Reduce Anxiety and Depression in Stressed College Students with Mindfulness

Reduce Anxiety and Depression in Stressed College Students with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness is so vital. It’s being right there in the moment. It helps you be successful in everything you do. College students are under a lot of stress — that’s been a given forever. Now, they have the tools in their pocket.” – Cathleen Hardy Hansen

 

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 the student’s mental health, well-being, and school performance.

 

It is, for the most part, beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress, so it is important that methods be found to reduce the college students’ responses to stress; to make them more resilient when high levels of stress occur. Contemplative practices including meditationmindfulness training, and yoga practice have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. So, it would seem important to examine various techniques to relieve the stress and its consequent symptoms in college students.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing the Attention Training Technique and Mindful Self-Compassion for Students with Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00827/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_662896_69_Psycho_20180605_arts_A ), Haukaas and colleagues explore the ability of attention training and mindfulness training to help relieve the anxiety and depression in college students resulting from stress.

 

They recruited undergraduate and graduate students who self-reported depression, anxiety, and stress. They were randomly assigned to receive 3 group sessions for 45 minutes for three consecutive weeks of either Attention Training or Mindfulness and Self-Compassion training. Each training included daily home practice with pre-recorded audio recordings. Attention training was designed “to strengthen attentional control and promote external focus of attention, to interrupt and break free of the cognitive attentional syndrome, consisting of prolonged worry or rumination, threat monitoring, and different unhelpful coping styles accompanied by a heightened self-focused attention.” Mindfulness and Self-Compassion training consisted of training to pay attention to the present moment and “to relate to oneself in a kinder and more accepting manner.” Training including Loving Kindness Meditation practice. Participants were measured before and after training for depression, anxiety, self-compassion, responses to thoughts, and mindfulness.

 

They found that both Attention Training and Mindfulness and Self-Compassion training produced significant reductions in general and test anxiety and depression and significant increases in mindfulness, self-compassion, attention flexibility, and self-esteem. The effects were moderate to large indicating fairly powerful effects of the treatments. It should be noted that there wasn’t a control condition and both treatments were associated with significant changes. It is thus possible that confound or bias was present that could account for some or all of the changes. But, the effects were strong and commensurate with previous findings that mindfulness training reduces anxiety and depression and increases self-compassion. Thus, it would appear that the two treatments are effective for improving the psychological health of stressed university students.

 

So, reduce anxiety and depression in stressed college students with mindfulness and attention training.

 

“taking time to catch your breath and meditate can help increase students’ overall life satisfaction. 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

 

Haukaas RB, Gjerde IB, Varting G, Hallan HE and Solem S (2018) A Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing the Attention Training Technique and Mindful Self-Compassion for Students With Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety. Front. Psychol. 9:827. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00827

 

The Attention Training Technique (ATT) and Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) are two promising psychological interventions. ATT is a 12-min auditory exercise designed to strengthen attentional control and promote external focus of attention, while MSC uses guided meditation and exercises designed to promote self-compassion. In this randomized controlled trial (RCT), a three-session intervention trial was conducted in which university students were randomly assigned to either an ATT-group (n = 40) or a MSC-group (n = 41). The students were not assessed with diagnostic interviews but had self-reported symptoms of depression, anxiety, or stress. Participants listened to audiotapes of ATT or MSC before discussing in groups how to apply these principles for their everyday struggles. Participants also listened to audiotapes of ATT and MSC as homework between sessions. Participants in both groups showed significant reductions in symptoms of anxiety and depression accompanied by significant increases in mindfulness, self-compassion, and attention flexibility post-intervention. These results were maintained at 6-month follow-up. Improvement in attention flexibility was the only significant unique predictor of treatment response. The study supports the use of both ATT and MSC for students with symptoms of depression and anxiety. Further, it suggests that symptom improvement is related to changes in attention flexibility across both theoretical frameworks. Future studies should focus on how to strengthen the ability for attention flexibility to optimize treatment for emotional disorder.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00827/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_662896_69_Psycho_20180605_arts_A

 

Improve Social Anxiety with Mindfulness

Improve Social Anxiety with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“for dealing with social anxiety, it is much more useful to practice mindful focus during conversations and other situations around people in which we are uncomfortable.” – Larry Cohen

 

It is a common human phenomenon that being in a social situation can be stressful and anxiety producing. Most people can deal with the anxiety and can become quite comfortable. But many do not cope well and the anxiety is overwhelming, causing the individual to withdraw. Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is characterized by a persistent, intense, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and feeling embarrassed or humiliated by their actions. This fear may be so severe that it interferes with work, school, and other activities and may negatively affect the person’s ability to form relationships.

 

Anxiety disorders have generally been treated with drugs. But, there are considerable side effects and these drugs are often abused. There are a number of psychological therapies for anxiety. But, about 45% of the patients treated do not respond to the therapy. So, there is a need to develop alternative treatments. Recently, it has been found that mindfulness training can be effective for anxiety disorders including Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) was developed to treat depression but has been found to also be effective for other mood disorders. MBCT involves mindfulness training, containing sitting and walking meditation and body scan, and cognitive therapy to alter how the patient relates to the thought processes that often underlie and exacerbate mood disorders. MBCT has been found to help relieve anxiety and to be effective for social anxiety.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Pilot Study of the Effects of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy on Positive Affect and Social Anxiety Symptoms.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00866/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_662896_69_Psycho_20180605_arts_A ), Strege and colleagues recruited adults with social anxiety disorder or generalized anxiety disorder and provided them with an 8-week program of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Training occurred once a week for 2 hours with daily work at home. Participants completed measurements before and after treatment ofr social anxiety, positive and negative emotions, worry, and mindfulness.

 

They found that, as has been previously reported, after MBCT training there was a significant reduction in social anxiety symptoms. The amount of reduction in social anxiety symptoms was predicted by the amount of increase in positive emotions following MBCT training but not by the reduction in negative emotions. Also, the amount of increase in positive emotions following MBCT was associated with the amount of increase in mindfulness.

 

These are interesting results whose interpretation has to be tempered with the recognition that there wasn’t a control comparison condition. So, these results must be viewed as preliminary pilot findings that suggest that a more highly controlled randomized trial should be performed. Nevertheless, these results suggest that MBCT training improves positive feelings and this in turn produces improvements in social anxiety. This suggests that elevating mood, rather than eliminating sour mood, is the crucial change produced by MBCT.  In addition, it appears that the increased positive emotions are a product of increased mindfulness. All of this results in a tentative hypothesis that MBCT training increases mindfulness that, in turn, improves positive feelings and this then produces improvements in social anxiety.

 

So, improve social anxiety with mindfulness.

 

“Using mindfulness, we can begin to notice what happens in the body when anxiety is present and develop strategies to empower clients to “signal safety” to their nervous system.” – Jeena Cho

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Strege MV, Swain D, Bochicchio L, Valdespino A and Richey JA (2018) A Pilot Study of the Effects of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy on Positive Affect and Social Anxiety Symptoms. Front. Psychol. 9:866. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00866

 

Abstract

Randomized controlled trials have demonstrated that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is efficacious in reducing residual depressive symptoms and preventing future depressive episodes (Kuyken et al., 2016). One potential treatment effect of MBCT may be improvement of positive affect (PA), due to improved awareness of daily positive events (Geschwind et al., 2011). Considering social anxiety disorder (SAD) is characterized by diminished PA (Brown et al., 1998Kashdan, 2007), we sought to determine whether MBCT would reduce social anxiety symptoms, and whether this reduction would be associated with improvement of PA deficits. Adults (N = 22) who met criteria for varied anxiety disorders participated in a small, open-label trial of an 8-week manualized MBCT intervention. Most participants presented with either a diagnosis (primary, secondary, or tertiary) of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) (N = 15) and/or SAD (N = 14) prior to treatment, with eight individuals meeting diagnostic criteria for both GAD and SAD. We hypothesized participants would demonstrate improvements in social anxiety symptoms, which would be predicted by improvements in PA, not reductions in negative affect (NA). Results of several hierarchical linear regression analyses (completed in both full and disorder-specific samples) indicated that improvements in PA but not reductions in NA predicted social anxiety improvement. This effect was not observed for symptoms of worry, which were instead predicted by decreased NA for individuals diagnosed with GAD and both decreased NA and increased PA in the entire sample. Results suggest that MBCT may be efficacious in mitigating social anxiety symptoms, and this therapeutic effect may be linked to improvements in PA. However, further work is necessary considering the small, heterogeneous sample, uncontrolled study design, and exploratory nature of the study.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00866/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_662896_69_Psycho_20180605_arts_A

 

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

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

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

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

 

 

Abstract

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

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

Improve Psychological Well-Being with EcoMeditation

Improve Psychological Well-Being with EcoMeditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Eco Meditation ,. . .is a powerful meditation, a synergy of multiple techniques, doing certain physiological moves to help you get into a deep delta meditative state, the same as a meditative master, and in only 90 seconds. You can do this meditation any time of the day, and cumulative benefits accrue with long-term use.” – Inspire Nation

 

Meditation training has been shown to improve health and well-being. It has also been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. As a result, meditation training has been called the third wave of therapies. One problem with understanding meditation effects is that meditation is not a specific practice but rather a category encompassing a wide array of practices. It is not known which work best for the health and well-being of the practitioners and for improving different conditions.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Interrelated Physiological and Psychological Effects of EcoMeditation.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871048/ ), Groesbeck and colleagues study the effects of a relatively new, less commonly practiced, technique called Eco-Meditation. As described by the authors, EcoMeditation “focuses on physiological cues. . . it has participants mimic the physiological state of an experienced practitioner. Participants mechanically assume breathing patterns and body postures that are characteristic of long-time meditators. EcoMeditation combines elements of 4 evidence-based techniques: the Quick Coherence Technique, Clinical Emotional Freedom Techniques, mindfulness meditation, and neurofeedback.

 

In an uncontrolled pilot study, they recruited participants who were attending a weekend meditation workshop at a residential conference center where they practiced EcoMeditation. Before and after the workshop and 2 months later, the participants were measured for anxiety, depression, happiness, pain, Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), resting blood pressure, heart rate, heart rate variability, heart coherence, and Salivary immunoglobulin A and cortisol levels as physiological markers of stress.

 

They found that in comparison to the levels prior to the workshop, afterward there were significant decreases in anxiety, depression, pain, resting heart rate, salivary cortisol levels, and a significantly increase in happiness. Unfortunately, none of these effects were still present 2 months later. Hence, after participating in the workshop but not 2 months later the participants reported improved psychological well-being and less stress.

 

This is an uncontrolled pilot study and no firm conclusions can be made. Without a control group there are many sources of confounding present and many alternative explanations for the results. But, the results were interesting and provide support for a more controlled study.

 

So, improve psychological well-being with EcoMeditation.

 

“In meditation, you’re seeking a state, like peace of mind, not an outcome. The rest of your life is about doing; meditation is about being.” – Anne Siret

 

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

 

Groesbeck, G., Bach, D., Stapleton, P., Blickheuser, K., Church, D., & Sims, R. (2018). The Interrelated Physiological and Psychological Effects of EcoMeditation. Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine, 23, 2515690X18759626. http://doi.org/10.1177/2515690X18759626

 

Abstract

This study investigated changes in psychological and physiological markers during a weekend meditation workshop (N = 34). Psychological symptoms of anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and happiness were assessed. Physiological markers included cortisol, salivary immunoglobulin A (SigA), heart rate variability (HRV), blood pressure (BP), and resting heart rate (RHR). On posttest, significant reductions were found in cortisol (−29%, P < .0001), RHR (−5%, P = .0281), and pain (−43%, P = .0022). Happiness increased significantly (+11%, P = .0159) while the increase in SigA was nonsignificant (+27%, P = .6964). Anxiety, depression, and PTSD all declined (−26%, P = .0159; −32%, P = .0197; −18%, P = .1533), though changes in PTSD did not reach statistical significance. No changes were found in BP, HRV, and heart coherence. Participants were assessed for psychological symptoms at 3-month follow-up, but the results were nonsignificant due to inadequate sample size (n = 17). EcoMeditation shows promise as a stress-reduction method.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871048/

Improve Mental Health with Mindfulness

Improve Mental Health with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“While mindfulness will not solve all of our problems, it is a powerful tool with great potential to help us all transform our relationship with our problems when it is not possible, or desirable, to eliminate them.” – Elana Miller

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to be effective in improving physical and psychological health and particularly with the physical and psychological reactions to stress. Techniques such as Mindfulness Training, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) as well as Yoga practice and Tai Chi or Qigong practice have been demonstrated to be effective. This has led to an increasing adoption of these mindfulness techniques for the physical and psychological health and well-being of both healthy and ill individuals.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Interventions in Psychiatry.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5870875/ ), Shapero and colleagues review and summarize the published research literature on the application of mindfulness techniques to the treatment of mental illnesses.

 

They report that the most commonly used mindfulness technique for the treatment of mental illness is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) particularly for the treatment of major depressive disorder. MBCT has been shown to be as effective as antidepressant drugs in relieving the symptoms of depression and preventing depression reoccurrence and relapse. In addition, it appears to be effective as either a supplement to or a replacement for these drugs.

 

Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) have also been found to improve mood and relieve anxiety in patients suffering from anxiety and mood disorders and treat the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and eating disorders. They have also been found to reduce drug cravings and use as well as reduce substance abuse relapse after treatment.

 

They further report that the research suggests that Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) produce these benefits by focusing on the present moment in a non-reactive and non-judgmental way and improving emotion regulation and thereby decreasing negative thought patterns, emotional reactivity, rumination, and worry, and increasing self-compassion. In the cognitive realm, MBIs appear to produce a different relationship with the thoughts of the individuals by noticing them and developing different ways of relating and reacting to them.

 

One way that MBIs appear to have their effects is by altering the nervous system in a process known as neuroplasticity. These include changes to eight brain regions, including areas associated with meta-awareness (frontopolar cortex), exteroceptive and interoceptive body awareness (sensory cortices and insula), memory consolidation and reconsolidation (hippocampus), self and emotion regulation (anterior and mid cingulate; orbitofrontal cortex), and intra- and interhemispheric communication (superior longitudinal fasciculus; corpus callosum).

 

These are striking findings that strongly suggest that Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) are safe and very effective treatments for a wide array of psychiatric disorders. They appear to work by altering thought processes, emotion regulation, and focus on the present moment. They appear to alter the brain to produce these benefits. This suggests that MBIs should be widely prescribed to relieve the symptoms and suffering produced by mental illness.

 

So, improve mental health with Mindfulness.

 

“Mindfulness and the traditional way psychiatry is practiced are really more divergent than anything else. Psychiatry is about removing emotional pain, whereas mindfulness teaches us the value of being present with our pain. It was through the practice of mindfulness that I started to learn this new perspective and started to relate to my own pain differently. Instead of running away from it, I was taught to welcome it; to befriend it and thus convert it into a source for my own emotional and spiritual growth.” – Russel Razzaque

 

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

 

Shapero, B. G., Greenberg, J., Pedrelli, P., de Jong, M., & Desbordes, G. (2018). Mindfulness-Based Interventions in Psychiatry. Focus (American Psychiatric Publishing), 16(1), 32–39. http://doi.org/10.1176/appi.focus.20170039

 

Abstract

Mindfulness meditation has a longstanding history in eastern practices that has received considerable public interest in recent decades. Indeed, the science, practice, and implementation of Mindfulness Based Interventions (MBIs) have dramatically increased in recent years. At its base, mindfulness is a natural human state in which an individual experiences and attends to the present moment. Interventions have been developed to train individuals how to incorporate this practice into daily life. The current article will discuss the concept of mindfulness and describe its implementation in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. We further identify for whom MBIs have been shown to be efficacious and provide an up-to-date summary of how these interventions work. This includes research support for the cognitive, psychological, and neural mechanisms that lead to psychiatric improvements. This review provides a basis for incorporating these interventions into treatment.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5870875/

 

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

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

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

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

 

It is a common human phenomenon that being in a social situation can be stressful and anxiety producing. Most people can deal with the anxiety and can become quite comfortable. But many do not cope well and the anxiety is overwhelming, causing the individual to withdraw. Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is characterized by a persistent, intense, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and feeling embarrassed or humiliated by their actions. This fear may be so severe that it interferes with work, school, and other activities and may negatively affect the person’s ability to form relationships.

 

SAD is the most common form of anxiety disorder and it is widespread, occurring in about 7% of the U.S. population and is particularly widespread among young adults. Anxiety disorders have generally been treated with drugs. But, there are considerable side effects and these drugs are often abused. There are a number of psychological therapies for SAD. But, about 45% of the patients treated do not respond to the therapy. So, there is a need to develop alternative treatments. Recently, it has been found that mindfulness training can be effective for anxiety disorders including Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) contains three mindfulness trainings, meditation, body scan, and yoga, and has been shown to be effective in treating anxiety disorders. It is not known, however, how these treatments produce their effects.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

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

 

Go to:

Abstract

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

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

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/