Mindfulness Reduces the Impact of Musculoskeletal Disease and Stress on Firefighters

Mindfulness Reduces the Impact of Musculoskeletal Disease and Stress on Firefighters

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

The payoff of being calm and mindful is the strawberry; all those beautiful moments in life, that if we don’t slow down, we’ll miss. And that is a real tragedy. So be brave, be kind, fight fires, and be mindful!” – Hersch Wilson

 

First responders such as firefighters and police experience stressful and traumatic events as part of their jobs. In addition, the physical nature of the job can produce musculoskeletal problems for the firefighters. The effects of these stresses and injuries are troubling problems for firefighters that need to be addressed. Mindfulness has been shown to has been shown to reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress, to reduce the impact of trauma on the individual, and to decrease burnout. So, a firefighter’s mindfulness may be essential to the individual’s ability to deal with the stresses of the profession and produce greater resilience.

 

In today’s Research News article “Moderated Mediation Effect of Mindfulness on the Relationship Between Muscular Skeletal Disease, Job Stress, and Turnover Among Korean Firefighters.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7303520/), Lee and colleagues surveyed firefighters in Korea with questions regarding musculoskeletal disease, job stress, mindfulness, and intention to leave firefighting.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the levels of job stress and intention to leave firefighting. They also found that the higher the levels of job stress the higher the levels of musculoskeletal disease and the intention to leave firefighting. Mediation analysis determined that musculoskeletal disease increased the levels of job stress and that increased intention to leave firefighting. But the higher the levels the of mindfulness the lower the ability of musculoskeletal disease to increase the intention to leave firefighting.

 

These are correlative results so causation cannot be determined. Nevertheless, the intention to leave firefighting appears to be associated with job stress and this is increased by the firefighter having musculoskeletal problems. It makes sense that having musculoskeletal problems would make it more difficult for the firefighters to perform their duties, increasing stress. So, musculoskeletal problems make the job more difficult, increasing stress and resulting in an increase in the intention to quit the profession.

 

Mindfulness has been shown in extensive research studies to decrease the individual’s physiological and psychological responses to stress. It has also been shown to reduce burnout and the likelihood that the individual will leave a profession. The present study confirms these effects of mindfulness and extends them to firefighters. Mindfulness, however, has an additional effect of decreasing the impact of musculoskeletal disease on job stress and in turn an increase in the intention to leave firefighting. So, mindfulness appears to protect firefighters from musculoskeletal diseases increasing the stress of their jobs and the intention to leave firefighting.

 

So, reduce the impact of musculoskeletal disease and stress on firefighters with mindfulness.

 

targeted mindfulness training program increases some aspects of firefighter resilience (distress tolerance, positive adjustment, and perseverance).” – AMRA

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Lee, J. H., Lee, J., & Lee, K. S. (2020). Moderated Mediation Effect of Mindfulness on the Relationship Between Muscular Skeletal Disease, Job Stress, and Turnover Among Korean Firefighters. Safety and Health at Work, 11(2), 222–227. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.shaw.2020.03.006

 

Abstract

Background

This study investigated the effect of increased job stress, caused by musculoskeletal disease (MSD) among firefighters, on a firefighter’s intention to leave the profession, henceforth referred to as “turnover intention,” and verified the moderating effect of mindfulness on such a relationship.

Methods

A survey involving a total of 549 Korean male firefighters as participants was conducted herein, and the following results were obtained: the mediation effect of the MSD to turnover intention through job stress was confirmed, and the indirect effect of job stress was verified.

Results

We verified the moderated mediation effect of mindfulness on the relation:MSD, job stress, and turnover intention. The conditional indirect effect for middle and high levels of mindfulness is significant.

Conclusion

The result of this study is supported by proofs of the relationship between a firefighter’s MSD, job stress, and turnover intention, and these case studies reveal the moderated mediation effect of dispositional mindfulness.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7303520/

 

Improve Health Care Professional Self-Compassion with Mindfulness

Improve Health Care Professional Self-Compassion with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindfulness is especially suited to physicians, because it can help counteract the worrying, perfectionism and self-judgment that are so common among doctors.” – WellMD

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. In high stress occupations, like healthcare, burnout is all too prevalent. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. It is estimated that over 45% of healthcare workers experience burnout. It not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion. Burnout, in fact, it is a threat to the entire healthcare system. Currently, over a third of healthcare workers report that they are looking for a new job. Hence, burnout contributes to the shortage of doctors and nurses.

 

Preventing burnout has to be a priority. Unfortunately, it is beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress and prevent burnout. So, it is important that methods be found to reduce the individual’s responses to stress; to make the individual more resilient when high levels of stress occur. Contemplative practices have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress and improve well-being. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, and improving sleep.

 

One way that mindfulness may help reduce burnout is by improving self-compassion. Self-compassion is “treating oneself with kindness and understanding when facing suffering, seeing one’s failures as part of the human condition, and having a balanced awareness of painful thoughts and emotions” (Kristin Neff). This may reduce the perfectionism and self-judgement that is common among physicians and thereby reduce burnout.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Mindfulness-Based Interventions on Self-compassion in Health Care Professionals: a Meta-analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7223423/), Wasson and colleagues review summarize and perform a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of mindfulness training in improving self-compassion in physicians. They identified 28 published research studies.

 

They found that the published research reports that mindfulness-based interventions produced significant improvements in self-compassion in a variety of health care professionals. The effects sizes were moderate and there were no indications of publication bias. These results are important as having compassion for oneself is a prerequisite to having true compassion for others and this is essential for patient treatment. In addition, self-compassion may inoculate the health care worker from burnout. Hence, mindfulness training is important for health care professionals.

 

So, improve health care professional self-compassion with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness is growing in popularity as a way of promoting self-compassion among physicians. “This is all about being aware and in tune with yourself, learning to listen to your body and your mind so you know what you need and can give that to yourself.” – Kevin Teoh

 

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

 

Rachel S. Wasson, Clare Barratt, William H. O’Brien, Effects of Mindfulness-Based Interventions on Self-compassion in Health Care Professionals: a Meta-analysis. Mindfulness (N Y) 2020 Mar 5 : 1–21. doi: 10.1007/s12671-020-01342-5

 

Abstract

Objectives

Health care professionals have elevated rates of burnout and compassion fatigue which are correlated with poorer quality of life and patient care, and inversely correlated with self-compassion. Primary studies have evaluated the extent to which mindfulness-based interventions increase self-compassion with contradictory findings. A meta-analytic review of the literature was conducted to quantitatively synthesize the effects of mindfulness-based interventions on self-compassion among health care professionals.

Methods

Twenty-eight treatment outcome studies were identified eligible for inclusion. Five cumulative effect sizes were calculated using random-effects models to evaluate differences of changes in self-compassion for treatment and control groups. Within and between group comparisons were evaluated. Sub-group and moderator analyses were conducted to explore potential moderating variables.

Results

Twenty-seven articles (k = 29, N = 1020) were utilized in the pre-post-treatment meta-analysis. Fifteen samples (52%) included health care professionals and fourteen (48%) professional health care students. Results showed a moderate effect size between pre-post-treatment comparisons (g = .61, 95% CI = .47 to .76) for self-compassion and a strong effect size for pre-treatment to follow-up (g = .76, 95% CI = .41 to 1.12). The effect size comparing post-treatment versus post-control was moderate. One exploratory moderator analysis was significant, with stronger effects for interventions with a retreat component.

Conclusions

Findings suggest mindfulness-based interventions improve self-compassion in health care professionals. Additionally, a variety of mindfulness-based programs may be useful for employees and trainees. Future studies with rigorous methodology evaluating effects on self-compassion and patient care from mindfulness-based interventions are warranted to extend findings and explore moderators.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7223423/

 

Reduce Burnout in Medical Residents with Mindfulness

Reduce Burnout in Medical Residents with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

while they appreciate the great meaning in their work, clinicians’ ability to disconnect and recharge may be even more critical than it is for others when it comes to how they view work environments and feel as employees.” – David Gregg

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. In high stress occupations, like healthcare, burnout is all too prevalent. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. It is estimated that over 45% of healthcare workers experience burnout. It not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion. Burnout, in fact, it is a threat to the entire healthcare system. Currently, over a third of healthcare workers report that they are looking for a new job. Hence, burnout contributes to the shortage of doctors and nurses.

 

Preventing burnout has to be a priority. Unfortunately, it is beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress and prevent burnout. So, it is important that methods be found to reduce the individual’s responses to stress; to make the individual more resilient when high levels of stress occur. Contemplative practices have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress and improve well-being. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, and improving sleep. Hence, mindfulness may be a means to reduce burnout and improve well-being in hospital residents.

 

In today’s Research News article “Evidence-Based Interventions that Promote Resident Wellness from the Council of Emergency Residency Directors.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7081870/), Parsons and colleagues review and summarize the published research regarding methods to reduce burnout in medical residents. From this research they formed conclusions  and recommendations.

 

They report that the published studies demonstrate that medical resident burnout is mitigated by interventions that emphasize mindfulness, stress management, and resilience training. The evidence is fairly strong from well conducted controlled trials. It should be noted that mindfulness training improves both stress management and resilience. So, mindfulness training may be the key to all of the effective training strategies. They also report that working conditions tend to produce fatigue and stress that contribute to burnout. Reduction in burnout can be accomplished by adjustments to the work environment including shift scheduling.

 

So, reduce burnout in medical residents with mindfulness.

 

Research exploring the effects of mindfulness training suggests it produces broad and significant improvements in attributes applicable to patient care and physician well-being.” – American Medical Association

 

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

 

Parsons, M., Bailitz, J., Chung, A. S., Mannix, A., Battaglioli, N., Clinton, M., & Gottlieb, M. (2020). Evidence-Based Interventions that Promote Resident Wellness from the Council of Emergency Residency Directors. The western journal of emergency medicine, 21(2), 412–422. https://doi.org/10.5811/westjem.2019.11.42961

 

Abstract

Initiatives for addressing resident wellness are a recent requirement of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education in response to high rates of resident burnout nationally. We review the literature on wellness and burnout in residency education with a focus on assessment, individual-level interventions, and systemic or organizational interventions.

Best Practice Recommendations for Individual Interventions

  • Mindfulness training should be incorporated into residency training to improve wellness and reduce burnout (Level 1b, Grade B).
  • Consider incorporating behavioral interventions, such as reframing, self-compassion, and empathy into residency training (Level 4, Grade C)
  • Encourage self-care with respect to physical, psychological, and emotional health. This should include an emphasis on sleep, healthy eating, regular exercise, development of social and professional support networks, PCP visits, resources for substance abuse, and counseling or mentoring programs (Level 4, Grade C)
  • Program faculty should meet privately with residents potentially suffering from burnout to identify the unique causes and appropriate interventions. Close follow-up meetings should assess improvement (Level 4, Grade C)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7081870/

 

Improve Doctor’s Performance and Well-Being with Mindfulness

Improve Doctor’s Performance and Well-Being with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Anyone whose work involves immense human suffering needs to be aware of their inner life. The nature of the work that physicians do makes [them] more vulnerable to negative emotions or making errors,” – Ronald Epstein

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. In high stress occupations, like healthcare, burnout is all too prevalent. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. It is estimated that over 45% of healthcare workers experience burnout. It not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion.

 

Improving the psychological health of doctors has to be a priority. Contemplative practices have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, improving emotional regulation, and improving sleep. Hence, mindfulness may be a means to improve the performance and psychological health of doctors. Indeed, there have been a number of research studies on the topic. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been found.

 

In today’s Research News article “The impact of mindfulness-based interventions on doctors’ well-being and performance: A systematic review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7003865/), Scheepers and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies on the effects of mindfulness training on the performance and well-being of doctors. They report on 24 published studies.

 

They report that the published studies found that mindfulness-based trainings significantly improved the performance and well-being of doctors. This was true particularly for group based mindfulness trainings and for trainings such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) that contained multiple elements of mindfulness trainings. There are “five different elements: (i) integration of mindfulness theory; (ii) provision of didactic information on mindfulness; (iii) development of self‐awareness about thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations; (iv) promotion of attentive and behavioural self‐regulation and positive qualities (curiosity, joy, compassion), and (v) training of meditation practice.” These positive effects were reported across different educational and hospital settings and equally for residents and specialists.

 

The accumulating evidence makes a convincing case for the efficacy of mindfulness-based trainings to improve the performance and well-being of physicians. This should improve their impacts on their patients’ health and should reduce the likelihood of eventual burnout. Although, the review did not focus on mechanisms it is likely that mindfulness has these effects by improving the doctors’ ability to withstand stress and improve their ability to effectively deal with their emotions.

 

So, improve doctor’s performance and well-being with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness is especially suited to physicians, because it can help counteract the worrying, perfectionism and self-judgment that are so common among doctors.” – WellMD

 

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

 

Scheepers, R. A., Emke, H., Epstein, R. M., & Lombarts, K. (2020). The impact of mindfulness-based interventions on doctors’ well-being and performance: A systematic review. Medical education, 54(2), 138–149. https://doi.org/10.1111/medu.14020

 

Abstract

Objectives

The well‐being of doctors is at risk, as evidenced by high burnout rates amongst doctors around the world. Alarmingly, burned‐out doctors are more likely to exhibit low levels of professionalism and provide suboptimal patient care. Research suggests that burnout and the well‐being of doctors can be improved by mindfulness‐based interventions (MBIs). Furthermore, MBIs may improve doctors’ performance (eg in empathy). However, there are no published systematic reviews that clarify the effects of MBIs on doctor well‐being or performance to inform future research and professional development programmes. We therefore systematically reviewed and narratively synthesised findings on the impacts of MBIs on doctors’ well‐being and performance.

Methods

We searched PubMed and PsycINFO from inception to 9 May 2018 and independently reviewed studies investigating the effects of MBIs on doctor well‐being or performance. We systematically extracted data and assessed study quality according to the Medical Education Research Study Quality Instrument (MERSQI), and narratively reported study findings.

Results

We retrieved a total of 934 articles, of which 24 studies met our criteria; these included randomised, (un)controlled or qualitative studies of average quality. Effects varied across MBIs with different training contents or formats: MBIs including essential mindfulness training elements, or employing group‐based training, mostly showed positive effects on the well‐being or performance of doctors across different educational and hospital settings. Doctors perceived both benefits (enhanced self‐ and other‐understanding) and challenges (time limitations and feasibility) associated with MBIs. Findings were subject to the methodological limitations of studies (eg the use of self‐selected participants, lack of placebo interventions, use of self‐reported outcomes).

Conclusions

This review indicates that doctors can perceive positive impacts of MBIs on their well‐being and performance. However, the evidence was subject to methodological limitations and does not yet support the standardisation of MBIs in professional development programmes. Rather, health care organisations could consider including group‐based MBIs as voluntary modules for doctors with specific well‐being needs or ambitions regarding professional development.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7003865/

Prayer Reduces Catholic Teacher Burnout

Prayer Reduces Catholic Teacher Burnout

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“One of the most important ways we can take care of ourselves, is by maintaining a consistent prayer life. We have to be willing to recognize God’s role in our life and in our teaching.“ – Rachel Gleeson

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. This often produces burnout; fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, and professional inefficacy. Teachers experience burnout at high rates. Roughly a half a million teachers out of a workforce of three million, leave the profession each year and the rate is almost double in poor schools compared to affluent schools. Indeed, nearly half of new teachers leave in their first five years.

 

Burnout frequently results from emotional exhaustion. This exhaustion not only affects the teachers personally, but also the students, as it produces a loss of enthusiasm, empathy, and compassion. Regardless of the reasons for burnout or its immediate presenting consequences, it is a threat to schools and their students. In fact, it is a threat to the entire educational systems as it contributes to the shortage of teachers. Hence, preventing burnout has to be a priority.

 

Mindfulness has been demonstrated to be helpful in treating and preventing burnout.

Prayer can be a mindfulness meditation practice. It is possible that Prayer, like mindfulness, can reduce teacher burnout.

 

In today’s Research News article “Spirituality and Prayer on Teacher Stress and Burnout in an Italian Cohort: A Pilot, Before-After Controlled Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02933/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1232595_69_Psycho_20200204_arts_A), Chirico and colleagues recruited Catholic school teachers and randomly assigned them to a no treatment control condition or to receive training 30-minute, twice a week for 2 months in a combination of prayer and meditative adoration of the divine. They were measured before the treatment and 4 months later for job satisfaction, psychological well-being, and burnout, including emotional exhaustion and depersonalization.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control condition that the group that received training in prayer had significantly higher levels of job satisfaction and psychological well-being, and significantly lower levels of burnout, including both emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. These effects had moderate to large effect sizes.

 

These results are interesting and suggest that prayer, like other mindfulness practices, is effective in promoting well-being and reducing job burnout. The mechanisms by which this occurs were not investigated but mindfulness is known to reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. This may, in turn, make the individual more resilient and better able to withstand the difficulties encountered in the classroom.

 

So, reduces catholic teacher burnout with prayer.

 

spiritual intelligence plays an important role in work environment.” – Ravie Mirshavi

 

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

 

Chirico F, Sharma M, Zaffina S and Magnavita N (2020) Spirituality and Prayer on Teacher Stress and Burnout in an Italian Cohort: A Pilot, Before-After Controlled Study. Front. Psychol. 10:2933. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02933

 

Introduction: Teaching is a stressful profession that exposes workers to the risk of burnout. Techniques involving higher mental functions, such as transcendental meditation and prayer, have been used in stress and burnout prevention programs. In this study, we report the results of an experience conducted in a group of teachers of a religious institute, in which prayer was used as a technique to prevent burnout.

Methods: Fifty teachers and support staff employed at a Catholic school of a Congregation of nuns volunteered for this study. They were randomized into two groups: prayer treatment (n = 25) or control group (n = 25). The treatment protocol was based on the combination of individual Christian prayer and a focus group of prayer-reflection. The participants received two 30 min training sessions a week over 2 months. Job satisfaction, well-being, and burnout symptoms (emotional exhaustion and depersonalization sub-scales) were measured at baseline and at follow-up (4 months) with the Italian versions of the Maslach Burnout Inventory validated for teaching and education sector, the General Health Questionnaire, and the Warr, Cook, and Wall’s Job Satisfaction Scale.

Results: At follow-up, a significant improvement of all outcome measures was observed. Emotional exhaustion (16.80–4.92, p < 0.001), depersonalization (3.72–0.60, p < 0.001) levels, and psychological impairment (10.08–2.04, p < 0.001) were significantly decreased, and job satisfaction (45.96–77.00, p < 0.001) was increased. The effect sizes (Glass’ Δ) of the therapeutic interventions ranged from 0.53 (satisfaction level) to 2.87 (psychological health), suggesting moderate to large effects.

Discussion: Prayer could be effective, no less than meditation and other spiritual or mind-body techniques, in contrasting the negative effects of occupational stress and preventing burnout among teachers and possibly other human service professionals.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02933/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1232595_69_Psycho_20200204_arts_A

 

Mindfulness Training Improves the Psychological Health of Health Care Professionals

Mindfulness Training Improves the Psychological Health of Health Care Professionals

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Levels of stress and burnout in the healthcare profession have been exacerbated in recent decades by significant changes in how health care is delivered and administered. Extensive research has shown that mindfulness training . . . can have significant positive impacts on participants’ job satisfaction; their relationships with patients, co-workers and administration; and their focus and creativity at work.” – WPHP

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. In high stress occupations, like healthcare, burnout is all too prevalent. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. It is estimated that over 45% of healthcare workers experience burnout. It not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion.

 

Improving the psychological health of health care professionals has to be a priority. Contemplative practices have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, and improving sleep. Hence, mindfulness may be a means to improve the psychological health of medical professionals.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based IARA Model® Proves Effective to Reduce Stress and Anxiety in Health Care Professionals. A Six-Month Follow-Up Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6888054/), Barattucci and colleagues recruited doctors, nurses, and healthcare assistants and randomly assigned them to either a no-treatment control condition or to receive self-awareness/mindfulness training. The training occurred in 4 8-hour group sessions and emphasized mindfulness, emotion regulation, counseling techniques and skills to deal with stress. They were measured before and 6 months after training for anxiety, perceived stress, and emotion regulation.

 

They found that 6 months after training the self-awareness/mindfulness training group had significant reductions in perceived stress and anxiety and significant improvements in emotion regulation while the control group did not. They also found that the higher the levels of emotion regulation the lower the levels of anxiety and perceived stress.

 

The intervention of self-awareness/mindfulness training involves a complex set of trainings and it cannot be determined which component or combination of components are responsible for the effects. But it has been shown in previous research showing that mindfulness training produces lasting improvements in emotion regulation, reductions in anxiety and perceived stress, and improvements in the psychological health of healthcare workers. Hence, it can be concluded that at least the mindfulness training component of the self-awareness/mindfulness training is effective. It was not established but it is assumed that these psychological improvements will lead to greater resilience and decrease burnout in healthcare workers.

 

So, mindfulness training improves the psychological health of health care professionals.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to reduce depression, anxiety, rumination, and stress, and to improve self-compassion and positive mood states in health care professionals. Second, the practice of mindfulness improves qualities that are critical to effective treatment, such as attention, empathy, emotion regulation, and affect tolerance.” – Shauna Shapiro

 

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

 

Barattucci, M., Padovan, A. M., Vitale, E., Rapisarda, V., Ramaci, T., & De Giorgio, A. (2019). Mindfulness-Based IARA Model® Proves Effective to Reduce Stress and Anxiety in Health Care Professionals. A Six-Month Follow-Up Study. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(22), 4421. doi:10.3390/ijerph16224421

 

Abstract

Changes in the health care environment, together with specific work-related stressors and the consequences on workers’ health and performance, have led to the implementation of prevention strategies. Among the different approaches, those which are mindfulness-based have been institutionally recommended with an indication provided as to their effectiveness in the management of stress. The aim of the present study was to analyze the efficacy of the mindfulness-based IARA Model® (an Italian acronym translatable into meeting, compliance, responsibility, autonomy) in order to ameliorate perceived stress, anxiety and enhance emotional regulation among health care professionals (HCPs; i.e., doctors, nurses, and healthcare assistants). Four hundred and ninety-seven HCPs, 215 (57.2%) of which were women, were randomly assigned to a mindfulness-based training or control group and agreed to complete questionnaires on emotion regulation difficulties (DERS), anxiety, and perceived stress. Results showed that HCPs who attended the IARA training, compared to the control group, had better emotional regulation, anxiety and stress indices after 6 months from the end of the intervention. Furthermore, the results confirmed the positive relationship between emotional regulation, perceived stress and anxiety. The present study contributes to literature by extending the effectiveness of IARA in improving emotional regulation and well-being in non-clinical samples. Moreover, the study provides support for the idea that some specific emotional regulation processes can be implicated in perceived stress and anxiety. From the application point of view, companies should invest more in stress management intervention, monitoring and training, in order to develop worker skills, emotional self-awareness, and relational resources.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6888054/

 

Improve Well-Being in Nurses with Mindfulness

Improve Well-Being in Nurses with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“For nurses, many of them went into the field because of their ability to connect with people and make a difference in their lives. Mindfulness is a path to help us reconnect with what brings meaning to the profession. It brings humanity back to healthcare.” – Susan Bauer-Wu

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. In high stress occupations, like healthcare, burnout is all too prevalent. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. It is estimated that over 45% of healthcare workers experience burnout. It not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion. Burnout, in fact, it is a threat to the entire healthcare system. Currently, over a third of healthcare workers report that they are looking for a new job. Hence, burnout contributes to the shortage of doctors and nurses.

 

Preventing burnout has to be a priority. Unfortunately, it is beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress and prevent burnout. So, it is important that methods be found to reduce the individual’s responses to stress; to make the individual more resilient when high levels of stress occur. Contemplative practices have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress and improve well-being. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, and improving sleep. Hence, mindfulness may be a means to reduce burnout and improve well-being in nurses.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness to promote nurses’ well-being.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6716566/), Penque recruited Registered Nurses (RNs). They participated in a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. The MBSR program consists of 8 weekly 1-hour group sessions involving meditation, yoga, body scan, and discussion. The participants were also encouraged to perform daily practice at home. They were measured before and after training and 3 months later for mindfulness, self-compassion, serenity, interpersonal reactivity, work satisfaction, and burnout.

 

She found that following the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program there were significant increases in mindfulness, self-compassion including  self-kindness, common humanity, mindfulness, serenity, and interpersonal reactivity including perspective taking, and empathetic concern. There were also significant decreases in burnout, isolation, overidentification, self-judgment, and personal distress. She also found that the higher the levels of mindfulness, the higher the levels of self-compassion and serenity.

 

The results must be interpreted with caution as there wasn’t a control, comparison, group. So, potential confounds such as placebo effects, experimenter bias, Hawthorne effects, etc. were present. Other, better controlled studies, however, have demonstrated that mindfulness training increases self-compassion and reduces burnout. So, it is likely that these same benefits of mindfulness training occurred here irrespective of confounding conditions.

 

The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program is a complex of meditation, yoga, and body scan practices. It is not possible to determine which components or combination of components were responsible for the benefits. Regardless, the results suggest that MBSR training is a safe and effective program to improve the well-being of nurses and reduce burnout. This can not only improve the psychological health of the nurses but also improve the retention of these valuable and important healthcare workers.

 

So, improve well-being in nurses with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness can positively affect how nurses feel and cope with the pressures of their work, thereby resulting in better self-care and improved patient outcomes.” – Nursing Times

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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Study Summary

 

Penque S. (2019). Mindfulness to promote nurses’ well-being. Nursing management, 50(5), 38–44. doi:10.1097/01.NUMA.0000557621.42684.c4

 

This article examines the effects of MBSR on job-relevant factors, including mindfulness, self-compassion, empathy, serenity, work satisfaction, incidental overtime, and job burnout. Nursing is a high-stress profession that may be taking a toll on our nurses. Mindfulness-based programs can help nurses develop skills to manage clinical stress and improve their health; increase overall attention, empathy, and presence with patients and families; and experience work satisfaction, serenity, decreased incidental overtime, and reduced job burnout.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6716566/

 

Improve the Mental Health on Intensive Care Nurses with Mindfulness

Improve the Mental Health on Intensive Care Nurses with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

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

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. In high stress occupations, like healthcare, burnout is all too prevalent. This is particularly acute in intensive care. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. It is estimated that over 45% of healthcare workers experience burnout. It not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion. Burnout, in fact, it is a threat to the entire healthcare system. Currently, over a third of healthcare workers report that they are looking for a new job. Hence, burnout contributes to the shortage of doctors and nurses.

 

Preventing burnout has to be a priority. Unfortunately, it is beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress and prevent burnout. So, it is important that methods be found to reduce the individual’s responses to stress; to make the individual more resilient when high levels of stress occur. Contemplative practices have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, and improving sleep. Hence, mindfulness may be a means to reduce burnout in medical professionals in high stress areas.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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Study Summary

 

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

 

Abstract

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

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

 

Reduce Teacher Stress and Burnout with Mindfulness

Reduce Teacher Stress and Burnout with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness programs in the workplace may help employees better deal with stress, and develop the ability to observe negative emotions and automatic thought patterns and behaviors, and remain calm, present, self-aware and alert, rather than succumbing to the slippery slope of negative emotions.” – B. Grace Bullock

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. This often produces burnout; fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, and professional inefficacy. Teachers experience burnout at high rates. Roughly a half a million teachers out of a workforce of three million, leave the profession each year and the rate is almost double in poor schools compared to affluent schools. Indeed, nearly half of new teachers leave in their first five years.

 

Burnout frequently results from emotional exhaustion. This exhaustion not only affects the teachers personally, but also the students, as it produces a loss of enthusiasm, empathy, and compassion. Regardless of the reasons for burnout or its immediate presenting consequences, it is a threat to schools and their students. In fact, it is a threat to the entire educational systems as it contributes to the shortage of teachers. Hence, preventing burnout has to be a priority.

Mindfulness has been demonstrated to be helpful in treating and preventing burnout.

 

In today’s Research News article “Can mindfulness mitigate the energy-depleting process and increase job resources to prevent burnout? A study on the mindfulness trait in the school context.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6448859/), Guidetti and colleagues examine the relationship of mindfulness to teacher burnout. They recruited primary, middle, and secondary school teachers and had them complete questionnaires measuring teacher mindfulness, teacher stress, meaningfulness of work, and burnout, including emotional exhaustion, and depersonalization.

 

They found significant relationships between mindfulness and the psychological state of the teachers with the higher the teacher’s levels of mindfulness the lower the levels of stress, emotional exhaustion, and depersonalization and the higher the levels of meaningfulness of work. A confirmatory factor analysis revealed that mindfulness was related to burnout (both emotional exhaustion and depersonalization) both directly and indirectly. High levels of mindfulness not only were directly related to burnout but also indirectly by being related to lower levels of stress and higher levels of meaningfulness of work which in turn were related to lower levels of burnout.

 

These results are correlational, so caution must be exercised in inferring causation. Previous research, however, has clearly demonstrated that mindfulness training results in decreased burnout in multiple occupations. So, it is likely that mindfulness is the cause of the lower levels of burnout observed in the current study with teachers. The current results show how mindfulness is related to lower teacher burnout. It does so both directly and indirectly through its relationships with stress and meaningfulness of work.

 

So, reduce teacher stress and burnout with mindfulness.

 

“when teachers practice mindfulness, students’ misbehavior and other stressors become like water off a duck’s back, allowing them to stay focused on what teachers really want to do: teach.” – Vicki Zakrzewski 

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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Study Summary

 

Guidetti, G., Viotti, S., Badagliacca, R., Colombo, L., & Converso, D. (2019). Can mindfulness mitigate the energy-depleting process and increase job resources to prevent burnout? A study on the mindfulness trait in the school context. PloS one, 14(4), e0214935. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0214935

 

Abstract

Background

Past studies in the teaching context provided evidence of the role of mindfulness-based intervention in improving occupational wellbeing. This study aims to increase the extant knowledge by testing the mechanism that links teachers’ mindfulness at work to occupational wellbeing. Rooted in the job demand–resource model, the mindfulness trait is conceptualized as a personal resource that has the ability to impact and interact with job demands and resources, specifically workload stress appraisal and perceived meaningfulness of work, in affecting teachers’ burnout.

Methods

A sample of primary, middle, and secondary school teachers (N = 605) completed a questionnaire that aimed to assess teachers’ mindfulness trait and the measures of the quality of occupational life in the school context. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted to test the model fit indices; further analyses were performed to test the hypotheses about mediation and moderation effects.

Results

The CFA showed good model fit indices. Further analyses highlighted that teachers’ mindfulness is negatively associated with workload stress appraisal and that positively influenced work meaning, in turn mediating the relationship between mindfulness and burnout. Finally, mindfulness moderated the effect of workload stress appraisal on burnout.

Conclusions

Rooted in the job demand–resource model, this study emphasizes an underrepresented personal resource, that is, the mindfulness trait at work, and the links that favor its impact on burnout. Practical and future research implications are also discussed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6448859/

 

Relieve Stress and Burnout in Primary Care Physicians with Mindfulness

Relieve Stress and Burnout in Primary Care Physicians with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Dealing with sick, scared, suffering and dying patients is draining all by itself. Throw in distraction by negative emotions like worry, anger, frustration, righteous indignation … and you can easily double the energy drain. . . With an effective mindfulness practice you can notice when you are distracted by thoughts and feelings and release them quickly and effectively — without judging yourself in the process.” – Dike Drummond

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. In high stress occupations, like healthcare, burnout is all too prevalent. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. It is estimated that over 45% of healthcare workers experience burnout. Currently, over a third of healthcare workers report that they are looking for a new job. It not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion. Burnout, in fact, it is a threat to the entire healthcare system as it contributes to the shortage of doctors and nurses.

 

Preventing burnout has to be a priority. Unfortunately, it is beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress and prevent burnout, so it is important that methods be found to reduce the individual’s responses to stress; to make the individual more resilient when high levels of stress occur. Contemplative practices have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, and improving sleep. On the front lines of medical practice are the primary care physicians. It is thus important to assess the effectiveness of mindfulness in reducing stress and burnout in these physicians.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of mindfulness training on perceived stress, self-compassion, and self-reflection of primary care physicians: a mixed-methods study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6348323/ ), Wietmarschen and colleagues recruited primary care physicians and provided them with an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program that includes body scan and focused meditations, yoga practice, and discussion that was modified for physicians’ needs. Training occurred once a week for 2.5 hours and included daily home practice. The physicians were measured before and after the training and 6 months later for perceived stress, self-compassion, and self-reflection ability. A subset of these physicians was also interviewed 3 months after training.

 

They found that immediately after training the physicians has significantly lower perceived stress and significantly improved self-compassion and self-reflection. Six months later the improvements in perceived stress and self-compassion were still large and highly significant. The interviews revealed that “participation in the mindfulness training made the participants more aware of their own feelings and thoughts, and better able to accept situations, experience more peacefulness, and have more openness to the self and others.”

 

It needs to be recognized that the study did not contain a control group for comparison leaving open a number of potentially confounding factors. But, prior published randomized controlled trials have demonstrated that mindfulness training markedly reduces stress and burnout. So, the present results are most likely due to the effects of MBSR training.

 

These are important findings as burnout is a threat to medical careers and the quality of health care. The fact, that a relatively brief training can have lasting effects on the well-being of primary care physicians suggests that mindfulness training should be routinely included in physician training and continuing education.

 

So, relieve stress and burnout in primary care physicians with mindfulness.

 

“mindfulness can be thought of as ‘preventive medicine’ for future doctors, helping them cultivate a way of being that may foster healing and growth in their own lives as well as skills to effectively help others heal and grow in the future.” – Shauna Shapiro

 

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

 

van Wietmarschen, H., Tjaden, B., van Vliet, M., Battjes-Fries, M., & Jong, M. (2018). Effects of mindfulness training on perceived stress, self-compassion, and self-reflection of primary care physicians: a mixed-methods study. BJGP open, 2(4), bjgpopen18X101621. doi:10.3399/bjgpopen18X101621

 

Abstract

Background

Primary care physicians are subjected to a high workload, which can lead to stress and a high incidence of burnout. A mindfulness training course was developed and implemented for primary care physicians to better cope with stress and improve job functioning.

Aim

To gain insight into the effects of the mindfulness training on perceived stress, self-compassion, and self-reflection of primary care physicians.

Design & setting

A pragmatic mixed-methods pre–post design in which physicians received 8 weeks of mindfulness training.

Method

Participants completed validated questionnaires on perceived stress (Perceived Stress Scale [PSS]), self-compassion (Self-Compassion Scale [SCS]), and self-reflection (Groningen Reflection Ability Scale [GRAS]) before the training, directly after, and 6 months later. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six participants after the training and a content analysis was performed to gain in depth understanding of experiences.

Results

A total of 54 physicians participated in the study. PSS was reduced (mean difference [MD] -4.5, P<0.001), SCS improved (MD = 0.5, P<0.001), and GRAS improved (MD = 3.3, P<0.001), directly after the 8-week training compared with before training. Six months later, PSS was still reduced (MD = -2.9, P = 0.025) and SCS improved (MD = 0.7, P<0.001). GRAS did not remain significant (MD = 2.5, P = 0.120). Qualitative analysis revealed four themes: being more aware of their own feelings and thoughts; being better able to accept situations; experiencing more peacefulness; and having more openness to the self and others.

Conclusion

Mindfulness training might be an effective approach for improving stress resilience, self-compassion, and self-reflection in primary care physicians.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6348323/