Slightly Improve Substance Use Disorder with Mindfulness

Slightly Improve Substance Use Disorder with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“though it may seem paradoxical, by increasing your ability to accept and tolerate the present moment, you become more able to make needed changes in your life. . . Also, practicing balanced emotional responses can reduce your stress level, and anxiety and stress are often triggers for substance abuse and addictive behavior. In addition, when you choose a neutral rather than a judgmental response to your thoughts and feelings, you can increase your sense of self-compassion rather than beating yourself up, which is often associated with addictive behaviors.” – Adi Jaffe

 

Substance abuse is a major health and social problem. There are estimated 22.2 million people in the U.S. with substance dependence. It is estimated that worldwide there are nearly ¼ million deaths yearly as a result of illicit drug use which includes unintentional overdoses, suicides, HIV and AIDS, and trauma. In the U.S. about 17 million people abuse alcohol. Drunk driving fatalities accounted for over 10,000 deaths annually. Obviously, there is a need to find effective methods to prevent and treat substance abuse. There are a number of programs that are successful at stopping the drug abuse, including the classic 12-step program emblematic of Alcoholics Anonymous. Unfortunately, the majority of drug and/or alcohol abusers relapse and return to substance abuse. Hence, it is important to find an effective method to prevent these relapses.

 

Mindfulness practices have been shown to improve recovery from various addictions. Mindfulness-based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) has been developed to specifically assist in relapse prevention and has been shown to be effective. “MBRP integrates mindfulness practices with cognitive-behavioral Relapse Prevention therapy and aims to help participants increase awareness and acceptance of difficult thoughts, feelings, and sensations to create changes in patterns of reactive behavior that commonly lead to relapse. Mindfulness training in MBRP provides clients with a new way of processing situational cues and monitoring internal reactions to contingencies, and this awareness supports proactive behavioral choices in the face of high-risk relapse situation.” – Grow et al. 2015

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-based Relapse Prevention for Substance Use Disorders: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5636047/, Grant and colleagues review and perform a meta-analysis of the published research literature on the effectiveness of Mindfulness-based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) in treating substance use disorder. They identified 9 randomized controlled trials and examined the effects of MBRP on relapse, frequency and quantity of substance use, withdrawal/craving symptoms, treatment dropout, depressive and anxiety symptoms, negative consequences from substance use, and health-related quality of life and also its safety

 

They found that the summarized published research literature reported few and small positive effects. On most of the outcome measures there were no significant improvements produced by MBRP. Small significant improvements were found for withdrawal effects and cravings and the negative effects of substance use. They found that there were no adverse effects of MBRP. These are disappointing results that suggest that Mindfulness-based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) is safe but only slightly effective in treating substance use disorder.

 

These are surprising results as individual trials have reported significant effects. But, it appears that the different trials reported significant effects on different variables with some finding effects on a measure while others finding no effects on the same measure but reporting effects on different measures. When summarized, the reported effects appear to average away. Substance use disorder is such an important social and health issue where there are few viable treatment options, that further research on Mindfulness-based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) is warranted to investigate what components are effective and which not and how to optimize effectiveness.

 

So, slightly improve substance use disorder with mindfulness.

 

“Modeled after mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression and mindfulness-based stress reduction, MBRP tackles the very roots of addictive behavior by targeting two of the main predictors of relapse: negative emotions and cravings.” – Carolyn Gregoire

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Sean Grant, Benjamin Colaiaco, Aneesa Motala, Roberta Shanman, Marika Booth, Melony Sorbero, Susanne Hempel. Mindfulness-based Relapse Prevention for Substance Use Disorders: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. J Addict Med. 2017 Sep; 11(5): 386–396. Published online 2017 Jul 19. doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000338

 

Abstract

Objectives:

Substance use disorder (SUD) is a prevalent health issue with serious personal and societal consequences. This review aims to estimate the effects and safety of Mindfulness-based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) for SUDs.

Methods:

We searched electronic databases for randomized controlled trials evaluating MBRP for adult patients diagnosed with SUDs. Two reviewers independently assessed citations, extracted trial data, and assessed risks of bias. We conducted random-effects meta-analyses and assessed quality of the body of evidence (QoE) using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation approach.

Results:

We identified 9 randomized controlled trials comprising 901 participants. We did not detect statistically significant differences between MBRP and comparators on relapse (odds ratio [OR] 0.72, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.46–1.13, low QoE), frequency of use (standardized mean difference [SMD] 0.02, 95% CI −0.40 to 0.44, low QoE), treatment dropout (OR 0.81, 95% CI 0.40 to 1.62, very low QoE), depressive symptoms (SMD −0.09, 95% CI −0.39 to 0.21, low QoE), anxiety symptoms (SMD −0.32, 95% CI −1.16 to 0.52, very low QoE), and mindfulness (SMD −0.28, 95% CI −0.72 to 0.16, very low QoE). We identified significant differences in favor of MBRP on withdrawal/craving symptoms (SMD −0.13, 95% CI −0.19 to −0.08, I2 = 0%, low QoE) and negative consequences of substance use (SMD −0.23, 95% CI −0.39 to −0.07, I2 = 0%, low QoE). We found negligible evidence of adverse events.

Conclusions:

We have limited confidence in estimates suggesting MBRP yields small effects on withdrawal/craving and negative consequences versus comparator interventions. We did not detect differences for any other outcome. Future trials should aim to minimize participant attrition to improve confidence in effect estimates.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5636047/

Improve the Self-Concept with the Mindful Self

Improve the Self-Concept with the Mindful Self

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness is about living with intention and awareness which creates the mind body connection towards a whole self. When we feel disconnected or fragmented from ourselves, others and what was once important to us we become open to a multitude of problems in life.” – Naila Narsi

 

Most people strongly believe that they have a self, an ego. Reflecting this, our language is replete with concepts that contain self; oneself, myself, himself, herself, ourselves, self-concept, self-esteem, self-love, self-regard, selfless, selfish, selfhood, selfie, etc. But, particularly note the term self-concept. It directly states that self is a concept. It is not a thing. It is an idea.  This is important, as most of us think that there is a thing that is the self, when, in fact, there is not. A concept is a way to summarize a set of phenomena that appear to have common properties, such as fruit, or more abstractly, attention. But, note there is not a single entity that is fruit. It is a set of things that are grouped together by common biological factors. The idea of attention is not a thing. Rather it refers to a set of processes. This is also true of the concept of self.

 

The self is a concept and is created by thought. In other words, there’s a process involving thinking that creates the concept of a self. This is a verb. We are not a self, we are producing a self, we are selfing! This suggests that the self can change and grow with circumstances. One that appears to have profound effects on the idea of self is mindfulness training. In today’s Research News article “The Mindful Self: A Mindfulness-Enlightened Self-view.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01752/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_433120_69_Psycho_20171024_arts_A, Xiao and colleagues explore the literature and theorization regarding the effects of mindfulness practice on the self-view.

 

They posit that mindfulness training “is a way of looking deeply into oneself in a spirit of self-inquiry and self-understanding.” This can alter the way the individual thinks of the self, a form of re-perceiving the self. The published research indicates that mindfulness training can produce improvements in self-compassion, self-acceptance, self-perspective change, self-consciousness, self-concept, self-deconstruction and reconstruction, and self-referential processing. So, with mindfulness training the individual becomes more compassionate and accepting toward self and others and less self-focused; able to step outside and observe experience from a distance. In other words, mindfulness changes the components that make up the self-concept and in essence change the individual’s idea of their self.

 

Xiao and colleagues label this new perspective and idea of the self, created by mindfulness training, as the “Mindful Self.” This is viewed as a more authentic and true self and is similar to the highest level of psychological development, as visualized by Abraham Maslow, called self-actualization. The “Mindful Self” Is a balanced self-identity with a detached awareness, an understanding of interdependence, greater compassion and acceptance of self and others, empathy, and a desire for the cultivation of happiness; and growth, including a consideration of the development of the self and others.

 

The published literature supports the idea that mindfulness training produces a marked improvement in how the individual conceptualizes the self. It moves the concept of self toward a more authentic and integrated whole that is more connected to others and the environment. This “Mindful Self” is constructed by altering less mature ideas of the self with focused and relaxed attention on what is actually happening both inside and outside the individual. This is a great step in maturation, leading to a more accurate and integrated notion of the self. This, in turn, leads to improved interactions with others and greater overall happiness.

 

So, improve the self-concept with the “Mindful Self.”

 

“We all have a sense of self. Whether that sense of self is positive or negative is based upon our experiences in life and our perceptions and assessment of ourself. . . .However, the problem is that our perception of ourself is often distorted.” – Monica Frank

 

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

 

Xiao Q, Yue C, He W and Yu J-y (2017) The Mindful Self: A Mindfulness-Enlightened Self-view. Front. Psychol. 8:1752. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01752

 

Abstract

This paper analyzes studies of mindfulness and the self, with the aim of deepening our understanding of the potential benefits of mindfulness and meditation for mental health and well-being. Our review of empirical research reveals that positive changes in attitudes toward the self and others as a result of mindfulness-enabled practices can play an important role in modulating many mental and physical health problems. Accordingly, we introduce a new concept—the “mindful self”—and compare it with related psychological constructs to describe the positive changes in self-attitude associated with mindfulness meditation practices or interventions. The mindful self is conceptualized as a mindfulness-enlightened self-view and attitude developed by internalizing and integrating the essence of Buddhist psychology into one’s self-system. We further posit that the mindful self will be an important intermediary between mindfulness intervention and mental health problems, and an important moderator in promoting well-being. More generally, we suggest that the mindful self may also be an applicable concept with which to describe and predict the higher level of self-development of those who grow up in the culture of Buddhism or regularly engage in meditation over a long period of time.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01752/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_433120_69_Psycho_20171024_arts_A

Reduce Drug Addiction and Prison Recidivism with Mindfulness

Reduce Drug Addiction and Prison Recidivism with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Being in prison presents tremendous obstacles to cultivating a peaceful mind, the environment is conducive to negativity and can result in further harm. On every level, the basic antidote to inner and outer obstacles is mindfulness practice.” – Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche,

 

Around 2 ¼ million people are incarcerated in the United States. Many are serving time for drug related offenses. Even though prisons are euphemistically labelled correctional facilities very little correction actually occurs. This is supported by the rates of recidivism. About three quarters of prisoners who are released commit crimes and are sent back to prison within 5-years. The lack of actual treatment for the prisoners leaves them ill equipped to engage positively in society either inside or outside of prison. Hence, there is a need for effective treatment programs that help the prisoners while in prison and prepares them for life outside the prison.

 

Prison provides a great deal of time for reflection and self-exploration. This provides an opportunity for growth and development. Contemplative practices are well suited to this environment. Meditation teaches skills that may be very important for prisoners. In particular, it puts the practitioner in touch with their own bodies and feelings. It improves present moment awareness and helps to overcome rumination about the past and negative thinking about the future. It’s been shown to be useful in the treatment of the effects of trauma and attention deficit disorder. It also relieves stress and improves overall health and well-being. Finally, meditation has been shown to be effective in treating depressionanxiety, and anger. It has also been shown to help overcome trauma in male prisoners.

 

In addition, mindfulness can help to treat drug addictions that often underlie incarceration and promote recidivism after release. There are a number of programs that are successful at stopping the drug abuse, including the classic 12-step program emblematic of Narcotics Anonymous. Unfortunately, the majority of drug and/or alcohol abusers relapse and return to substance abuse. Hence, it is important to find an effective method to not only produce abstinence but also prevent relapses. Mindfulness training has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment for reducing addiction relapse. So, mindfulness training can be helpful in preventing recidivism.

 

In today’s Research News article “Prison Meditation Movements and Mass Incarceration.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4633398/, Lyons and Cantrell review the published research literature on the effectiveness of mindfulness trainings on reducing drug addiction and prisoner recidivism. They report that the research supports the effectiveness of mindfulness in combating drug addiction and its effects may last longer than other forms of addiction therapy even in prison populations. Importantly, improvements have been shown to be maintained after release from prison. Additionally, meditation programs in prison have been shown to produce significant reductions in prisoner hostility and increases in self-esteem and mood.

 

Hence, meditation training can be effective in the treatment of addictions and the psychological issues of prisoners and can have effects that continue post-release. Lyons and Cantrell postulate that the presence of a meditation group (Sangha) in prison creates a social context that is very important for success. They also suggest that linking the prisoners to meditation groups outside of prison can be helpful in maintaining benefits after release. They also suggest that focusing on experiences in meditation and empowering prisoners to lead their own groups may be help to potentiate effectiveness. So, meditation training in prison appears to be a promising practice to assist prisoners in coping with addiction and improving their psychological state while in prison and continuing after release. This is likely to help prisoners adjust to the outside world and reduce the likelihood that they will be arrested again and returned to prison.

 

So, reduce drug addiction and prison recidivism with mindfulness.

 

How do we bring sanity into one of the most hostile environments of our society ­- our prisons? . . . Mindfulness creates mental discipline and stability. This provides the inmates with the tools they need to cultivate a sense of ease, decency and compassion. Isn’t that the point of rehabilitation?” – Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

 

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

 

Lyons, T., & Cantrell, W. D. (2016). Prison Meditation Movements and Mass Incarceration. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 60(12), 1363–1375. http://doi.org/10.1177/0306624X15583807

 

Abstract

By some estimates more than half of inmates held in jails and prisons in the United States have a substance use disorder. Treatments involving the teaching of meditation and other contemplative practices have been developed for a variety of physical and mental disorders including drug and alcohol addiction. At the same time, an expanding volunteer movement across the country has been bringing meditation and yoga into jails and prisons. This review first examines the experimental research on one such approach – mindfulness meditation as a treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, as well as the research on mindfulness in incarcerated settings. We argue that in order to make a substantial impact on recidivism, such programs must mirror volunteer programs which emphasize interdependency and non-duality between the “helper” and the “helped,” and the building of meditation communities both inside and outside of prison.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4633398/

Decrease Sadness with Mindfulness

Decrease Sadness with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Meditation can be helpful. . . We are like a plant in winter: cold, dark, dormant. If we can accept this feeling as a natural part of having a human heart—that it breaks sometimes—we can give it the attention and love it needs. It may be painful, but being with the sadness without trying to do much with it is the best way to let the winter pass of its own accord.” – Mindful

 

Sadness is labelled as a negative emotion. It is, however, a natural and normal reaction to loss, or lack, or loneliness. But, if sadness if overly intense or prolonged, it can turn into an intense misery, e.g. grief. Sadness is sometimes confused with depression. But they are quite different states. Sadness occurs normally in response to a situation, while depression occurs without an external referent. The mindfulness approach to emotion is to simply observe it, not deny or suppress it, but let it arise and then watch it dissipate. How the individual reacts to n emotion can results in an amplification of the magnitude of the emotion. Acceptance of the emotion then can eliminate the magnification of the emotion. This mindfulness approach has been shown to improve the ability to regulate most emotions. So, it would seem reasonable to hypothesize that mindfulness training would be able to reduce sadness.

 

There are other strategies to control emotions including suppression and reappraisal. Suppression is an active attempt to inhibit both the physical and psychological aspects of an emotion. On the other hand, reappraisal is an active process of reinterpreting the cause of the emotion and thereby reduce its impact. It is not known which of these three strategies would be most effective in dealing with sadness.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of mindfulness, reappraisal, and suppression on sad mood and cognitive resources.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5509409/, Keng and colleagues recruited college students and randomly assigned them to receive instructions for dealing with emotions with mindfulness, suppression, or reappraisal. They listened to a pre-recorded (10 minute) audio instruction. The instructions for the mindfulness condition, emphasized registering thoughts and emotions as they are without judging them. Instructions for the reappraisal condition were to reframe the meaning of an emotional event to reduce its emotional impact. Instructions for the suppression condition emphasized suppressing both the experience and expression of emotions.

 

A sad mood was induced by asking the participants to recall and spend 10 minutes writing about sad events in their lives while listening to sad music. The participants were then asked to use their assigned strategy, mindfulness, suppression, or reappraisal to deal with the sad emotion. They rated their sadness every minute during the application of the strategy. Before and after inducing the sad mood, the participants were measured for sadness, and attentional ability (Stroop task). Only participants who had a significant increase in sadness resulting from the induction were included in the final sample.

 

They found that over time sadness declined, but it declined faster with the mindfulness strategy than with either the suppression or reappraisal strategies. In addition, mindfulness resulted in better attention performance. So, although this was a somewhat artificial laboratory experiment, the results suggested that mindfulness was a superior strategy for dealing with sadness and maintaining attentional ability than either suppression or reappraisal.  So, experiencing emotions as they are without judgement appears to be better at reducing the strength of the emotion than trying to eliminate or reinterpret it.

 

So, decrease sadness with mindfulness.

 

“Despair is what happens when you fight sadness. Compassion is what happens when you don’t.” – Susan Piver

 

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

 

Keng, S.-L., Tan, E. L. Y., Eisenlohr-Moul, T. A., & Smoski, M. J. (2017). Effects of mindfulness, reappraisal, and suppression on sad mood and cognitive resources. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 91, 33–42. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2017.01.006

 

Abstract

The present study investigated the relative effects of mindfulness, reappraisal and suppression in reducing sadness, and the extent to which implementation of these strategies affects cognitive resources in a laboratory context. A total of 171 Singaporean undergraduate participants were randomly assigned to receive brief training in mindfulness, reappraisal, or suppression prior to undergoing a sad mood induction. Individual adherence to Asian cultural values was assessed as a potential moderator of strategy effectiveness. Participants rated their mood and completed a Color-Word Stroop task before and after mood regulation instructions. Analyses using multi-level modelling showed that the suppression condition caused less robust declines in sadness over time compared to mindfulness. There was also a nonsignificant trend in which mindfulness was associated with greater sadness recovery compared to reappraisal. Suppression resulted in lower average sadness compared to mindfulness among those high on Asian cultural values, but not those low on Asian cultural values. Both mindfulness and reappraisal buffered against increases in Stroop interference from pre-to post-regulation compared to suppression. The findings highlight the advantage of mindfulness as a strategy effective not only in the regulation of sad mood, but also in the preservation of cognitive resources in the context of mood regulation.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5509409/

Improve Dementia Patient Caregiver Mental Health and Reduce Stress with Mindfulness

Improve Dementia Patient Caregiver Mental Health and Reduce Stress with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“To my mother, I owe the experience of being with her since the beginning of her dementia, and the ability to notice what a difference mindfulness practice made in our relationship. From feeling only grief, to a growing acceptance of her in the moment, even appreciating new aspects of her personality that became freed as a result of her condition.” – Marguerite Manteau-Rao

 

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

 

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

 

The feelings of hopelessness can be overwhelming regarding the future of a patient with an irreversible terminal degenerative illness. In addition, caregivers often experience an anticipatory grief associated with a feeling of impending loss of their loved one. If this isn’t bad enough, a little appreciated consequence is that few insurance programs cover dementia care outside of the hospital. So, medical expenses can produce extra financial strain on top of the loss of income for the caregiver. It is sad that 72% of caregivers report relief when their loved one passes away.

 

Obviously, there is a need to care for the caregivers of dementia patients. They play an essential and often irreplaceable role. So, finding ways to ease the burden is extremely important. Mindfulness practice for caregivers has been shown to help them cope with the physical and psychological demands of caregiving. In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness training for psychological stress in family caregivers of persons with dementia: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5626236/, Liu and colleagues review and summarize the published Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) on the effectiveness of mindfulness training on the psychological state of caregivers for dementia patients.

 

They identified 7 published Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs). The studies employed a variety of different mindfulness training techniques; including Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and meditation practice. They report that the published studies find that mindfulness training produces a significant decrease in depression and perceived stress, a trend toward decreased anxiety, and significant improvement in mental health quality of life. The importance of these findings is underscored by the fact that these were all well controlled scientific studies of high quality. Hence, mindfulness training appears to be of significant help to caregivers of dementia patients improving their mental health and quality of life.

 

It has been demonstrated that mindfulness training improves anxiety, depression, and quality of life, and reduces stress in a wide variety of populations. So, it is not surprising that it has similar effectiveness for these caregivers. The magnitude of the burden on these caregivers, however, is such that the improvements produced by mindfulness training are a blessing. Hence, mindfulness training should be incorporated into routing support and treatment programs for caregivers of dementia patients.

 

So, improve dementia patient caregiver mental health and reduce stress with mindfulness.

 

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

 

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

 

Liu, Z., Chen, Q., & Sun, Y. (2017). Mindfulness training for psychological stress in family caregivers of persons with dementia: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clinical Interventions in Aging, 12, 1521–1529. http://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S146213

 

Abstract

Caring for a relative with dementia is extremely challenging; conventional interventions may not be highly effective or easily available on some occasions. This study aimed to explore the efficacy of mindfulness training in improving stress-related outcomes in family caregivers of people with dementia using a meta-analytic review. We searched randomized controlled trials (RCT) through April 2017 from five electronic databases, and assessed the risk of bias using the Cochrane Collaboration tool. Seven RCTs were included in our review. Mindfulness interventions showed significant effects of improvement in depression (standardized mean difference: −0.58, [95% CI: −0.79 to −0.37]), perceived stress (−0.33, [−0.57 to −0.10]), and mental health-related quality of life (0.38 [0.14 to 0.63]) at 8 weeks post-treatment. Pooled evidence did not show a significant advantage of mindfulness training compared with control conditions in the alleviation of caregiver burden or anxiety. Future large-scale and rigorously designed trials are needed to confirm our findings. Clinicians may consider the mindfulness program as a promising alternative to conventional interventions.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5626236/

Improve Parent and Infant Mental Health with Mindfulness

Improve Parent and Infant Mental Health with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindful parenting is not about being the perfect parent. It’s about being more aware, present in the moment and open-hearted. That makes a huge difference to our children and how we respond to them.” – Myla Kabat-Zinn

 

Raising children, parenting, is very rewarding. But, it can also be challenging. Children test parents frequently. They test the boundaries of their freedom and the depth of parental love. They demand attention and seem to especially when parental attention is needed elsewhere. They don’t always conform to parental dictates or aspirations for their behavior. They are often affected more by peers, for good or evil, than by parents. It is the parents challenge to control themselves, not overreact, and act appropriately in the face of strong emotions.

 

The initial challenges of parenting begin immediately after birth. Parenting an infant requires that the parent be able to deal with stress, to regulate their own emotions, and to be sensitive and attentive to their baby. These skills are exactly those that are developed in mindfulness training. It improves the psychological and physiological responses to stress. It improves emotion regulation. And it improves the ability to maintain attention and focus in the face of high levels of distraction. Mindful parenting involves having emotional awareness not only of themselves but also having emotional awareness of and compassion for the baby. It also involves having the skills to pay full attention to the baby in the present moment, to accept parenting non-judgmentally and be emotionally non-reactive to the baby.

 

Hence, it makes sense to learn mindful parenting early in the life of the infant. In today’s Research News article “Mindful with Your Baby: Feasibility, Acceptability, and Effects of a Mindful Parenting Group Training for Mothers and Their Babies in a Mental Health Context.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5605590/, Potharst and colleagues examine the effectiveness of mindful parenting training with the infant and mother on psychological states of mother and infant.

 

They recruited mothers of newborns who evidenced high stress levels, mental health problems, infant regulation problems, or mother-infant interaction problems. They provided an 8-week “Mindful with Your Baby” program that was based upon Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).  It occurred in once weekly 2-hour session with both mother and infant present and included home meditation practice and a follow-up session 8 weeks after the conclusion of training. The mothers were measured before and after training and 8 weeks and 1 year later for mindfulness, mindful parenting skills, self-compassion, well-being, psychopathology, parenting stress and confidence, warmth and negativity toward the baby, and infant temperament.

 

The program was acceptable with high attendance rates and only 7% of the participants dropped out. Importantly, they found that compared to baseline the “Mindful with Your Baby” program produced significant increases in mindfulness, mindful parenting skills, and self-compassion that were maintained a year later. There were also improvements in well-being, psychopathology, parenting stress and confidence, warmth and negativity toward the baby, and infant temperament that were weak after training but grew stronger over the one-year period.

 

These are exciting findings but must be tempered with the understanding that there was no control comparison condition and this opens the way for a myriad of alternative, confounding, explanations for the results. A Randomized Controlled Clinical (RCT) is need to confirm the conclusion that the mindfulness training was responsible for the effects. In addition, these mothers were mentally troubled to begin with and may be particularly benefited by mindfulness training. The program need to be tested also with otherwise normal new mothers. Nevertheless, the results suggest that a program of mindfulness training for mothers and their infants may be very effective in improving parenting and improving the psychological conditions of bot the mother and the infant.

 

So, improve parent and infant mental health with mindfulness.

 

“Being mindful while holding a baby can be an incredibly gratifying, renewing and sometimes challenging mindfulness practice. Babies cycle through various states of being throughout their days and nights. How you are in relationship to a baby in these various states is truly a practice in everyday life. It can be helpful to remember that whatever state of being that your baby is in at any particular moment, it is not a permanent condition. Nothing is.” — Nancy Bardacke

 

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

 

Potharst, E. S., Aktar, E., Rexwinkel, M., Rigterink, M., & Bögels, S. M. (2017). Mindful with Your Baby: Feasibility, Acceptability, and Effects of a Mindful Parenting Group Training for Mothers and Their Babies in a Mental Health Context. Mindfulness, 8(5), 1236–1250. http://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-017-0699-9

 

Abstract

Many mothers experience difficulties after the birth of a baby. Mindful parenting may have benefits for mothers and babies, because it can help mothers regulate stress, and be more attentive towards themselves and their babies, which may have positive effects on their responsivity. This study examined the effectiveness of Mindful with your baby, an 8-week mindful parenting group training for mothers with their babies. The presence of the babies provides on-the-spot practicing opportunities and facilitates generalization of what is learned. Forty-four mothers with their babies (0–18 months), who were referred to a mental health clinic because of elevated stress or mental health problems of the mother, infant (regulation) problems, or mother-infant interaction problems, participated in 10 groups, each comprising of three to six mother-baby dyads. Questionnaires were administered at pretest, posttest, 8-week follow-up, and 1-year follow-up. Dropout rate was 7%. At posttest, 8-week follow-up, and 1-year follow-up, a significant improvement was seen in mindfulness, self-compassion, mindful parenting, (medium to large effects), as well as in well-being, psychopathology, parental confidence, responsivity, and hostility (small to large effects). Parental stress and parental affection only improved at the first and second follow-ups, respectively (small to medium effects), and maternal attention and rejection did not change. The infants improved in their positive affectivity (medium effect) but not in other aspects of their temperament. Mindful with your baby is a promising intervention for mothers with babies who are referred to mental health care because of elevated stress or mental health problems, infant (regulation) problems, or mother-infant interaction problems.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5605590/

Work Better with Mindfulness

Work Better with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness—the objective observation of whatever is occurring—is a core capability at the foundation of a successful, fulfilling career, and of optimal performance in anything that we do. When you apply mindfulness to work, you give those efforts meaning and become more engaged, more attuned.” –  George Pitagorsky

 

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 work environment. But, more than half of employees in the U.S. and nearly 2/3 worldwide are unhappy at work. This is partially due to work-related stress which is epidemic in the western workplace. Almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. This stress can result in impaired health and can result in burnout; producing fatigue, cynicism, and professional inefficacy.

 

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

 

In today’s Research News article “Being While Doing: An Inductive Model of Mindfulness at Work.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5318448/, Lyddy and Good hypothesize that much of work behavior is simply “Doing,” often mindlessly, while mindfulness training produces a state they label “Being while Doing.” Further they hypothesized that “Being while Doing” Would produce better performance and more positive feelings about work than just “Doing.” They conducted structured interviews of working professionals who also engaged in mindfulness practice. The interviews explored “how individuals experienced their own workplace functioning while mindful and not mindful.”

 

They analyzed the transcripts of the interviews and described that individuals can be mindful at work, yet remaining mindful in the work environment can be very difficult. They describe two major patterns that the workers’ reports indicated, entanglement and disentanglement. Entanglement involves mindless “Doing” without “Being” while disentanglement involves “Being” while “Doing.”

 

The participants reported that entanglement resulted in poorer work performance which they felt poorly and regretful about. E.g.

Usually my non-mindfulness is … taking the action that I shouldn’t have taken, rather than not having taken an action that I should have taken. … The boss said something about something he wanted differently. And he said ‘I’m not trying to get on your case or anything.’ And I said ‘yes you were!’ I should not have said that! … He was right … It was not real cool. … These words just flew out of my mouth that I shouldn’t have spoken.”

On the other hand, they reported that entanglement resulted in better work performance and a state of good feeling satisfaction. E.g.

Meeting with [a client], … I’m criticizing myself, … ‘you’re not being helpful with this client.’ … I was aware, … I recognized that. … It helped me then to be confident. … I proposed a concrete intervention that I think she felt was helpful, whereas before I had been … timid and passive. … Being aware that I was feeling this insecurity … helped me to take the risk. … [Mindfulness supported this by] … being aware of [my insecurity] in the moment.”

 

These results suggest that, although difficult, “Being while Doing” at work is possible and enhances job performance by making the individual more aware of their own state and reactions, allowing for course corrections. It is difficult to remain in this state as the work environment presents a myriad of distractions promoting mindless “Doing.” The participants reported that more meditation practice was one way to promote being able to stay in or transition to “Being while Doing.”

 

So, work better with mindfulness.

 

“Mindfulness is, above all, about being aware and awake rather than operating unconsciously. When you’re consciously present at work, you’re aware of two aspects of your moment-to-moment experience—what’s going on around you and what’s going on within you. To be mindful at work means to be consciously present in what you’re doing, while you’re doing it, as well as managing your mental and emotional state.” – Shamash Alidina

 

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

 

Lyddy, C. J., & Good, D. J. (2016). Being While Doing: An Inductive Model of Mindfulness at Work. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 2060. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.02060

 

Abstract

Mindfulness at work has drawn growing interest as empirical evidence increasingly supports its positive workplace impacts. Yet theory also suggests that mindfulness is a cognitive mode of “Being” that may be incompatible with the cognitive mode of “Doing” that undergirds workplace functioning. Therefore, mindfulness at work has been theorized as “being while doing,” but little is known regarding how people experience these two modes in combination, nor the influences or outcomes of this interaction. Drawing on a sample of 39 semi-structured interviews, this study explores how professionals experience being mindful at work. The relationship between Being and Doing modes demonstrated changing compatibility across individuals and experience, with two basic types of experiences and three types of transitions. We labeled experiences when informants were unable to activate Being mode while engaging Doing mode as Entanglement, and those when informants reported simultaneous co-activation of Being and Doing modes as Disentanglement. This combination was a valuable resource for offsetting important limitations of the typical reliance on the Doing cognitive mode. Overall our results have yielded an inductive model of mindfulness at work, with the core experience, outcomes, and antecedent factors unified into one system that may inform future research and practice.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5318448/

Improve Emotion Regulation, and in Turn, Anxiety, and Depression with Mindfulness

Improve Emotion Regulation, and in Turn, Anxiety, and Depression with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“With mindfulness meditation training or practice (even a little practice has been shown to make a difference), we become more able to allow disturbing emotions and thoughts to pass through awareness. We develop the ability to NOT act or react to every emotion or thought we have.” – Timothy Psychyl

 

Mindfulness practice has been shown to produce improved emotion regulation. Practitioners demonstrate the ability to fully sense and experience emotions, but respond to them in more appropriate and adaptive ways. In other words, mindful people are better able to experience yet control emotions. This is a very important consequence of mindfulness. Humans are very emotional creatures and these emotions can be very pleasant, providing the spice of life. But, when they get extreme they can produce misery and even mental illness. The ability of mindfulness training to improve emotion regulation is thought to be the basis for a wide variety of benefits that mindfulness provides to mental health and the treatment of mental illness especially depression and anxiety disorders.

 

In today’s Research News article “Emotion Regulation Mediates the Associations of Mindfulness on Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety in the General Population.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5605587/, Freudenthaler and colleagues examine whether mindfulness practice improves mental health by improving emotion regulation. They recruited a large sample of relatively normal adults from the German population and measured them for mindfulness, emotion regulation, and psychological symptoms, particularly anxiety and depression.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the levels of anxiety, depression, and difficulties with emotion regulation and the greater the difficulties with emotion regulation the higher the levels of anxiety and depression. So, mindfulness was associated with better mental health and emotion regulation while difficulties in regulating emotions was associated with poorer mental health.

 

They also conducted a mediation analysis to determine whether the association of mindfulness with anxiety and depression was mediated by emotion regulation. They found that mindfulness was primarily associated with mental health by being associated with reduced difficulties with emotion regulation. But, there were still small but significant direct effects of mindfulness on reducing anxiety and depression. So, it appears that mindfulness is associated with reduced anxiety and depression primarily by improving emotion regulation. The small remaining direct effect of mindfulness suggests that other intermediaries may also be present.

 

These results are a strong confirmation that mindfulness markedly improves the individual’s ability to experience emotions, but respond to them in more appropriate and adaptive ways. This allows them to feel anxiety and depression but cope with it effectively. Anxiety and Depression are self-reinforcing. That is, the presence of anxiety tends to produce greater anxiety and the same is true for depression. So, by being able to respond adaptively to the feelings of anxiety and depression, the individual prevents the escalation of the emotions. Hence, mindfulness reduces anxiety and depression.

 

It should be kept in mind that the participants were normally functioning individuals and not people with serious mental health problems. It remains to be seen if these relationships will still be present in clinical populations. Regardless, the ability of mindfulness to improve the mental health of normal individuals is important for allowing the individual to thrive and be happy in their lives. This suggests that promoting mindfulness will have positive mental health benefits for entire populations of humans.

 

So, improve emotion regulation, and in turn, anxiety, and depression with mindfulness.

 

“Individuals who are naturally mindful can effectively regulate their emotions even without meditation, but for those who are not naturally mindful, simply forcing oneself to be mindful “in the moment” is not enough — it is necessary to engage in mindfulness meditation in order to effectively regulate your emotions.” – Crystal Goh

 

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

 

Freudenthaler, L., Turba, J. D., & Tran, U. S. (2017). Emotion Regulation Mediates the Associations of Mindfulness on Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety in the General Population. Mindfulness, 8(5), 1339–1344. http://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-017-0709-y

 

Abstract

In the last decade, clinical research on mindfulness and its positive effects on depression and anxiety have gained increased interest. Emotion regulation mediates the effects of mindfulness on mental health in clinical samples and among meditators. The present study examined whether these associations also generalize to the general population. Multi-group structural equation models tested with a sample of 853 adults whether difficulties in emotion regulation mediated the associations between overall mindfulness in addition to the Observe facet with symptoms of depression and anxiety and whether associations were similar among men and women. Emotion regulation partially mediated the associations of overall mindfulness with symptoms of depression and anxiety; associations with Observe were fully mediated. The magnitude of associations was similar among men and women. Mindfulness exerts positive effects on mental health among the general population mostly via improving emotion regulation. The training of mindfulness and emotion regulation may thus benefit mental health not only in clinical populations but also in the general population. Venues for further research are discussed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5605587/

Improve Teachers’ Coping with Stress and Emotion Regulation with Mindfulness

Improve Teachers’ Coping with Stress and Emotion Regulation with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“For me, it’s important to be very familiar with the subject matter before I teach it. . . It’s the same with meditation. Before I began consciously bringing mindfulness into the classroom, I needed to feel like I knew what I was doing and had benefited from it.” – Elizabeth McAvoy

 

Teaching is a stressful profession causing many to burn out and leave the profession. A recent survey found that roughly half a million U.S. teachers move or leave the profession each year. That’s a turnover rate of about 20 percent compared to 9 percent in 2009. Indeed, anywhere from 40 and 50 percent of teachers will leave the classroom within their first five years, with over nine percent leaving before the end of their first year.

 

The high stress of the occupation shows up in higher rates of anxiety disorders, but particularly in physical ailments, with higher rates of laryngitis, conjunctivitis, lower urinary tract infections, bronchitis, eczema/dermatitis and varicose veins in female teachers. There is a pressing need to retain good teachers. So, it has become very important to identify means to help relieve the stress and lower burnout rates.

 

Mindfulness has been shown repeatedly to decrease physiological and psychological responses to stress. Mindfulness has also been shown to help improve performance and relieve stress in students. In addition, mindfulness has been shown to decrease burnout in a variety of professions. So, it would seem reasonable to suspect that mindfulness training would help teachers to reduce stress, the consequent physical symptoms, and burnout.

 

In today’s Research News article “Teaching Mindfulness to Teachers: a Systematic Review and Narrative Synthesis.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5605579/, Emerson and colleagues review the published research literature on the effects of mindfulness training on teachers of students from 5 to 18 years of age. They identified 12 published research studies employing Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and variations on these programs.

 

They found that the research strongly suggests that mindfulness training significantly improves the ability of the teachers to cope with and regulate their emotions and suggests that it also significantly reduces the teachers’ physical and psychological responses to stress. Less clear cut was mindfulness effectiveness for reducing anxiety and depression and increasing self-efficacy, compassion, and self-compassion.

 

These are interesting and important findings that suggest that mindfulness training equips teachers to withstand the stresses of their profession and help them to keep control of their emotions. These may go a long way to preventing professional burnout. In addition, by reducing stress and improving emotion regulation mindfulness training should allow them to be better teachers. It is clear, however, that further research is needed to clarify any other benefits of mindfulness training.

 

So, improve teachers’ coping with stress and emotion regulation with mindfulness.

 

“Teachers who received mindfulness training “showed reduced psychological distress and time urgency . . . And then improvements in mindfulness and emotion regulation. Translation: These teachers were better able to cope with classroom challenges and manage their feelings, which made it easier for them to manage their students’ big feelings. And that helps students learn.” – Patricia Jennings,

 

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

 

Emerson, L.-M., Leyland, A., Hudson, K., Rowse, G., Hanley, P., & Hugh-Jones, S. (2017). Teaching Mindfulness to Teachers: a Systematic Review and Narrative Synthesis. Mindfulness, 8(5), 1136–1149. http://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-017-0691-4

 

Abstract

School teachers report high levels of stress which impact on their engagement with pupils and effectiveness as a teacher. Early intervention or prevention approaches may support teachers to develop positive coping and reduce the experience and impact of stress. This article reviews research on one such approach: mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) for school teachers. A systematic review and narrative synthesis were conducted for quantitative and qualitative studies that report the effects of MBIs for teachers of children aged 5–18 years on symptoms of stress and emotion regulation and self-efficacy. Twelve independent publications were identified meeting the inclusion criteria and these gave a total of 13 samples. Quality appraisal of the identified articles was carried out. The effect sizes and proportion of significant findings are reported for relevant outcomes. The quality of the literature varied, with main strengths in reporting study details, and weaknesses including sample size considerations. A range of MBIs were employed across the literature, ranging in contact hours and aims. MBIs showed strongest promise for intermediary effects on teacher emotion regulation. The results of the review are discussed in the context of a model of teacher stress. Teacher social and emotional competence has implications for pupil wellbeing through teacher–pupil relationships and effective management of the classroom. The implications for practice and research are considered.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5605579/

Decrease Stress and Improve Academic Performance with Mindfulness

Decrease Stress and Improve Academic Performance with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Those higher in mindfulness experienced less anxiety associated with high-pressure math tests, and this in turn was linked with improved performance.” – Matthew Brensilver

 

In the modern world education is a key for success. Where a high school education was sufficient in previous generations, a college degree is now required to succeed in the new knowledge based economies. There is a lot of pressure on students to excel so that they can be admitted to the best universities and there is a lot of pressure on university students to excel so that they can get the best jobs after graduation. As a result, parents and students are constantly looking for ways to improve student performance in school.

 

The primary tactic has been to pressure the student and clear away routine tasks and chores so that the student can focus on their studies. But, this might in fact be counterproductive as the increased pressure can actually lead to stress and anxiety which can impede performance. A better tactic may be the development of mindfulness skills with contemplative practices. These practices and high levels of mindfulness have been shown to be helpful in coping with the school environment and for the performance of both students and teachers. So, perhaps, mindfulness training may provide the needed edge in college academic performance.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Randomized Controlled Pilot Intervention Study of a Mindfulness-Based Self-Leadership Training (MBSLT) on Stress and Performance.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5605596/, Sampl and colleagues recruited college students and randomly assigned them to either receive a 10-week Mindfulness-Based Self-Leadership Training (MBSLT) program or a wait-list control condition.  MBSLT was administered once a week for 2 hours. In addition to mindfulness training MBSLT trained students in self-goal setting, self-reward, self-observation, self-cueing and reminding, visualizing successful performances, self-talk, and evaluating beliefs and assumption. The participants were also given exercises to be practiced at home. All participants were measured before and after training for mindfulness, self-leadership, perceived stress, test anxiety, self-efficacy, semester grades, and Grade Point Average (GPA).

 

They found that at the conclusion of training the Mindfulness-Based Self-Leadership Training (MBSLT) group had significantly greater mindfulness, self-efficacy, and self-leadership and significantly lower levels of perceived stress and test anxiety. Importantly, the MBSLT group had significantly 24% higher grades at the end of the semester than the control group. Hence, mindfulness training improved the student’s mental health and academic performance.

These results are interesting and important and replicate prior research findings that mindfulness reduces stress and anxiety, including test anxiety and improves self-efficacy and academic performance. The present study supplemented mindfulness training with self-leadership training. Since there was not a mindfulness only or a self-leadership training only condition, it cannot be determined whether each component alone or in combination produced the benefits. In addition, they did not perform a mediation analysis to determine if the improvements in the students’ psychological condition was responsible for the improved academic performance.

 

Regardless, it is clear that the Mindfulness-Based Self-Leadership Training (MBSLT) training produced significant improvements in the students’ mental condition and academic performance. The magnitude of the increase in grades was striking and suggests that the mindfulness training may be important for college students to allow them to improve their psychological outlook and in turn reach their full academic potential.

 

So, decrease stress and improve academic performance with mindfulness.

 

“cultivating mindfulness is an effective and efficient technique for improving cognitive function, with widereaching consequences.” – Michael Mrazek

 

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

 

Sampl, J., Maran, T., & Furtner, M. R. (2017). A Randomized Controlled Pilot Intervention Study of a Mindfulness-Based Self-Leadership Training (MBSLT) on Stress and Performance. Mindfulness, 8(5), 1393–1407. http://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-017-0715-0

 

Abstract

The present randomized pilot intervention study examines the effects of a mindfulness-based self-leadership training (MBSLT) specifically developed for academic achievement situations. Both mindfulness and self-leadership have a strong self-regulatory focus and are helpful in terms of stress resilience and performance enhancements. Based on several theoretical points of contact and a specific interplay between mindfulness and self-leadership, the authors developed an innovative intervention program that improves mood as well as performance in a real academic setting. The intervention was conducted as a randomized controlled study over 10 weeks. The purpose was to analyze the effects on perceived stress, test anxiety, academic self-efficacy, and the performance of students by comparing an intervention and control group (n = 109). Findings demonstrated significant effects on mindfulness, self-leadership, academic self-efficacy, and academic performance improvements in the intervention group. Results showed that the intervention group reached significantly better grade point averages than the control group. Moreover, the MBSLT over time led to a reduction of test anxiety in the intervention group compared to the control group. Furthermore, while participants of the control group showed an increase in stress over time, participants of the intervention group maintained constant stress levels over time. The combination of mindfulness and self-leadership addressed both positive effects on moods and on objective academic performance. The effects demonstrate the great potential of combining mindfulness with self-leadership to develop a healthy self-regulatory way of attaining achievement-related goals and succeeding in high-stress academic environments.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5605596/