress reduction can be utilized as a viable method for managing stress among cancer patients. A systematic search from Medline, CINAHL, and Alt HealthWatch databases was conducted for quantitative articles involving mindfulness-based stress reduction interventions targeting cancer patients. A total of 13 articles met the inclusion criteria. Of these 13 studies, 9 demonstrated positive changes in either psychological or physiological outcomes related to anxiety and/or stress, with 4 describing mixed results. Despite the limitations, mindfulness-based stress reduction appears to be promising for stress management among cancer patients.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871193/

Improve Headache Pain with Mindfulness

Improve Headache Pain with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) can be a safe and effective means of lessening the effect of migraine headache and can be carried out while patients continue to take migraine medication.” – Pauline Anderson

 

Headaches are the most common disorders of the nervous system. It has been estimated that 47% of the adult population have a headache at least once during the last year. There are a wide variety of drugs that are prescribed for chronic headache pain with varying success. Headaches are treated with pain relievers, ergotamine, blood pressure drugs such as propranolol, verapamil, antidepressants, antiseizure drugs, and muscle relaxants. Drugs, however, can have some problematic side effects particularly when used regularly and are ineffective for many sufferers. So, almost all practitioners consider lifestyle changes that help control stress and promote regular exercise to be an important part of headache treatment and prevention. Avoiding situations that trigger headaches is also vital.

 

Individual studies have reported that mindfulness training is an effective treatment for headache pain. There is a need, however, to summarize and analyze the existing literature. In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness Meditation for Primary Headache Pain: A Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5887742/ ), Gu and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of meditation practice for headache pain. They identified 11 published studies with adult patients. They find that the studies report that mindfulness meditation produces not only a significant reduction in headache pain but also a significant reduction in the frequency of headaches. Subgroup analysis revealed that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was effective in reducing pain and 8 weeks of mindfulness meditation was effective in producing pain reduction.

 

Hence, the published research literature supports the conclusion that mindfulness meditation is a safe and effective treatment for headaches, reducing their number and intensity. Some of the effects of mindfulness practices are to alter thought processes, changing what is thought about. In terms of pain, mindfulness training, by focusing attention on the present moment has been shown to reduce worry and catastrophizing. Pain is increased by worry about the pain and the expectation of greater pain in the future. So, reducing worry and catastrophizing can reduce headache pain. In addition, mindfulness improves self-efficacy, the belief that the individual can adapt to and handle headache pain. In addition, mindfulness training also has been shown to alter not only what is thought, but also how thoughts are processed. Central to this cognitive change is mindfulness and acceptance. By mindfully viewing pain as a present moment experience it can be experienced just as it is and by accepting it, the individual stops fighting against the pain which can amplify the pain.

 

So, improve headache pain with mindfulness.

 

“Mindfulness meditation is proving to be of significant help in not only reducing migraines or chronic pain, but improvements in mood, outlook on life and illness, increased coping skills, enhanced sense of well-being, changes in perception of pain, higher tolerance of pain, enhanced immune function, less fatigue and stress and better sleep. Beyond that, other benefits that are derived from mindfulness include improved cognitive functioning and memory, more inner peace, empathy and compassion, higher levels of self-awareness, joy, pleasure, creativity, insight and intuition, all of which result in a life that is deeper and more fulfilling on many levels.” – Cynthia Perkins

 

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

 

Gu, Q., Hou, J.-C., & Fang, X.-M. (2018). Mindfulness Meditation for Primary Headache Pain: A Meta-Analysis. Chinese Medical Journal, 131(7), 829–838. http://doi.org/10.4103/0366-6999.228242

 

Abstract

Background:

Several studies have reported that mindfulness meditation has a potential effect in controlling headaches, such as migraine and tension-type headache; however, its role remains controversial. This review assessed the evidence regarding the effects of mindfulness meditation for primary headache pain.

Methods:

Only English databases (PubMed, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials [the Cochrane Library], PsycINFO, Psychology and behavioral science collection, PsyArticles, Web of Science, and Scopus) were searched from their inception to November 2016 with the keywords (“meditation” or “mindfulness” or “vipassana” or “dzogchen” or “zen” or “integrative body-mind training” or “IBMT” or “mindfulness-based stress reduction” or “MBSR” or “mindfulness-based cognitive therapy” or “MBCT” and “Headache” or “Head pain” or “Cephalodynia” or “Cephalalgia” or “Hemicrania” or “Migraine”). Titles, abstracts, and full-text articles were screened against study inclusion criteria: controlled trials of structured meditation programs for adult patients with primary headache pain. The quality of studies included in the meta-analysis was assessed with the Yates Quality Rating Scale. The meta-analysis was conducted with Revman 5.3.

Results:

Ten randomized controlled trials and one controlled clinical trial with a combined study population of 315 patients were included in the study. When compared to control group data, mindfulness meditation induced significant improvement in pain intensity (standardized mean difference, −0.89; 95% confidence interval, −1.63 to −0.15; P = 0.02) and headache frequency (−0.67; −1.24 to −0.10; P = 0.02). In a subgroup analysis of different meditation forms, mindfulness-based stress reduction displayed a significant positive influence on pain intensity (P < 0.000). Moreover, 8-week intervention had a significant positive effect (P< 0.000).

Conclusions:

Mindfulness meditation may reduce pain intensity and is a promising treatment option for patients. Clinicians may consider mindfulness meditation as a viable complementary and alternative medical option for primary headache.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5887742/

Make Self-Views More Positive and Relieve Social Anxiety Disorder with Mindfulness

Make Self-Views More Positive and Relieve Social Anxiety Disorder with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“I call this type of mindfulness practice while we are interacting with others—or even while we are simply around others—curiosity training. We are learning to get out of our heads and into the moment. Instead of focusing our attention on ourselves—criticizing our performance or appearance, trying to guess what others are thinking of us, struggling to script out what to say—we learn to treat all those thoughts as background noise—something we’re aware of but not paying attention to—and instead return our attention to taking interest in the situation, the person, and the conversation.” – Larry Cohen

 

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.

 

SAD is the most common form of anxiety disorder and it is widespread, occurring in about 7% of the U.S. population and is particularly widespread among young adults. 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 SAD. 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) contains three mindfulness trainings, meditation, body scan, and yoga, and has been shown to be effective in treating anxiety disorders. It is not known, however, how these treatments produce their effects.

 

In today’s Research News article “Self-Views in Social Anxiety Disorder: The Impact of CBT versus MBSR.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5376221/ ), Thurston and colleagues recruited unmedicated patients with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) and randomly assigned them to receive 12 weekly sessions of 2.5 hours of either Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy (CBGT) or a wait-list control condition. They also recruited a group of healthy control participants. They were measured before and after training for social anxiety and positive and negative self-views.

 

They found that in comparison to healthy controls, participants with SAD had significantly lower positive self-views and significantly higher negative self-views. Both Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy (CBGT) produced significant reductions in social anxiety and significant improvements in self-views, reducing negative and increasing positive self-views. Importantly, they found that changes in positive, but not negative self-views were the intermediary between MBSR and CBGT treatments and improvement in social anxiety. That is, the treatments improved the patients’ positive views of themselves and this in turn produced reduced social anxiety.

 

These results are interesting and potentially important. By demonstrating that changing the patients’ views concerning themselves was a key to improving social anxiety, the findings suggest that tailoring treatment to improving positive self-views might produce more effective therapies for Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD).

 

So, make self-views more positive and relieve social anxiety disorder with mindfulness.

 

“Our nervous system is like the soundtrack for every scene in life that we encounter. It is all but impossible to experience a scene as safe and happy when the music tells us otherwise. With a mindful, body-based approach, clients can learn to change their music.” – Jeena Cho

 

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

 

Thurston, M. D., Goldin, P., Heimberg, R., & Gross, J. J. (2017). Self-Views in Social Anxiety Disorder: The Impact of CBT versus MBSR. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 47, 83–90. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.janxdis.2017.01.001

 

Go to:

Abstract

This study examines the impact of Cognitive-Behavioral Group Therapy (CBGT) versus Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) versus Waitlist (WL) on self-views in patients with social anxiety disorder (SAD). One hundred eight unmedicated patients with SAD were randomly assigned to 12 weeks of CBGT, MBSR, or WL, and completed a self-referential encoding task (SRET) that assessed self-endorsement of positive and negative self-views pre- and post-treatment. At baseline, 40 healthy controls (HCs) also completed the SRET. At baseline, patients with SAD endorsed greater negative and lesser positive self-views than HCs. Compared to baseline, patients in both CBGT and MBSR decreased negative self-views and increased positive self-views. Improvement in self-views, specifically increases in positive (but not decreases in negative) self-views, predicted CBGT- and MBSR-related decreases in social anxiety symptoms. Enhancement of positive self-views may be a shared therapeutic process for both CBGT and MBSR for SAD.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5376221/

Improve Sleep Quality in Older Adults with Mindfulness

Improve Sleep Quality in Older Adults with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Studies have shown that sleeping habits improve dramatically when participants where taught to respond to sleep disturbance with mindfulness skills- rather than reacting automatically by increasing effort to rest. After meditating regularly, the average time it took participants to fall asleep dropped from an hour and a half to only 15 minutes.” – IPNOS

 

It is estimated that over half of Americans sleep too little due to stress. As a result, people today sleep 20% less than they did 100 years ago. Not having a good night’s sleep has adverse effects upon the individual’s health, well-being, and happiness. Yet over 70 million Americans suffer from disorders of sleep and about half of these have a chronic disorder. It has been estimated that about 4% of Americans revert to sleeping pills. But, these do not always produce high quality sleep and can have problematic side effects.

 

Unfortunately. as we age it becomes more and more difficult to get that good night’s sleep. Although the need for sleep doesn’t change with age sleep patterns change.  Older people have a more difficult time falling asleep and staying asleep, waking up several times during the night, and waking early in the morning. In addition, there is less deep sleep, so we don’t feel as rested. Insomnia is much higher in older adults affecting as many as 44%. A safe and effective means for improving sleep in the elderly is important for the health and wellbeing of this vulnerable population. Mindfulness-based practices have been reported to improve sleep amount and quality. There is a need, however, to further study the impact of mindfulness training on sleep in older individuals.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Secondary Analysis of Sleep Quality Changes in Older Adults From a Randomized Trial of an MBSR Program.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5874181/ ), Gallegos and colleagues recruited older adults over 65 years of age and randomly assigned them to receive either an 8-week, once a week, 2 hour session of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or be assigned to a wait-list control condition. MBSR consists of a combination of meditation, yoga, and body scan practice in combination with discussion and home practice. The participants were measured before and after training and 6-months later for sleep quality.

 

They found that compared to baseline and the wait-list controls, the MBSR participants had significantly improved sleep quality that was maintained for 6 months following completion of training. The effectiveness of MBSR was amplified in participants who had sleep disturbance and was even greater in participants who had insomnia. Hence, the MBSR program improved sleep in the elderly, with the greater the sleep problem the greater the improvement. These are interesting and important results. Sleep disturbance in the elderly is common and is associated with health problems. So, improving sleep quality in this group may well lead to improvements in overall health and longevity.

 

So, improve sleep quality in older adults with mindfulness.

 

“When I first started using mindfulness to get sleep, I believed I needed to be meditating at bedtime if I wanted to cure my insomnia. I was completely wrong! I learned that my worries about sleep were happening all day long. I started using mindfulness during the day to notice those worries and learn to accept that I may not get as much sleep as I hope for each night.” – Mary Sauer

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

 

Gallegos, A. M., Moynihan, J., & Pigeon, W. R. (2016). A Secondary Analysis of Sleep Quality Changes in Older Adults From a Randomized Trial of an MBSR Program. Journal of Applied Gerontology : The Official Journal of the Southern Gerontological Society, 733464816663553. Advance online publication. http://doi.org/10.1177/0733464816663553

 

Abstract

This secondary analysis examined changes in sleep quality associated with participation in a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program among healthy older adults. Data were collected at baseline, 8-weeks post-treatment, and a 6-month follow-up from adults aged ≥ 65 (N = 200), randomly assigned to MBSR or a waitlist control. Group differences were examined using mixed analysis of covariance with repeated measures on the total Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) score. A small-sized, significant effect was found on overall sleep among MBSR participants with baseline PSQI scores > 5, indicative of a sleep disturbance, F(2, 80) = 4.32, p = .02, η2P=.05. A medium-sized, significant effect was found for MBSR participants with baseline PSQI scores ≥ 10, F(2, 28) = 3.13, p = .04, η2P=.10. These findings indicate that improved sleep quality for older adults who have higher levels of sleep disturbance may be associated with participation in MBSR.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5874181/

Improve Mental Health in Medical Residents with Mindfulness

Improve Mental Health in Medical Residents with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“increasing physician resilience, or the ability to “bounce back” from experiences such as burnout, has been shown to have a significant positive impact on patient care and physician wellbeing. . . benefits include improved quality of care, reduced errors and minimized attrition . . . mindfulness-influenced wellness programs for residents can improve self-compassion, empathy, burnout and stress reactions. Mindfulness meditation introduces a way of cultivating awareness of one’s relationship with the present moment. With practice, it may lead to healthier ways of working with stressful life experiences, including those inherent to residency training.” – Vincent Minichiello

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. In high stress occupations, like healthcare, burnout is all too prevalent. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. It is estimated that over 45% of healthcare workers experience burnout. Currently, over a third of healthcare workers report that they are looking for a new job. It not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion. Burnout, in fact, it is a threat to the entire healthcare system as it contributes to the shortage of doctors and nurses.

 

Preventing burnout has to be a priority. Unfortunately, it is beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress and prevent burnout, so it is important that methods be found to reduce the individual’s responses to stress; to make the individual more resilient when high levels of stress occur. Contemplative practices have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, and improving sleep. It would be best to provide techniques to combat burnout early in a medical career. Medical residency is an extremely stressful period and many express burnout symptoms. This would seem to be an ideal time to intervene.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Residents: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5880763/ ), Verweij and colleagues examined the ability of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program to treat the symptoms of burnout in medical residents. They recruited medical residents and randomly assigned them to either receive an 8-week, once a week, 2,5 hour session of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or be assigned to a wait-list control condition. MBSR consists of a combination of meditation, yoga, and body scan practice in combination with discussion and home practice. The residents were measured before the program and 3 weeks later for emotional exhaustion, worry, home-work interference, mindfulness, self-compassion, positive mental health, physician empathy, and medical errors.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and to the wait-list control condition, the residents who received MBSR training had significantly higher mindfulness, self-compassion, personal accomplishment, and perspective taking empathy, and significantly lower worry. These outcomes were all of moderate effect sizes. There were no significant effects on the primary measure of burnout, emotional exhaustion. But, the residents who had the highest levels of emotional exhaustion did show a significant improvements in emotional exhaustion after treatment.

 

These results suggest that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) maybe an effective treatment to improve the mental health of medical residents and perhaps reduce the tendency toward burnout. It should be noted, however, that medical residents are very restricted for time and MBSR training requires a considerable investment of time both in the training sessions and in home practice, making participation difficult. Future research should include an active control condition such as aerobic exercise to help control for potential sources of confounding and bias.

 

So, improve mental health in medical residents with mindfulness.

 

“I experienced burnout as a resident, and meditation was a key aspect to my recovery. My mother advised me to meditate, and afterwards, I felt like my brain had been rebooted.” – Louise Wen

 

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

 

Verweij, H., van Ravesteijn, H., van Hooff, M. L. M., Lagro-Janssen, A. L. M., & Speckens, A. E. M. (2018). Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Residents: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 33(4), 429–436. http://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-017-4249-x

 

Abstract

Background

Burnout is highly prevalent in residents. No randomized controlled trials have been conducted measuring the effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on burnout in residents.

Objective

To determine the effectiveness of MBSR in reducing burnout in residents.

Design

A randomized controlled trial comparing MBSR with a waitlist control group.

Participants

Residents from all medical, surgical and primary care disciplines were eligible to participate. Participants were self-referred.

Intervention

The MBSR consisted of eight weekly 2.5-h sessions and one 6-h silent day.

Main Measures

The primary outcome was the emotional exhaustion subscale of the Dutch version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory–Human Service Survey. Secondary outcomes included the depersonalization and reduced personal accomplishment subscales of burnout, worry, work–home interference, mindfulness skills, self-compassion, positive mental health, empathy and medical errors. Assessment took place at baseline and post-intervention approximately 3 months later.

Key Results

Of the 148 residents participating, 138 (93%) completed the post-intervention assessment. No significant difference in emotional exhaustion was found between the two groups. However, the MBSR group reported significantly greater improvements than the control group in personal accomplishment (p = 0.028, d = 0.24), worry (p = 0.036, d = 0.23), mindfulness skills (p = 0.010, d = 0.33), self-compassion (p = 0.010, d = 0.35) and perspective-taking (empathy) (p = 0.025, d = 0.33). No effects were found for the other measures. Exploratory moderation analysis showed that the intervention outcome was moderated by baseline severity of emotional exhaustion; those with greater emotional exhaustion did seem to benefit.

Conclusions

The results of our primary outcome analysis did not support the effectiveness of MBSR for reducing emotional exhaustion in residents. However, residents with high baseline levels of emotional exhaustion did appear to benefit from MBSR. Furthermore, they demonstrated modest improvements in personal accomplishment, worry, mindfulness skills, self-compassion and perspective-taking. More research is needed to confirm these results.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5880763/

 

Improve Dementia Caregiver Psychological Health and Stress with Mindfulness

Improve Dementia Caregiver Psychological Health and Stress with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“people who care for family members with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias in the home experienced a decrease in perceived stress and mood disturbance when practicing Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR).” – Heather Stang

 

Dementia is a progressive loss of mental function produced by degenerative diseases of the brain. Dementia patients require caregiving particularly in the later stages of the disease. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia and accounts for 50 to 70 percent of dementia cases. For Alzheimer’s disease, there are an estimated 10 million caregivers providing 9 billion hours of care at a value of over $100 Billion dollars.

 

Caregiving for dementia patients is a daunting and all too frequent task. It is an intense experience that can go on for four to eight years with increasing responsibilities as the loved one deteriorates. In the last year, 59% of caregivers report that they are effectively on duty 24/7. Over time dementia will lead to loss of memory, loss of reasoning and judgment, personality and behavioral changes, physical decline, and death. The memory and personality changes in the patient may take away all those characteristics that make the loved one identifiable, unique, and endearing, producing psychological stress in the caregiver.

 

The feelings of hopelessness can be overwhelming regarding the future of a patient with an irreversible terminal degenerative illness. In addition, caregivers often experience an anticipatory grief associated with a feeling of impending loss of their loved one. If this isn’t bad enough, a little appreciated consequence is that few insurance programs cover dementia care outside of the hospital. So, medical expenses can produce extra financial strain on top of the loss of income for the caregiver. It is sad that 72% of caregivers report relief when their loved one passes away. Obviously, there is a need to care for the caregivers of dementia patients. They play an essential and often irreplaceable role. So, finding ways to ease the burden is extremely important. Mindfulness practice for caregivers has been shown to help them cope with the physical and psychological demands of caregiving.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Caregivers of Family Members with Dementia.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5070659/ ), Brown and colleagues recruited adult family members providing caregiving for patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. They were randomly assigned to receive either an 8-week, once a week for 2 hours, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program or a Social Support program. Participants were measured before and after the programs and 3 months later for perceived stress, experiential avoidance, mood states, physical and mental health, caregiver burden, and quality of relationship between the caregiver and care recipient. They also provided saliva samples to measure cortisol levels.

 

They found that both MBSR and Social Support produced significant improvements in experiential avoidance, depression, vitality, fatigue, confusion, and physical and mental health. They also found that MBSR also produced significant improvements in perceived stress, tension, and anger while Social Support produced significant improvement in caregiver burden. Unfortunately, these effects were not sustained at the 3-month follow-up.

 

Hence, it appears that both MBSR and Social Support are effective in improving caregivers’ psychological well-being, but only temporarily. MBSR appears to be superior to Social Support in providing these benefits. The stress of caring for patients with Alzheimer’s Disease is immense and the importance of the relief provided by these programs cannot be overemphasized. But, the study clearly demonstrates a need for future research to investigate means to prolong the effectiveness of these programs.

 

So, improve dementia caregiver psychological health and stress with mindfulness.

 

“One of the major difficulties that individuals with dementia and their family members encounter is that there is a need for new ways of communicating due to the memory loss and other changes in thinking and abilities. The practice of mindfulness places both participants in the present and focuses on positive features of the interaction, allowing for a type of connection that may substitute for the more complex ways of communicating in the past. It is a good way to address stress.” – Marla Paul

 

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

 

Brown, K. W., Coogle, C. L., & Wegelin, J. (2016). A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Caregivers of Family Members with Dementia. Aging & Mental Health, 20(11), 1157–1166. http://doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2015.1065790

 

Abstract

Objectives

The majority of care for those with Alzheimer’s Disease and other age-related dementias is provided in the home by family members. To date there is no consistently effective intervention for reducing the significant stress burden of many family caregivers. The present pilot randomized controlled trial tested the efficacy of an adapted, 8-week Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, relative to a near structurally equivalent, standard Social Support (SS) control condition for reducing caregiver stress and enhancing the care giver-recipient relationship.

Method

Thirty-eight family caregivers were randomized to MBSR or SS, with measures of diurnal salivary cortisol, and perceived stress, mental health, experiential avoidance, caregiver burden, and relationship quality collected pre- and post-intervention and at 3-month follow-up.

Results

MBSR participants reported significantly lower levels of perceived stress and mood disturbance at post-intervention relative to SS participants. At 3-month follow-up, participants in both treatments conditions reported improvements on several psychosocial outcomes. At follow-up there were no condition differences on these outcomes, nor did MBSR and SS participants differ in diurnal cortisol response change over the course of the study.

Conclusion

Both MBSR and SS showed stress reduction effects, and MBSR showed no sustained neuroendocrine and psychosocial advantages over SS. The lack of treatment condition differences could be attributable to active ingredients in both interventions, and to population-specific and design factors.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5070659/

 

Improve Employee’s Mental Health with Mindfulness

Improve Employee’s Mental Health with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Toxic emotions disrupt the workplace, and mindfulness increases your awareness of these destructive patterns, helping you recognize them before they run rampant. It’s a way of reprogramming your mind to think in healthier, less stressful, ways.” – Drew Hansen

 

Work is very important for our health and well-being. We spend approximately 25% of our adult lives at work. How we spend that time is immensely important for our psychological and physical health. Indeed, the work environment has even become an important part of our social lives, with friendships and leisure time activities often attached to the people we work with. But, more than half of employees in the U.S. and nearly 2/3 worldwide are unhappy at work. This is partially due to work-related stress which is epidemic in the western workplace. Almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. This stress can result in impaired health and can result in burnout; producing fatigue, cynicism, and professional inefficacy.

 

To help overcome unhappiness, stress, and burnoutmindfulness practices have been implemented in the workplace. Indeed, mindfulness practices have been shown to markedly reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. As a result, it has become very trendy for business to incorporate meditation into the workday to help improve employee well-being, health, and productivity. For example, Google offers “Search Inside Yourself” classes to teach mindfulness at work. But, although there is a lot of anecdotal evidence of meditation improving well-being and work performance, there is actually very little systematic research on its effectiveness.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on employees’ mental health: A systematic review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5783379/ ), Janssen and colleagues review and summarize the published research literature on the effectiveness of mindfulness programs to improve the mental health of workers. They identify 23 studies, most of which employed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs.

 

They report that the published research demonstrates that mindfulness programs produced significant increases in workers’ mindfulness, personal accomplishment, self-compassion, sleep quality, relaxation, life satisfaction, emotion regulation, self-efficacy, and work engagement, and significant decreases in stress levels, psychological distress, depression, anxiety, burnout, emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, mood disturbance, They also found that the mindfulness programs did not produce any harmful side-effects. But, the studies were in general of only moderate research quality and there is a need for more high-quality studies.

 

The summary of the research provides extensive evidence that mindfulness programs produce significant improvements in workers’ mental health and well-being. It is striking how widespread the benefits are for otherwise healthy employees. These effects are important in not only preventing burnout and mental illness, but the stress reduction will tend to prevent illness and promote physical health. This may, in turn, improve employee retention and productiveness and decrease employee absences and health-care costs.

 

So, improve employee’s mental health with mindfulness.

 

“Many corporations and employees are realizing that the benefits of mindfulness practices can be dramatic. In addition to supporting overall health and well-being, mindfulness has been linked to improved cognitive functioning and lower stress levels.” – Carolyn Gregoire

 

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

 

Math Janssen, Yvonne Heerkens, Wietske Kuijer, Beatrice van der Heijden, Josephine Engels. Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on employees’ mental health: A systematic review. PLoS One. 2018; 13(1): e0191332. Published online 2018 Jan 24. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0191332

 

Abstract

Objectives

The purpose of this exploratory study was to obtain greater insight into the effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) on the mental health of employees.

Methods

Using PsycINFO, PubMed, and CINAHL, we performed a systematic review in October 2015 of studies investigating the effects of MBSR and MBCT on various aspects of employees’ mental health. Studies with a pre-post design (i.e. without a control group) were excluded.

Results

24 articles were identified, describing 23 studies: 22 on the effects of MBSR and 1 on the effects of MBSR in combination with some aspects of MBCT. Since no study focused exclusively on MBCT, its effects are not described in this systematic review. Of the 23 studies, 2 were of high methodological quality, 15 were of medium quality and 6 were of low quality. A meta-analysis was not performed due to the emergent and relatively uncharted nature of the topic of investigation, the exploratory character of this study, and the diversity of outcomes in the studies reviewed. Based on our analysis, the strongest outcomes were reduced levels of emotional exhaustion (a dimension of burnout), stress, psychological distress, depression, anxiety, and occupational stress. Improvements were found in terms of mindfulness, personal accomplishment (a dimension of burnout), (occupational) self-compassion, quality of sleep, and relaxation.

Conclusion

The results of this systematic review suggest that MBSR may help to improve psychological functioning in employees.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5783379/

 

Improve Symptoms of Chronic Heart Failure with Mindfulness

Improve Symptoms of Chronic Heart Failure with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“On the surface, heart failure seems to be a purely physical problem. The heart muscle is too weak, or too stiff, to pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands.  . .. But it’s an emotional and psychological problem, too, that can lead to depression, anxiety, and grief. These not only cast a pall on daily life, but they can make heart failure worse as well. A program based on the practice of mindfulness helps ease depression and improve symptoms of heart failure.” – Harvard Heart Letter

 

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. “Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack.” – Centers for Disease Control. Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a major type of cardiovascular disease. “CHF is a chronic progressive condition that affects the pumping power of your heart muscles. While often referred to simply as “heart failure,” CHF specifically refers to the stage in which fluid builds up around the heart and causes it to pump inefficiently” (Healthline).

 

There are myriads of treatments that have been developed to treat Heart Failure including a variety of surgical procedures and medications. Importantly, lifestyle changes have proved to be quite effective. These include quitting smoking, weight reduction, improved diet, physical activity, and reducing stresses. Contemplative practices, such as meditation, tai chi and yoga, have been shown to be helpful for heart health. In addition, mindfulness practices have also been shown to be helpful for producing the kinds of other lifestyle changes needed such as smoking cessation, weight reduction, and stress reduction.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of a mindfulness-based intervention on symptoms and signs in chronic heart failure: A feasibility study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5751854/ ), Norman and colleagues recruited patients diagnosed with chronic heart failure and randomly assigned them to receive either treatment as usual or to participate in an additional mindfulness-based intervention. The intervention was based upon Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program with additional psychoeducation based upon Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and consisted of meditation, yoga, and body scan. They met in 2-hour group sessions once a week for 8 weeks with additional daily home practice. The participants were measured before and after training for fatigue, sleep, heart failure symptoms and their severity, functional capacity, resting heart and respiration rate, and body size.

 

They found compared to baseline and control participants, those that participated in the mindfulness intervention had significantly less fatigue, unsteadiness/dizziness, and improved physical functioning, including less breathlessness during activities and greater walking distance. Hence, mindfulness practice was found to improve the symptoms of heart failure.

 

This was a small study and needs to be followed up with a larger controlled clinical trial with an active control group, e.g. exercise, and longer-term follow-up. But, this initial study is encouraging. Although no component analysis was performed to identify which elements of the complex mindfulness intervention were effective for which symptoms, it can be speculated that the exercise provided by the yoga practice and the stress reduction provided by the mindfulness practice were responsible for the improvements in the symptoms of heart failure.

 

So, improve symptoms of chronic heart failure with mindfulness.

 

“a significant part of the link between mindfulness and cardiovascular health was attributable to mindful people feeling a greater sense of control and less depression, which is thought to lead to more heart-friendly behaviors.” Adam Hoffman

 

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

 

Jonna Norman, Michael Fu, Inger Ekman, Lena Björck, Kristin Falk. Effects of a mindfulness-based intervention on symptoms and signs in chronic heart failure: A feasibility study. Eur J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2018 Jan; 17(1): 54–65. Published online 2017 Jun 22. doi: 10.1177/1474515117715843

 

Abstract

Aims:

Despite treatment recommended by guidelines, many patients with chronic heart failure remain symptomatic. Evidence is accumulating that mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) have beneficial psychological and physiological effects. The aim of this study was to explore the feasibility of MBI on symptoms and signs in patients with chronic heart failure in outpatient clinical settings.

Methods:

A prospective feasibility study. Fifty stable but symptomatic patients with chronic heart failure, despite optimized guideline-recommended treatment, were enrolled at baseline. In total, 40 participants (median age 76 years; New York Heart Association (NYHA) classification II−III) adhered to the study. Most patients (n=17) were randomized into MBI, a structured eight-week mindfulness-based educational and training programme, or controls with usual care (n=16). Primary outcome was self-reported fatigue on the Fatigue severity scale. Secondary outcomes were self-reported sleep quality, unsteadiness/dizziness, NYHA functional classification, walking distance in the six-minute walk test, and heart and respiratory rates. The Mann–Whitney U test was used to analyse median sum changes from baseline to follow-up (week 10±1).

Results:

Compared with usual care (zero change), MBI significantly reduced the self-reported impact of fatigue (effect size −8.0; p=0.0165), symptoms of unsteadiness/dizziness (p=0.0390) and breathlessness/tiredness related to physical functioning (NYHA class) (p=0.0087). No adverse effects were found.

Conclusions:

In stable but symptomatic outpatients with chronic heart failure, MBI alleviated self-reported symptoms in addition to conventional treatment. The sample size is small and further studies are needed, but findings support the role of MBI as a feasible complementary option, both clinically and as home-based treatment, which might contribute to reduction of the symptom burden in patients diagnosed with chronic heart failure.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5751854/