Improve Quality of Life with Migraine Headaches with Mindfulness

Improve Quality of Life with Migraine Headaches with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Be mindful of your breathing. If you notice that your respirations are fast and shallow, concentrate on taking slower, deeper and longer breaths. As your breathing slows, your body will begin to relax. Tensions and stress slowly will ebb from your body, allowing you to release the some of the pain and discomfort associated with your headaches.” – National Headache Institute

 

Migraine headaches are a torment far beyond the suffering of a common headache. It is an intense throbbing pain usually unilateral, focused on only one side of the head and lasts from 4 hours to 3 days. They are actually a collection of neurological symptoms. Migraines often include: visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, extreme sensitivity to sound, light, touch and smell, and tingling or numbness in the extremities or face. Migraines are the 8th most disabling illness in the world. While most sufferers experience attacks once or twice a month, about 4% have chronic daily headaches. Migraines are very disruptive to the sufferer’s personal and work lives as most people are unable to work or function normally when experiencing a migraine.

 

There is no known cure for migraine headaches. Treatments are targeted at managing the symptoms. Prescription and over-the-counter pain relievers are frequently used. There are a number of drug and drug combinations that appear to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. These vary in effectiveness but unfortunately can have troubling side effects and some are addictive. Behaviorally, relaxation and sleep appear to help lower the frequency of migraines. Mindfulness practices have been shown to reduce stress and improve relaxation. So, they may be useful in preventing migraines. Indeed, it has been shown that mindfulness practice can reduce headache pain.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness for female outpatients with chronic primary headaches: an internet-based bibliotherapy.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6036307/ ), Tavallaei and colleagues recruited women suffering with migraine headaches and randomly assigned them to receive either an on-line mindfulness training based upon the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program or medical treatment as usual. The mindfulness training program was presented over the internet in 8 weekly sessions and included meditation, body scan, and didactic presentation. The participants were measured before and after treatment for mindfulness, migraine disability, pain, and distress including depression, anxiety, and stress.

 

They found that in comparison to the baseline and the treatment-as-usual control group that the group who received mindfulness training had significantly lower levels of migraine disability, distress, and pain and significantly higher levels of mindfulness. They found that the reductions in pain were due to changes in the emotional reactions to pain and not the sensory experiences of pain. So, the pain was perceived normally but the women did not react to the sensations emotionally and this resulted in a lower impact of the headache pain.

 

The results suggest that mindfulness training increases the quality of life and reduces the psychological distress of women with migraine headaches. Similar findings have been reported in other prior research studies. The importance of the present study resides in the presentation of the program over the internet. Presentation over the internet is important as in-person programs are inconvenient and expensive. Presentation over the internet allows for widespread, convenient, and inexpensive distribution of the therapy to affected populations. This makes mindfulness training more readily available to migraine sufferers.

 

So, improve quality of life with migraine headaches with mindfulness.

 

“mindfulness has been examined as a treatment for chronic pain and pain-related conditions, finding positive results such as reduction in medication usage, improved physical functioning, and physical-health-related quality of life.” – Monika Tomova

 

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

 

Tavallaei, V., Rezapour-Mirsaleh, Y., Rezaiemaram, P., & Saadat, S. H. (2018). Mindfulness for female outpatients with chronic primary headaches: an internet-based bibliotherapy. European Journal of Translational Myology, 28(2), 7380. http://doi.org/10.4081/ejtm.2018.7380

 

Abstract

Our aim was to investigate effectiveness of mindfulness by bibliotherapy on disability, distress, perceived pain and mindfulness in women with tension headaches and migraines. Primary headaches have been of great interest to mental health researchers because of the high prevalence, as well as significant disability and distress in the affected people. Despite the promising results of in-person treatment and some limitations that such interventions may cause, patients may be encountered with problems when using health care services. The present study is a quasi-experimental randomized design with pre-test, post-test, and control group. The study population consisted of 1396 women with migraine headache referring to headache clinic of Baqiyatallah Hospital in Tehran. Of these, 30 patients (including tboh experimental and control group) were selected by objective sampling method and were randomly assigned to the two groups. The experimental group, in addition to medical treatment as usual, was treated for a period of 8 sessions by Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Internet-based Bibliotherapy, but the control group used only the medical treatment. The sample had no attritions. Data were collected by the four scales of (DASS-21), Migraine Disability Assessment Test (MIDAS), McGill’s Short Form Questionnaire (MPQ-SF), and Mindfulness Inventory (MAAS). We used covariance analysis to analyze the findings in the measured scales. MBSR-IBB treatment had no significant effect on pain sensory dimension (P <0.44), despite improvement of mindfulness (P <0.0001). In contrast, the greatest effect was on the level of disability (P <0.0001). We observed also a significant improvement in distress (P <0.0001). In conclusion, in spite of the presence of headaches, the mindfulness improved the quality of life and reduced the level of mental distress. In addition, using the Internet-based bibliotherapy method, these services can be used with easier access, lower cost, and more flexibility.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6036307/

 

Reduce Physician Burnout with Mindfulness

Reduce Physician Burnout with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“For me, the program has been worth everything. It has enabled me to emerge from my depression, change my toxic work situation, improve my home and family life, and allow myself to be happy and realize that I deserve to be happy.” ~ Anonymous MD

 

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 “Mind-Body Skills Training for Resident Wellness: A Pilot Study of a Brief Mindfulness Intervention.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5954313/ ), Romcevich and colleagues conducted a small pilot study of the effectiveness of a Mind-Body Skills Training (MBST) program to reduce burnout in hospital residents. They recruited 2nd through 4th year residents and had them complete 4 weekly 90-minute training sessions and 12 on-line modules including relaxation, breath following meditation, and loving kindness meditation. They were measured before and after training and 6 months later for burnout, perceived stress, resilience, mindfulness, self-compassion, and burnout subscales of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal achievement.

 

They found that after training there were significant improvements in personal achievement, perceived stress, resilience, and mindfulness and an unexpected decrease in self-compassion. At the 6-month follow-up there were significant improvements in self-compassion, depersonalization and mindfulness. Hence, the pilot results suggest that Mind-Body Skills Training (MBST) may be effective in improving well-being and decreasing symptoms of burnout in medical residents.

 

It will be necessary to replicate these results in a larger controlled randomized trial. But the pilot results are encouraging. They suggest that this form of mindfulness training may be a safe and effective method to improve well-being and intervene early in the career to prevent future burnout in medical professionals.

 

So, reduce physician burnout with mindfulness.

 

“these tools can help us be the best we can be in our “inner space” while we struggle to eliminate the challenges and burdens that occupy the “outer space” of our practice of medicine. After all, if we can’t take care of ourselves, we won’t have anything left to care for others.” – Lynne Lillie

 

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

 

Romcevich, L. E., Reed, S., Flowers, S. R., Kemper, K. J., & Mahan, J. D. (2018). Mind-Body Skills Training for Resident Wellness: A Pilot Study of a Brief Mindfulness Intervention. Journal of Medical Education and Curricular Development, 5, 2382120518773061. http://doi.org/10.1177/2382120518773061

 

Abstract

Background:

Interventions to address burnout include mind-body skills training (MBST), but few studies have evaluated the feasibility of MBST for busy pediatric residents.

Objective:

In this pilot study, we tested the feasibility of a brief MBST intervention, using in-person peer-led training supported by online modules, to decrease stress and burnout in pediatric resident physicians.

Methods:

Of 99 (10%) residents, 10 residents at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio participated in up to four 90-minute MBST sessions more than 1 month, led by a co-resident with 5 years of informal training in mind-body skills. Participants were offered 8 assigned online modules through OSU Center for Integrative Health and Wellness. Measures including Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), Cohen’s Perceived Stress, Smith’s Brief Resilience, Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Scale-Revised, and Neff’s Self-Compassion Scale (NSS) were administered before (T1) and after (T2) the course. Participants were offered optional monthly “maintenance” sessions for 6 months and completed a third set of measures at this follow-up (T3).

Results:

The residents completed an average of 4.3/8 online modules and attended an average of 2.8/4 in-person sessions. There was significant improvement in positive attitude, perceived stress, and resilience post intervention (T2). Follow-up evaluation (T3) also demonstrated significant improvement in burnout (depersonalization) and mindfulness. More than 75% of participants found the course worthwhile.

Conclusions:

A short mixed-method mindfulness-based skills course may be a practical way to offer resilience and stress management training to busy resident physicians.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5954313/

 

Improve the Psychological and Physical Health of Dialysis Patients with Mindfulness

Improve the Psychological and Physical Health of Dialysis Patients with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“We found that by engaging in mindfulness meditation, our patients have significantly decreased their anxiety, especially at the beginning of a treatment as they are connected to the dialysis machine,” – Thang Trey Ng

 

End-stage renal disease (ESRD) is a serious and all too common medical problem that results from a total and permanent failure of the kidneys. As a result, the body retains fluid and harmful wastes build up. Treatment, usually dialysis, is required to replace the work of the failed kidneys. Kidney dialysis uses a machine to filter harmful wastes, salt, and excess fluid from your blood. This restores the blood to a normal, healthy balance. Without dialysis or a kidney transplant the ESRD patient cannot survive It is estimated that ESRD occurs in more than 650,000 patients per year in the United States and is increasing by 5% per year. Those who live with ESRD are 1% of the U.S. Medicare population but account for 7% of the Medicare budget. Worldwide there are an estimated 2 million ESRD patients.

 

End-stage renal disease (ESRD) is frequently accompanied by a number of other serious diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Making matters worse is the fact that ESRD patients often experience psychological distress including depression. It is possible that mindfulness training may be helpful as it has been found be helpful for patients with kidney disease, to help relieve depression and improve the patients ability to effectively deal with stress.

 

In today’s Research News article “The effect of mindfulness program on general health of patients undergoing hemodialysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6009148/ ), Nejad and colleagues recruited patients with End-stage renal disease (ESRD) on dialysis and randomly assigned them to receive 8 1.5 hour weekly sessions of either a mindfulness training program or an End-stage renal disease (ESRD) education program. They were measured before and after training and 1 month later for physical health, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance, and social problems.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and to the education control group the patients who received mindfulness training had significant improvements in all measured variables including significantly lower levels of anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance, and social problems and significantly higher levels of physical health. Importantly, these improvements were still present 1 month after the completion of training. This suggests that the benefits are enduring. A strength of this study is that the control condition was an active control which eliminates many sources of bias and contamination.

 

The study thus indicates that mindfulness training produces substantial physical and psychological benefits for patients with End-stage renal disease (ESRD) who are on dialysis. It remains for future research to clarify exactly how mindfulness training may be helping the patients. It is possible that the improved emotion regulation or ability to cope with the physical and psychological effects of stress produced by mindfulness training were responsible for the benefits for these patients. Regardless, training in mindfulness helps relieve at least some of the burden on these patients.

 

So, improve the psychological and physical health of dialysis patients with mindfulness.

 

“Meditation could be a valuable, low-cost, nonpharmacologic intervention for reducing blood pressure and adrenaline levels in patients with chronic kidney disease” – Kurtis Pivert

 

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

 

Moosavi Nejad, M., Shahgholian, N., & Samouei, R. (2018). The effect of mindfulness program on general health of patients undergoing hemodialysis. Journal of Education and Health Promotion, 7, 74. http://doi.org/10.4103/jehp.jehp_132_17

 

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Patients undergoing hemodialysis have a low level of health and mindfulness technique in mind-body medicine is used to help patients with chronic illness. Therefore, this clinical trial was conducted to determine the effect of the mindfulness program on the general health of patients undergoing treatment with hemodialysis.

METHODS:

Sixty hemodialysis patients were selected through the convenient method and randomly divided into experimental and control groups. Both groups completed demographic information questionnaire and general health questionnaire. Then, the experimental group received 8 sessions of mindfulness training and the control group received 8 sessions of education in relation to end-stage renal disease and hemodialysis. Educational sessions were performed for both groups in the second 30 min after hemodialysis for 1 h in six individual sessions and two 1.5 h group sessions. Immediately after and 1 month after the intervention, the General Health Questionnaire was completed by both groups.

RESULTS:

Analysis of the findings showed no significant differences between the mean score of general health disorder and its subscales before the intervention in to two groups (P > 0.05). Nevertheless, after intervention in the experimental group, the mean of general health disorder score decreased from 44.17 ± 12.32 to 21.9 ± 6.4 and 1 month after the intervention, the mean score of this score was 23.6 ± 6.2. The mean score of physical symptoms, anxiety and sleep disorder, social functioning deficiency, and depression were also significantly lower in the experimental group immediately after intervention and 1 month after the intervention; however, there were no significant differences between the mean of this score immediately and 1 month after the intervention. In addition, the mean score of general health disorder changes immediately and 1 month after the intervention in the experimental group was significantly more than the control group. In the control group, there was no significant difference between the mean score of general health disorder and its subscales before, immediately, and 1 month after the intervention (P > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS:

The results of this research showed that mindfulness has been effective in reducing physical and anxiety symptoms, sleep disorder, social dysfunction, and depression symptoms. Therefore, the use of mindfulness as a complementary treatment can improve the general health level in these patients.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6009148/

 

Mindful Labor Day

Image result for labor day pictures

Mindful Labor Day

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

 “Sometimes it’s important to work for that pot of gold.  But other times it’s essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow.”  ~ Douglas Pagels

 

Labor Day is a National Holiday in the United States. It was designed to celebrate the accomplishments of the American worker, particularly organized labor. It is important to celebrate this holiday mindfully. Work is a major component of our lives, it dictates our income, contributes to our social lives, and for many people is an essential part of their self-concept and their self-worth. But rather than using the holiday to reflect on this important part of their lives, most people treat Labor Day mindlessly, as a time to vacation and party. Perhaps, though, it’s important to take at least a little time on this holiday to mindfully reflect on work.

 

To understand the importance of work we need only look at the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. Two of the eight components are Right Actions and Right Livelihood. But, Right Livelihood is itself an action and it would seem that Right Livelihood should be contained in Right Actions and not a separate component. But, the Buddha included Right Livelihood as a separate component to underscore its importance for spiritual development. It’s his way of emphasizing that what one does for a living is an extremely important action. The Buddha taught that it was essential for spiritual development to only engage in work that produces greater happiness, wisdom, and well-being, and relieves suffering in ourselves and others and avoid jobs that produce harm.

 

We should take a mindful look at our occupations on Labor Day and ask whether they promote greater happiness, wisdom, and well-being, and relieves suffering or produces harm. In some case, the fact that it is Right Livelihood is obvious as with professions such as physician, social worker, peace negotiator, relief worker, therapist, etc. On the other hand, professions such as drug dealer, arms merchant, professional criminal, etc. are clearly not. But for most occupations it is much more difficult to discern whether or not they constitute Right Livelihood. This is a point for deep, mindful, exploration for Labor Day.

 

Working on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico produces a product, energy, that is needed for the well-being of virtually everyone. Without affordable energy, every aspect of the economy would collapse. So, working on the oil rig could be seen as promoting well-being and relieving suffering. On the other hand, there is potential for great environmental harm, including oil spills that directly pollute sensitive environments, or contributing to carbon dioxide emissions that can indirectly create great harm by contributing to global warming. So should someone on the eightfold path accept or reject a job working on an oil rig? The answer cannot be given by anyone other than the individual themselves. It is imperative that this be looked at deeply and objectively to determine for themselves if they are doing more harm than good. The primary spiritual impact of Right Livelihood is on the individual engaging in the occupation. So, the decision has to be theirs. That is not to say that experts or friends can’t or shouldn’t be consulted, but that ultimately the individual must decide for themselves and be willing to accept the potential consequences. Needless to say, this should be a focus for deep mindful reflection on Labor Day.

 

The labor movement itself has important consequences for ourselves and others and should also be explored mindfully on Labor Day. It grew out of great labor abuses that existed where unscrupulous employers took advantage of workers, demanding much and paying little. This is an example how great harm can be produced when the wealthy and powerful, as a result of greed, do not practice Right Livelihood. The Buddha taught that there was nothing wrong with being successful and accumulating wealth provided that this was done ethically and honestly, and it promoted the overall well-being of the community. But, for a time, this was not the case. This underscores how the notion of Right Livelihood doesn’t only apply to workers, but also to employers, financiers, Wall Street executives, politicians, etc.

 

The labor movement arose to counteract the rampant abuses of workers. By organizing the workers obtained strength in numbers. This allowed them to stand up to employers and demand better pay and working conditions. It truly exemplifies our interdependence. We are not alone, but rather, are intricately connected to everyone else. This is true for work in general. It is a productive point for mindful contemplation of how our work and in fact, our entire lives are connected to the work of others. If we’re a truck driver we’re totally dependent upon the people who make the trucks, produce the fuel, build the roads, insures, maintains, and repairs the vehicles, makes and enforces the laws governing the roadways, etc. But, we are also dependent upon the work or those who produce our food, make our clothes, build our houses, educate our children, defend and protect us, etc. Our work is interdependent with the work of everyone else. This is an important point for reflection on Labor Day.

 

I recently received an award for my work career. It was a wonderful boost for my ego and made me feel very good about myself. But, with a little mindful reflection, I realized that this was not my award solely. It could never have been achieved without the involvement of a vast array of people, colleagues, students, friends, family superiors, workers, direct reports, police, government, etc. and all of the people who they are dependent upon, and so forth. It couldn’t have been achieved without virtually everyone. It was really an award for a cooperative effort. This kind of thinking made me humble. It made me know that it was not about “I.” Rather, it’s about “we.” Mindful reflection about our work can help us to see the interconnectedness we have with every other living thing.

 

A major issue for Labor Day reflection is what happens in the course of our daily work. We can learn much about ourselves by mindfully examining what transpires at work. What happens can bring us great joy or great suffering, but most of the time, it just provides momentary satisfaction or dissatisfaction. It is the smaller moments that compose the majority of our work lives but they are crucial to our happiness or unhappiness at work. Applying mindfulness and reflection to how we react and our thoughts regarding the events at work, we can gain great insight into the workings of our minds and how they can produce unsatisfactoriness and unhappiness.

 

The fact that your boss failed to mention that your performance was very good that day may make you feel unappreciated at work. But, it is likely that your boss was preoccupied with her own problems. But, looking carefully at your thought process you can begin to see how your response was based on the needs of your own ego. Many people’s feelings of self-worth, or self-hatred for that matter, are built around their work. Not being recognized by a superior may threaten a fragile self-image and produce discomfort and resentment. Work is actually a wonderful opportunity to learn about yourself.

 

You may observe a coworker engaged in petty theft and not report it. Looking deeply at this event you may be able to see that you have a strong need to be liked and you feel that reporting the unethical behavior may cause others to dislike you or see you as a threat. In this case your need for social acceptance causes you to compromise your integrity. The fact that social approval was more important to you than ethics can be a revelation regarding your inner psychological landscape. Once again, work can teach you a lot.

 

There are actually many many events that happen at work every day, small and large, that reveal the workings of your mind and emotions. Applying mindfulness, noticing and being aware of your reactions and actions at work can change your ideas about yourself and change your actions at work and these can lead to greater understanding and acceptance. This, in turn, can lead to greater satisfaction and happiness. Mindfulness is a key. If you are not in the present moment, if you are not paying attention but rather reacting without thinking or noticing, if your mind is wandering and off task, then this splendid opportunity will be lost. So, vow to be mindful at work and become better and happier with the way you make your living.

 

So, on this Labor Day, vow to be mindful and take advantage of the opportunities provided at work to learn about yourself. Grow as a person and grow spiritually by making every work day a mindful work day.

 

“When people say, “This is the way to do it,” that’s not true. There are always many ways, and the way you choose should depend on the current context. You can’t solve today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions. So when someone says, “Learn this so it’s second nature,” let a bell go off in your head, because that means mindlessness. The rules you were given were the rules that worked for the person who created them, and the more different you are from that person, the worse they’re going to work for you. When you’re mindful, rules, routines, and goals guide you; they don’t govern you.” – Ellen Langer

 

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

Improve Psychological Health with Mindfulness Training at Work

Improve Psychological Health with Mindfulness Training at Work

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“As an executive coach and physician, I often sing the praises of mindfulness approaches and recommend them to clients to manage stress, avoid burnout, enhance leadership capacity, and steady their minds when in the midst of making important business decisions, career transitions, and personal life changes.” – David Brendel

 

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, many businesses have incorporated mindfulness practices into the workday to help improve employee well-being, health, and productivity and reduce burnout and turnover.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Stress Reduction Program Adapted for the Work Environment: A Randomized Controlled Trial With a Follow-Up.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5954607/ ), Lacerda and colleagues recruited employees at two business locations who complained of stress and randomly assigned them to an 8-week mindfulness training or wait-list condition. At the end of the 8-weeks the wait-list group received the mindfulness training. Training occurred once a week for 60 minutes and consisted of self-awareness, empathy, stress reduction, meditation and body scan practices. The participants were measured before and after training and 8 weeks later for psychiatric symptoms, stress symptoms, depression, anxiety, processing speed, and mindfulness.

 

They found that compared to baseline and the wait-list control group, the employees who received the mindfulness training had significant reductions in non-severe psychiatric symptoms, anxiety, depression, and stress, and increases in processing speed/attention and mindfulness. These improvements were still present 8 weeks later. Hence, mindfulness training produced significant improvements in the mental health of these stressed employees.

 

It is well established that mindfulness training results in reductions in anxiety, depression, perceived stress and burnout, and improvements in cognition. The importance of this study stems from the fact that the mindfulness program only required a 1-hour commitment at work once a week to produce these improvements. This is a tolerable commitment of time for most managers and may not only improve the employees’ mental health but also lead to improvements in productivity, and reductions in turnover and health care costs. Thus, this form of training would appear to be well worth the investment.

 

So, improve psychological health with mindfulness training at work.

 

“when someone says, “Learn this so it’s second nature,” let a bell go off in your head, because that means mindlessness. The rules you were given were the rules that worked for the person who created them, and the more different you are from that person, the worse they’re going to work for you. When you’re mindful, rules, routines, and goals guide you; they don’t govern you.” – Harvard Business Review

 

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

 

Lacerda, S. S., Little, S. W., & Kozasa, E. H. (2018). A Stress Reduction Program Adapted for the Work Environment: A Randomized Controlled Trial With a Follow-Up. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 668. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00668

 

Abstract

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate an in situ stress reduction program, named PROGRESS, developed to meet the specific needs of workers in a business context and to research its impact upon non-severe psychiatric symptoms, stress, anxiety, depression, processing speed/attention and mindfulness.

Methods: Participants with stress complaints were randomized into two groups: the main intervention group: group 1-G1, (n = 22); and the control group: group 2-G2, (n = 22). The protocol was divided into three distinct phases for the purpose of the study. Both groups were evaluated at time 1 (T1), before the first 8-week intervention, which only G1 received. The second evaluation was made on both groups at time 2 (T2), immediately after this first program; in order to test the program’s replicability and investigate possible follow-up effects, an identical second 8-week program was offered to G2 during time 3 (T3), while G1 was simply instructed to maintain the practice they had learned without further instruction between T2 and T3. A Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted to investigate the construct validity of PROGRESS.

Results: Repeated measures MANOVA test, comparing G1 and G2, showed the effect of the intervention from T1 to T2 (p = 0.021) and from T2 to T3 (p = 0.031). Univariate analysis showed that participants from G1 improved levels of non-severe psychiatric symptoms, anxiety, depression, stress, processing speed/attention and mindfulness when compared with G2, from T1 to T2 (p < 0.05). After the participants in G2 received the intervention (T2 to T3), this group also showed improvement in the same variables (p < 0.05). At the end of their follow-up period (T2-T3) – during which they received no further support or instruction – G1 maintained the improvements gained during T1-T2. The two main components were stress (stress in the last 24-h, in the last week and last month) and mental health (non-severe psychiatric symptoms, depression, anxiety and mindfulness).

Conclusion: PROGRESS, an in situ mindfulness program adapted to fit within the reality of business time constraints, was effective at replicating in more than one group the reduction of stress, depression, anxiety, non-severe psychiatric symptoms, processing speed and also the improvement of attention skills, showing sustained improvement even after 8-weeks follow-up.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5954607/

 

Improve Weight Loss in the Overweight with Mindfulness

Improve Weight Loss in the Overweight with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

In our complex, fast-paced world, mindfulness meditation and similar techniques have been recommended to reduce stress, enhance immunity, boost learning, increase productivity and more. New research suggests an important addition to the list: At least three recent studies have suggested that mindful eating can improve weight-loss efforts and combat obesity.” – Amby Burfoot

 

Obesity has become an epidemic in the industrialized world. In the U.S. the incidence of obesity, has more than doubled over the last 35 years to currently around 35% of the population, while two thirds of the population are considered overweight or obese (Body Mass Index; BMI > 25). Although the incidence rates have appeared to stabilize, the fact that over a third of the population is considered obese is very troubling. This is because of the health consequences of obesity. Obesity has been found to shorten life expectancy by eight years and extreme obesity by 14 years. This occurs because obesity is associated with cardiovascular problems such as coronary heart disease and hypertension, stroke, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and others.

 

Obviously, there is a need for effective treatments to prevent or treat obesity. But, despite copious research and a myriad of dietary and exercise programs, there still is no safe and effective treatment. Mindfulness is known to be associated with lower risk for obesityalter eating behavior and improve health in obesity. This suggests that mindfulness training may be an effective treatment for overeating, overweight, and obesity alone or in combination with other therapies.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy With Mindfulness and an Internet Intervention for Obesity: A Case Series.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2018.00056/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_715866_87_Nutrit_20180724_arts_A ), Ogata and colleagues recruited 3 overweight adult women who had previously tried and failed to lose weight. They were provided a program of mindfulness training in combination with Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and daily recording of food intake. Treatment occurred in 60-minute weekly meetings for 9 weeks. It was aimed at developing mindfulness and “to increase distress tolerance, improve healthy coping strategies, and reduce maladaptive coping strategies (e.g., avoidant and impulsive coping styles that involve emotional eating); and relearning adaptive eating habits.” The women were measured weekly for body size, eating behaviors, anxiety, and mindfulness and at a follow-up assessment occurring 18 months later.

 

The three participants over the 9-week program lost 6.9%, 5.3%, and 8.9% of their body weight respectively and all had continued to lose weight over the subsequent 18 months; 14.0%, 7.9%, and 11% respectively. The participants also showed significant decreases in emotional and external eating and increases in mindfulness and restrained eating. Hence the mindfulness and CBT program was successful in producing significant and prolonged weigh reductions and altered eating behaviors toward a more restrained eating.

 

There was no control condition so a placebo effect or experimenter bias effect may be present. But, the participants did not lose weight when involved in other dietary programs where comparable placebo and experimenter bias effects would be expected to have been in effect. So, these sources of confounding are unlikely to account for the weight losses.

 

Mindfulness training with CBT has been previously been shown to increase mindful eating and that eating food mindfully can results in lower overall intake and weight loss. The program has also been shown to reduce the psychological and physical responses to stress and stress is known to promote eating. So, it is reasonable to conclude that it produces its effects on the body weight of overweight individuals by increasing mindful eating and reducing stress.

 

So, improve weight loss in the overweight with mindfulness.

 

“Although average weight loss was modest at post-treatment, continued decreases in weight at follow-up is encouraging and highlights the potential of using mindfulness training to support weight loss and its maintenance.” – Regina Schaffer

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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Study Summary

 

Ogata K, Koyama KI, Amitani M, Amitani H, Asakawa A and Inui A (2018) The Effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy With Mindfulness and an Internet Intervention for Obesity: A Case Series. Front. Nutr. 5:56. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2018.00056

 

It is difficult for obese (body mass index of more than 30) and overweight (body mass index of 25–30) people to reduce and maintain their weight. The aim of this case series was to examine the effectiveness of a new cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program that combines mindfulness exercises (e.g., the raisin exercise and breathing exercises) and an online intervention to prevent dropout and subsequent weight gain in overweight participants. This case series included three participants, for whom previous weight reduction programs had been unsuccessful. All participants completed the program (60-min, group sessions provided weekly for 9 weeks) and an 18-month follow-up assessment. Results showed that all participants succeeded in losing weight (loss ranged from 5.30 to 8.88% of their total body weight). Although rebound weight gain is commonly observed in the first year following initial weight loss, the follow-up assessment showed that participants achieved further weight loss during the 18-month follow-up period. These results suggest that a CBT program that comprises mindfulness and an online intervention may be an effective method for weight loss and maintenance, and may prevent dropout in obese and overweight individuals.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2018.00056/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_715866_87_Nutrit_20180724_arts_A

 

Improve the Psychological Symptoms Knee Osteoarthritis with Mindfulness

Improve the Psychological Symptoms Knee Osteoarthritis with Mindfulness

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness has been shown to help with anxiety and depression and can also help some people with the pain and distress of arthritis, as well as back and neck pain. Mindfulness may also help people with rheumatoid arthritis as it improves pain and stiffness, which leads to improved feelings of well-being, ultimately improving function and quality of life in the long-term.” – Arthritis Action

 

Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative joint disease that is the most common form of arthritis. It produces pain, swelling, and stiffness of the joints. It is the leading cause of disability in the U.S., with about 43% of arthritis sufferers limited in mobility and about a third having limitations that affect their ability to perform their work. Knee osteoarthritis effects 5% of adults over 25 years of age and 12% of those over 65. It is painful and disabling. Its causes are varied including, hereditary, injury including sports injuries, repetitive stress injuries, infection, or from being overweight.

 

There are no cures for knee osteoarthritis. Treatments are primarily symptomatic, including weight loss, exercise, braces, pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, arthroscopic knee surgery, or even knee replacement. Gentle movements of the joints with exercise and physical therapy appear to be helpful in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. Mindfulness practices have been shown to reduce the physical symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. So, it would seem reasonable to look further into the effectiveness of Mindfulness practices in treating knee osteoarthritis.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness is associated with psychological health and moderates pain in knee osteoarthritis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5183521/ ), Lee and colleagues reexamined the data collected from adult patients (mean age of 60 years) with knee osteoarthritis. They were measured for mindfulness, pain, physical function (walk test), quality of life, depression, perceived stress, and self-efficacy. The data were then subjected to multiple regression analysis.

 

They found that higher mindfulness was associated with higher mental and physical quality of life and self-efficacy and lower depressive symptoms and perceived stress, but was not associated with pain, physical function or mobility. This was true especially for the describing, acting-with-awareness, and non-judging mindfulness facets. It should be kept in mind that these results are correlational and causation cannot be determined. But they suggest that being mindful is associated with improvement of the individual’s ability to deal with the psychological effects of knee osteoarthritis.

 

It is well established that mindfulness lowers the psychological and physiological impact of stress, reduces depression, and increases the individual’s belief that they can control what is occurring to them (self-efficacy). So, the present results are not surprising, but demonstrate that these relationships are present in patients with knee osteoarthritis and are associated with an improved psychological response to their disorder.

 

So, improve the psychological symptoms knee osteoarthritis with mindfulness.

 

“Mindfulness-based therapies could be key to reducing chronic pain of arthritis and similar conditions.” – Arthritis Digest

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Lee, A. C., Harvey, W. F., Price, L. L., Morgan, L. P. K., Morgan, N. L., & Wang, C. (2017). Mindfulness is associated with psychological health and moderates pain in knee osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, 25(6), 824–831. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.joca.2016.06.017

 

Abstract

Objective

Previous studies suggest that higher mindfulness is associated with less pain and depression. However, the role of mindfulness has never been studied in knee osteoarthritis (OA). We evaluate the relationships between mindfulness and pain, psychological symptoms, and quality of life in knee OA.

Method

We performed a secondary analysis of baseline data from our randomized comparative trial in participants with knee OA. Mindfulness was assessed using the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire. We measured pain, physical function, quality of life, depression, stress, and self-efficacy with commonly-used patient-reported measures. Simple and multivariable regression models were utilized to assess associations between mindfulness and health outcomes. We further tested whether mindfulness moderated the pain-psychological outcome associations.

Results

Eighty patients were enrolled (60.3±10.3 years;76.3% female, body mass index:33.0±7.1kg/m2). Total mindfulness score was associated with mental (beta=1.31,95% CI: 0.68,1.95) and physical (beta=0.69,95% CI:0.06,1.31) component quality of life, self-efficacy (beta=0.22,95% CI:0.07,0.37), depression (beta=-1.15,95% CI:-1.77,-0.54), and stress (beta=-1.07,95% CI:-1.53,-0.60). Of the five facets, the Describing, Acting-with-Awareness, and Non-judging mindfulness facets had the most associations with psychological health. No significant association was found between mindfulness and pain or function (P=0.08-0.24). However, we found that mindfulness moderated the effect of pain on stress (P=0.02).

Conclusion

Mindfulness is associated with depression, stress, self-efficacy, and quality of life among knee OA patients. Mindfulness also moderates the influence of pain on stress, which suggests that mindfulness may alter the way one copes with pain. Future studies examining the benefits of mind-body therapy, designed to increase mindfulness, for patients with OA are warranted.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5183521/

 

Improve Depression in Overweight Adolescent Girls with Mindfulness

Improve Depression in Overweight Adolescent Girls with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“By practicing meditation, you’re able to gently develop a capacity to witness pain as it happens inside you without letting the stories your mind tells you cause you to act self-destructively. Meditation teaches us to wake up from the habits of our mind so we have clear, conscious choice in our actions. By practicing sitting still in silence—especially when I didn’t want to, when I didn’t ‘have time,’ or when it was wildly uncomfortable—and developing compassion for whatever showed up inside me, all the self-judgment and self-deprecation, my neuropathways were rewired.”  – Michael Hebb

 

Adolescence is a transitional period marked by rapid physical, behavioral, emotional, and cognitive developmental changes. Up to a quarter of adolescents suffer from depression or anxiety disorders, and an even larger proportion struggle with subclinical symptoms. Anxiety and depression during this stage can lead to impaired academic, social, and family functioning, and have long-term adverse outcomes.

 

Type 2 diabetes is a common and increasingly prevalent illness that is largely preventable. Although this has been called adult-onset diabetes it is increasingly being diagnosed in children and adolescents. One of the reasons for the increasing incidence of Type 2 Diabetes is its association with overweight and obesity which is becoming epidemic in the industrialized world.

Type 2 Diabetes results from a resistance of tissues, especially fat tissues, to the ability of insulin to promote the uptake of glucose from the blood. As a result, blood sugar levels rise producing hyperglycemia.

 

It is clear that methods need to be found to reduce the likelihood of the development of Type II diabetes and depression in adolescents. One promising avenue is mindfulness. It has been shown to be effective in treating Type II diabetes.  In today’s Research News article “Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of a Mindfulness-Based Group Intervention in Adolescent Girls at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes with Depressive Symptoms.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5705100/ ), Shomaker and colleagues recruited overweight and obese adolescent girls (aged 12-17 years) with a family history of Type II Diabetes and who also had symptoms of depression and randomly assigned them to receive either a 6-week mindfulness-based or 6-week cognitive-behavioral program.

 

Both treatment programs met once a week for 1 hour and there was 10 minutes of homework daily. The mindfulness program occurred in groups and included breath awareness, body scanning, mindful eating, sitting meditation, loving kindness practice, and yoga. The cognitive-behavioral program also occurred in groups and included psycho-education, cognitive restructuring, pleasant activities, self-reinforcement, and coping skills. They were measured before and after treatment and 6 months later for mindfulness, depression, anxiety, perceived stress, insulin resistance, and body composition.

 

They found that after treatment that both groups had significant decreases in depression, anxiety, and perceived stress that persisted to the 6-month follow-up. The decrease in depression, however, was significantly greater in the mindfulness group. After treatment, the groups also had significant decreases in insulin resistance and fasting insulin levels, but the improvements were significantly greater in the mindfulness group. It is interesting that the programs affected insulin resistance and levels as they did not include dieting or exercise components. It should be noted, however, that these improvements did not persist at the 6-month follow-up while the psychological effects did.

 

These results are encouraging and suggest that both mindfulness-based and cognitive-behavioral programs are acceptable, safe, and effective for the psychological and physical states of adolescent girls who are overweight or obese, are mildly or moderately depressed and who are at-risk for Type II Diabetes. Importantly, the results show that mindfulness training is superior to cognitive-based programs in relieving symptoms. Treating these girls in adolescence may help to prevent or delay the onset of Type II Diabetes and improve the quality of life in this vulnerable population. This could go a long way toward reducing health care costs and preventing and relieving their suffering.

 

So, improve depression in overweight adolescent girls with mindfulness.

 

“In the last few years mindfulness has emerged as a way of treating children and adolescents with conditions ranging from ADHD to anxiety, autism spectrum disorders, depression and stress. And the benefits are proving to be tremendous.” – Julianne Garey

 

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

 

Shomaker, L. B., Bruggink, S., Pivarunas, B., Skoranski, A., Foss, J., Chaffin, E., … Bell, C. (2017). Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of a Mindfulness-Based Group Intervention in Adolescent Girls at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes with Depressive Symptoms. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 32, 66–74. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2017.04.003

 

Highlights

  • A mindfulness-based group was feasible and acceptable to adolescent girls at-risk for type 2 diabetes with depressive symptoms
  • Adolescents in the mindfulness-based group had greater decreases in depressive symptoms than adolescents in the cognitive-behavioral group at post-treatment and six-months
  • Adolescents in the mindfulness-based group had greater decreases in insulin resistance and fasting insulin at post-treatment than adolescents in the cognitive-behavioral group

Abstract

Objective

(1) Evaluate feasibility and acceptability of a mindfulness-based group in adolescent girls at-risk for type 2 diabetes (T2D) with depressive symptoms, and (2) compare efficacy of a mindfulness-based versus cognitive-behavioral group for decreasing depressive symptoms and improving insulin resistance.

Design and setting

Parallel-group, randomized controlled pilot trial conducted at a university.

Participants

Thirty-three girls 12-17y with overweight/obesity, family history of diabetes, and elevated depressive symptoms were randomized to a six-week mindfulness-based (n=17) or cognitive-behavioral program (n=16).

Interventions

Both interventions included six, one-hour weekly group sessions. The mindfulness-based program included guided mindfulness awareness practices. The cognitive-behavioral program involved cognitive restructuring and behavioral activation.

Main outcome measures

Adolescents were evaluated at baseline, post-intervention, and six-months. Feasibility/acceptability were measured by attendance and program ratings. Depressive symptoms were assessed by validated survey. Insulin resistance was determined from fasting insulin and glucose, and dual energy x-ray absorptiometry was used to assess body composition.

Results

Most adolescents attended ≥80% sessions (mindfulness:92% versus cognitive-behavioral:87%, p=1.00). Acceptability ratings were strong. At post-treatment and six-months, adolescents in the mindfulness condition had greater decreases in depressive symptoms than adolescents in the cognitive-behavioral condition (ps<.05). Compared to the cognitive-behavioral condition, adolescents in the mindfulness-based intervention also had greater decreases in insulin resistance and fasting insulin at post-treatment, adjusting for fat mass and other covariates (ps<.05).

Conclusions

A mindfulness-based intervention shows feasibility and acceptability in girls at-risk for T2D with depressive symptoms. Compared to a cognitive-behavioral program, after the intervention, adolescents who received mindfulness showed greater reductions in depressive symptoms and better insulin resistance.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5705100/

Withstand Rejection Better with Mindfulness

Withstand Rejection Better with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“People who have greater levels of mindfulness — or the tendency to maintain attention on and awareness of the present moment — are better able to cope with the pain of being rejected by others.” – Brian McNeill

 

Humans are social animals. This is a great asset for the species as the effort of the individual is amplified by cooperation. In primitive times, this cooperation was essential for survival. But in modern times it is also essential, not for survival but rather for making a living and for the happiness of the individual. This ability to cooperate is so essential to human flourishing that it is built deep into our DNA and is reflected in the structure of the human nervous system. This deep need for positive social interactions heightens the pain of social rejection.

 

Mindfulness has been found to increase prosocial behaviors such as altruism, compassion and empathy and reduce antisocial behaviors such as violence and aggression. It can also improve the individual’s ability to respond adaptively to strong emotions. So, it is possible that mindfulness may work to counter the effects of social rejection. In today’s Research News article “When less is more: mindfulness predicts adaptive affective responding to rejection via reduced prefrontal recruitment.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6022565/ ), Martelli and colleagues examine the relationship of mindfulness to the ability to cope with social rejection and its relationship to brain structure and connectivity.

 

They recruited healthy undergraduate students and measured them for mindfulness and social distress. They then played a video game while having their brain scanned with functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). The game was called “Cyberball” which the participant believed they were playing on-line with others. The players tossed a “ball” to each others. After a while the participant stopped receiving the “ball” from other players simulating social rejection. They were then measured again for social distress.

 

They found that after the social “rejection” that the participants who were high in mindfulness were significantly lower in social distress. This suggests that mindfulness tends to protect the individual from the negative emotions associated with social rejection. In addition, they found that the high mindfulness was associated with lower activation of the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and less connectivity of the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex with the Amygdala and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex. This lower activity and connectivity was associated with lower social distress following social rejection.

 

This study employs a fairly artificial method to simulate the social distress produced by rejection. But, the participants reported ignorance that the game was not actually being played socially and the “rejection” appeared to increase distress. So, the lab task appeared to be valid. It should be kept in mind, however, that the findings are correlational and as a result no conclusions can be reached regarding causation. Future research should investigate the impact of mindfulness training on the social distress produced by rejection.

 

The results of the fMRI scans suggest that activation of a brain network including the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, amygdala, and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex are involved in social distress and that mindfulness is associated with lower activity in these structures resulting in less social distress. So, mindfulness may work to dampen brain activity that’s involved in social distress helping to protect the individual from the negative emotions produced by social rejection.

 

Rejection can be devastating to an individual. It can produce strong negative emotions. The fact that mindfulness appears to help the individual cope with the rejection is and important benefit of mindfulness. It further suggests that people suffering from social anxiety might benefit from mindfulness training. Indeed, previous research indicates exactly that. Mindfulness training is an effective treatment for social anxiety disorder.

 

So, withstand rejection better with mindfulness.

 

“Mindful individuals are not as distressed by social rejection.  Mindful individuals appear to successfully regulate distressing emotions by not using effortful, inhibitory processes that suppress their feelings of social pain.” – Shawna Freshwater

 

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

 

Martelli, A. M., Chester, D. S., Warren Brown, K., Eisenberger, N. I., & DeWall, C. N. (2018). When less is more: mindfulness predicts adaptive affective responding to rejection via reduced prefrontal recruitment. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 13(6), 648–655. http://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsy037

 

Abstract

Social rejection is a distressing and painful event that many people must cope with on a frequent basis. Mindfulness—defined here as a mental state of receptive attentiveness to internal and external stimuli as they arise, moment-to-moment—may buffer such social distress. However, little research indicates whether mindful individuals adaptively regulate the distress of rejection—or the neural mechanisms underlying this potential capacity. To fill these gaps in the literature, participants reported their trait mindfulness and then completed a social rejection paradigm (Cyberball) while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging. Approximately 1 hour after the rejection incident, participants reported their level of distress during rejection (i.e. social distress). Mindfulness was associated with less distress during rejection. This relation was mediated by lower activation in the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex during the rejection incident, a brain region reliably associated with the inhibition of negative affect. Mindfulness was also correlated with less functional connectivity between the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and the bilateral amygdala and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, which play a critical role in the generation of social distress. Mindfulness may relate to effective coping with rejection by not over-activating top-down regulatory mechanisms, potentially resulting in more effective long-term emotion-regulation.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6022565/

 

Mindfulness Improves Psychological and Physical Health in South Africans

Mindfulness Improves Psychological and Physical Health in South Africans

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) can be seen as a public health intervention, designed to over time move the bell curve of society as a whole toward greater health.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to be effective in improving physical and psychological health and particularly with the physical and psychological reactions to stress. Techniques such as Mindfulness Training, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) as well as Yoga practice and Tai Chi or Qigong practice have been demonstrated to be effective. This has led to an increasing adoption of these mindfulness techniques for the health and well-being of both healthy and ill individuals. Although these benefits have been well established in western populations, there is a need to demonstrate that these same benefits accrue across cultures.

 

In today’s Research News article “Examining the impact of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction intervention on the health of urban South Africans.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6018653/ ), Whitesman and colleagues performed a retrospective analysis of South African participants in an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. MBSR was delivered in weekly 2.5-hour sessions accompanied with home practice. It consisted of meditation, yoga, and body scan practices and group discussion. The participants were measured before and after treatment for mindfulness, perceived stress, positive and negative emotions, and medical and psychological symptoms.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline, after the MBSR program there were significant increases in mindfulness and positive emotions, and significant decreases in perceived stress, negative emotions, medical symptoms, and psychological symptoms. They also found that the greater the increase in mindfulness scores after the MBSR program the higher the scores for positive emotions and the lower the levels of perceived stress, negative emotions, medical symptoms, and psychological symptoms. So, mindfulness training improved mental and physical health in participants from South Africa and the great the improvement in mindfulness the greater the benefits.

 

This study did not contain a control condition and was thus subject to contamination and potential confounding. But, similar results have been repeated found with randomized clinical trials employing MBSR. So, it is unlikely that bias and confounding are responsible. In addition, the current study simply demonstrated that training is similarly effective in people from a different culture. This suggests that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a safe and effective program for the enhancement of mental and physical well-being in diverse populations of participants.

 

So, it appears that mindfulness improves psychological and physical health in South Africans.

 

mindfulness practices may help people manage stress, cope better with serious illness and reduce anxiety and depression. Many people who practice mindfulness report an increased ability to relax, a greater enthusiasm for life and improved self-esteem.” – NIH News

 

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

 

Whitesman, S. L., Hoogenhout, M., Kantor, L., Leinberger, K. J., & Gevers, A. (2018). Examining the impact of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction intervention on the health of urban South Africans. African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine, 10(1), 1614. http://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v10i1.1614

 

Abstract

Background

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has been found to have significant health benefits in studies conducted in the global North.

Aim

This study examined the effects of MBSR on stress, mood states and medical symptoms among urban South Africans to inform future research and clinical directions of MBSR in local settings.

Setting

Participants completed an 8-week MBSR programme based in central Cape Town.

Method

A retrospective analysis of 276 clinical records was conducted. Mindfulness, stress, negative and positive mood, medical symptoms and psychological symptoms were assessed before and after the intervention using self-report questionnaires. We compared pre and post-intervention scores and examined the relationship between changes in mindfulness and changes in stress, mood and medical symptoms.

Results

Mindfulness scores were significantly higher after intervention, both on the Kentucky Inventory of Mindfulness Skills (KIMS) and the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS). Changes on the KIMS were associated with reductions in stress, negative mood, psychological symptoms and total medical symptoms, and improvement in positive mood. Changes in mindfulness, as measured by the MAAS, were significantly correlated only with reduced total number of medical symptoms.

Conclusion

This study provides preliminary evidence for the positive health impact of MBSR on urban South Africans, and in turn acceptability and feasibility evidence for MBSR in South Africa and supports the case for larger trials in different local settings.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6018653/