Mindfulness is Associated with Stable and Flexible Personalities

Mindfulness is Associated with Stable and Flexible Personalities

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness meditation, may help shape a person’s personality traits and promote a healthier self-concept.” – April McDowell

 

Personality characteristics are thought to be relatively permanent traits that form an individual’s distinctive character. Current psychological research and theorization on personality has suggested that there are five basic personality characteristics. The so called “Big 5” are Extraversion, Agreeableness, Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, and Emotional Stability. The enduring trait of mindfulness has a positive relationship with all of the “Big 5” characteristics.

 

Recently, these characteristics have been organized into two overarching metatraits; stability and flexibility. The relationship of trait mindfulness to these two metatraits has not been explored.

In today’s Research News article “The Mindful Personality II: Exploring the Metatraits from a Cybernetic Perspective.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5979271/), Hanley and colleagues examine the relationship of the enduring characteristic of mindfulness with the stability and flexibility metatraits. The researchers recruited adult participants online and had them complete measures of the Big 5 Personality Traits, mindfulness, and psychological well-being. From the Big 5 they extracted measures of the metatraits stability and flexibility.

 

They found, as have others, that the higher the levels of mindfulness the higher the levels of each of the Big 5 personality traits. Using structural modelling they found that mindfulness was positively associated with both metatraits of stability and flexibility and these, in turn, were positively associated with psychological well-being. In other words, the higher the levels of dispositional mindfulness, the higher the levels of stability and flexibility, the better the psychological health of the individual. This was also true for all of the five facets of mindfulness; observing, describing, acting with awareness, non-reactivity, and non-judging.

 

This study is correlational and causation cannot be concluded. But these results are in line with previous findings of the positive relationship of mindfulness with the Big 5 personality traits. The findings extend this positive relationship to the two stability and flexibility, the metatraits derived from the Big 5 traits. They suggest that mindfulness is associated with stable and flexible personalities. Mindful individuals do not overreact to distractions, interference, unexpected events and at the same time are more open and able to respond differently and creatively to situations. Hence, mindful people have personalities better able to deal with the ups and downs and twists and turns of life.

 

Overall, the findings . . . expand upon previous mindfulness-related research by demonstrating a strong relationship between mindfulness and enhanced level of some personality characteristics including openness, theory of mind, suggestibility and pro-social behaviour.” – Hossein Kaviani

 

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

 

Hanley, A. W., Baker, A. K., & Garland, E. L. (2018). The Mindful Personality II: Exploring the Metatraits from a Cybernetic Perspective. Mindfulness, 9(3), 972–979. doi:10.1007/s12671-017-0836-5

 

Abstract

Relationships between dispositional mindfulness and the personality metatraits, stability and plasticity, remain unexplored despite continued efforts to more accurately characterize associations between dispositional mindfulness and personality. The metatraits are theorized to constitute basic requirements for biological survival and their expression is believed to be a strong determinant of well-being. As such, this study used path analysis to explore associations between dispositional mindfulness, the metatraits and psychological well-being in a sample of 403 American adults. Results indicate that dispositional mindfulness is principally associated with stability, or the capacity to sustain currently operative schemas and goals. Results further suggest a positive relationship between dispositional mindfulness and plasticity, or the tendency to flexibly adapt to changing circumstances. A more granular investigation of these associations demonstrated that the facets of dispositional mindfulness are differentially related with the metatraits. Ultimately, the metatraits were found to fully mediate the relationship between dispositional mindfulness and psychological well-being.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5979271/

 

Build Better Leaders with Mindfulness

Build Better Leaders with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

for leaders, the biggest benefit of mindfulness is its direct impact on the development of emotional intelligence.” – Monica Thakrar

 

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

 

Mindfulness may also help to promote leadership in the workplace. It can potentially do so by enhancing emotion regulation, making the individual better able to recognize, experience, and adaptively respond to their emotions, and making the leader better able to listen to and to understand the needs and emotion of the workers they lead. There has been, however, little research attention to the effects of mindfulness on leadership.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindful Leader Development: How Leaders Experience the Effects of Mindfulness Training on Leader Capabilities.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01081/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_999212_69_Psycho_20190528_arts_A), Rupprecht and colleagues recruited leaders in work environments who had completed a 12-week Workplace Mindfulness Training program 6 months to a year previously. They were questioned about their perceptions of the effectiveness of the program on themselves and their leadership with semi-structured interviews over the phone lasting about an hour. Responses were transcribed and subjected to qualitative thematic analysis.

 

The leaders’ responses indicated that the training helped them in mindfully managing tasks including focusing on single tasks, managing distractions particularly phone messages, and using breaks and transitions to meditate of become aware of their bodies. The training also helped them with caring for themselves including recognizing when they were tired and taking a break and sharing their feelings and state with others. It also helped them self-reflect and recognize how their state affects the people around them.

 

The leaders’ responses indicated that the training helped them become better leaders. It provided skills in relating to others, including deep listening, being less reactive to their ow emotions or emotions of others, being less judgmental, taking themselves less seriously, and being more responsive to the needs of their followers. The training also helped them to better adapt to changing situations, including acceptance of the changes and adaptively searching for solutions.

 

Finally, the leaders’ responses indicated that the effects that the training had on them spilled over to affect the organization and the processes used at work. It provided them with a new basis for communications with other team members. They began to include mindfulness practices in team meetings. This led to identification of long meeting as problematic and changing the structure of meetings.

 

These results are subjective and there weren’t any objective measures supplied to verify the reports. But the leaders’ responses were very encouraging and suggested that the Workplace Mindfulness Training program is very beneficial and affects a wide variety of work behaviors and attitudes. Although there were no measures of productivity changes, the nature of the effects of mindfulness training suggest that productivity would improve, burnout would be reduced, and work satisfaction would increase.

 

So, build better leaders with mindfulness.

 

“To become a mindful leader, you need to make this a daily introspective act. As you do so, you’ll worry less about day-to-day problems and focus on what is most important. As you become more mindful, you will be a more effective, successful and fulfilled leader.” – Bill George

 

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

 

Rupprecht S, Falke P, Kohls N, Tamdjidi C, Wittmann M and Kersemaekers W (2019) Mindful Leader Development: How Leaders Experience the Effects of Mindfulness Training on Leader Capabilities. Front. Psychol. 10:1081. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01081

 

Mindfulness training is a novel method of leader development but contrary to its rising popularity, there is a scarcity of research investigating how mindfulness training may affect leader capabilities. To gain a better understanding of the potential of a new research field, qualitative research is advantageous. We sought to understand how senior leaders experience the impact of mindfulness training in their work lives and leadership ability. The sample comprised 13 leaders (n = 11 male) working in six organizations that completed a 10-week workplace mindfulness training (WMT). We conducted semi-structured interviews 6 to 12 months following course completion. We analyzed the data following thematic analysis steps and based on these findings, we devised a framework of the perceived impact of mindfulness training on self-leadership and leadership capabilities. We show that WMT exhibited impact on three self-leadership capacities: mindful task management, self-care and self-reflection and two leadership capacities: relating to others and adapting to change. Participants’ recounts additionally suggested effects may expand to the level of the team and the organization. We show that WMT may be a promising tool for self-directed leadership development and outline avenues for future research.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01081/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_999212_69_Psycho_20190528_arts_A

 

Improve Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Symptoms and Lower Rumination with Mindfulness

Improve Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Symptoms and Lower Rumination with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness-based practices have proved to be helpful in promoting mental well-being, especially by reducing the symptoms of depression and anxiety in various populations.” – Han Ding

 

Over the last several decades, research and anecdotal experiences have accumulated an impressive evidential case that the development of mindfulness has positive benefits for the individual’s mental, physical, and spiritual life. Mindfulness appears to be beneficial both for healthy people and for people suffering from a myriad of mental and physical illnesses. It appears to be beneficial across ages, from children to the elderly. And it appears to be beneficial across genders, personalities, race, and ethnicity. There is a vast array of techniques for the development of mindfulness that include a variety of forms of meditationyogamindful movementscontemplative prayer, and combinations of practices.

 

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)  was specifically developed to treat depression. MBCT involves mindfulness training, containing sitting, walking and body scan meditations, and cognitive therapy That is designed to alter how the patient relates to the thought processes that often underlie and exacerbate psychological symptoms. Another therapeutic technique is Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT). “It seeks to help individuals develop compassion for self and others . . . and includes cultivating mindfulness and body awareness. . . . MBCT puts the primary focus on cultivating mindfulness whereas CFT puts it on cultivating compassion toward self and others.”

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) on Symptom Change, Mindfulness, Self-Compassion, and Rumination in Clients With Depression, Anxiety, and Stress.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01099/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_999212_69_Psycho_20190528_arts_A), Frostadottir and colleagues recruited patients at a 4-week inpatient rehab clinic who were suffering from mild to moderate depression, anxiety, or stress symptoms. They were assigned to receive twice a week 2 hour sessions for 4 weeks of either Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), or a wait-list control condition. They were measured before and after treatment and one month later for mindfulness, self-compassion, rumination, anxiety, depression, and stress.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control group, the groups that received either Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) or Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) demonstrated significantly lower levels of rumination, anxiety, depression, and stress and significantly higher levels of mindfulness and self-compassion. These improvements were still present and significant at the 1-month follow-up. Those participants who were high in rumination had significantly higher posttreatment mindfulness for the MBCT group while CFT produced higher mindfulness regardless of rumination.

 

Since there wasn’t an active control group placebo effects and experimenter bias are possible alternative explanations for the changes. Other research however has routinely demonstrated that mindfulness training produces lower levels of anxiety, depression, stress symptoms, and rumination and higher levels of self-compassion and mindfulness. Hence, it is likely that the benefits seen in the present study were due to the interventions and not to artifact.

 

The results suggest that both Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) are beneficial for the mental health of patients with mild to moderate depression, anxiety, or stress symptoms. Since, both therapies train mindfulness and both successfully increased mindfulness, it would appear that mindfulness training in general is beneficial to patients with mild to moderate mental health issues. So, the present study adds to the large literature demonstrating the benefits of mindfulness for psychological health.

 

So, improve depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms and lower rumination with mindfulness.

 

“If you have unproductive worries. You might think ‘I’m late, I might lose my job if I don’t get there on time, and it will be a disaster!’ Mindfulness teaches you to recognize, ‘Oh, there’s that thought again. I’ve been here before. But it’s just that—a thought, and not a part of my core self,’” – Elizabeth Hoge

 

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

 

Frostadottir AD and Dorjee D (2019) Effects of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) on Symptom Change, Mindfulness, Self-Compassion, and Rumination in Clients With Depression, Anxiety, and Stress. Front. Psychol. 10:1099. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01099

 

Objectives: Over the past decade there has been an increasing interest in exploring self-compassion as a related and complementary construct to mindfulness. Increases in self-compassion may predict clinical outcomes after MBCT and cultivation of compassion toward self and others is central to CFT. This pilot study compared the impact of MBCT applying implicit self-compassion instructions and CFT employing explicit self-compassion instructions on symptom change, mindfulness, self-compassion, and rumination.

Method: This non-randomized wait-list controlled study (N = 58) with two intervention arms (MBCT N = 20, CFT N = 18, Control N = 20) assessed the outcomes of clients with depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms from before to after the interventions and at one month follow up (MBCT N = 17, CFT N = 13, Control N = 13).

Results: Both treatments resulted in significant increases in mindfulness and self-compassion and decreases in rumination, depression, anxiety, and stress. Furthermore, MBCT enhanced mindfulness for people who were initially high in rumination, whereas CFT enhanced mindfulness across the board.

Conclusion: The findings suggest that both MBCT and CFT, and hence implicit or explicit self-compassion instructions, produce similar clinical outcomes with CFT enhancing mindfulness regardless of client’s rumination level.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01099/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_999212_69_Psycho_20190528_arts_A

 

Sexual Arousal and Mindfulness are Linked in Complex Ways

Sexual Arousal and Mindfulness are Linked in Complex Ways

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness meditation” training — which teaches how to bring one’s thoughts into the present moment — can quiet the mental chatter that prevents these women from fully feeling sexual stimuli.” – Gina Silverstein

 

Problems with sex are very common, but, with the exception of male erectile dysfunction, driven by the pharmaceutical industry, it is rarely discussed and there is little research. While research suggests that sexual dysfunction is common, it is a topic that many people are hesitant or embarrassed to discuss. Women suffer from sexual dysfunction more than men with 43% of women and 31% of men reporting some degree of difficulty. These problems have major impacts on people’s lives and deserve greater research attention.

 

Problems with sex with women can involve reduced sex drive, difficulty becoming aroused, vaginal dryness, lack of orgasm and decreased sexual satisfaction. Sexual function in women involves many different systems in the body, including physical, psychological and hormonal factors. So, although, female sexual dysfunction is often caused by physical/medical problems, it is also frequently due to psychological issues. This implies that it many cases female sexual problems may be treated with therapies that are effective in working with psychological problems.

 

Mindfulness trainings have been shown to improve a variety of psychological issues including emotion regulationstress responsestraumafear and worryanxiety, and depression, and self-esteem. Mindfulness training has also been found useful in treating sexual problems. But there is little empirical research. So, it makes sense to further investigate the relationship of mindfulness with female sexual arousal.

 

In today’s Research News article “Subjective and Oxytocinergic Responses to Mindfulness Are Associated With Subjective and Oxytocinergic Responses to Sexual Arousal.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01101/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_999212_69_Psycho_20190528_arts_A), Dickinson and colleagues recruited women between the ages of 20 to 35 for a study on sexuality and stress hormones and measured them for mindfulness. They watched landscape photographs and rated their liking of the photographs and then provided salivary samples to assess oxytocin and cortisol. Oxytocin levels are a marker of sexual arousal. They then listened to 1.5-minute stories that were either neutral or erotic and provided salivary samples. They also rated their sexual arousal after each story. They then performed a breath focused meditation for 15 minutes and provided a third salivary sample. After a 15-minute quiet period they provided a fourth sample.

 

They found that the higher the women scored on mindfulness, particularly the describing facet, the higher their levels of reported arousal in response to the erotic stories. They also found that oxytocin levels did not significantly increase in response to the erotic stories, decreased significantly in response to mindful breathing, and increased during recovery. They further found that women high in the mindfulness facet of non-judging internal experience and women who were quicker in detecting mind wandering during meditation had significantly greater decreases in oxytocin during meditation. In addition, women who were quick in detecting mind wandering and women who reported large increases in sexual arousal while listening to the erotic stories had greater decreases in oxytocin while meditating.

 

These are complex results. They suggest that in women mindfulness, subjective sexual arousal, and endocrine markers of sexual arousal are all linked in complex ways. They also suggest that women who are high in mindfulness are more sexually responsive to erotic stimuli. This may suggest that mindfulness training may be effective in increasing women’s ability to be sexually aroused. Future research should investigate whether mindfulness training may be an effective treatment for women who have difficulty with sexual arousal.

 

“among women who have sexual difficulties, mindfulness not only improves their desire but improves their overall sexual satisfaction, too.” – Tracy Clark-Flory

 

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

 

Dickenson JA, Alley J and Diamond LM (2019) Subjective and Oxytocinergic Responses to Mindfulness Are Associated With Subjective and Oxytocinergic Responses to Sexual Arousal. Front. Psychol. 10:1101. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01101

 

Mindfulness – the ability to pay attention, on purpose, without judgment, and in the present moment – has consistently been shown to enhance women’s sexual arousal. As a first step toward understanding potential neuroendocrine underpinnings of mindfulness and sexual arousal, we examined whether individual differences in subjective and neuroendocrine (i.e., oxytocin) responses to mindful breathing were associated with individual differences in subjective and neuroendocrine responses to sexual arousal. To achieve this aim, 61 lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual women completed a questionnaire assessing dispositional mindfulness, underwent an arousal task while continuously rating their sexual arousal and a mindful breathing task, after which participants reported on their ability to detect attentional shifts, and provided salivary samples after each assessment. Results indicated that women who were quicker to detect attentional shifts and women who reported greater sexual arousability reported larger changes (decreases) in oxytocin in response to mindful breathing and were the only women to report increases in oxytocin in response to the sexual arousal induction. Results further indicated that individuals who report greater subjective responsiveness to mindfulness and sexual arousal appear to have an oxytocinergic system that is also more responsive to both arousal and to mindfulness. These results make a significant contribution to our understanding of the role of attentional processes in sexual arousal, and warrant future examination of oxytocin as a potential neuroendocrine mechanism underlying the link between mindfulness and sexual arousal.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01101/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_999212_69_Psycho_20190528_arts_A

 

Improve Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Adults with Mindfulness

Improve Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Adults with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindful awareness isn’t about staying with the breath, but about returning to the breath. That’s what enhances your ability to focus. And this emphasis on re-shifting your attention, of outwitting the mind’s natural tendency to wander, is what makes this technique especially helpful to someone who has ADHD.” – Carl Sherman

 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is most commonly found in children, but for about half it persists into adulthood. It’s estimated that about 5% of the adult population has ADHD. Hence, this is a very large problem that can produce inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity, and emotional issues, and reduce quality of life. The most common treatment is drugs, like methylphenidate, Ritalin, which helps reducing symptoms in about 30% of the people with ADHD. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of the drugs appears to be markedly reduced after the first year. In addition, the drugs often have troublesome side effects, can be addictive, and can readily be abused. So, drugs, at present, do not appear to be a good solution, only affecting some, only for a short time, and with unwanted side effects.

 

There are indications that mindfulness training may be an effective treatment for ADHD. It makes sense that it should be, as the skills and abilities strengthened by mindfulness training are identical to those that are defective in ADHD,  attentionimpulse controlexecutive functionemotion control, and mood improvement. In addition, unlike drugs, it is a relatively safe intervention that has minimal troublesome side effects. Since mindfulness is so promising as a treatment, it is important to step back and summarize what has been learned in the scientific research of the effectiveness of mindfulness training for ADHD. Most of the research has been with children. But ADHD often persists into adulthood. So, it is important to take a look at the published research on the effectiveness of mindfulness training for ADHD in adults.

 

In today’s Research News article “Behavioral and Cognitive Impacts of Mindfulness-Based Interventions on Adults with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Systematic Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6476147/), Poissant and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies on the effectiveness of Mindfulness based interventions on the symptoms of ADHD in adults.

 

They found 13 published studies with a total of 753 participants. All 13 studies reported significant improvements in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms following mindfulness training and the improvements were maintained six months after the end of training. The participants had significant improvements in higher level thinking (cognitive function) and emotion regulation.

 

They also report that the quality of the research designs used were fairly weak and hence caution must be exercised in reaching definitive conclusions. Better controlled research studies are needed. Nevertheless the published research studies consistently found that mindfulness-based interventions produced improvements in the symptoms of adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

 

So, improve attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults with mindfulness.

 

“mindfulness practice can help us pay attention better, resist distractions, be less impulsive, remember what we are doing in the moment, and regulate our own emotions, it is helpful whether we have ADHD or not. But it holds special interest for those with ADHD.” – Mindfully ADD

 

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

 

Poissant, H., Mendrek, A., Talbot, N., Khoury, B., & Nolan, J. (2019). Behavioral and Cognitive Impacts of Mindfulness-Based Interventions on Adults with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Systematic Review. Behavioural neurology, 2019, 5682050. doi:10.1155/2019/5682050

 

Abstract

Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) are becoming increasingly popular as treatments for physical and psychological problems. Recently, several studies have suggested that MBIs may also be effective in reducing symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Most studies have examined the effectiveness in children, but there are now a sufficient number of individual treatment trials to consider a systematic review in adults. Majority of existing systematic reviews and meta-analyses only consider ADHD symptoms as an outcome, and most of them do not fully report potential biases of included studies, thus limiting considerably their conclusions. This is an important facet because some studies could be found ineligible to be included in future analysis due to their low quality. In this systematic review, we followed the PRISMA/PICO criteria and we thoroughly assessed the risks of bias for each of the selected studies according to Cochrane guidelines. We searched the available literature concerning MBIs in adult participants with ADHD using PsycINFO, PubMed, Scopus, and ERIC databases. In total, 13 studies conducted with 753 adults (mean age of 35.1 years) were identified as eligible. Potential moderators such as participants’ age, ADHD subtypes, medication status, comorbidity, intervention length, mindfulness techniques, homework amount, and training of therapists were carefully described. Aside from measuring the symptoms of ADHD, outcome measures were categorized into executive/cognitive functioning, emotional disturbances, quality of life, mindfulness, and grade point average at school. According to presented descriptive results, all the studies (100%) showed improvement of ADHD symptoms. In addition, mindfulness meditation training improves some aspects of executive function and emotion dysregulation. Although these are promising findings to support treatment efficacy of MBIs for ADHD, various biases such as absence of randomization and lack of a control group may affect the actual clinical value and implications of the studies. Moreover, the relatively low quality of selection and performance criteria in several studies, as well as relatively high attrition bias across studies, call for caution before considering conducting further analysis.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6476147/

 

Improve Mindfulness by Interacting with Trustworthy People

Improve Mindfulness by Interacting with Trustworthy People

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“When deciding in whom to place trust, trust the guilt-prone.” – Emma Levine

 

It is well established that engaging in contemplative practices such as meditation, yoga, and Tai Chi produces increased mindfulness. But the level of mindfulness varies among people who do not engage in contemplative practice; some being high in mindfulness, while others are very low. So, there must be other factors that contribute to the level of mindfulness. To some extent inheritance (the genes) affects an individual’s mindfulness. But what transpires in the environment during an individual’s life may also be important.

 

Being able to trust other people may be important in developing mindfulness. In today’s Research News article “Does interacting with trustworthy people enhance mindfulness? An experience sampling study of mindfulness in everyday situations.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6485709/), Kudesia and Reina examine the relationships of interacting with trustworthy people with mindfulness. They recruited undergraduate students and had them complete measures of mindful attention and mindful metacognition (noticing their thoughts and feelings about experiences).

 

For 8 days the participants engaged in experience sampling where they received “prompts for experience sampling three times a day (9:30 AM, 2:30 PM, 7:30 PM) over their phone.” They rated their mindfulness and indicated if over the time since the last prompt whether they interacted with someone they deemed a leader or a teammate and if so to describe the interaction, rate the trustworthiness of the leader or teammate, and rate their satisfaction with the interaction. “Common interactions with leaders entailed managers, executives, and recruiters in the workplace, coaches of sports teams, and professors, academic advisors, and residence hall advisors in the university. Common interactions with teammates entailed fellow members of workplace teams, volunteer organizations, sports teams, and class project teams.”

 

They found that the students cooperated for the most part, responding to 75% of the prompts. They separately analyzed responses on what they called a particularized pathway where the particular interactions reported to the prompts were associated with the mindfulness at that same time. There were no significant relationships between trustworthiness and mindfulness for this pathway for either leaders or teammates. They also analyzed responses on what they called a generalized pathway where the average trustworthiness over all interactions were associated with the average overall mindfulness. This produced significant positive relationships between trustworthiness and mindful attention and mindful metacognition for both interactions with leaders and with teammates.

 

The results indicate that overall, in general, when mindfulness is high so is the trustworthiness of both leaders and teammates. These are correlative relationships so it cannot be determined causation. Being mindful of experiences may make one feel that the other person is more trustworthy. That is being cognizant of what’s transpiring in the present moment may focus attention on the other person making them seem more trustworthy. Conversely, being with a trustworthy individual may relax the individual so they become more focused on the present moment (mindful). Finding someone else untrustworthy may help to shift thinking to the future consequences of that untrustworthiness or to ruminating about past occurrences that elicited the feelings of untrustworthiness. This would reduce mindfulness.

 

So, improve mindfulness by interacting with trustworthy people.

 

“He who does not trust enough will not be trusted.” — Lao Tzu

 

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

 

Kudesia, R. S., & Reina, C. S. (2019). Does interacting with trustworthy people enhance mindfulness? An experience sampling study of mindfulness in everyday situations. PloS one, 14(4), e0215810. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0215810

 

Abstract

Mindfulness is known to increase after meditation interventions. But might features of our everyday situations outside of meditation not also influence our mindfulness from moment-to-moment? Drawing from psychological research on interpersonal trust, we suggest that interacting with trustworthy people could influence the expression of mindfulness. And, extending this research on trust, we further suggest that the influence of trustworthy social interactions on mindfulness could proceed through two pathways: a particularized pathway (where specific interactions that are especially high (or low) in trustworthiness have an immediate influence on mindfulness) or a generalized pathway (where the typical level of trustworthiness a person perceives across all their interactions exerts a more stable influence on their mindfulness). To explore these two pathways, study participants (N = 201) repeatedly reported their current levels of mindfulness and their prior interactions with trustworthy leaders and teammates during their everyday situations using an experience sampling protocol (n¯ = 3,605 reports). Results from mixed-effects models provide little support for the particularized pathway: specific interactions with trustworthy leaders and teammates had little immediate association with mindfulness. The generalized pathway, however, was strongly associated with mindfulness—and remained incrementally predictive beyond relevant individual differences and features of situations. In sum, people who typically interact with more trustworthy partners may become more mindful.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6485709/

 

Improve Empathy with Mindfulness

Improve Empathy with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“As we practice mindfulness we learn to be with our own emotions and difficulties, which makes us become more able to deal with others.  We can better empathize, but through the cultivation of kindness and compassion we are able to take care of ourselves and continue to help others.” – Gail Davies

 

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. Empathy and compassion are essential for appropriate social engagement and cooperation. In order for these abilities to emerge and strengthen, individuals must be able to see that other people are very much like themselves.

 

Mindfulness has been found to increase prosocial behaviors such as altruism, compassion and empathy. It is not known how mindfulness practice might do this. Mindfulness is actually a complex concept. There are thought to be five distinct facets of mindfulness; describing, observing, acting with awareness, non-judgement, and non-reactivity. It is not known which of these facets of mindfulness are important for the development of empathy.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mediating effect of mindfulness cognition on the development of empathy in a university context.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6472790/), De la Fuente-Anuncibay and colleagues recruited undergraduate students and separated them into students who had and had not previously practiced mindfulness. They were asked to complete measures of empathy and the five facets of mindfulness; describing, observing, acting with awareness, non-judgement, and non-reactivity.

 

They found that the students who practiced mindfulness were higher in their levels of empathy. They further found that mindfulness practice was related to higher levels of empathy directly and also indirectly, such that mindfulness practice was related to the five facets of mindfulness which were in turn related to higher levels of empathy. Further tests of structural models revealed that the mindfulness facets that were mediating the relationship of mindfulness practice with empathy were, observing, describing, and non-reactivity to inner experience.

 

These findings are correlational and so causation cannot be directly determined. But prior research has established that mindfulness practice is a causal factor in improving empathy. So, it is likely that the current results were due to causal connections. This suggests that mindfulness practice increases the individual’s ability to observe and describe present moment experience but not react to it and this improves empathy.

 

Empathy involves the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. The results then suggest that being aware of what is transpiring in the moment but observing it dispassionately may be a key to empathy; seeing others plight without reacting overly emotionally may underlie the development of true empathy. By not reacting and being overwhelmed by one’s own emotions the individual may be better able to share the feelings of the other.

 

So, improve empathy with mindfulness.

 

“Learning to communicate with empathy can go a long way toward building more positivity in your relationships and reducing your stress. If we all focused more on listening and understanding each other, the world would be a lot less stressful—and a lot happier—place to live.” – Arthur P. Ciaramicoli 

 

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

 

De la Fuente-Anuncibay, R., González-Barbadillo, Á., González-Bernal, J., Cubo, E., & PizarroRuiz, J. P. (2019). Mediating effect of mindfulness cognition on the development of empathy in a university context. PloS one, 14(4), e0215569. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0215569

 

Abstract

Numerous interventions propose mindfulness training as a means of improving empathy. Our aim is to analyse the relationship between mindfulness practice and empathy through the mediating process of trait mindfulness. This sample comprised 264 undergraduate students (x¯=24,13years, SD = 11,39). The instruments used were Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire and Toronto Empathy Questionnaire. The indirect effect was calculated using 10.000 bootstrap samples for the bootstrap confidence intervals corrected for bias. Empathy improvement is mediated by changes in the cognitions derived from mindfulness (B = .346, p<.01). The direct effect of mindfulness practice on empathy disappears in presence of this mediator (B = .133, p>.05). Mindfulness interventions that aim to improve empathy should focus on three of its components; observing, describing and nonreactivity to inner experience. Given the significance of the results, the research must be extended to larger samples.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6472790/

 

Produce Long-Term Improvements in Depression and Insulin Resistance in Adolescents with Mindfulness

Produce Long-Term Improvements in Depression and Insulin Resistance in Adolescents with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“So like with so many topics related to type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance can be avoided, and reversed, through living healthfully and mindfully.” – Defeat Diabetes Foundation

 

Diabetes is a major health issue. It is estimated that 30 million people in the United States and nearly 600 million people worldwide have diabetes and the numbers are growing. Type II 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. Diabetes is heavily associated with other diseases such as cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and circulatory problems leading to amputations. As a result, diabetes doubles the risk of death of any cause compared to individuals of the same age without diabetes.

 

Type 2 diabetes is a common and increasingly prevalent illness that is largely preventable. 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. A leading cause of this is a sedentary life style. Unlike Type I Diabetes, Type II does not require insulin injections. Instead, the treatment and prevention of Type 2 Diabetes focuses on diet, exercise, and weight control. Recently, mindfulness practices have been shown to be helpful in managing diabetes. This suggests that mindfulness training may be able to reduce insulin resistance in adolescents at risk for Type II diabetes.

 

In today’s Research News article “One-Year Follow-Up of a Randomized Controlled Trial Piloting a Mindfulness-Based Group Intervention for Adolescent Insulin Resistance.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01040/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_990182_69_Psycho_20190516_arts_A), Shomaker and colleagues recruited overweight and obese adolescent girls (12-17 years of age) with a family history of Type II Diabetes. They were randomly assigned to receive a 6-week program of either a mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) or a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) depression prevention. They were measured before and after the interventions and 1-year later for mindfulness, insulin resistance, depression, body size, and body fat.

 

They found that 1 year after the interventions only the mindfulness group had significant improvement in insulin resistance. Although both groups had significant decreases in depression, the mindfulness group had significantly greater decreases than the CBT group. These findings are consistent with prior findings by this research group. But these results demonstrate that the effectiveness of mindfulness training is lasting. This suggests that mindfulness training should be recommended for adolescent girls who are overweight and obese and with a family history of Type II Diabetes. This may prevent the onset of type II diabetes in this at-risk group.

 

So, produce long-term improvements in depression and insulin resistance in adolescents with mindfulness.

 

Research shows that meditation actually helps the body regulate blood sugar by using insulin more efficiently. The stress hormone cortisol is a major contributor to insulin resistance, and meditation leads to lower cortisol levels, which in turn allows insulin to do its job properly.” – Avi Craimer

 

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 LB, Pivarunas B, Annameier SK, Gulley L, Quaglia J, Brown KW, Broderick P and Bell C (2019) One-Year Follow-Up of a Randomized Controlled Trial Piloting a Mindfulness-Based Group Intervention for Adolescent Insulin Resistance. Front. Psychol. 10:1040. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01040

 

Introduction: To explore if a brief mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) leads to sustained, improved clinical outcomes in adolescents at-risk for type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Methods: Participants were 12–17y girls with overweight/obesity, elevated depression symptoms, and T2D family history participating in a randomized, controlled pilot trial of a six-session MBI vs. cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) group. At baseline and 1-year, mindfulness, depression, insulin resistance (IR), and body composition were assessed with validated instruments.

Results: One-year retention was 71% (n = 12) in MBI; 81% (n = 13) in CBT. At 1-year, depression decreased (Cohen’s d = 0.68) and IR decreased (d = 0.73) in adolescents randomized to MBI compared to those in CBT. There were no significant between-condition differences in mindfulness, adiposity, or BMI.

Discussion: One-year outcomes from this randomized, controlled pilot trial suggest that brief MBI may reduce depression and IR in at-risk adolescents. Replication and exploration of mechanisms within the context of a larger clinical trial are necessary.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01040/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_990182_69_Psycho_20190516_arts_A

 

Improve the Mental Health on Intensive Care Nurses with Mindfulness

Improve the Mental Health on Intensive Care Nurses with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Nurses are particularly vulnerable to stress and burnout, with little time in their schedule to commit to self-care or intensive stress reduction programs” . . . on-the-job mindfulness-based intervention is viable for this nursing population. In addition to reductions in stress and burnout, participants also reported improved job satisfaction and self-compassion.” Mindful USC

 

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. This is particularly acute in intensive care. 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. 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. Currently, over a third of healthcare workers report that they are looking for a new job. Hence, burnout 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. Hence, mindfulness may be a means to reduce burnout in medical professionals in high stress areas.

 

In today’s Research News article “Moderating Effect of Mindfulness on the Relationships Between Perceived Stress and Mental Health Outcomes Among Chinese Intensive Care Nurses.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6482227/), Lu and colleagues recruited intensive care nurses and had them complete measures of burnout, mindfulness, anxiety, depression, perceived stress, and subjective well-being. The measure of subjective well-being is a composite that includes a high level of satisfaction with life, more positive emotions, and fewer negative emotions.

 

They found that the higher the nurses’ levels of mindfulness the better the nurses’ mental health including lower levels of anxiety, depression, perceived stress, negative emotions and burnout and higher levels of subjective well-being, life satisfaction and positive emotions. They also found that the greater the levels of perceived stress the worse the nurses’ mental health including greater levels of burnout, negative emotions, anxiety, and depression, and lower levels of mindfulness, satisfaction with life, positive emotions, and life satisfaction. In addition, they found that mindfulness moderated the negative effects of perceived stress such that when mindfulness was high, perceived stress had a smaller relationship with emotional exhaustion, depression, anxiety, and negative affect and a larger relationship with positive affect.

 

In interpreting these results, it needs to be recognized that the study was correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. But previous research has already established that mindfulness produces reductions in burnout, anxiety, depression, perceived stress, and negative emotions and produces increases in life satisfaction, positive emotions, and subjective well-being. So, it is reasonable to conclude that the present findings were due to the causal effects of mindfulness. But the present findings add to this knowledge by showing that mindfulness not only directly improves the psychological state of the nurses but also acts to reduce the negative impact of stress.

 

These effects of mindfulness are important as burnout in high stress occupations like nursing is all too common. The results suggest that mindfulness training should be routinely administered to intensive care nurses to improve their well-being and mental health and reduce the likelihood that they will experience burnout.

 

So, improve the mental health on intensive care nurses with mindfulness.

 

Learning mindfulness also helped the ICU personnel to “become aware of what their individual stress response is” and to “practice flexibility in cultivating alternative ways” of dealing with chronic stress.” – Marianna Klatt

 

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

 

Lu, F., Xu, Y., Yu, Y., Peng, L., Wu, T., Wang, T., … Li, M. (2019). Moderating Effect of Mindfulness on the Relationships Between Perceived Stress and Mental Health Outcomes Among Chinese Intensive Care Nurses. Frontiers in psychiatry, 10, 260. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00260

 

Abstract

This study aimed to explore the potential moderating effect of mindfulness and its facets on the relationships among perceived stress and mental health outcomes (burnout, depression, anxiety, and subjective well-being) among Chinese intensive care nurses. A total of 500 Chinese intensive care nurses completed self-report measures of mindfulness, burnout syndromes, perceived stress, depression, anxiety, and subjective well-being. Correlation and hierarchical multiple regressions were applied for data analysis. Mindfulness moderated the effects of perceived stress on emotional exhaustion (the core component of burnout syndrome), depression, anxiety, positive affect, and negative affect but not on the other two dimensions of burnout and life satisfaction. Further analyses indicated that the ability to act with awareness was particularly crucial in improving the effects of perceived stress on depression. These results further broaden our understanding of the relationships between perceived stress and burnout, depression, anxiety, and subjective well-being by demonstrating that mindfulness may serve as a protective factor that alleviates or eliminates the negative effects of perceived stress on depression, anxiety, burnout syndrome, and subjective well-being and may instigate further research into targeted mindfulness interventions for Chinese intensive care nurses.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6482227/

 

Improve Mental Well-Being with Mindfulness

Improve Mental Well-Being with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“engaging in mindfulness meditation cultivates our ability to both focus and broaden our attention, which is a practical way to elicit psychological well-being.” Jennifer Wolkin

 

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

 

There is a vast array of techniques for the development of mindfulness. They include a variety of forms of meditationyogamindful movementscontemplative prayer, and combinations of practices. Some are recommended to be practiced for years while others are employed for only a few weeks. Regardless of the technique, they all appear to develop and increase mindfulness. One particularly effective mindfulness training program is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). The MBSR program consists of 8 weekly group sessions involving meditation, yoga, body scan, and discussion. The patients are also encouraged to perform daily practice. It is unclear, however, exactly how the state of mindfulness of the participants at the beginning of training affect the effects of the MBSR program.

 

In today’s Research News article “The many facets of mindfulness and the prediction of change following mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5815955/), Gawrysiak and colleagues recruited participants in an 8-week, one 2.5-hour session per week of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. They were measured before and after treatments for perceived stress, positive and negative emotions, mindfulness, and decentering.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline, after the MBSR program there were large significant improvements in all measures including increases in mindfulness, positive emotions, and decentering and decreases in negative emotions, and perceived stress. They then examined the relationship of the levels of mindfulness facets at baseline and the changes in emotions and stress produced by the MBSR program. They found that in general, participants with high levels of mindfulness facets of awareness, acceptance, and decentering had significantly greater increases in positive emotions and decreases in negative emotions. On the other hand, participants with low levels of acceptance, and decentering had significantly greater decreases in stress, negative emotions.

 

These results clearly demonstrate that participating in an MBSR program produces improved mindfulness, emotional health, and stress reduction. These are in line with a number of previous findings that mindfulness training improves emotions and perceived stress levels. But, the results regarding baseline mindfulness facets on emotions and stress are complex and a bit counterintuitive. They suggest that participants who are already high in awareness, acceptance, and decentering benefited the most in regards to their emotions from the MBSR program. While, those low in acceptance, and decentering benefited the most in regards to their perceived stress levels. More research is needed to better understand these complex relationships.

 

So, improve mental well-being with mindfulness.

 

“The practice of mindfulness is an effective means of enhancing and maintaining optimal mental health and overall well-being, and can be implemented in every aspect of daily living.” – Rezvan Ameli

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Gawrysiak, M. J., Grassetti, S. N., Greeson, J. M., Shorey, R. C., Pohlig, R., & Baime, M. J. (2017). The many facets of mindfulness and the prediction of change following mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). Journal of clinical psychology, 74(4), 523–535. doi:10.1002/jclp.22521

 

Abstract

Objectives

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) promotes numerous psychological benefits, but few studies have identified for whom MBSR is most effective. The current study tested the hypothesis that lower baseline mindfulness invites more “room to grow” and, thus, predicts greater improvement during MBSR.

Design

We examined three facets of mindfulness (awareness, acceptance, decentering), among 131 MBSR participants prior to enrollment, to test the hypothesis that lower baseline mindfulness predicts greater improvements in perceived stress, positive affect (PA), and negative affect (NA) following MBSR.

Results

Lower acceptance and decentering predicted greater decreases in perceived stress. Higher awareness, acceptance, and decentering predicted greater increases in PA. Higher awareness predicted greater reductions in NA. Lower decentering predicted greater reductions in NA.

Conclusions

Findings partly supported the hypothesis that lower baseline mindfulness predicts greater improvement following MBSR and emphasize the importance of assessing multiple mindfulness facets given their unique, contrasting relations to outcomes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5815955/