Improve Dementia Patient Caregiver Mental Health and Reduce Stress with Mindfulness

Improve Dementia Patient Caregiver Mental Health and Reduce Stress with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

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

 

Abstract

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

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

Relieve Medical Professional Burnout with Mindfulness

Relieve Medical Professional 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.” – Grace Bullock

 

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. 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. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. It not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion. Burnout it is a threat to the healthcare providers and their patients. 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. But, 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.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of heartfulness meditation on burnout, emotional wellness, and telomere length in health care professionals.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5463663/, Thimmapuram and colleagues recruited hospital medical residents, staff physicians and nurses and allowed them to choose to participate in a no-treatment control condition or receive once a week for 12 weeks of meditation training consisting of one weekly 30-minute training session and morning and evening home practice. They were measured before and after training for burnout and emotional wellness. They also supplied salivary samples that were assayed for the molecular genetic aging marker of telomere length.

 

Following the 12-week intervention the meditation group had significant improvements in burnout including decreases in emotional exhaustion and depersonalization and a significant increase in feelings of personal accomplishment. The meditation group also had significant increases in measures of emotional wellness. In addition, the younger meditation participants (< 35 years of age) had a significant increase in telomere length.

 

The results are interesting but the study has a number of methodological shortcomings that prevent clear conclusions. These include self-selection for conditions and a no-treatment control producing potential confounding from participant bias, placebo effects, attention effects, experimenter bias, etc. There is evidence, however, from a number of better controlled prior studies that indicate that meditation practice can significantly relieve the symptoms of burnout and increase telomere length.

 

So, relieve medical professional burnout with mindfulness.

 

“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. Mindfulness is incredibly valuable, because it brings the energy drain of non-supportive thoughts and feelings to a screeching halt.” – Dike Drummond

 

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

 

Thimmapuram, J., Pargament, R., Sibliss, K., Grim, R., Risques, R., & Toorens, E. (2017). Effect of heartfulness meditation on burnout, emotional wellness, and telomere length in health care professionals. Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspectives, 7(1), 21–27. http://doi.org/10.1080/20009666.2016.1270806

 

ABSTRACT

Background: Burnout poses significant challenges during training years in residency and later in the career. Meditation is a tool to treat stress-related conditions and promote wellness. Telomere length may be affected by burnout and stress. However, the benefits of meditation have not been fully demonstrated in health care professionals.

Objective: We assessed the effects of a 12-week ‘Heartfulness Meditation’ program on burnout, emotional wellness, and telomere length in residents, faculty members, and nurses at a large community teaching hospital during the 2015–16 academic year.

Methods: All subjects completed a baseline Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) and Emotional Wellness Assessment (EWA) at the beginning of the study. Meditators received instructions in Heartfulness Meditation. At week 12, subjects completed a follow up MBI and EWA scores. Salivary telomere length was measured at baseline and week 12.

Results: Twenty-seven out of a total 155 residents (17.4%) along with eight faculty physicians and 12 nurses participated in the study. Thirty-five enrolled as meditators and 12 as controls. At 12 weeks, the meditators had statistically significant improvement in all measures of burnout and in nearly all attributes of EWA. Controls showed no statistically significant changes in either burnout or emotional wellness scores. Relative telomere length increased with statistical significance in a younger subset of meditators.

Conclusion: Our results indicate that meditation offers an accessible and efficient method by which physician and nurse burnout can be ameliorated and wellness can be enhanced. The increased telomere length is an interesting finding but needs to be confirmed with further research.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5463663/

Reduce Burnout in Palliative Care Teams with Mindfulness

Reduce Burnout in Palliative Care Teams with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“The fullness of life, tuned-in “being” and focused work that result from mindfulness have significant health and well-being consequences for hospice and palliative care professionals.” – Ellen Langer

 

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. It is estimated that over 45% of healthcare workers experience burnout. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. It not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion, sometimes called compassion-fatigue. This can be particularly problematic in a palliative care setting where empathy and compassion are critical.

 

Regardless of the reasons for burnout or its immediate presenting consequences, it is a threat to the healthcare providers and their patients. In fact, it is a threat to the entire healthcare system as it contributes to the shortage of doctors and nurses. Hence, preventing existing healthcare workers from burning out has to be a priority. Mindfulness has been demonstrated to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, and improving sleep. Another factor that could affect healthcare workers’ responses to stress is self-compassion. By treating oneself with kindness and understanding the effects of stress can be mitigated. So, it makes sense to investigate the relationship of mindfulness and self-compassion to compassion-fatigue and burnout in palliative care workers.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness and compassion-oriented practices at work reduce distress and enhance self-care of palliative care teams: a mixed-method evaluation of an “on the job“ program.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5501358/, Orellana-Rios and colleagues recruited staff members of a palliative care facility and provided for them a 10-week program of mindfulness training that was incorporated into their daily job duties. The training included discussions, loving kindness meditation, walking meditation and tong-len meditation. They were also encouraged and provided materials (CDs) for home practice. Participants were measured before and after treatment for burnout, anxiety, depression, somatization, emotion regulation, work satisfaction and enjoyment, and goal attainment. They also provided saliva samples for measurement of cortisol levels. After completion of the study, the participants were interviewed concerning the effectiveness of the program.

 

They found that following the training there was a significant decrease in burnout, perceived stress, and anxiety and a significant increase in emotional awareness, resilience, joy, goal attainment, and enjoyment of work. In the interviews, the participants generally reported improvements in feeling empowered to take care of themselves, including mindful pauses throughout their day, and lower levels of worry and rumination.

 

These are interesting and potentially significant preliminary results. This should be considered as a pilot study as there was no control or comparison condition included. The participants’ measurements before training were simply compared to those after training and there were no long-term follow-up measurements. But, the results are sufficiently interesting to justify the conduct of a large-scale randomized controlled clinical trial including an active control and long-term follow-up.

 

Taken together with previous research that has demonstrated that mindfulness training decreases burnout, anxiety, depression, and increases emotion regulation and resilience, the results suggest that mindfulness training is highly beneficial for the improvement of the emotional well-being of staff involved in palliative care. Although not measured, this suggests that staff turnover and importantly, the care for the patients was also improved.

 

So, reduce burnout in palliative care teams with mindfulness.

 

“in the end, talking to patients about palliative care can make a huge difference in their lives. It can restore their dignity and empower them to live the remainder of their lives on their own terms. And that’s why palliative care, which promotes quality of life through mindfulness, creativity, and compassion, is gaining widespread acceptance.” – Anne Bruce

 

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

 

Orellana-Rios, C. L., Radbruch, L., Kern, M., Regel, Y. U., Anton, A., Sinclair, S., & Schmidt, S. (2018). Mindfulness and compassion-oriented practices at work reduce distress and enhance self-care of palliative care teams: a mixed-method evaluation of an “on the job“ program. BMC Palliative Care, 17, 3. http://doi.org/10.1186/s12904-017-0219-7

 

Abstract

Background

Maintaining a sense of self-care while providing patient centered care, can be difficult for practitioners in palliative medicine. We aimed to pilot an “on the job” mindfulness and compassion-oriented meditation training for interdisciplinary teams designed to reduce distress, foster resilience and strengthen a prosocial motivation in the clinical encounter.

Methods

Our objective was to explore the feasibility and effectiveness of this newly developed training. The study design was an observational, mixed-method pilot evaluation, with qualitative data, self-report data, as well as objective data (cortisol) measured before and after the program.

Twenty-eight staff members of an interdisciplinary palliative care team participated in the 10-week training conducted at their workplace.

Measures were the Perceived Stress Questionnaire, the Maslach Burnout Inventory, the somatic complaints subscale of the SCL-90-R, the Emotion Regulation Skills Questionnaire, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and a Goal Attainment Scale that assessed two individual goals. Semi-structured interviews were employed to gain insight into the perceived outcomes and potential mechanisms of action of the training. T-tests for dependent samples were employed to test for differences between baseline and post-intervention.

Results

Significant improvements were found in two of three burnout components (emotional exhaustion and personal accomplishment), anxiety, stress, two emotional regulation competences and joy at work. Furthermore, 85% of the individual goals were attained. Compliance and acceptance rates were high and qualitative data revealed a perceived enhancement of self-care, the integration of mindful pauses in work routines, a reduction in rumination and distress generated in the patient contact as well as an enhancement of interpersonal connection skills. An improvement of team communication could also be identified.

Conclusions

Our findings suggest that the training may be a feasible, effective and practical way of reducing caregiver-distress and enhancing the resources of palliative care teams.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5501358/

Improve Nursing Student Psychological Well-Being with Yoga

Improve Nursing Student Psychological Well-Being with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“How can mindfulness help nurses? Greater awareness and less distraction in the clinical setting can improve your assessment skills and your performance of complex technical procedures that may reduce the risk of clinical errors. Mindfulness can enhance your communication with patients and other healthcare team members by bringing a greater awareness to how and what others are communicating. Listening and speaking with greater attention can lead to more effective communication and better clinical outcomes, particularly in crisis situations. Moreover, . . . mindfulness training can help nurses cope more effectively with stress and reduce the risk of professional burnout.” – Lois Howland

 

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. 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. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. It not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion. Burnout it is a threat to the healthcare providers and their patients. 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. But, 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. It has also been shown that the combination of yoga, aerobic exercise and meditation is effective in improving the mental health of stressed employees.

 

Developing mindfulness early in healthcare careers could work to prevent later burnout. So, it makes sense to investigate the combination of mindfulness training and exercise that occurs in yoga training for nursing students to promote mental health and lower the likelihood of future burnout. In today’s Research News article “Effect of Yoga on Psychological Functioning of Nursing Students: A Randomized Wait List Control Trial.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5483709/, Mathad and colleagues recruited 1st to 3rd year nursing students and randomly assigned them to be on a wait-list control or receive 8 weeks of yoga instruction and practice. The yoga practice was conducted daily and included breathing exercises, stretching, postures and meditation. The students were measured before and after training for mindfulness, resilience, self-compassion, satisfaction with life, empathy, and perceived stress.

 

They found that compared to baseline and the wait-list controls, the yoga training produced significant increases in mindfulness and self-compassion and a trend toward decreased perceived stress. Hence, yoga practice produced improvements in the psychological well-being of the nursing students. It remains to be determined if the students maintain the yoga practice and if the improvements persist into the future of their education and their practice as nurses. A longitudinal follow-up would be very helpful in this regard. In addition, future research should contain an active control condition, perhaps aerobic exercise, to determine if yoga practice per se was responsible for the observed benefits.

 

So, improve nursing student psychological well-being with yoga.

 

“The faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention, over and over again, is the very root of judgment, character, and will . An education which should improve this faculty would be the education par excellence. But it is easier to define this ideal than to give practical directions for bringing it about.” — William James

 

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

 

Mathad, M. D., Pradhan, B., & Sasidharan, R. K. (2017). Effect of Yoga on Psychological Functioning of Nursing Students: A Randomized Wait List Control Trial. Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research : JCDR, 11(5), KC01–KC05. http://doi.org/10.7860/JCDR/2017/26517.9833

 

Abstract

Introduction

Nursing students experience considerable amount of stress to meet their professional demands. Yoga is an effective practice to reduce stress and improve psychological well being. However, improvement in psychological well being aids in stress management.

Aim

To evaluate the effectiveness of eight week yoga intervention on psychological functioning of nursing students.

Materials and Methods

This was a randomised Wait List Control (WLC) trial, we recruited total 100 students from Kempegowda Institute of Nursing, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India and randomized them into two groups (yoga=50 and WLC=50 students). The following instruments were used to collect the data, Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory (FMI), Self-Compassion Scale- Short Form (SCS-SF), Connor–Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC), Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS), Jefferson Scale of Empathy HPS-Version (JSE-HPS), and Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). Data was analysed using Repeated Measures Analysis of Variance (RM-ANOVA) followed by post-hoc Bonferroni correction for all psychological variables.

Results

The results of our study report that eight week yoga intervention was significantly effective in improving self compassion and mindfulness among nursing students in experimental group than compared to WLC group. Even though there were improvements in resilience, satisfaction in life and perceived stress, results were not statistically significant.

Conclusion

Overall, results of the present study have demonstrated impact of eight week yoga intervention on the psychological functioning of nursing students. Yoga intervention can be inculcated in the nursing education to meet demands of the profession.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5483709/

Improve Physician-Patient Interactions with Mindfulness

Improve Physician-Patient Interactions with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

”For physicians, mindfulness and the exploration of clinical narratives helped them to be aware of how they are feeling, how events in their own lives might be influencing how they react to patients, and how they can better recognize the meaning and satisfaction derived from the practice of medicine.” – Michael Krasner

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. In high stress occupations, such as healthcare, burnout is all too prevalent. This is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. It is estimated that over 45% of healthcare workers experience burnout. Burnout frequently results from emotional exhaustion. This exhaustion not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of enthusiasm, empathy, and compassion. This can markedly impair the critical communications between the physician and patient and result in substantially poorer quality of care.

 

Loss of effective physician-patient communications is a threat to healthcare. Hence, improving communications and preventing burnout has to be a priority. Mindfulness training has been demonstrated to be helpful in treating and preventing burnout and mindfulness training improves interpersonal communications. So, it would be reasonable to expect that mindfulness training would improve the communications between physicians and their patients. In today’s Research News article “Improving Communication between Physicians and Their Patients through Mindfulness and Compassion-Based Strategies: A Narrative Review.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5373002/, Amutio-Kareaga and colleagues review the published research literature on the ability of mindfulness to improve physician-patient communications.

 

They identified 20 empirical or review studies on the effectiveness of mindfulness training on communications between doctors and their patients. They found that the published studies reported that mindfulness-based interventions reduced burnout, increased compassion, physician empathy, and quality of care, and improved physician-patient communications. Hence, training physicians in mindfulness greatly improves their ability to communicate and work with their patients. This is important suggesting that physicians should be routinely trained in mindfulness for their own benefit but especially for the benefit of their patients. These results suggest that this could result in more effective healthcare and reduced physician burnout.

 

So, improve physician-patient interactions with mindfulness.

 

“An emerging body of research points to the benefits of mindfulness for physicians. Practicing mindfulness can reduce physician burnout, and improve physician well being. Now research shows that physician mindfulness is good news for patients too: . . .physicians with mindfulness skills communicate well with patients, and provide better quality care.” – Emily Nauman

 

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

 

Amutio-Kareaga, A., García-Campayo, J., Delgado, L. C., Hermosilla, D., & Martínez-Taboada, C. (2017). Improving Communication between Physicians and Their Patients through Mindfulness and Compassion-Based Strategies: A Narrative Review. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 6(3), 33. http://doi.org/10.3390/jcm6030033

 

Abstract

Communication between physicians and patients is a key pillar of psychosocial support for enhancing the healing process of patients and for increasing their well-being and quality of life. Physicians and other health professionals might benefit from interventions that increase their self-care, awareness, compassion, and other-focused concern, and reduce the chances of distress and burnout. There is substantial evidence for the contribution of different management strategies to achieve these aims. The goal of this article is to review the potential effect of mindfulness and compassion-based strategies for the improvement of physician-patient interactions. The acquisition of the necessary skills by physicians requires continuous education. Future research will be useful for identifying more evidence on the cost-effectiveness of this type of intervention.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5373002/

Improve Emotional Exhaustion and Employee Retention with Mindfulness

Improve Emotional Exhaustion and Employee Retention with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“In ten years of informally and two years of formally teaching agents mindfulness techniques, I can boldly and honestly say there is no downside to introducing it to your employees. I have seen it completely revolutionize things, transforming a call center in amazing ways. I have also seen it integrated on a small level, added as a tool along with many others. Regardless, the results are always positive.” – Debi Mongan

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. In high stress occupations burnout is all too prevalent. It frequently results from emotional exhaustion. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. Sleep disruption is an important consequence of the stress.  This exhaustion produces a loss of enthusiasm, empathy, and compassion.

 

Call centers can be particularly stressful due to a heavy workload, sustained fast work pace, repetitive tasks, lack of control over the job, the blurred relation between feelings and actions, a competitive environment, and being faced with losing a client. These stresses can lead to problems, including visual, auditory, and speech fatigue. Indeed, each year, 60% of employees take sick leave and 39.4% of employees showed psychological distress symptoms and 8.3% found themselves in a severe situation of psychological distress, and 24% were taking psychoactive drugs. This also produces high turnover, with the average employee leaving the job after only a year.

 

One technique to counteract these problems that is gaining increasing attention is mindfulness training. It has been demonstrated to be helpful in the workplace in reducing stress, improving emotional regulation, and treating and preventing burnout in a number of work environments. In today’s Research News article “The Mediating Role of Emotional Exhaustion in the Relationship of Mindfulness with Turnover Intentions and Job Performance.” (See summary below). Reb and colleagues conducted two studies on the relationship of mindfulness with workplace well-being. They recruited call center workers and had them complete measures of mindfulness, emotional exhaustion, and intention to leave the job.

 

They found that the higher the level of the employee’s mindfulness the lower the level of emotional exhaustion and interest in changing jobs. They also found that the higher the level of emotional exhaustion the higher the interest in changing jobs. They further found with a mediation analysis that the majority of the relationship of mindfulness with lower interest in changing jobs was due to the negative relationship of mindfulness with emotional exhaustion which in turn was related to lower interest in changing jobs. So, mindfulness was associated with retention of employees directly and indirectly by being associated with lower emotional exhaustion.

 

In a second study Reb and colleagues recruited worker – supervisor pairs from a variety of industries. They again collected measures of mindfulness, emotional exhaustion, and intention to leave the job but also collected supervisor ratings of the employees’ job performances. They again found that the higher the level of the employee’s mindfulness the lower the level of emotional exhaustion and interest in changing jobs and the higher level of job performance. They also found that the higher the level of emotional exhaustion the higher the interest in changing jobs and the lower the job performance. They further found, as in study 1, with a mediation analysis that the majority of the relationship of mindfulness with lower interest in changing jobs was due to the negative relationship of mindfulness with emotional exhaustion which in turn was related to lower interest in changing jobs. But, they also found that the positive relationship of mindfulness with higher job performance was due to the negative relationship of mindfulness with emotional exhaustion which in turn was related to higher job performance.

 

These are interesting findings but are correlational, so causation cannot be concluded. But, the findings suggest that mindfulness is highly related to job performance and employee retention and better job performance. The results further suggest that these associations of mindfulness are due to a large extent to mindfulness’ relationship with lower emotional exhaustion. In other words, mindfulness appears to be related to less likelihood of leaving the job and better performance on the job both as a direct result of their relationship with mindfulness and indirectly due to mindfulness’ relationship with lower emotional exhaustion.

 

So, improve emotional exhaustion and employee retention with mindfulness.

 

“My advice to companies looking to introduce mindfulness techniques in their contact center culture is simple: start small but cultivate it and tend to it so it grows. One small step for your contact center, one giant leap for your entire company!” – Debi Mongan

 

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

 

Reb, J., Narayanan, J., Chaturvedi, S., Ekkirala, S. The Mediating Role of Emotional Exhaustion in the Relationship of Mindfulness with Turnover Intentions and Job Performance. Mindfulness (2017) 8: 707. doi:10.1007/s12671-016-0648-z

 

Abstract

Mindfulness in the workplace has emerged as a legitimate and growing area of organizational scholarship. The present research examined the role of employee emotional exhaustion in mediating the relationship of mindfulness with turnover intentions and task performance. Drawing on theory and empirical research on both organizational behavior and mindfulness, we predicted that more mindful employees would show lower turnover intentions and higher task performance and that these relationships would be mediated by emotional exhaustion. We tested these hypotheses in two field studies in an Indian context. Study 1 was a field study of call center employees of a multinational organization, an industry in which turnover rates are very high. This study found that mindfulness was associated with lower turnover intentions and less emotional exhaustion, and that emotional exhaustion mediated the relationship between mindfulness and turnover intentions. Study 2 replicated these results in a sample of employees based in major Indian cities and drawn from different industries. In addition, it showed that mindfulness was positively related to supervisor-rated task performance, with emotional exhaustion again playing a mediating role. We discuss theoretical and practical implications of our findings, as well as future research directions.

Reduce General Practitioner Burnout with On-Line Mindfulness

Reduce General Practitioner Burnout with On-Line Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness practice — the cultivation of a focused awareness on the present moment — can improve physicians’ performance by not only preventing burnout, but also by helping them better connect with their patients.”Carolyn Gregoire

 

“General Practitioners confront stress on a daily basis. Even moderate levels of stress when prolonged, all too frequently results in a professional burnout. This is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. Healthcare is a high stress occupation. It is estimated that over 45% of healthcare workers experience burnout. Regardless of the reasons for burnout or its immediate presenting consequences, it is a threat to the healthcare providers and their patients. In fact, it is a threat to the entire healthcare system as it contributes to the shortage of doctors and nurses. Hence, preventing existing healthcare workers from burning out has to be a priority.

 

Mindfulness has been demonstrated to be helpful in coping with stress and in treating and preventing burnout. But, General Practitioners (GPs) are pressed for time and it is difficult for them to commit the time to mindfulness training on a schedule at a therapist’s location. Mindfulness training over the internet is an alternative training for people who find face-to-face training difficult and inconvenient. Online mindfulness training has shown great promise with effectiveness equivalent to face-to-face training.

 

In today’s Research News article “Impact of a Blended Web-Based Mindfulness Programme for General Practitioners: a Pilot Study.” (See summary below). Montero-Marin and colleagues recruited General Practitioners and provided them with on-line mindfulness training with both audio and video instruction in 45-minute sessions occurring twice a week for 4 weeks. Before and after training the GPs were measured for mindfulness, positive and negative emotions, resilience, and burnout.

 

They separated the GPs according to their participation rates into completers who completed two or more practices per week and non-completers who completed on average less than one practice per week. They found that the completers in contrast to the non-completers had significant increases in mindfulness and positive emotions. They also found that the amount of practice had a direct effect on positive emotions and also and indirect effect by increasing mindfulness which in turn increases positive emotions.

 

Hence, on-line mindfulness training appeared to enhance mindfulness and positive feelings in those GPs who completed the provided practices. To some extent the results were disappointing as there were a large proportion of the GPs who did not complete the program’s practice requirements (approximately 80% of those recruited). This could be due to the busy schedules of the GPs or that the program was not sufficiently engaging to motivate participation. In addition, there were no significant effects of the practice on negative emotions, resilience, or burnout. This may be due to the relatively small amount of practice. Perhaps a longer duration program might have more positive effects. Indeed, previous research has shown significant reductions in GP burnout with 8 weeks of in-person mindfulness training. Hence, it is possible that the program in the present study needs to be longer. It is also possible that on-line presentation is not effective for GP burnout.

 

The program, when completed, did produce greater mindfulness and positive emotions. So, there is reason to believe that it may be effective. This suggests that a modified more engaging and longer program should be developed and tested in a randomized controlled trial as an effective treatment for GPO burnout is sorely needed.

 

“When I talk or listen to peers and colleagues, I am amazed at how many healthcare professionals are already integrating mindfulness, meditation or relaxation techniques into their lives on a regular basis in order to ground themselves and find headspace and calm.” – Jon Kabat-Zin

 

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

 

Montero-Marin, J., Gaete, J., Araya, R. et al. Impact of a Blended Web-Based Mindfulness Programme for General Practitioners: a Pilot Study. Mindfulness (2017). doi:10.1007/s12671-017-0752-8

 

Abstract

General practitioners (GPs) report high levels of distress. This study examined whether a brief blended web-based mindfulness intervention could be effective at enhancing well-being for GPs and assessed the possible mediating role of awareness. An open uncontrolled trial, with pre-post measurements, was conducted. The programme comprised one face-to-face meeting (4 h) and eight online practice sessions with no support (two weekly sessions over 4 weeks). The primary outcome was positive affect (PANAS-positive). The secondary outcomes were as follows: negative affect (PANAS-negative), awareness (MAAS), resilience (CDRISC), and the burnout subtypes (BCSQ-12). Mixed-effects analysis for repeated measures and mediation analysis by regression models were performed. Two hundred ninety Spanish GPs took part in the study, attending the face-to-face meeting. Nearly one out 10 participants (n = 28) completed ‘one weekly practice’, and 10.4% (n = 30) accomplished ‘two or more weekly practices’. There were benefits for those with ‘two or more weekly practices’ in PANAS-positive (B = 2.97; p = 0.007), and MAAS (B = 4.65; p = 0.023). We found no benefits for those with ‘one weekly practice’ in any of the outcomes. There were mediating effects of MAAS in PANAS-positive (explaining a 60.8% of total effects). A brief blended mindfulness intervention, with minimum face-to-face contact and web-based practice sessions, seems to confer improvements in the well-being of Spanish GPs. The benefits may be mediated by awareness. The implementation of this kind of programme might enhance the well-being among GPs, but there is a need to improve adherence to practice. Further research using randomized controlled designs will be needed to support the evidence found in our study.

Alleviate General Practitioner Burnout with Mindfulness

Alleviate General Practitioner Burnout with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Enhancing the already inherent capacity of the physician to experience fully the clinical encounter—not only its pleasant but also its most unpleasant aspects—without judgment but with a sense of curiosity and adventure seems to have had a profound effect on the experience of stress and burnout. It also seems to enhance the physician’s ability to connect with the patient as a unique human being and to center care around that uniqueness.” – Michael Krasner

 

General Practitioners confront stress on a daily basis. Even moderate levels of stress when prolonged, all too frequently results in a professional burnout. This is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. Healthcare is a high stress occupation. 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. Nearly half plan to look for a new job over the next two years and 80% expressed interest in a new position if they came across the right opportunity.

 

Regardless of the reasons for burnout or its immediate presenting consequences, it is a threat to the healthcare providers and their patients. In fact, it is a threat to the entire healthcare system as it contributes to the shortage of doctors and nurses. Hence, preventing existing healthcare workers from burning out has to be a priority. Mindfulness has been demonstrated to be helpful in treating and preventing burnout. One of the premiere techniques for developing mindfulness and dealing effectively with stress is Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) pioneered by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It is a diverse mindfulness training containing practice in meditation, body scan, and yoga. As a result, there have been a number of trials investigating the application of MBSR to the treatment and prevention of health care worker burnout.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-based stress reduction for GPs: results of a controlled mixed methods pilot study in Dutch primary care.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4723221/

Verweij and colleagues investigated the effectiveness of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in preventing burnout in General Practitioners. They recruited General Practitioners who were required to participate in continuing professional education courses and offered as an option participation in an 8-week MBSR program. They compared GPs who selected the MBSR program during one 8-week period to those who selected a waitlist condition and received the usual continuing professional education course. They completed measures both before and after the treatment of burnout, work engagement, and mindfulness.

 

They found, not surprisingly, that compared to the waitlist controls, the MBSR program resulted in higher levels of mindfulness. But, importantly, it also significantly decreased levels of burnout depersonalization and increased levels of work dedication. During interviews after completion of the program The GPs reported that the MBSR program helped them to become more aware of their bodily sensations, thoughts, and emotions, of their beliefs and values, and a recognition of the autopilot mode they usually engaged in. They also reported that the MBSR program increased their wellbeing and compassion towards themselves and others, including their patients.

 

The findings from this pilot study are very encouraging. They demonstrate that mindfulness training reduces self-reported burnout, and improves professional dedication, recognition of bodily reactions and how activities have become routinized, and general wellbeing. By improving their awareness of the sensations, thoughts, and actions in the present moment mindfulness training appears to be somewhat an antidote to burnout. This suggests that mindfulness practices should be included in the continuing education of healthcare professionals.

 

So, alleviate general practitioner burnout with mindfulness.

 

“Mindfulness gives doctors permission to attend to their own health and well-being. But is also allows doctors to help patients by listening more, talking less and seeing what the patient needs.” – Mary Breach

 

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

Verweij, H., Waumans, R. C., Smeijers, D., Lucassen, P. L., Donders, A. R. T., van der Horst, H. E., & Speckens, A. E. (2016). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for GPs: results of a controlled mixed methods pilot study in Dutch primary care. The British Journal of General Practice, 66(643), e99–e105. http://doi.org/10.3399/bjgp16X683497

 

Abstract

Background

Burnout is highly prevalent in GPs and can have a negative influence on their wellbeing, performance, and patient care. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) may be an effective intervention to decrease burnout symptoms and increase wellbeing.

Aim

To gain insight into the feasibility and effectiveness of MBSR on burnout, empathy, and (work-related) wellbeing in GPs.

Design and setting

A mixed methods pilot study, including a waiting list-controlled pre-/post-study and a qualitative study of the experiences of participating GPs in the Netherlands.

Method

Participants were sent questionnaires assessing burnout, work engagement, empathy, and mindfulness skills, before and at the end of the MBSR training/waiting period. Qualitative data on how GPs experienced the training were collected during a plenary session and with evaluation forms at the end of the course.

Results

Fifty Dutch GPs participated in this study. The MBSR group reported a greater decrease in depersonalisation than the control group (adjusted difference −1.42, 95% confidence interval [CI] = −2.72 to −0.21, P = 0.03). Dedication increased more significantly in the MBSR group than in the control group (adjusted difference 2.17, 95% CI = 0.51 to 3.83, P = 0.01). Mindfulness skills increased significantly in the MBSR group compared with the control group (adjusted difference 6.90, 95% CI = 1.42 to 12.37, P = 0.01). There was no significant change in empathy. The qualitative data indicated that the MBSR course increased their wellbeing and compassion towards themselves and others, including their patients.

Conclusion

The study shows that MBSR for GPs is feasible and might result in fewer burnout symptoms and increased work engagement and wellbeing. However, an adequately powered randomised controlled trial is needed to confirm the study’s findings.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4723221/

 

Improve Attitudes and Mental Health at Work with Mindfulness

Improve Attitudes and Mental Health at Work with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

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

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. In high stress occupations burnout is all too prevalent. It frequently results from emotional exhaustion. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. Sleep disruption is an important consequence of the stress.  This exhaustion produces a loss of enthusiasm, empathy, and compassion. Regardless of the reasons for burnout or its immediate presenting consequences, it is a threat to the workplace. From a business standpoint, it reduces employee efficiency and productivity and increases costs. From the worker perspective, it makes the workplace a stressful, unhappy place, promoting physical and psychological problems. Hence, preventing burnout in the workplace is important. One technique that is gaining increasing attention is mindfulness training. It has been demonstrated to be helpful in treating and preventing burnout in a number of work environments.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindful2Work: Effects of Combined Physical Exercise, Yoga, and Mindfulness Meditations for Stress Relieve in Employees. A Proof of Concept Study.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5241323/

de Bruin and colleagues performed a pilot study of the effectiveness of a program of exercise, meditation, and yoga for the relief of work related stress symptoms. They recruited

workers who were referred by physicians who diagnosed them with work related stress issues. The workers received training in six weekly 2-hour sessions and a follow-up session, consisting of 20 minutes of aerobic exercise, 20 minutes of Hatha restorative yoga, and 80 minutes of mindfulness meditation including psycho-education. The participants were encouraged to practice at home. They were measured before and after the intervention, 6 weeks and 6 months after the completion of the program for workability, perceived stress, anxiety, depression, emotions, and sleep.

 

They found that the participants liked the program rating it at 8.1 on a 10-point scale. Following the intervention work-related fatigue and exhaustion (burnout) was markedly and significantly reduced while motivation, activation, focus and concentration, and energy were significantly increased. The employees became significantly less likely to leave their job, worked a significantly greater proportion of their contract hours, and found the work environment to be significantly better. Hence, the employees showed markedly improved attitudes and behavior toward their jobs. The employees’ psychological health was also greatly improved, with significant reductions in anxiety, depression, perceived stress, and increases in sleep quality and positive emotions. These effects all had very large effect sizes and were still strong and present 6 months after the conclusion of training. Hence, work-related psychological issues were improved in a lasting way with the intervention.

 

These results of this pilot study were impressive. But, the lack of a control group or condition markedly limits the conclusions that can be reached. Also, since the intervention contained meditation, yoga, and aerobic exercise, it cannot be determined which, or which combination of components are necessary for the benefits. But, the results certainly suggest that a large randomized controlled clinical trial should be conducted. With the intense stresses of the modern work environment, a program that reduced stress and improved attitudes and emotions, would be extremely valuable both to the employer and the employees.

 

So, improve attitudes and mental health at work with mindfulness.

 

“Many corporations and employees are realizing that the benefits of mindfulness practices can be dramatic. In addition to supporting overall health and well-being, mindfulness has been linked to improved cognitive functioning and lower stress levels.” – Carolyn Gregoire

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

De Bruin, E. I., Formsma, A. R., Frijstein, G., & Bögels, S. M. (2017). Mindful2Work: Effects of Combined Physical Exercise, Yoga, and Mindfulness Meditations for Stress Relieve in Employees. A Proof of Concept Study. Mindfulness, 8(1), 204–217. http://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-016-0593-x

 

Abstract

Work-related stress and associated illness and burnout is rising in western society, with now as much as almost a quarter of European and half of USA’s employees estimated to be at the point of burnout. Mindfulness meditation, yoga, and physical exercise have all shown beneficial effects for work-related stress and illness. This proof of concept study assessed the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effects of the newly developed Mindful2Work training, a combination of physical exercise, restorative yoga, and mindfulness meditations, delivered in six weekly group sessions plus a follow-up session. Participants (n = 26, four males), referred by company doctors with (work-related) stress and burnout complaints, completed measurements pre and post the intervention, as well as at 6-week (FU1) and 6-month (FU2) follow-up. Results showed very high feasibility and acceptability of the Mindful2Work training. The training and trainers were rated with an 8.1 and 8.4 on a 1–10 scale, respectively, and training dropout rate was zero. Significant improvements with (very) large effect sizes were demonstrated for the primary outcome measures of physical and mental workability, and for anxiety, depression, stress, sleep quality, positive and negative affect, which remained (very) large and mostly increased further over time. Risk for long-term dropout from work (checklist individual strength [CIS]) was 92 % at pre-test, reduced to 67 % at post-test, to 44 % at FU1, and 35 % at FU2, whereas employees worked (RTWI) 65 % of their contract hours per week at pre-test, which increased to 73 % at post-test, 81 % at FU1 and 93 % at FU2. Intensity of home practice or number of attended sessions were not related to training effects. To conclude, the newly developed Mindful2Work training seems very feasible, and acceptable, and although no control group was included, the large effects of Mindful2Work are highly promising.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5241323/

 

Improve Sleep and Resilience with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Medical professionals are burdened daily with the pain and suffering of patients. Many work long hours, and regularly face stressful situations. This burden does not come without consequence: 60 percent of physicians report having experienced burnout at some point in their careers.” – Emily Nauman

 

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. 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. Nearly half plan to look for a new job over the next two years and 80% expressed interest in a new position if they came across the right opportunity.

 

Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. It not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion. Sleep disruption is an important consequence of the stress. “Poor or inadequate sleep can contribute to poor personal health and burnout and adversely affect the quality of care” (Kemper et al. 2016).

 

Regardless of the reasons for burnout or its immediate presenting consequences, it is a threat to the healthcare providers and their patients. In fact, it is a threat to the entire healthcare system as it contributes to the shortage of doctors and nurses. Hence, preventing existing healthcare workers from burning out has to be a priority. Mindfulness has been demonstrated to be helpful in treating and preventing burnout, increasing resilience, and improving sleep. Another factor that could affect healthcare workers’ responses to stress is self-compassion. By treating oneself with kindness and understanding the effects of stress can be mitigated. So, it makes sense to investigate the relationship of mindfulness and self-compassion to stress symptoms in healthcare workers.

 

In today’s Research News article “Are Mindfulness and Self-Compassion Associated with Sleep and Resilience in Health Professionals?” See:

https://www.facebook.com/ContemplativeStudiesCenter/photos/a.628903887133541.1073741828.627681673922429/1334256059931650/?type=3&theater

or see summary below or view the full text of the study at:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4523072/

Kemper and colleagues do just that. They solicited participation of adult healthcare workers (n = 213) via email which provided a link to a survey that measured demographic characteristics, mindfulness, self-compassion, sleep, resilience, global mental and physical health, and perceived stress. Simple correlation analysis and multiple linear regression analysis were performed upon the survey responses.

 

They found that the higher the level of mindfulness, self-compassion, resilience, and physical and mental health the lower the level of sleep disturbance and the greater the level of resilience. The greater the level of perceived stress the greater the sleep disturbance and the lower the resilience. Mindfulness and self-compassion were highly related and the higher their levels the greater the levels of physical and mental health and the lower the levels of sleep disturbances and perceived stress.

 

These findings underscore the significant positive relationships between mindfulness and self-compassion with resilience and with mental and physical health and significant negative relationships with sleep problems and stress. Hence, being more mindful improves the chance that the healthcare worker will be more resilient, healthier, less stressed, and sleep better. Similarly, having greater self-compassion, being kind and understanding toward the self, also improves the chance that the individual will be more resilient, healthier, less stressed, and sleep better. So, mindfulness and self-compassion appear to improve the health and well-being of healthcare workers. But, it should be noted that the study was correlational and did not manipulate mindfulness and self-compassion. So, causal connections cannot be conclusively demonstrated.

 

So, improve sleep and resilience with mindfulness and self-compassion.

 

“Mindfulness gives doctors permission to attend to their own health and well-being. But it also allows doctor to help patients by listening more, talking less, and seeing what the patients need.” – Catherine Beach

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

Kemper, K. J., Mo, X., & Khayat, R. (2015). Are Mindfulness and Self-Compassion Associated with Sleep and Resilience in Health Professionals? Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 21(8), 496–503. http://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2014.0281

 

Abstract

Objectives: To describe the relationship between trainable qualities (mindfulness and self-compassion), with factors conceptually related to burnout and quality of care (sleep and resilience) in young health professionals and trainees.

Design: Cross-sectional survey.

Setting: Large Midwestern academic health center.

Participants: 213 clinicians and trainees.

Outcome measures: Sleep and resilience were assessed by using the 8-item PROMIS Sleep scale and the 6-item Brief Resilience Scale. Mindfulness and self-compassion were assessed using the 10-item Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Scale, Revised and the 12-item Self-Compassion Scale. Health was assessed with Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Global Health measures, and stress was assessed with the 10-item Perceived Stress Scale. After examination of descriptive statistics and Pearson correlations, multiple regression analyses were done to determine whether mindfulness and self-compassion were associated with better sleep and resilience.

Results: Respondents had an average age of 28 years; 73% were female. Professions included dieticians (11%), nurses (14%), physicians (38%), social workers (24%), and other (12%). Univariate analyses showed normative values for all variables. Sleep disturbances were significantly and most strongly correlated with perceived stress and poorer health, but also with less mindfulness and self-compassion. Resilience was strongly and significantly correlated with less stress and better mental health, more mindfulness, and more self-compassion.

Conclusions: In these young health professionals and trainees, sleep and resilience are correlated with both mindfulness and self-compassion. Prospective studies are needed to determine whether training to increase mindfulness and self-compassion can improve clinicians’ sleep and resilience or whether decreasing sleep disturbances and building resilience improves mindfulness and compassion.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4523072/