Reduce Anxiety and Depression in Patients with Mental and Physical Illness with Mindfulness

Reduce Anxiety and Depression in Patients with Mental and Physical Illness with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“When you become aware of the present moment, you gain access to resources you may not have had before. You may not be able to change a situation, but you can mindfully change your response to it. You can choose a more constructive and productive way of dealing with stress rather than a counterproductive or even destructive way of dealing with it.” – Mindful

 

There are vast numbers of people worldwide who suffer with mental or physical illnesses. These illnesses often include or are accompanied by anxiety and depression which exacerbate the suffering. Mindfulness practices have been found to be helpful with coping with these illnesses and in many cases reducing the symptoms of the diseases. In addition, mindfulness practices have been found to relieve anxiety and depression. The mindfulness practices include mindfulness training, meditation, body scan, yoga, and a variety of mindful movement practices such as Tai Chi, Qigong, and Baduanjin. Baduanjin is a mind-body training that is very similar to Tai Chi and consists of 8 movements for limbs, body-trunk, and eye movements.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Baduanjin Exercise for Depression and Anxiety in People with Physical or Mental Illnesses: 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/PMC5858390/ ), Zou and colleagues review, summarize and perform a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of Baduanjin practice for the relief of the anxiety and depression that often accompany mental and physical illnesses. They discovered 26 published randomized controlled studies.

 

They found that the published studies showed large significant improvements in both anxiety and depression produced by Baduanjin practice; the amount of practice appeared to matter. The greater the number of hours of practice the lower the levels of anxiety and the greater the number of Baduanjin practice sessions the lower the levels of depression. Hence Baduanjin practice appears to significantly improve the psychological health of patients with mental and/or physical ailments in a dose response manner.

 

Baduanjin practice, like all mindful movement practices, is gentle and safe, having no appreciable side effects, it is appropriate for all ages including the elderly and for individuals with illnesses that limit their activities or range of motion, is inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility or even public park, and can be quickly learned. In addition, it can be practiced in social groups without professional supervision. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice. So, Baduanjin practice would appear to be an almost ideal, safe and effective treatment for the anxiety and depression that often accompany other mental and physical illness.

 

So, reduce anxiety and depression in patients with mental and physical illness with mindfulness.

 

“Mindfulness keeps us focused on the present, and helps us meet challenges head on while we appreciate all our senses absorb. On the contrary, focus on the future contributes to anxiety, while perseveration on the past feeds depression. Far too often when we look to the future, we ask ourselves, “What if,” and the answer we give ourselves is often a prediction of a negative result.” – Vincent Fitzgerald

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Zou, L., Yeung, A., Quan, X., Hui, S. S.-C., Hu, X., Chan, J. S. M., … Wang, H. (2018). Mindfulness-Based Baduanjin Exercise for Depression and Anxiety in People with Physical or Mental Illnesses: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(2), 321. http://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15020321

 

Abstract

Objectives: we used a quantitative method to systematically synthesize the emerging literature and critically evaluate the effects of Baduanjin on depression and anxiety in people with physical or mental illnesses. Additionally, we determined if the number of total Baduanjin training sessions is associated with decreased anxiety and depression levels. Methods: both English and Chinese databases were searched for potential studies published between January 1982 and October 2017. The eligible randomized controlled trials were considered for meta-analysis. Effect size (Hedge’s g) was computed for the pooled effects while the random-effect model was set. For moderator analysis; Subgroup meta-analysis for categorical variables and meta-regression for continuous variables were performed. Results: the aggregated result has shown a significant benefit in favour of Baduanjin on anxiety (Hedge’s g = −0.99; CI −1.63 to −0.74) and depression (Hedge’s g = −1.07; CI −1.3 to −0.83). For continuous potential moderators; meta-regression indicated a significant effect for total hours in Baduanjin practice (β = −0.0053; 95% CI −0.009 to −0.0014; p = 0.008). With regard to depression; meta-regression indicated a significant effect for total sessions of Baduanjin practice (β = −0.0023; 95% CI −0.006 to −0.0004; p = 0.028). Conclusions: the encouraging findings indicate the efficacy of Baduanjin exercise in reducing depression and anxiety symptoms in people with physical or mental illnesses. However; the results should be interpreted with caution because of existing methodological limitations (e.g., high risk of bias; Baduanjin combined with other behavioral interventions; and heterogeneity of control groups).

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5858390/

 

Improve Sleep with Mindfulness

Improve Sleep with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“When we lose awareness of the present moment, our minds get stuck in maladaptive ways of thinking. For example, you might be trying to go to sleep but your mind gets lost thinking about all the groceries you need to buy. Deep, relaxed breathing is forgotten. And once you realize sleep isn’t happening, your muscles tense and your thought process quickly shifts to “I’m not falling asleep! I have XYZ to do this week and I won’t be able to function tomorrow.” The body seizes up, breathing and heart rate can both quicken, and falling sleep becomes more difficult.” – Shelby Freedman Harris

 

Modern society has become more around-the-clock and more complex producing considerable pressure and stress on the individual. The advent of the internet and smart phones has exacerbated the problem. The resultant psychological distress can impair sleep. Indeed, it is estimated that over half of Americans sleep too little due to stress. As a result, people today sleep 20% less than they did 100 years ago. Not having a good night’s sleep has adverse effects upon the individual’s health, well-being, and happiness. So, non-drug methods to improve sleep are needed. Contemplative practices have been reported to improve mindfulness and, in turn, improve sleep amount and quality and help with insomnia. But, how mindfulness improves sleep has not been explored.

 

In today’s Research News article “Potential Mechanisms of Mindfulness in Improving Sleep and Distress.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5866834/ ), Lau and colleagues examine possible intermediaries that are effected by mindfulness and which, in turn, influence sleep. They recruited a large sample of meditation naïve, Chinese, adults and measured them over the internet for mindfulness, sleep quality, depression, anxiety, and stress. They then performed regression analysis of the associations among these variables.

 

Replicating previous findings, they found that the higher the levels mindfulness, especially acceptance (non-react facet of mindfulness), the greater the sleep quality and the lower the levels of anxiety, depression, and stress. They also found that the higher the levels of psychological distress, the higher the levels of anxiety, depression, and stress and the lower the levels of mindfulness and sleep quality. So, mindfulness, especially acceptance, was associated with better psychological health and sleep, while psychological distress acted in the opposite direction.

 

They then tested models that asserted various pathways whereby mindfulness affected sleep quality. They found that the higher the level of acceptance (non-react facet of mindfulness), the greater the impact of awareness (observe facet of mindfulness) on lower general psychological distress and higher the sleep quality. This suggests that acceptance associations with higher sleep quality may be in part mediated by the association of acceptance with lower levels of psychological distress and in turn improved sleep quality.

 

These findings begin the unravel the mechanisms by which mindfulness improves sleep. It suggests that acceptance (non-react facet of mindfulness) is a very important component of the associations with better sleep and that it, in part, works through associations with lower levels of psychological distress.

 

So, improve sleep with mindfulness.

 

“When I first started using mindfulness to get sleep, I believed I needed to be meditating at bedtime if I wanted to cure my insomnia. I was completely wrong! I learned that my worries about sleep were happening all day long. I started using mindfulness during the day to notice those worries and learn to accept that I may not get as much sleep as I hope for each night. . . . worrying about sleep works against the process of falling asleep. All of those concerns about your insomnia just might be making it harder to let go at the end of the day, to relax and let your body rest.” – Mary Sauer

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

Lau, W. K. W., Leung, M.-K., Wing, Y.-K., & Lee, T. M. C. (2018). Potential Mechanisms of Mindfulness in Improving Sleep and Distress. Mindfulness, 9(2), 547–555. http://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-017-0796-9

 

Abstract

The mechanisms of mindfulness-improved sleep quality are not extensively studied. Recently, attention monitoring/awareness and acceptance in mindfulness have been proposed to be the underlying mechanisms that tackle distress and related disorders. The current study tested if acceptance moderated the relationship of awareness with psychological distress and sleep quality, and verified that psychological distress mediated the relationship between mindfulness and sleep quality in a group of community-dwelling healthy adults. Three hundred and sixty-four healthy Chinese non-meditators (age 18–65, 59% female) completed a set of online self-reported questionnaires in Chinese via SurveyMonkey. Awareness and acceptance were measured by Observe and Nonreact facets in the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), respectively. General psychological distress levels and sleep quality were reflected in the global score of the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scales (DASS) and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), respectively. Model 1 and model 8 in the PROCESS macro for SPSS were used to assess the moderation and moderated mediation effects. Increased level of acceptance (Nonreact) weakened the positive relationship between awareness (Observe) and poor sleep quality (β = −0.0154, p = 0.0123), which was partially mediated through perceived psychological distress (β = −0.0065, 95% bias-corrected bootstrap CI = −0.0128, −0.0004) in a group of community-dwelling healthy adults. Our findings suggested that awareness and acceptance could be the mechanisms of mindfulness interventions in improving sleep quality, partly via reducing psychological stress.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5866834/

 

Improve Psychological Well-being in Coronary Artery Disease Patients with Mindfulness-Based Art Therapy

Improve Psychological Well-being in Coronary Artery Disease Patients with Mindfulness-Based Art Therapy

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Given the proven role of stress in heart attacks and coronary artery disease, effective meditation would be appropriate for almost all patients with coronary artery disease.”Joon Sup Lee

 

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. “Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack.” (Centers for Disease Control). “Coronary artery disease develops when the major blood vessels that supply your heart with blood, oxygen and nutrients (coronary arteries) become damaged or diseased. Cholesterol-containing deposits (plaque) in your arteries and inflammation are usually to blame for coronary artery disease.” – (Mayo Clinic)

 

A myriad of treatments has been developed for heart disease including a variety of surgical procedures and medications. But the safest effective treatments are lifestyle changes. These include quitting smoking, weight reduction, improved diet, physical activity, and reducing stresses. Safe and effective alternative treatments for cardiovascular disease are contemplative practices, such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga, have also been shown to be helpful for heart health. These practices have also been shown to be helpful for producing the kinds of lifestyle changes needed to prevent heart disease such as smoking cessationweight reduction, and stress reduction.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Mindfulness-Based Art Therapy on Psychological Symptoms in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5852419/ ), Jang and colleagues studied the effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Art Therapy (MBAT) on the psychological states of patients with coronary artery disease. They recruited outpatients with coronary artery disease and randomly assigned them to either receive 12 weeks, once a week for 45 minutes, of Mindfulness-Based Art Therapy (MBAT) or a treatment as usual control. MBAT was based on the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program and included meditation, yoga, and body scan practices along with training in expressing their emotions through art and drawing. Patients were measured before and after training for anxiety, depression, and anger.

 

They found that the MBAT trained patients in comparison to baseline and the treatment as usual group had large and significant reduction in depression, anxiety and depression following treatment. In addition, there were large and significant decreases in experiences of anger and expressions of anger and also increases in anger control. Hence, the Mindfulness-Based Art Therapy (MBAT) program was successful in improving the psychological well-being of patients with coronary heart disease.

 

It should be noted that there wasn’t an active control conditions so the conclusions must be tempered with the understanding that there were considerable opportunities for bias and participant expectations to affect the results and there was no long-term follow-up to determine the durability of the effects. The findings, however, are encouraging and should provide encouragement for conducting a larger trial with active control conditions, e.g. aerobic exercise and long-term follow-up.

 

So, improve psychological well-being in coronary artery disease patients with mindfulness-based art therapy.

 

“15 minutes of meditation a day reduced the risk of death, heart attack, and stroke by 48 per cent” – British Heart Foundation

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Jang, S.-H., Lee, J.-H., Lee, H.-J., & Lee, S.-Y. (2018). Effects of Mindfulness-Based Art Therapy on Psychological Symptoms in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease. Journal of Korean Medical Science, 33(12), e88. http://doi.org/10.3346/jkms.2018.33.e88

 

Abstract

Background

Mindfulness-based art therapy (MBAT) induces emotional relaxation in coronary artery disease (CAD) patients, and is a treatment known to improve psychological stability. The objective of this study was to evaluate the treatment effects of MBAT for CAD patients.

Methods

A total of 44 CAD patients were selected as participants, 21 patients belonged to a MBAT group, and 23 patients belonged to the control group. The patients in the MBAT group were given 12 sessions of treatments. To measure depression and anxiety, Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Trait Anxiety Inventory (TAI) were used. Anger and anger expression were evaluated using the State Trait Anger Expression Inventory (STAXI). The treatment results were analyzed using two-way repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA).

Results

The results showed that significant effects for groups, time, and interaction in the depression (interaction effect, [F(1,36) = 23.15, P < 0.001]; between groups, [F(1,36) = 5.73, P = 0.022]), trait anxiety (interaction effect, [F(1,36) = 13.23, P < 0.001]; between groups, [F(1,36) = 4.38, P = 0.043]), state anger (interaction effect, [F(1,36) = 5.60, P = 0.023]), trait anger (interaction effect, [F(1,36) = 6.93, P = 0.012]; within group, [F(1,36) = 4.73, P = 0.036]), anger control (interaction effect, [F(1,36) = 8.41, P = 0.006]; within group, [F(1,36) = 9.41, P = 0.004]), anger out (interaction effect, [F(1,36) = 6.88, P = 0.012]; within group, [F(1,36) = 13.17, P < 0.001]; between groups, [F(1,36) = 5.62, P = 0.023]), and anger in (interaction effect, [F(1,36) = 32.66, P < 0.001]; within group, [F(1,36) = 25.90, P < 0.001]; between groups, [F(1,36) = 12.44, P < 0.001]).

Conclusion

MBAT can be seen as an effective treatment method that improves CAD patients’ psychological stability. Evaluation of treatment effects using program development and large-scale research for future clinical application is needed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5852419/

 

Improve Students Transition to College with Mindfulness

Improve Students Transition to College with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“The first semester of college is a time of great transition for many students — they often are living away from home for the first time, have a much more fluid schedule than in high school and are potentially surrounded by a new peer group. For all of these reasons and more, this can be an incredibly stressful time in a student’s life.”Victoria M. Indivero

 

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, colleges, 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. These stressors are at their peak when new students transition to college. Mindfulness training for incoming students may be an answer as mindfulness have been shown to be helpful in reducing the physiological and psychological responses to stress and to improve coping with the school environment and enhance performance. So, perhaps, mindfulness training may help ease students’ transition to college.

 

In today’s Research News article “Promoting healthy transition to college through mindfulness training with first-year college students: Pilot randomized controlled trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5810370/ ), Dvořáková and colleagues recruited first year college students who resided on campus and randomly assigned them to either a wait-list control condition or to a 6-week mindfulness training condition with 2 80-minute sessions for the first two weeks and 1 session per week for the remaining 4 weeks. The training occurred in a group format during their first semester on campus and included instruction on emotion regulation, mindfulness techniques, and daily home practice. The students were measured before and after training for mindfulness, anxiety, depression, satisfaction with life, compassion, self-compassion, social connectedness, sleep, alcohol use and consequences, and program acceptability.

 

They found that the students who attended the mindfulness trainings had significantly lower levels of anxiety depression, alcohol-related consequences, and sleep issues and higher levels of life satisfaction in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control students. Hence, the mindfulness program improved the psychological health of the new college students, thereby easing their transition to the university environment. This is a pilot study, so results need to be interpreted with caution. But, the results are sufficiently interesting and potentially important that a large scale controlled clinical trial with an active control group is warranted.

 

The Freshman year in college is critical. Most of the students who fail to complete a college degree drop out in the first year. So, it is particularly important to find ways to help Freshman transition to university life and be successful. The present study suggests that mindfulness training may be an effective component in a university’s programs for Freshman to help promote their psychological health and academic performance in their critical first year.

 

So, improve students transition to college with mindfulness.

 

“Rather than telling the students what to do, we had them explore and talk about how to be mindful in their daily lives and discover the benefits for themselves. We found that underneath the stress that students are experiencing is a deep desire to appreciate life and feel meaningful connections with other people.” – Kamila Dvorakova

 

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

 

Dvořáková, K., Kishida, M., Li, J., Elavsky, S., Broderick, P. C., Agrusti, M. R., & Greenberg, M. T. (2017). Promoting healthy transition to college through mindfulness training with first-year college students: Pilot randomized controlled trial. Journal of American College Health : J of ACH, 65(4), 259–267. http://doi.org/10.1080/07448481.2017.1278605

 

Abstract

Objective

Given the importance of developmental transitions on young adults’ lives and the high rates of mental health issues among U.S. college students, first-year college students can be particularly vulnerable to stress and adversity. This pilot study evaluated the effectiveness and feasibility of mindfulness training aiming to promote first-year college students’ health and wellbeing.

Participants

109 freshmen were recruited from residential halls (50% Caucasian, 66% female). Data collection was completed in November 2014.

Methods

A randomized control trial was conducted utilizing the Learning to BREATHE (L2B) program, a universal mindfulness program adapted to match the developmental tasks of college transition.

Results

Participation in the pilot intervention was associated with significant increase in students’ life satisfaction, and significant decrease in depression and anxiety. Marginally significant decrease was found for sleep issues and alcohol consequences.

Conclusions

Mindfulness-based programs may be an effective strategy to enhance a healthy transition into college.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5810370/

 

Improve Student Mental Health with a Mindfulness App

Improve Student Mental Health with a Mindfulness App

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Students who had been practising mindfulness had distress scores lower than their baseline levels even during exam time, which suggests that mindfulness helps build resilience against stress.” – Julieta Galante

 

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.

 

The vast majority of the mindfulness training techniques, however, require a certified trained therapist. This produces costs that many students and counseling centers can’t afford. In addition, the participants must be available to attend multiple sessions at particular scheduled times that may or may not be compatible with their busy schedules and at locations that may not be convenient. As an alternative, Smartphone Apps have been developed. These have tremendous advantages in decreasing costs, making training schedules much more flexible, and eliminating the need to go repeatedly to specific locations. But, the question arises as to the effectiveness of these Apps.

 

In today’s Research News article “Evaluation of an mHealth App (DeStressify) on University Students’ Mental Health: Pilot Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5801522/ ), Lee and Jung recruited university students and randomly assigned them to either a wait-list condition or to work with a mindfulness app (DeStressify) for a month, 5 days per week for 3 to 20 minutes per day. They were measured before and after the training period for perceived stress, anxiety, depression, sleep quality, health-related quality of life, work productivity, and app use.

 

They found that after mindfulness app training the students reported significant reductions in perceived stress, fatigue, and anxiety and significant increases in general health-related quality of life, energy, and productivity. A lack in the study was that mindfulness was not measured. So, it cannot be concluded that improvements in mindfulness produced by the App was responsible for the benefits. Nevertheless, these are interesting and potentially important results. They suggest that the use of a mindfulness app by university students can provide improvements in physical and mental health and productivity. This can be important for the students’ success in school by making them more energetic and healthy and with less emotional disruption.

 

This is particularly important as the app does not require expensive staff time. It can be used at the busy students’ convenience in both location and time. And it is very easy and inexpensive to use and can be distributed widely. Given the mindfulness app can also improve the students’ well-being, it would seem ideal for use by college students.

 

So, improve student mental health with a mindfulness App.

 

“If you have unproductive worries, you can train yourself to experience those thoughts completely differently. “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

 

Lee, R. A., & Jung, M. E. (2018). Evaluation of an mHealth App (DeStressify) on University Students’ Mental Health: Pilot Trial. JMIR Mental Health, 5(1), e2. http://doi.org/10.2196/mental.8324

 

Abstract

Background

One in five Canadians experience mental health issues with those in the age range of 15 to 24 years being most at risk of a mood disorder. University students have shown significantly higher rates of mental health problems than the general public. Current university support services are limited by factors such as available staff and finances, and social stigma has frequently been identified as an additional barrier that prevents students from accessing these resources. Mobile health (mHealth) apps are one form of alternative health support that is discrete and accessible to students, and although they are recognized as a promising alternative, there is limited research demonstrating their efficacy.

Objective

The aim of this study was to evaluate a mindfulness-based app’s (“DeStressify”) efficacy on stress, anxiety, depressive symptomology, sleep behavior, work or class absenteeism, work or school productivity, and quality of life (QoL) among university students.

Methods

Full-time undergraduate students at a Canadian university with smartphones and Internet access were recruited through in-class announcements and on-campus posters. Participants randomized into an experimental condition were given and instructed to use the DeStressify app 5 days a week for 4 weeks. Control condition participants were wait-listed. All participants completed pre- and postintervention Web-based surveys to self-assess stress, anxiety, depressive symptomatology, sleep quality, and health-related QoL.

Results

A total of 206 responses were collected at baseline, with 163 participants completing the study (86 control, 77 experimental). Using DeStressify was shown to reduce trait anxiety (P=.01) and improve general health (P=.001), energy (P=.01), and emotional well-being (P=.01) in university students, and more participants in the experimental condition believed their productivity improved between baseline and postintervention measurements than the number of participants expected to believe so randomly by chance (P=.01). The app did not significantly improve stress, state anxiety, physical and social functioning, and role limitations because of physical or emotional health problems or pain (P>.05).

Conclusions

Mindfulness-based apps may provide an effective alternative support for university students’ mental health. Universities and other institutions may benefit from promoting the use of DeStressify or other mindfulness-based mHealth apps among students who are interested in methods of anxiety management or mindfulness-based self-driven health support. Future steps include examining DeStressify and similar mHealth apps over a longer period and in university staff and faculty.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5801522/

 

Reduce Social Anxiety and Drinking with Mindfulness

Reduce Social Anxiety and Drinking with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“When you practice sitting in curious awareness, without forcing it, mindfulness becomes easier and easier. You become an observer, rather than a participant in the damaging thoughts that run through your head. As you become more aware, you are less prone to engage in mindless harmful behaviors, like drinking, and more apt to act with intention and self-love and acceptance.” – Keri Wiginton

 

Inappropriate use of alcohol is a major societal problem. In fact, about 25% of US adults have engaged in binge drinking in the last month and 7% have what is termed an alcohol use disorder. Alcohol abuse is very dangerous and frequently fatal. Nearly 88,000 people in the US and 3.3 million globally die from alcohol-related causes annually, making it the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Drunk driving accounted for over 10,000 deaths; 31% of all driving fatalities. Excessive alcohol intake has been shown to contribute to over 200 diseases including alcohol dependence, liver cirrhosis, cancers, and injuries. It is estimated that over 5% of the burden of disease and injury worldwide is attributable to alcohol consumption. These are striking and alarming statistics and indicate that controlling alcohol intake is an important priority for the individual and society

 

Alcohol intake is often promoted by its perceived ability to improve social behavior and reduce social anxiety. It is a common human phenomenon that being in a social situation can be stressful and anxiety producing. Social anxiety is widespread, and reaches clinically significant levels in about 7% of the U.S. population. It has been found that mindfulness training can be effective for anxiety disorders including Social Anxiety Disorder. In addition, mindfulness training has been successfully applied to treating alcohol abuse. It appears to increase the ability of the drinker to control alcohol intake. Since, mindfulness appears to hold promise as a treatment for excessive alcohol intake and social anxiety, there is a need to examine the relationships between social anxiety, alcohol abuse, and mindfulness in people with alcohol abuse problems and who suffer with social anxiety.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness Facets, Social Anxiety, and Drinking to Cope with Social Anxiety: Testing Mediators of Drinking Problems.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5381930/ ), Clerkin and colleagues recruited adults with alcohol dependence and high social anxiety. They had them complete measures of mindfulness, symptoms of alcohol dependence, alcohol consumption, drinking problems, social anxiety, drinking to cope with social anxiety, depression, and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. These measures were subjected to a path analysis to identify the interconnections between them.

 

They found that the greater the levels of social anxiety symptoms the higher the levels of drinking to cope with social anxiety and, in turn, the higher the levels of drinking problems. Further they found that found that the greater the levels of the mindfulness and the facets of mindfulness of acting with awareness, accepting without judgment, and describing the lower the levels of social anxiety symptoms and thereby the lower the levels of drinking to cope with this anxiety and, in turn, the lower the levels of drinking problems.

 

Hence, as has been previously observed, social anxiety tends to promote drinking problems by driving a coping strategy of using alcohol intake to deal with the anxiety. But, significantly, mindfulness is associated with reduced levels of social anxiety which is associated with lower drinking problems. In particular, the more the individual could describe how they are feeling, accept it without judgement, and be aware of their actions in the present moment, the less they felt anxiety in social situations. This, through reducing coping mechanisms, was associated with fewer drinking problems.

 

This study was correlative and causation cannot be concluded within the study itself. But, in other studies, increasing mindfulness was found to reduce anxiety, including social anxiety  and to assist in controlling alcohol consumption. So, it would seem reasonable to conclude that the relationships observed in the present study were due to causal connections such that high mindfulness lowers social anxiety which lowers coping with anxiety by drinking.

 

So, reduce social anxiety and drinking with mindfulness.

 

“We live in an alcohol-addicted culture. Alcohol is used as a social lubricant, and has become such a crutch for most people to feel comfortable socially that they would feel lost without it.” – Sheryl Paul

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Clerkin, E. M., Sarfan, L. D., Parsons, E. M., & Magee, J. C. (2017). Mindfulness Facets, Social Anxiety, and Drinking to Cope with Social Anxiety: Testing Mediators of Drinking Problems. Mindfulness, 8(1), 159–170. http://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-016-0589-6

 

Abstract

This cross-sectional study tested social anxiety symptoms, trait mindfulness, and drinking to cope with social anxiety as potential predictors and/or serial mediators of drinking problems. A community-based sample of individuals with co-occurring social anxiety symptoms and alcohol dependence were recruited. Participants (N = 105) completed measures of social anxiety, drinking to cope with social anxiety, and alcohol use and problems. As well, participants completed the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire, which assesses mindfulness facets of accepting without judgment, acting with awareness, not reacting to one’s internal experiences, observing and attending to experiences, and labeling and describing. As predicted, the relationship between social anxiety symptoms and drinking problems was mediated by social anxiety coping motives across each of the models. Further, the relationship between specific mindfulness facets (acting with awareness, accepting without judgment, and describe) and drinking problems was serially mediated by social anxiety symptoms and drinking to cope with social anxiety. This research builds upon existing studies that have largely been conducted with college students to evaluate potential mediators driving drinking problems. Specifically, individuals who are less able to act with awareness, accept without judgment, and describe their internal experiences may experience heightened social anxiety and drinking to cope with that anxiety, which could ultimately result in greater alcohol-related problems.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5381930/

 

Reduce Anxiety by Coloring Mindfully

Reduce Anxiety by Coloring Mindfully

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Researchers have discovered that coloring activities help relax the amygdala – the section of the brain that is activated in situations where you feel stressed or scared. Simultaneously, coloring activates the parts of the brain that support creativity. . . those who colored in mandalas reported drastically decreased anxiety levels.” – Pocket Mindfulness

 

Mindfulness practices have been shown to have a large number of beneficial effects on the psychological, emotional, and physical health of the individual and is helpful in the treatment of mental and physical illness. They have also been shown to effect a large number of physiological and psychological processes, including emotion regulationattentionsensory awarenessdecentering, and reappraisal. Mindfulness practices have been shown to be particularly effective in reducing anxiety.

 

Recently, adult coloring books have become popular as a mindfulness practice. It is thought that immersion in the creative yet structured and safe process of coloring will increase mindfulness and in turn produce the benefits of mindfulness. Unfortunately, though, this assumption has not been adequately tested scientifically.

 

In today’s Research News article “When Did Coloring Books Become Mindful? Exploring the Effectiveness of a Novel Method of Mindfulness-Guided Instructions for Coloring Books to Increase Mindfulness and Decrease Anxiety.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00056/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_536191_69_Psycho_20180208_arts_A ), Mantzios and Giannou recruited male and female undergraduate students and randomly assigned them to either color freestyle on a blank page or color a Mandala pattern for 10 minutes. They were measured before and after the coloring for anxiety and mindfulness. They found that this coloring exercise did not have a significant effect on either mindfulness or anxiety.

 

In a second experiment, with new participants, they repeated the same procedure for the Mandala coloring with either no instruction or the addition of mindfulness instructions during the coloring exercise, e.g. “Try to consciously observe the color transferring on the paper, the sensation of the pencil in your hand, your body sitting in the chair. Be aware of what happens moment to moment.” They found that the guided mandala coloring produced a significantly greater reduction in anxiety than the unguided coloring. There was, however, no effect on mindfulness. The participants indicated that the guidance was too distracting, suggesting a modification of the mindfulness guidance instruction in future research.

 

The results are an interesting start to empirically studying coloring as a means to produce mindfulness and the benefits of mindfulness. They are disappointed as they did not produce evidence that coloring increases mindfulness, even when instructions for coloring mindfully were included. There is a need to look at times of coloring longer than 10 minutes to explore whether greater practice could be effective. Nevertheless, the results suggest that coloring with a mindfulness instruction can reduce anxiety.

 

So, reduce anxiety by coloring mindfully.

 

“Just like meditation, coloring also allows us to switch off our brains from other thoughts and focus only on the moment, helping to alleviate free-floating anxiety.” – Kelly Fitzpatrick

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available at the Contemplative Studies Blog http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/

They are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Mantzios M and Giannou K (2018) When Did Coloring Books Become Mindful? Exploring the Effectiveness of a Novel Method of Mindfulness-Guided Instructions for Coloring Books to Increase Mindfulness and Decrease Anxiety. Front. Psychol. 9:56. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00056

 

Mindfulness has been associated with the use of coloring books for adults; however, the question of whether they do increase mindfulness has not been addressed. In two studies, we attempted to identify whether mindfulness is increased, and whether there is a need for ongoing guidance while coloring, similar to mindfulness meditation. In the first randomized controlled experiment, university students (n = 88) were assigned to an unguided mandala coloring group (i.e., described in mainstream literature as a mindfulness practice) or to a free-drawing group. Measurements of state mindfulness and state anxiety were taken pre- and post- experiment. Results indicated no change in mindfulness or anxiety. In the second randomized controlled experiment, university students (n = 72) were assigned to an unguided mandala coloring group (i.e., same as Experiment 1), or, to a mindfulness-guided coloring group (i.e., same as the unguided coloring group with a mindfulness practitioner guiding participants as in mindfulness breathing meditation, with instructions modified and applied to coloring). Results indicated that the mindfulness-guided mandala coloring group performed better in decreasing anxiety, but no change was observed in mindfulness. Exit interviews revealed that some participants did not like the voice guiding them while coloring, which suggested further differing and significant findings. While mindfulness-guided coloring appears promising, guidance or instructions on how to color mindfully may require further development and adjustment to enhance health and wellbeing.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00056/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_536191_69_Psycho_20180208_arts_A

Reduce Responsiveness to Social Evaluative Threat with Mindfulness

Reduce Responsiveness to Social Evaluative Threat with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“You can’t judge yourself or worry about what the other person is thinking if you’re too busy experiencing the wonder of the here and now.” – Jonathan Hinek

 

Humans are social creatures. All that the species has accomplished resulted from its ability to work together and build upon the work of others. Social connections are crucial to our health and happiness. Hence, it is very important for the individual to have effective satisfying social relationships. Unfortunately, interacting with other people is extremely complex and many find it very difficult to effectively engage with others. It is a common human phenomenon that being in a social situation can be stressful and anxiety producing. This is particularly true when asked to perform in a social context such as giving a speech. In fact, research has demonstrated that people are more afraid of public speaking than they are of death.

 

Mindfulness in general appears to improve social relationships. In today’s Research News article “Trait Mindfulness Modulates Neuroendocrine and Affective Responses to Social Evaluative Threat.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5087919/ ), Brown and colleagues investigate the relationship of mindfulness with social anxiety. They recruited college students and randomly assigned them to either a social anxiety or control condition. The students performed a Trier Social Stress Test involving preparing and giving a 5-minute speech and doing simple math either in front of critical peer evaluators (social anxiety) or alone (control). Before and after the test the students provided saliva samples to assess cortisol levels, an indicator of stress. They were also measured for anxiety, negative emotions, fear of evaluation, and mindfulness.

 

They found that the social anxiety manipulation compared to the control condition produced a significant elevation of salivary cortisol and anxiety. But, mindfulness moderated the effects such that students high in mindfulness had significantly lower anxiety, negative emotions, and cortisol responses to the social anxiety test than students low in mindfulness. This was true even when the students’ levels of fear of evaluation were controlled for. On the other hand, there were no significant effects of mindfulness in the control condition. So, the mindfulness effects were only with social anxiety.

 

These results suggest that mindfulness buffers the response to social stress and is associated with lower levels of stress hormones and negative emotions when exposed to social evaluative stress. These results, however, are correlational. So, causation cannot be determined within this study. But other research has demonstrated that mindfulness produces lower levels of stress, negative emotions, and anxiety and better social performance. So, it is likely that the results from the present study are indicative of mindfulness lowering social anxiety.

 

So, reduce responsiveness to social evaluative threat with mindfulness.

 

“Mindfulness meditation starts with observing an experience without trying to change or control it. It’s a practice in accepting reality and minimizing your resistance to it. This means to stop judging social interactions with negative adjectives, such as, scary, intimidating, uncomfortable, embarrassing, and so on.” – Adam Rockman

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Brown, K. W., Weinstein, N., & Creswell, J. D. (2012). Trait Mindfulness Modulates Neuroendocrine and Affective Responses to Social Evaluative Threat. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 37(12), 2037–2041. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2012.04.003

 

Abstract

Background

Individual differences in mindfulness have been associated with numerous self-report indicators of stress, but research has not examined how mindfulness may buffer neuroendocrine and psychological stress responses under controlled laboratory conditions. The present study investigated the role of trait mindfulness in buffering cortisol and affective responses to a social evaluative stress challenge versus a control task.

Methods

Participants completed measures of trait mindfulness, perceived stress, anxiety, and fear of negative evaluation before being randomized to complete the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST; Kirschbaum et al., 1993) or a control task. At points throughout the session, participants provided five saliva samples to assess cortisol response patterns, and completed four self-report measures of anxiety and negative affect to assess psychological responses.

Results

In accord with hypotheses, higher trait mindfulness predicted lower cortisol responses to the TSST, relative to the control task, as well as lower anxiety and negative affect. These relations remained significant when controlling for the role of other variables that predicted cortisol and affective responses.

Conclusions

The findings suggest that trait mindfulness modulates cortisol and affective responses to an acute social stressor. Further research is needed to understand the neural pathways through which mindfulness impacts these responses.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5087919/

Improve Employee Mental Health with Internet-Based Mindfulness Training

Improve Employee Mental Health with Internet-Based Mindfulness Training

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness can only attain sustainable success in the business world if its benefits are optimized and its risks minimized. Participants in mindfulness practices in the workplace must engage voluntarily and proactively if their endeavors are to bear fruit.” – David Brendel

 

Work is very important for our health and well-being. We spend approximately 25% of our adult lives at work. How we spend that time is immensely important for our psychological and physical health. Indeed, the work environment has even become an important part of our social lives, with friendships and leisure time activities often attached to the 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 physical and mental 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. Devoting time during the busy workday can be difficult. Mindfulness training over the internet is an alternative training for people who find face-to-face training difficult and inconvenient. Online mindfulness training has shown great promise with effectiveness equivalent to face-to-face training.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effectiveness of eHealth interventions for reducing mental health conditions in employees: 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/PMC5739441/ ), Stratton and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of employee health mental programs implemented over the internet (E-Health Programs) to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and/or stress. They identified 22 randomized controlled trials, with 11 employing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), 6 employing stress reduction programs, and 6 employing mindfulness-based interventions.

 

They found that the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and the stress reduction programs were significantly effective in improving depression, anxiety, and/or stress in the workers, but the effect sizes were small to moderate. On the other hand, the mindfulness-based interventions produced large significant reductions in depression, anxiety, and/or stress. The effect sizes for mindfulness-based interventions were significantly larger than those for CBT or stress reduction programs.

 

The results suggest that programs implemented over the internet and designed to improve mental health in workers are effective in improving depression, anxiety, and/or stress. The results further suggest that mindfulness-based programs are significantly more effective. Mindfulness training has been frequently demonstrated to reduce depression, anxiety, and/or stress in general or clinical populations. So, it’s ability to do so here is not surprising but suggests that it is also effective when delivered over the internet. This is important as internet delivery does not detract from workplace time, is convenient for the employees, and is relatively inexpensive for the employer to implement.

 

So, improve employee mental health with internet-based mindfulness training.

 

“injecting a corporate culture of mindfulness not only improves focus, but the ability to manage stress and how employees work together.” – Science Daily

 

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

 

Elizabeth Stratton, Amit Lampit, Isabella Choi, Rafael A. Calvo, Samuel B. Harvey, Nicholas Glozier. Effectiveness of eHealth interventions for reducing mental health conditions in employees: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2017; 12(12): e0189904. Published online 2017 Dec 21. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0189904

 

Abstract

Background

Many organisations promote eHealth applications as a feasible, low-cost method of addressing mental ill-health and stress amongst their employees. However, there are good reasons why the efficacy identified in clinical or other samples may not generalize to employees, and many Apps are being developed specifically for this group. The aim of this paper is to conduct the first comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis evaluating the evidence for the effectiveness and examine the relative efficacy of different types of eHealth interventions for employees.

Methods

Systematic searches were conducted for relevant articles published from 1975 until November 17, 2016, of trials of eHealth mental health interventions (App or web-based) focused on the mental health of employees. The quality and bias of all identified studies was assessed. We extracted means and standard deviations from published reports, comparing the difference in effect sizes (Hedge’s g) in standardized mental health outcomes. We meta-analysed these using a random effects model, stratified by length of follow up, intervention type, and whether the intervention was universal (unselected) or targeted to selected groups e.g. “stressed”.

Results

23 controlled trials of eHealth interventions were identified which overall suggested a small positive effect at both post intervention (g = 0.24, 95% CI 0.13 to 0.35) and follow up (g = 0.23, 95% CI 0.03 to 0.42). There were differential short term effects seen between the intervention types whereby Mindfulness based interventions (g = 0.60, 95% CI 0.34 to 0.85, n = 6) showed larger effects than the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) based (g = 0.15, 95% CI 0.02 to 0.29, n = 11) and Stress Management based (g = 0.17, 95%CI -0.01 to 0.34, n = 6) interventions. The Stress Management interventions however differed by whether delivered to universal or targeted groups with a moderately large effect size at both post-intervention (g = 0.64, 95% CI 0.54 to 0.85) and follow-up (g = 0.69, 95% CI 0.06 to 1.33) in targeted groups, but no effect in unselected groups.

Interpretation

There is reasonable evidence that eHealth interventions delivered to employees may reduce mental health and stress symptoms post intervention and still have a benefit, although reduced at follow-up. Despite the enthusiasm in the corporate world for such approaches, employers and other organisations should be aware not all such interventions are equal, many lack evidence, and achieving the best outcomes depends upon providing the right type of intervention to the correct population.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5739441/

Reduce Cell Phone Withdrawal Anxiety with Mindfulness

Reduce Cell Phone Withdrawal Anxiety with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“It isn’t just the plethora of tech offerings that keep us feeling preoccupied and divided, it is our relationship to these devices that keep us wanting more.” – Sura

 

Over the last few decades cell phones have gone from a rare curiosity to the dominant mode of electronic communications. They have also expanded well beyond a telephone and have become powerful hand-held computers known as smartphones. In fact, they have become a dominant force in daily life, occupying large amounts of time and attention. We have become seriously attached. They have become so dominant that, for many, the thought of being without it produces anxiety. Many people have become addicted. It is estimated that about 12% of the population is truly “addicted,” developing greater levels of “tolerance” and experiencing “withdrawal” and distress when deprived of them.

 

Recent surveys and studies paint a vivid picture of our cell phone addiction: we feel a surge of panic when we are separated from our beloved cell phones. This has been given a name, nomophobia, “which is defined as the fear of being out of cellular phone contact, or “feelings of discomfort or anxiety experienced by individuals when they are unable to use their mobile phones or utilize the affordances these devices provide”. This phenomenon is so new that there is little understanding of its nature and causes. Obviously, nomophobia is ripe for scientific study.

 

In today’s Research News article “Individual Differences in the Relationship Between Attachment and Nomophobia Among College Students: The Mediating Role of Mindfulness.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5746620/ ), Ibrahim and colleagues study the relationships of this cell phone based phobia with attachment styles and mindfulness. They recruited undergraduate students and had them complete measurements of, attachment, mindfulness and nomophobia, with 4 subscales, “Unable to Access Information, Losing Connectedness, Unable to Communicate, and Giving Up Convenience.”

 

They noted that there were significant gender differences with women having significantly higher levels of anxious attachment and nomophobia than men. This suggests that women are emotionally more dependent and crave for more closeness and attention in their relationships than do men. and that women tend to become more dependent on their cell phones. So, just as women become more attached in their relationships, they also become more attached to their phones.

 

Ibrahim and colleagues also found that, overall, higher levels of both anxious and avoidant attachment were associated with higher levels of nomophobia and lower levels of mindfulness and higher levels of mindfulness were associated with lower levels of nomophobia. These results suggest that the attachment styles of cell phone users and their mindfulness are associated with the level of nomophobia, with anxious and avoidant attachment promoting nomophobia and mindfulness reducing it.

 

These results further suggest that people with more maladaptive styles of attachment, who are emotionally more dependent and crave more closeness and attention in their relationships, are also more prone to developing a phobia regarding their cell phones. On the other hand, people with high levels of mindfulness are less prone. So, mindfulness may, in part, be an antidote to nomophobia.

 

So, reduce cell phone withdrawal anxiety with mindfulness.

 

Those with mindfulness training were able to resist habitual behaviours — like instantly opening an email or text when it pops up — to focus their attention on individual tasks for longer. They began to make somewhat wiser choices about when to respond to something and when not to,” – David Levy

 

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

 

Ibrahim Arpaci, Mustafa Baloğlu, Hatice İrem Özteke Kozan, Şahin Kesici. Individual Differences in the Relationship Between Attachment and Nomophobia Among College Students: The Mediating Role of Mindfulness. J Med Internet Res. 2017 Dec; 19(12): e404. Published online 2017 Dec 14. doi: 10.2196/jmir.8847

 

Abstract

Background

There is a growing interest in nomophobia, which is defined as the fear of being out of cellular phone contact, or “feelings of discomfort or anxiety experienced by individuals when they are unable to use their mobile phones or utilize the affordances these devices provide”. However, only limited research can be found in terms of its determinants at present. Contemporary literature suggests that the relationships among attachment styles, mindfulness, and nomophobia have not been investigated.

Objective

This study aims to investigate the mediating effect of mindfulness on the relationship between attachment and nomophobia. In addition, the study also focuses on gender differences in attachment, mindfulness, and nomophobia. A theory-based structural model was tested to understand the essentials of the associations between the constructs.

Methods

The Experiences in Close Relationships Scale, Nomophobia Questionnaire, and Mindful Attention Awareness Scale were used to collect data from undergraduate students (N=450; 70.9% women [319/450]; mean age=21.94 years [SD 3.61]). Two measurement models (ie, attachment and mindfulness) and a structural model were specified, estimated, and evaluated.

Results

The structural equation model shows that the positive direct effects of avoidant (.13, P=.03) and anxious attachment (.48, P<.001) on nomophobia were significant. The negative direct effects of avoidant (−.18, P=.01) and anxious attachment (−.33, P<.001) on mindfulness were also significant. Moreover, mindfulness has a significant negative effect on nomophobia for women only (−.13, P=.03). Finally, the Sobel test showed that the indirect effects of avoidant and anxious attachment on nomophobia via mindfulness were significant (P<.001). The direct and indirect effects of anxious attachment, avoidant attachment, and mindfulness altogether accounted for 33% of the total variance in nomophobia. Gender comparison results show that there is a significant difference in attachment based on gender (F2,447=6.97, P=.01, Wilk λ=.97, partial η2=.03). Women (mean 68.46 [SD 16.96]) scored significantly higher than men (mean 63.59 [SD 15.97]) in anxious attachment (F1=7.93, P=.01, partial η2=.02). Gender differences in mindfulness were not significant (F4,448=3.45, P=.69). On the other hand, results do show significant gender differences in nomophobia (F4,445=2.71, P=.03, Wilk λ=.98, partial η2=.02) where women scored significantly higher than men.

Conclusions

In general, individuals who are emotionally more dependent and crave more closeness and attention in the relationship tend to display higher levels of fear or discomfort when they have no access to their mobile phones. However, gender has a differential impact on the relationship between avoidant attachment and nomophobia. This study establishes the impact of mindfulness on nomophobia for women; therefore, future studies should test the effectiveness of mindfulness-based therapy approaches and confirm whether they are effective and efficient. On the basis of significant gender difference in nomophobia and attachment, we conclude that gender should be taken into account in mindfulness-based treatments dealing with nomophobia.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5746620/