Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Patients with Parkinson’s Disease with Mindfulness

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Patients with Parkinson’s Disease with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“People with Parkinson’s reported that stress worsened both motor and non-motor symptoms, especially tremor and anxiety. More than 38 percent of respondents found mindfulness helped manage their stress and improved motor and non-motor symptoms, including anxiety and depressed mood.” – Christina Destro

 

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is an incurable progressive degenerative disease of the central nervous system. The condition is caused by the death of nerve cells in the brain that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine. There are around seven million people worldwide and one million people in the U.S. living with PD and about 60,000 people are diagnosed with PD every year. PD is associated with aging as most patients are diagnosed after age 50. In fact, it has been speculated that everyone would eventually develop PD if they lived long enough.

 

Its physical symptoms include resting tremor, slow movements, muscle rigidity, problems with posture and balance, loss of automatic movements, and slurring of speech. PD itself is not fatal but is often associated with related complications which can reduce life expectancy, such as falls, choking, and cardiovascular problems. PD also has psychological effects, especially cognitive decline, anxiety, and depression. Balance is a particular problem as it effects mobility and increases the likelihood of falls, restricting activity and reducing quality of life.

 

There are no cures for Parkinson’s Disease (PD) or even treatments to slow its progression. There are only treatments that can produce symptomatic relief. So, there is a need to discover new and different treatments. Mindfulness training has been found to improve the psychological symptoms and the quality of life with PD patientsMindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) involves mindfulness training, containing sitting, walking and body scan meditations, and cognitive therapy that attempts to teach patients to distinguish between thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, and behaviors, and to recognize irrational thinking styles and how they affect behavior. So, there is a need to further investigate the effectiveness of mindfulness training in the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease (PD).

 

In today’s Research News article “). Online Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for People with Parkinson’s Disease and Their Caregivers: a Pilot Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9059916/ ) Seritan and colleagues recruited patients with Parkinson’s Disease who also had symptoms of anxiety and depression and their caregivers and provided them with 8 weekly 2.5 hour online sessions of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) along with home practice. They were measured before and after treatment for mindfulness, anxiety, depression, and caregiver burden.

 

They found that after Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) training there were significant reductions in anxiety and depression and significant increases in mindfulness regardless of whether the patients were high in anxiety or high in depression before treatment. Hence, online mindfulness training improves the psychological well-being of patients with Parkinson’s Disease.

 

like regular physical activity, mindfulness meditation can serve as the cornerstone for self-care that people with PD can use to manage their symptoms.” – Emily Delzell

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Seritan, A. L., Iosif, A. M., Prakash, P., Wang, S. S., & Eisendrath, S. (2022). Online Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for People with Parkinson’s Disease and Their Caregivers: a Pilot Study. Journal of technology in behavioral science, 1–15. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41347-022-00261-7

 

Abstract

Anxiety and depression are common non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Caregivers of people with PD may experience severe caregiver burden. This study explored the feasibility and potential benefits of an online mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) intervention for improving anxiety and depressive symptoms in people with PD and their caregivers (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04469049, 7/8/2020). People with PD or parkinsonism and anxiety and/or depressive symptoms and caregivers of people with PD participated in one of three online MBCT groups. Demographic variables, pre- and post-MBCT behavioral measures (GAD-7, PHQ-9, Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire — FFMQ-15, Caregiver Self-Assessment Questionnaire — CSAQ), and satisfaction surveys were collected. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize data. Pre- and post-MBCT behavioral scores were compared using mixed-effect models. Fifty-six potential participants were assessed for eligibility. Twenty-eight entered MBCT groups; all but one completed the intervention. The overall sample analyzed (22 people with PD, 4 caregivers) showed significant GAD-7 and PHQ-9 score reductions and FFMQ-15 total and observing and non-reactivity subscale score increases (all p’s < 0.05). Participants with PD and anxiety symptoms (n = 14) had a significant GAD-7 score reduction; those with PD and depressive symptoms (n = 12) had a significant PHQ-9 score reduction (both p’s < 0.05). Participants with PD also had a significant FFMQ-15 observing subscale score increase (p < 0.05). The caregiver sample was too small to be analyzed separately. Online MBCT is feasible (as measured by high attendance, completion rate, and participant satisfaction) and may be effective in improving anxiety and depressive symptoms in people with PD.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9059916/

 

Alter Cognition of Patients with Anxiety with Mindfulness

Alter Cognition of Patients with Anxiety with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Anxiety can mentally exhaust you and have real impacts on your body. But before you get anxious about being anxious, know that research has shown you can reduce your anxiety and stress with a simple mindfulness practice.” – Mandy Ferreira 

 

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults, or 18% of the population. A characterizing feature of anxiety disorders is that the sufferer overly identifies with and personalizes their thoughts. The sufferer has recurring thoughts, such as impending disaster, that they may realize are unreasonable, but are unable to shake. Anxiety disorders have generally been treated with drugs. But there are considerable side effects, and these drugs are often abused. There are several 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.

 

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) has been shown to be effective in treating anxiety disordersMBCT involves mindfulness training, containing sitting, walking and body scan meditations, and cognitive therapy that attempts to teach patients to distinguish between thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, and behaviors, and to recognize irrational thinking styles and how they affect behavior. But how MBCT affects the thought processes in anxiety disorders needs further investigation.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy: A Preliminary Examination of the (Event-Related) Potential for Modifying Threat-Related Attentional Bias in Anxiety.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9159034/ ) Gupta and colleagues recruited adults with high levels of anxiety and randomly assigned them to receive 8 weekly 2.5 hour sessions of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) along with home practice presented either online of in-person. Before and after training they were measured for anxiety, depression, and perceived stress. In addition, the participants had their electroencephalogram (EEG) recorded while performing a task to measure threat-related attentional bias.

 

They found that after Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) there were significantly lower levels of anxiety, depression, and perceived stress. In addition, after MBCT EEG responses and response times to pictures of faces showing emotions were reduced. Hence, mindfulness training improved the psychological well-being of anxious adults in association with reduced brain responses to emotional faces.

 

As you become more mindful, you will also notice that you will become more centered, happier, and less depressed and this in turn has a direct positive effect on your anxiety.” – Stefan G. Hofmann

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Gupta, R. S., Kujawa, A., Fresco, D. M., Kang, H., & Vago, D. R. (2022). Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy: A Preliminary Examination of the (Event-Related) Potential for Modifying Threat-Related Attentional Bias in Anxiety. Mindfulness, 1–14. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-022-01910-x

 

Abstract

Objectives

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) can reduce anxiety and depression symptoms in adults with anxiety disorders, and changes in threat-related attentional bias may be a key mechanism driving the intervention’s effects on anxiety symptoms. Event-related potentials (ERPs) can illuminate the physiological mechanism through which MBCT targets threat bias and reduces symptoms of anxiety. This preliminary study examined whether P1 ERP threat–related attentional bias markers in anxious adults change from pre- to post-MBCT delivered in-person or virtually (via Zoom) and investigated the relationship between P1 threat–related attentional bias markers and treatment response.

Methods

Pre- and post-MBCT, participants with moderate to high levels of anxiety (N = 50) completed a dot-probe task with simultaneous EEG recording. Analyses focused on pre- and post-MBCT P1 amplitudes elicited by angry-neutral and happy-neutral face pair cues, probes, and reaction times in the dot-probe task and anxiety and depression symptoms.

Results

Pre- to post-MBCT, there was a significant reduction in P1-Probe amplitudes (d = .23), anxiety (d = .41) and depression (d = .80) symptoms, and reaction times (d = .10). Larger P1-Angry Cue amplitudes, indexing hypervigilance to angry faces, were associated with higher levels of anxiety both pre- and post-MBCT (d = .20). Post-MBCT, anxiety symptoms were lower in the in-person versus virtual group (d = .80).

Conclusions

MBCT may increase processing efficiency and decreases anxiety and depression symptoms in anxious adults. However, changes in threat bias specifically were generally not supported. Replication with a comparison group is needed to clarify whether changes were MBCT-specific.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9159034/

 

Virtual Mindfulness Training Improves Well-Being

Virtual Mindfulness Training Improves Well-Being

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Spending too much time planning, problem solving, daydreaming, or thinking negative or random thoughts can be draining. It also can make you more likely to experience stress, anxiety and symptoms of depression. Practicing mindfulness exercises, on the other hand, can help you direct your attention away from this kind of thinking and engage with the world around you.” – Mayo Clinic

 

Mindfulness 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, mindfulness training has been called the third wave of therapies. But the vast majority of the mindfulness training techniques require a trained teacher. The participants must be available to attend multiple sessions at scheduled times that may or may not be compatible with their schedules and at locations that may not be convenient.

 

As an alternative, training over the internet has been developed. This has 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 internet training in improving psychological well-being. The evidence is accumulating. So, it makes sense to review what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Virtual mindfulness interventions to promote well-being in adults: A mixed-methods systematic review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8765070/ ) Xu and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies on the effectiveness of mindfulness training over the internet to improve psychological well-being. They identified 32 published studies.

 

They report that the published studies found that internet-based mindfulness training produced significant improvements in well-being and mental health including reductions in anxiety and depression, perceived stress, sleep disruptions, and negative emotions and significant increases in academic performance and cognition, including reduced mind-wandering.

 

The published research indicates that on-line mindfulness training improves the well-being, mental health, and cognitive performance of students.

 

Even though the app we evaluate is vastly less expensive than in-person psychotherapy, it leads to comparable short-run improvements in mental health.” – Advik Shreekumar

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Xu, J., Jo, H., Noorbhai, L., Patel, A., & Li, A. (2022). Virtual mindfulness interventions to promote well-being in adults: A mixed-methods systematic review. Journal of affective disorders, 300, 571–585. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2022.01.027

 

Abstract

Background

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many have experienced drastic changes in their academic and social lives with ensuing consequences towards their physical and mental well-being. The purpose of this systematic review is to identify virtual mindfulness-based interventions for the well-being of adults aged 19 to 40 years in developed countries and examine the efficacy of these techniques/exercises.

Methods

This mixed-methods systematic review follows the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines with a registered PROSPERO protocol. With a convergent integrated synthesis approach, IEEE Xplore, PsychInfo, Web of Science and OVID were searched with a predetermined criteria and search strategy employing booleans and filters for peer-reviewed and gray literature. Data screening and extraction were independently performed by two authors, with a third author settling disagreements after reconciliation. Study quality of selected articles was assessed with two independent authors using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT). Studies were analyzed qualitatively (precluding meta and statistical analysis) due to the heterogeneous study results from diverse study designs in present literature.

Results

Common mindfulness-based interventions used in the appraised studies included practicing basic mindfulness, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy programs (MBCT) and the Learning 2 BREATHE (L2B) program.

Conclusion

Studies implementing mindfulness interventions demonstrated an overall improvement in well-being. Modified versions of these interventions can be implemented in a virtual context, so adults can improve their well-being through an accessible format.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8765070/

 

The Psychological Well-Being and Performance of Athletes is Associated with Mindfulness

The Psychological Well-Being and Performance of Athletes is Associated with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“So, while ‘mindfulness’ may seem like a current fad, the Zen-influenced philosophy and practice of karate training is in fact infused with mindfulness.” – Kris Chapman

 

Athletic performance requires the harmony of mind and body. Excellence is in part physical and in part psychological. That is why an entire profession of sports psychology has developed. “In sport psychology, competitive athletes are taught psychological strategies to better cope with a number of demanding challenges related to psychological functioning.” They use a number of techniques to enhance performance including mindfulness training. It has been shown to improve attention and concentration and emotion regulation and reduces anxiety and worry and rumination, and the physiological and psychological responses to stress. As a result, mindfulness training has been employed by athletes and even by entire teams to enhance their performance.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Relationship between Mindfulness Practices and the Psychological State and Performance of Kyokushin Karate Athletes.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8997751/ ) Vveinhardt and Kaspare recruited adult Karate athletes and had them complete measures of mindfulness, meditation experience, anxiety, depression, perceived stress, emotional state, Karate experience, and duration and intensity of sporting experience.

 

They found that the higher the levels of the athletes’ mindfulness the lower the levels of anxiety, depression, and perceived stress. Further, they found that the athletes who meditated had better emotional states than those who didn’t. Finally, they found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the higher the level of Karate performance as indicated by the belt they had obtained. Because these findings are correlative no conclusions regarding causation can be reached.

 

Hence, mindfulness was associated with better athletic performance and psychological well-being.

 

Karate combines breathing with simple meditation to help students become more relaxed and centered.” – Scott Bullard

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Vveinhardt, J., & Kaspare, M. (2022). The Relationship between Mindfulness Practices and the Psychological State and Performance of Kyokushin Karate Athletes. International journal of environmental research and public health, 19(7), 4001. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19074001

 

Abstract

The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between mindfulness practices and the psychological state and qualification of kyokushin karate athletes. The survey was conducted using the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS-15) and the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21). The study involved 371 Lithuanian kyokushin karate athletes (of which 59.3% were male and 40.7% were female; 71.4% of research participants have practiced this sport for 11 and more years and have the 1st dan or a higher belt). The results of the study showed a positive impact of mindfulness in reducing stress experienced by athletes, improving their psychological state, and enhancing their athletic performance. A moderate negative correlation was identified between stress, anxiety, and mindfulness, and while the mindfulness score was increasing, the severity level of depression was decreasing. Meanwhile, the correlation of the meditation effect and anxiety with kyokushin karate 0–7 kyu belt was very weak but statistically significant. The research results could be useful not only for athletes and their coaches but also for sports organizations. After analysing the benefits of mindfulness for kyokushin karate athletes, mindfulness practices are proposed for the effective improvement of athletes’ physical and psychological state when preparing for professional-level competitions.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8997751/

 

Improve Emotion Self-Regulation in Neurotic Students with Mindfulness

Improve Emotion Self-Regulation in Neurotic Students with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“negative emotional reactivity associated with neuroticism is partially due to low levels of mindfulness.” – Mario Wenzel

 

Neuroticism is considered a personality trait that is a lasting characteristic of the individual. It is characterized by negative feelings, repetitive thinking about the past (rumination), and worry about the future, moodiness and loneliness. It appears to be linked to vulnerability to stress. People who have this characteristic are not happy with life and have a low subjective sense of well-being and recognize that this state is unacceptable. There is some hope for people with high neuroticism as this relatively stable characteristic appears to be lessened by mindfulness training.

 

Mindfulness is also known to affect the activity of the nervous system. One way to observe the effects of mindfulness on neural activity is to measure changes in the electroencephalogram (EEG), the rhythmic electrical activity that can be recorded from the scalp. The recorded activity can be separated into frequency bands. Delta activity consists of oscillations in the 0.5-3 cycles per second band. Theta activity in the EEG consists of oscillations in the 4-8 cycles per second band. Alpha activity consists of oscillations in the 8-12 cycles per second band. Beta activity consists of oscillations in the 15-25 cycles per second band while Gamma activity occurs in the 35-45 cycles per second band. Changes in these brain activities can be compared before and after mindfulness training.

 

In today’s Research News article “Emotion Self-Regulation in Neurotic Students: A Pilot Mindfulness-Based Intervention to Assess Its Effectiveness through Brain Signals and Behavioral Data.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9002961/ ) Izhar and colleagues recruited college women who had been identified as having neuroticism. In phase 1 they had their electroencephalogram (EEG) recorded while viewing negative emotion eliciting film clips followed by a measure of cognitive response inhibition. In phase 2 they were provided with an 6-week breathing-based mindfulness training and had them practice it for at least 5 minutes daily. Before and after training they were measured for emotions, anxiety, depression, emotion regulation, and mindfulness. In phase 3 the EEG recording was repeated.

 

They found that after the mindfulness training the students had significant reductions in judgement and non-reactivity to inner experiences, anxiety, perceived stress, and the maladaptive emotion regulation strategy of suppression. In addition, after mindfulness training the students’ EEGs had significant increases in resting alpha and theta rhythms and decreases in delta rhythms.

 

These data suggest that mindfulness training improves the emotional state and emotion regulation in neurotic college women in part by altering brain activity. This further suggests that mindfulness training should be effective in improving the mental health of young women with neuroticism.

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Izhar, L. I., Babiker, A., Rizki, E. E., Lu, C. K., & Abdul Rahman, M. (2022). Emotion Self-Regulation in Neurotic Students: A Pilot Mindfulness-Based Intervention to Assess Its Effectiveness through Brain Signals and Behavioral Data. Sensors (Basel, Switzerland), 22(7), 2703. https://doi.org/10.3390/s22072703

 

Abstract

Neuroticism has recently received increased attention in the psychology field due to the finding of high implications of neuroticism on an individual’s life and broader public health. This study aims to investigate the effect of a brief 6-week breathing-based mindfulness intervention (BMI) on undergraduate neurotic students’ emotion regulation. We acquired data of their psychological states, physiological changes, and electroencephalogram (EEG), before and after BMI, in resting states and tasks. Through behavioral analysis, we found the students’ anxiety and stress levels significantly reduced after BMI, with p-values of 0.013 and 0.027, respectively. Furthermore, a significant difference between students in emotion regulation strategy, that is, suppression, was also shown. The EEG analysis demonstrated significant differences between students before and after MI in resting states and tasks. Fp1 and O2 channels were identified as the most significant channels in evaluating the effect of BMI. The potential of these channels for classifying (single-channel-based) before and after BMI conditions during eyes-opened and eyes-closed baseline trials were displayed by a good performance in terms of accuracy (~77%), sensitivity (76–80%), specificity (73–77%), and area-under-the-curve (AUC) (0.66–0.8) obtained by k-nearest neighbor (KNN) and support vector machine (SVM) algorithms. Mindfulness can thus improve the self-regulation of the emotional state of neurotic students based on the psychometric and electrophysiological analyses conducted in this study.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9002961/

 

Improve Sleep in Patients with Mental Disorders with Mindfulness

Improve Sleep in Patients with Mental Disorders with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Not getting enough sleep skews our ability to regulate our emotions. In the long run, this can increase our risk of developing a mental health condition. In turn, conditions such as anxiety and depression may cause further sleep disruption.” – James Kingsland

 

Over the last several decades, research and anecdotal experiences have accumulated an impressive evidential case that meditation has positive benefits for the individual’s mental, physical, and spiritual life. Meditation appears to be beneficial both for healthy people and for people suffering from a myriad of mental and physical illnesses. One of these benefits appears to be improving sleep and relieving insomnia.

 

It has been shown that mental disorders such as anxiety and depression are associated with sleep problems and insomnia. The research on mindfulness training for sleep problems with patients with mental disorders has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of mindfulness-based intervention programs on sleep among people with common mental disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9048455/ ) Chan and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published randomized controlled trials examining the effectiveness of mindfulness training for the treatment of sleep problems in patients with mental disorders. They found 10 published randomized controlled trials containing a total of 541 participants.

 

They report that the published studies found that mindfulness training significantly reduced sleep problems in patients with chronic anxiety or depression. It has been well established that mindfulness training reduces anxiety and depression. Although not addressed in the present study, it is possible that these improvements may at least in part result from improved sleep.

 

mindfulness helps patients manage anger, worry, anxiety, and depression. These researchers theorized that mindfulness may improve sleep quality by supplying patients with the mental resources to calm down the nervous system in preparation for sleep.” – Danielle Pacheco

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Chan, S. H., Lui, D., Chan, H., Sum, K., Cheung, A., Yip, H., & Yu, C. H. (2022). Effects of mindfulness-based intervention programs on sleep among people with common mental disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. World journal of psychiatry, 12(4), 636–650. https://doi.org/10.5498/wjp.v12.i4.636

 

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Sleep problems are particularly prevalent in people with depression or anxiety disorder. Although mindfulness has been suggested as an important component in alleviating insomnia, no comprehensive review and meta-analysis has been conducted to evaluate the effects of different mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) programs on sleep among people with depression or anxiety disorder.

AIM

To compare the effects of different MBI programs on sleep among people with depression or anxiety disorder.

METHODS

Related publications in Embase, Medline, PubMed and PsycINFO databases were systematically searched from January 2010 to June 2020 for randomised controlled trials. Data were synthesized using a random-effects or a fixed-effects model to analyse the effects of various MBI programs on sleep problems among people with depression or anxiety disorder. The fixed-effects model was used when heterogeneity was negligible, and the random-effects model was used when heterogeneity was significant to calculate the standardised mean differences (SMDs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

RESULTS

We identified 397 articles, of which 10 randomised controlled trials, involving a total of 541 participants, were included in the meta-analysis. Studies of internet mindfulness meditation intervention (IMMI), mindfulness meditation (MM), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and mindfulness-based touch therapy (MBTT) met the inclusion criteria. The greatest effect sizes are reported in favour of MBTT, with SMDs of -1.138 (95%CI: -1.937 to -0.340; P = 0.005), followed by -1.003 (95%CI: -1.645 to -0.360; P = 0.002) for MBCT. SMDs of -0.618 (95%CI: -0.980 to -0.257; P = 0.001) and -0.551 (95%CI: -0.842 to -0.260; P < 0.0001) were reported for IMMI and MBSR in the pooling trials, respectively. Significant effects on sleep problem improvement are shown in all reviewed MBI programs, except MM, for which the effect size was shown to be non-significant.

CONCLUSION

All MBI programs (MBTT, MBCT, IMMI and MBSR), except MM, are effective options to improve sleep problems among people with depression or anxiety disorder.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9048455/

 

Religiosity/Spirituality is Associated with Better Psychological Well-Being in Older Adults

Religiosity/Spirituality is Associated with Better Psychological Well-Being in Older Adults

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Both religion and spirituality can have a positive impact on mental health. . .  Both religion and spirituality can help a person tolerate stress by generating peace, purpose and forgiveness.” – Luna Greenstein

 

Spirituality is defined as “one’s personal affirmation of and relationship to a higher power or to the sacred. Spirituality has been promulgated as a solution to the challenges of life both in a transcendent sense and in a practical sense. There have been a number of studies of the influence of spirituality on the physical and psychological well-being of practitioners mostly showing positive benefits, with spirituality encouraging personal growth and mental health. The research evidence has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to pause and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Religiosity/Spirituality and Mental Health in Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9133607/ ) Coelho-Júnior and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the relationship of spirituality and religiosity with the mental health of older adults. They identified 62 published research studies with participants over the age of 60.

 

They report that the published studies found that religiosity/spirituality was associated with significantly lower levels of anxiety, depression, and fear of death and significantly higher levels of overall psychological well-being, satisfaction with life, meaning in life, and social relations. These findings are correlative so causation cannot be determined.

 

But it is clear the older people who are religious and/or spiritual are psychologically healthier.

 

religious people live longer, on average, than non-religious people.” – Jeff Levin

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Coelho-Júnior, H. J., Calvani, R., Panza, F., Allegri, R. F., Picca, A., Marzetti, E., & Alves, V. P. (2022). Religiosity/Spirituality and Mental Health in Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies. Frontiers in Medicine, 9, 877213. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmed.2022.877213

 

Abstract

Objectives

The present study investigated the association between religious and spiritual (RS) practices with the prevalence, severity, and incidence of mental health problems in older adults.

Methods

We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of cross-sectional and longitudinal studies that investigated older adults aged 60+ years and assessed RS using valid scales and questions from valid scales, and mental health according to validated multidimensional or specific instruments. Studies were retrieved from MEDLINE, LILACS, SCOPUS, CINAHL, and AgeLine databases until July 31, 2021. The risk of bias was evaluated using the Newcastle-Ottawa Quality Assessment Scale (NOS). A pooled effect size was calculated based on the log odds ratio (OR) and Z-scores. This study is registered on PROSPERO.

Results

One hundred and two studies that investigated 79.918 community-dwellers, hospitalized, and institutionalized older adults were included. Results indicated that high RS was negatively associated with anxiety and depressive symptoms, while a positive association was observed with life satisfaction, meaning in life, social relations, and psychological well-being. Specifically, people with high spirituality, intrinsic religiosity, and religious affiliation had a lower prevalence of depressive symptoms. In relation to longitudinal analysis, most studies supported that high RS levels were associated with a lower incidence of depressive symptoms and fear of death, as well as better mental health status.

Conclusion

Findings of the present study suggest that RS are significantly associated with mental health in older adults. People with high RS levels had a lower prevalence of anxiety and depressive symptoms, as well as reported greater life satisfaction and psychological well-being, better social relations, and more definite meaning in life. Data provided by an increasing number of longitudinal studies have supported most of these findings.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9133607/

 

Online Mindfulness Training Improves Psychological Well-Being

Online Mindfulness Training Improves Psychological Well-Being

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“online mindfulness interventions may be effective at improving mental health in the general population.” – Neil Bailey

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to improve health and well-being in healthy individuals. 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. One of the primary effects of mindfulness that may be responsible for many of its benefits is that it improves the physiological and psychological responses to stress.

 

The vast majority of the mindfulness training techniques, however, require a trained teacher. The participants must be available to attend multiple sessions at scheduled times that may or may not be compatible with their schedules and at locations that may not be convenient. As an alternative, training over the internet has been developed. This has 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 internet training in improving psychological well-being. The research has been accumulating and it makes sense to review and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Mindfulness Exercise Guided by a Smartphone App on Negative Emotions and Stress in Non-Clinical Populations: 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/PMC8825782/ ) Wu and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of mindfulness training with smartphone apps for improving the psychological well-being of healthy individuals.

 

They identified 8 published research studies that included a total of 574 participants. They report that the published research studies found that mindfulness training on a smartphone produced small to moderate but significant reductions in negative emotions, depression and anxiety in healthy individuals.

 

Hence, the use of smartphone mindfulness apps improves psychological well-being.

 

Online mindfulness training can enhance mindfulness, well-being, self-perceptions of emotional intelligence, and workplace performance.” – Ruby Nadler

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Wu, J., Ma, Y., Zuo, Y., Zheng, K., Zhou, Z., Qin, Y., & Ren, Z. (2022). Effects of Mindfulness Exercise Guided by a Smartphone App on Negative Emotions and Stress in Non-Clinical Populations: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in public health9, 773296. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2021.773296

 

Abstract

Background

Studies have acknowledged that mindfulness exercise guided by a smartphone app has a positive impact on mental health and physical health. However, mindfulness guided by a smartphone app on mental health is still in its infancy stage. Therefore, we conducted a meta-analysis evaluating the effect of mindfulness intervention guided by a smartphone app on negative emotions and stress in a non-clinical population with emotional symptoms.

Methods

We searched major databases, namely, Web of Science, PubMed, Scopus, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), and Wanfang, to identify all of the relevant studies published in English or Chinese from their inception until November 9, 2021. The methodological quality of the included studies was assessed with Cochrane risk-of-bias bias assessment tool. Two researchers independently conducted document retrieval, study selection, data extraction, and methodological quality evaluation.

Result

A total of eight studies were included in the study, with 574 subjects (experimental group: 348; control group: 226). A random effects model was selected to combine effect sizes. The results of the meta-analysis showed that mindfulness exercise guided by a smartphone app reduced negative emotions [standardized mean difference (SMD) = −0.232, 95% CI: −0.398 to −0.066, p = 0.006], depressive symptoms (SMD = −0.367, 95% CI: −0.596 to −0.137, p = 0.002), and anxiety symptoms (SMD = −0.490, 95% CI: −0.908 to −0.071, p = 0.022).

Conclusions

The findings indicate the potentially beneficial effect of mindfulness exercise guided by a smartphone app on symptoms of depression and anxiety among individuals in a non-clinical population with emotional symptoms. Considering the small number and overall methodological weakness of the included studies and lack of randomized controlled trials (RCTs), the results should be interpreted with caution, and future rigorously designed RCTs are warranted to provide more reliable evidence.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8825782/

 

Improve College Student Psychological Well-Being with Mindfulness and Relaxation

Improve College Student Psychological Well-Being with Mindfulness and Relaxation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness helps focus by tuning out distractions, improving memory, decision-making and attention skills. . . It is not a panacea; it is not for everyone. However, it is very worth trying. It may be the next evolution in health care and well-being.” – Affordable Colleges

 

In the modern world education is a key for success. There is a lot of pressure on college students to excel so that they can get the best jobs after graduation. The pressure can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression which can impede the student’s mental health, well-being, and school performance. So it is important that methods be found to reduce the college students’ responses to stress; to make them more resilient.

 

Contemplative practices including meditationmindfulness training, exercise, Tai Chi and Qigong, and yoga practice have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stressrelieve anxiety, and reduce depression .  A therapeutic technique that contains mindfulness training and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). It focuses on the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior and how they interact to impact their psychological and physical well-being. It then works to change thinking to alter the interaction and produce greater life satisfaction. ACT employs mindfulness practices to increase awareness and develop an attitude of acceptance and compassion in the presence of painful thoughts and feelings. ACT teaches individuals to “just notice”, accept and embrace private experiences and focus on behavioral responses that produce more desirable outcomes. This suggests that ACT may be effective in improving the psychological well-being of college students.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Combined with Music Relaxation Therapy on the Self-Identity of College Students.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8853795/ ) Yin recruited college students and assigned them to receive either  a 2-month program of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) plus systematic muscle relaxation with music, or conventional self-identity intervention, including health education, regular communication, and regular follow-up. They were measured before and after the treatments for anxiety, depression, resilience, and quality of life.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control condition Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) plus relaxation produced significant reductions in anxiety and depression and significant increases in resilience and quality of life. It cannot be determined if the combination of ACT and relaxation was necessary for the benefits or is each individually may have been effective.

 

So, improve college student psychological well-being with mindfulness and relaxation.

 

mindfulness . . . can also be a great tool for students, reducing stress and increasing well-being and productivity.” – Rebecca Enderby

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Yin J. (2022). Effect of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Combined with Music Relaxation Therapy on the Self-Identity of College Students. Journal of healthcare engineering, 2022, 8422903. https://doi.org/10.1155/2022/8422903

 

Abstract

This paper analyzes various effects of acceptance and commitment therapy combined with music relaxation therapy on the self-identity of the college students. Through open recruitment and following the principle of voluntary and confidential, 80 college students were selected from our school, and then they were divided into two groups: the control group (40 cases) and the observation group (40 cases). The observation group received acceptance and commitment therapy combined with music relaxation therapy. For the control group, conventional mental health interventions were administered. Two months after intervention, psychological status, mental resilience, and quality of life scores were compared between the two groups. Before intervention, there was no significant difference in SAS and SDS scores between the two groups (P > 0.05). After intervention, SAS and SDS scores were significantly higher than those in the control group, and the difference between the two groups was statistically significant (P < 0.05). Before intervention, there was no significant difference in the scores of toughness, strength, and optimism between the two groups (P > 0.05). After intervention, the scores of toughness, strength, and optimism in the two groups were all improved, and the scores of mental resilience in the observation group were higher than those in the control group, with statistical significance (P < 0.05). Before intervention, there was no significant difference in the quality of life scores between the observation group and the control group (P > 0.05). After intervention, the quality of life score of the observation group was higher than that of the control group, and the difference between the two groups was statistically significant (P < 0.05). The combined application of acceptance and commitment therapy and music relaxation therapy can help college students to improve their mental state, improve their mental resilience, enhance their evaluation of life quality, improve their sense of self-identity, and reduce the probability of the occurrence of unhealthy emotions such as depression.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8853795/

 

Different Mindfulness Facets Have Differing Associations with Depersonalization Symptoms

Different Mindfulness Facets Have Differing Associations with Depersonalization Symptoms

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Depersonalization symptoms can be tough to deal with, especially when you’re experiencing them 24/7. But just remember they’re caused by anxiety, and they’re part of your body’s defense mechanism to protect you from a traumatic experience.” – Shaun O’Conner

 

Depersonalization is defined as “Depersonalization/derealization disorder involves a persistent or recurring feeling of being detached from one’s body or mental processes, like an outside observer of one’s life (depersonalization), and/or a feeling of being detached from one’s surroundings (derealization).” – Merck Manuals. It is not known what the relationship is between mindfulness and depersonalization. In some ways it would be expected that mindfulness would be the antithesis of depersonalization. But in others it may actually exacerbate it as there are similarities with spiritual awakening.

 

In today’s Research News article Mindfulness and Depersonalization: a Nuanced Relationship.(See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9043097/ ) Levin and colleagues recruited healthy adults online and had them complete measures of depersonalization symptoms, anxiety, depression, perceived stress, and the five facets of mindfulness.

 

They found that the higher the levels of depersonalization symptoms the higher the levels of psychological distress and the observing and nonreactivity facets of mindfulness and the lower the levels of the acting with awareness and nonjudging facets. The relationships of depersonalization with the mindfulness facets were still significant even after controlling for the levels of psychological distress.

 

The reported relationships of depersonalization with the acting with awareness and nonjudging facets of mindfulness makes sense that they are clearly indicative of attachment with the outside environment. On the other hand, the positive relationships with observing internal experience and nonreactivity makes sense as they have internal focus and depersonalization involves detachment from the internal experiences. So, using mindfulness training as a treatment for depersonalization is probably not a good idea.

 

So, mindfulness has a complex relationship with depersonalization.

 

Sufferers of depersonalization and long-term meditators make surprisingly similar reports about reductions in their experience of being agents of their actions and as owners of their thoughts and behaviors.” – George Deane

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Levin, K. K., Gornish, A., & Quigley, L. (2022). Mindfulness and Depersonalization: a Nuanced Relationship. Mindfulness, 1–11. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-022-01890-y

 

Abstract

Objectives

Although depersonalization has been described as the antithesis of mindfulness, few studies have empirically examined this relationship, and none have considered how it may differ across various facets of mindfulness, either alone or in interaction. The present study examined the relationship between symptoms of depersonalization and facets of dispositional mindfulness in a general population sample.

Methods

A total of 296 adult participants (139 male, 155 female, 2 other) were recruited online via Qualtrics and completed the Cambridge Depersonalisation Scale; Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale; and Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire.

Results

Controlling for general distress, depersonalization symptoms were positively associated with Observe, Describe, and Nonreactivity facets and negatively associated with Acting with Awareness and Nonjudgment facets. After controlling for intercorrelations among the facets, depersonalization symptoms remained significantly associated with higher Nonreactivity and lower Acting with Awareness. The overall positive relationship between depersonalization symptoms and the Observe facet was moderated by both Nonjudgment and Nonreactivity. Specifically, higher Observing was related to increased depersonalization symptoms at low levels of Nonjudgment and to decreased symptoms at low levels of Nonreactivity.

Conclusions

The current study provides novel insight into the relationship between depersonalization symptoms and various aspects of mindfulness. Experiences of depersonalization demonstrated divergent relationships with mindfulness facets, alone and in interaction. The results may inform theoretical models of depersonalization and mindfulness-based interventions for depersonalization.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9043097/