Improve Athletes’ Psychological Well-Being and Flow with Mindfulness

Improve Athletes’ Psychological Well-Being and Flow with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“You have to be able to center yourself, to let all of your emotions go. Don’t forget that you play with your soul as well as your body.” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

 

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

 

Flow refers to a state of mind that is characterized by a complete absorption with the task at hand, often resulting in enhanced skilled performance. The flow state underlies the athletes’ feelings and thoughts when they recall the best performances of their careers. It is obvious that the notion of flow and mindfulness have great similarity. There is little known, however, about the relationship between mindfulness and flow in athletes.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of “Mindfulness Acceptance Insight Commitment” Training on Flow State and Mental Health of College Swimmers: A Randomized Controlled Experimental Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.799103/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1896364_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20220705_arts_A&id_mc=312338674&utm_source=sfmc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Article+Alerts+V4.1-Frontiers&utm_term=%%%3d+++++++REDIRECTTO(+++++CONCAT(%27http%3a%2f%2fjournal.frontiersin.org%2farticle%2f%27%2c+TreatAsContent(field(%40article%2c+%27DOI__c%27))%2c+%27%2ffull%3futm_source%3dF-AAE%26utm_medium%3dEMLF%26utm_campaign%3dMRK_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(JobID)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(%40FieldId)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(Substring(Replace(Field(%40field%2c+%27Name%27)%2c+%27+%27% ) Ning and colleagues recruited college swimming athletes and randomly assigned them to either no-treatment or to receive 7 weekly 90 minute mindfulness acceptance insight commitment training sessions, They were measured before and after training and 10 weeks late for mindfulness, flow, competitive anxiety, mood, and training and competition satisfaction.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the no-treatment control, the swimmers who received mindfulness training had significant increases in mindfulness and flow and significantly lower levels of anxiety and depression that were maintained 10 weeks later. Increased levels of flow have been associated with better athletic performance. This suggests that the mindfulness training may produce better swimming performance.

 

So, mindfulness improves athletes’ psychological well-being and flow.

 

“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside of them; a desire, a dream, a vision.” Muhammad Ali

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Ning J-h, Hao Q-w and Huang D-c (2022) Effects of “Mindfulness Acceptance Insight Commitment” Training on Flow State and Mental Health of College Swimmers: A Randomized Controlled Experimental Study. Front. Psychol. 13:799103. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.799103

 

This research explores the intervention effect of the mindfulness acceptance insight commitment (MAIC) training program on the mindfulness level, flow state, and mental health of college swimmers. A sample of 47 college swimmers from a regular university was recruited and randomly divided into two groups before the intervention. Independent variables between groups are psychological training mode (MAIC training/no training), and the independent variable within group was time (pre-test, post-test, and continuity test). The dependent variables are mindfulness level, flow state, and mental health (anxiety, depression, training, and competition satisfaction). Results show that after the intervention of MAIC training, the mindfulness level of athletes’ flow state has been significantly improved, whereas anxiety and depression significantly decreased. In addition, the satisfaction with training and competition significantly improved. In the continuous stage after the intervention, the mindfulness level, flow state, and mental health of athletes are still significantly higher than those in the pre-test. The comparison of the post-test and continuity test show no significant differences in the mindfulness level, flow state, depression, and training and competition satisfaction of athletes. Still, the anxiety level shows an upward trend with a significant difference. This study demonstrates that the MAIC mindfulness training program can significantly improve the mindfulness level, flow state, anxiety, depression, and training and competition satisfaction of college swimmers with a good continuity effect. Thus, the athletes’ sports experience can be improved, and good psychological benefits can be attained.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.799103/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1896364_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20220705_arts_A&id_mc=312338674&utm_source=sfmc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Article+Alerts+V4.1-Frontiers&utm_term=%%%3d+++++++REDIRECTTO(+++++CONCAT(%27http%3a%2f%2fjournal.frontiersin.org%2farticle%2f%27%2c+TreatAsContent(field(%40article%2c+%27DOI__c%27))%2c+%27%2ffull%3futm_source%3dF-AAE%26utm_medium%3dEMLF%26utm_campaign%3dMRK_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(JobID)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(%40FieldId)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(Substring(Replace(Field(%40field%2c+%27Name%27)%2c+%27+%27%

 

Mindfulness Improves the Psychological Well-Being of Lung Cancer Patients

Mindfulness Improves the Psychological Well-Being of Lung Cancer Patients

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

You can be a victim of cancer, or a survivor of cancer. It’s a mindset.” — Dave Pelzer

 

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer has a huge impact on most people. Feelings of depression, anxiety, and fear are very common and are normal responses to this life-changing and potentially life-ending experience. But cancer diagnosis is not necessarily a death sentence. Over half of the people diagnosed with cancer are still alive 10 years later and this number is rapidly increasing. But surviving cancer carries with it a number of problems. Anxiety, depression, fatigue and insomnia are common symptoms in the aftermath of surviving breast cancer. These symptoms markedly reduce the quality of life of the patients.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with general cancer recovery. Mindfulness practices have been shown to improve the residual symptoms in cancer survivors. Yoga is both an exercise and a mindfulness practice that has also been shown to be helpful with the residual symptoms in cancer survivors, the psychological and physical ability to deal with cancer treatment and improves sleep. The research findings have been accumulating. So, it makes sense to take a look at what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Impact of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on Psychological Outcomes and Quality of Life in Patients With Lung Cancer: A Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.901247/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1896364_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20220705_arts_A&id_mc=312338674&utm_source=sfmc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Article+Alerts+V4.1-Frontiers&utm_term=%%%3d++++++REDIRECTTO(+++++CONCAT(%27http%3a%2f%2fjournal.frontiersin.org%2farticle%2f%27%2c+TreatAsContent(field(%40article%2c+%27DOI__c%27))%2c+%27%2ffull%3futm_source%3dF-AAE%26utm_medium%3dEMLF%26utm_campaign%3dMRK_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(JobID)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(%40FieldId)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(Substring(Replace(Field(%40field%2c+%27Name%27)%2c+%27+%27%2c ) Tian and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the of the published research studies of the effectiveness of a mindfulness practice, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on the psychological well-being of lung cancer survivors. MBSR consists of meditation, yoga, body scan, and group discussion.

 

They identified 17 published research studies that included a total of 1680 participants. They report that the published research found that the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) produced a significant reduction in cancer related fatigue, anxiety, depression, and psychological distress, and significantly increased mindfulness, self-efficacy, and sleep quality.

 

Hence, the research to date supports the use of mindfulness training to improve the psychological well-being of lung cancer survivors.

 

Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” – Unknown

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Tian X, Yi L-J, Liang C-S-S, Gu L, Peng C, Chen G-H and Jiménez-Herrera MF (2022) The Impact of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on Psychological Outcomes and Quality of Life in Patients With Lung Cancer: A Meta-Analysis. Front. Psychol. 13:901247. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.901247

 

Objective: The impact of the mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program on psychological outcomes and quality of life (QoL) in lung cancer patients remains unclear. This meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of the MBSR program on psychological states and QoL in lung cancer patients.

Methods: Eligible studies published before November 2021 were systematically searched from PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, PsycINFO, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), and Wanfang databases. The risk of bias in eligible studies was assessed using the Cochrane tool. Psychological variables and QoL were evaluated as outcomes. We used the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) system to grade the levels of evidence. Statistical analysis was conducted using RevMan 5.4 and STATA 14.0.

Results: A total of 17 studies involving 1,680 patients were included for meta-analysis eventually. MBSR program significantly relieved cancer-related fatigue (standard mean difference [SMD], −1.26; 95% confidence interval [CI], −1.69 to −0.82; moderate evidence) and negative psychological states (SMD, −1.35; 95% CI, −1.69 to −1.02; low evidence), enhanced positive psychological states (SMD, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.56–1.27; moderate evidence), and improved quality of sleep (MD, −2.79; 95% CI, −3.03 to −2.56; high evidence). Evidence on MBSR programs’ overall treatment effect for QoL revealed a trend toward statistical significance (p = 0.06, low evidence).

Conclusion: Based on our findings, the MBSR program shows positive effects on psychological states in lung cancer patients. This approach should be recommended as a part of the rehabilitation program for lung cancer patients.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.901247/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1896364_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20220705_arts_A&id_mc=312338674&utm_source=sfmc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Article+Alerts+V4.1-Frontiers&utm_term=%%%3d++++++REDIRECTTO(+++++CONCAT(%27http%3a%2f%2fjournal.frontiersin.org%2farticle%2f%27%2c+TreatAsContent(field(%40article%2c+%27DOI__c%27))%2c+%27%2ffull%3futm_source%3dF-AAE%26utm_medium%3dEMLF%26utm_campaign%3dMRK_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(JobID)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(%40FieldId)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(Substring(Replace(Field(%40field%2c+%27Name%27)%2c+%27+%27%2c

 

Strengthen the Pelvic Floor of Postpartum Women with Yoga

Strengthen the Pelvic Floor of Postpartum Women with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Yoga does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees.” ― B.K.S Iyengar

 

Childbirth and some surgeries, particularly hysterectomies can weaken the muscles that hold the pelvic organs in place. These muscles are referred to as the pelvic floor which fixes the bladder, uterus, and rectum in the pelvic cavity. These muscles are often weakened as a result of childbirth. This can lead to a state where the pelvic organs such as the bladder drop from the lower belly and push against the walls of the vagina. The most common symptom of pelvic floor weakness is feeling very full in the lower belly. Symptoms also include feeling as if something is falling out of the vagina, feeling a pull or stretch in the groin area or pain in your lower back, incontinence or needing to urinate a lot, having vaginal pain during sex, and constipation.

 

It is estimated that pelvic floor weakness affects about a third of women sometime during their lifetime. When mild to moderate in intensity it is usually left untreated, and the patient learns to cope with the symptoms. But in severe cases surgery is called for. Exercises to strengthen the muscles holding the organs in place can be helpful in relieving symptoms. Yoga training has been shown to be beneficial for a large array of physical and mental disorders including Pelvic Organ Prolapse. So, it makes sense to study the effectiveness of yoga exercise on the strength of the pelvic floor in postpartum women.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effects of Yoga Exercise on Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation of Postpartum Women.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8808187/ ) Li recruited women in need of postpartum pelvic floor rehabilitation and provided them with myoelectric stimulation. They were assigned the to receive either no further treatment or to practice yoga for 10 weeks. They were measured before, and at 42 days and 3 months with pelvic ultrasound examination.

 

They found that the yoga group after training had significantly fewer ruptures in the pelvic floor, significantly better positioning of the rectum and bladder, significantly improved chest circumference, vital capacity, and movement and flexibility, and significantly lower levels of anxiety, depression, paranoia, and hostility.

 

These findings suggest that yoga practice strengthens the pelvic floor and the physician and psychological well-being of women postpartum.

 

Yoga is the fountain of youth. You’re only as young as your spine is flexible.” ― Bob Harper

 

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Li Q. The Effects of Yoga Exercise on Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation of Postpartum Women. J Healthc Eng. 2022 Jan 25;2022:1924232. doi: 10.1155/2022/1924232. PMID: 35126906; PMCID: PMC8808187.

 

Abstract

Rehabilitation of the pelvic floor after delivery is very important for women. Pelvic floor rehabilitation can speed up the recovery of the postpartum vagina and pelvic floor muscle tension and elasticity and have a good effect on the prevention and treatment of postpartum vaginal prolapse and relaxation, urinary incontinence and other pelvic floor disorders. Thus, this article focuses on yoga exercise to explore its impact on postpartum pelvic floor rehabilitation. This article uses electrical stimulation and the treatment of pelvic floor muscles combined with the posture recognition algorithm, the yoga rehabilitation training program that has the best effect on the parturient is obtained, and the yoga myoelectric stimulation combined method and the traditional myoelectric stimulation method are designed for comparison experiments. The experimental results show that the parturients who have undergone the combined method of yoga myoelectric stimulation, in the resting state, contraction state, and Valsalva state, the position of the bladder meridian, the position of the uterus, and the position of the rectal ampulla of the parturient have a significant recovery compared those who have undergone the traditional electromyography treatment. In addition, the average area of hiatus in the pelvic floor ultrasound examination in the control group 42 days postpartum was 12.2605 cm2, while the average area of the hiatus in the pelvic floor ultrasound examination in the experimental group 42 days postpartum was 10.788 cm2; the average area of hiatus in the pelvic floor ultrasound examination in the control group at 3 months postpartum was 11.4805 cm2, and the average area of hiatus in the pelvic floor ultrasound examination in the experimental group at 3 months postpartum was 8.9475 cm2. To sum up, yoga had a very significant improvement on the physical indicators and mental health of postpartum women.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8808187/

 

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Sexual Minorities (LBGQ) with Mindfulness

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Sexual Minorities (LBGQ) with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

It is revolutionary for any trans person to choose to be seen and visible in a world that tells us we should not exist.” —Laverne Cox

 

Around 43,000 people take their own lives each year in the US. The problem is far worse than these statistics suggest as it has been estimated that for every completed suicide there were 12 unsuccessful attempts. In other words, about a half a million people in the U.S. attempt suicide each year. Indeed, suicide is the second leading cause of death in adolescents. Suicidality and self-injury are particularly problematic in sexual minorities (LBGTQ).

 

One of the few treatments that appears to be Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). It is targeted at changing the problem behaviors characteristic including self-injury. Behavior change is accomplished through focusing on changing the thoughts and emotions that precede problem behaviors, as well as by solving the problems faced by individuals that contribute to problematic thoughts, feelings and behaviors. In DBT five core skills are practiced; mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, the middle path, and interpersonal effectiveness. DBT has been found to reduce suicidality. There is thus a need to study the effectiveness of DBT for the mental health of sexual minority adolescents.

 

In today’s Research News article “Dialectical behavior therapy for adolescents (DBT-A): Outcomes among sexual minorities at high risk for suicide.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9233065/ ) Poon and colleagues recruited heterosexual and sexual minority (LGBQ) adolescents (13-18 years of age). They received and 18-week program of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). They completed online measures before and after treatment of emotion regulation, anxiety, depression, coping, and borderline symptoms.

 

They found that after treatment the adolescents had significant decreases in depression, borderline symptoms, and dysfunctional coping and significant increases in emotion regulation and use of coping skills. There were no significant differences between the improvements seen with the sexual minority and heterosexual adolescents.

 

Hence, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Produces significant improvements in the psychological well-being of sexual minority adolescents and is as effective as it is in heterosexual adolescents. Although not measured these improvements would predict a decrease in suicidality.

 

Shame creates lies about how men should think and act, and when men don’t fulfill those roles, they have additional shame.” ― Liz Plank

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Poon J, Galione JN, Grocott LR, Horowitz KJ, Kudinova AY, Kim KL. Dialectical behavior therapy for adolescents (DBT-A): Outcomes among sexual minorities at high risk for suicide. Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2022 Jun;52(3):383-391. doi: 10.1111/sltb.12828. Epub 2022 Jan 12. PMID: 35019159; PMCID: PMC9233065.

 

Abstract

The alarming rates and pervasiveness of suicidal and self-destructive behaviors (e.g., non-suicidal self-injury) among young sexual minorities represent a major public health concern. We set out to examine whether an empirically driven treatment for suicide and self-harm, dialectical behavior therapy for adolescents (DBT-A), provides benefits for adolescents who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or questioning (LGBQ). LGBQ adolescents (n = 16) were compared with non-LGBQ peers (n = 23). Psychological measures were collected before and after participation in a comprehensive DBT-A program. LGBQ participants demonstrated significant improvements in emotion regulation, depression, borderline symptoms, and coping strategies; changes were comparable to their heterosexual peers.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9233065/

 

Mindfulness Reduces Stress and Negative Emotions in College Students

Mindfulness Reduces Stress and Negative Emotions in College Students

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul.” – Marcus Aurelius

 

In the modern world education is a key for success. Where a high school education was sufficient in previous generations, a college degree is now required to succeed in the new knowledge-based economies. There is a lot of pressure on students to excel so that they can be admitted to the best universities and there is a lot of pressure on university students to excel so that they can get the best jobs after graduation. This stress might in fact be counterproductive as the increased pressure can lead to stress and anxiety which can impede the student’s physical and mental health, well-being, and school performance and lead to burnout.

 

It is, for the most part, beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress, so it is important that methods be found to reduce the college students’ responses to stress; to make them more resilient when high levels of stress occur. Contemplative practices including meditationmindfulness training, and yoga practice have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. Indeed, these practices have been found to reduce stress and improve psychological health in college students.

 

In today’s Research News article “Investigating the effect of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on stress level and brain activity of college students.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9121238/ ) An and colleagues recruited college students and randomly assigned them to either a no-treatment control condition or to receive 8 weekly 1.5-hour sessions of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) along with home practice. MBSR consists of meditation, yoga, and body scan practices along with group discussion. They were measured before and after training and 2 months later for perceived stress, anxiety, and depression. They also had their electroencephalogram (EEG) measured while performing a stressful task (easy, moderate, and hard mental arithmetic, and the Stroop task).

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the no-treatment group, the students who received Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training had significantly reduced levels of perceived stress, anxiety, and depression that were maintained 2 months later with the exception of perceived stress which continued to significantly decline from the end of training to 2 months later. They also found that during the stressful tasks that the alpha rhythm power in the EEG was significantly increased in the frontal, temporal, and occipital areas after MBSR.

 

Alpha power is reflective of relaxation. These findings then suggest that mindfulness training improves psychological well-being and the ability to relax under stress. Although not investigated, the improvements should translate into better academic performance. Nevertheless, mindfulness training is highly beneficial to college students and should be recommended.

 

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” – Buddha

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

An A, Hoang H, Trang L, Vo Q, Tran L, Le T, Le A, McCormick A, Du Old K, Williams NS, Mackellar G, Nguyen E, Luong T, Nguyen V, Nguyen K, Ha H. Investigating the effect of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on stress level and brain activity of college students. IBRO Neurosci Rep. 2022 May 14;12:399-410. doi: 10.1016/j.ibneur.2022.05.004. PMID: 35601693; PMCID: PMC9121238.

 

Abstract

Financial constraints usually hinder students, especially those in low-middle income countries (LMICs), from seeking mental health interventions. Hence, it is necessary to identify effective, affordable and sustainable counter-stress measures for college students in the LMICs context. This study examines the sustained effects of mindfulness practice on the psychological outcomes and brain activity of students, especially when they are exposed to stressful situations. Here, we combined psychological and electrophysiological methods (EEG) to investigate the sustained effects of an 8-week-long standardized Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) intervention on the brain activity of college students. We found that the Test group showed a decrease in negative emotional states after the intervention, compared to the no statistically significant result of the Control group, as indicated by the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) (33% reduction in the negative score) and Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scale (DASS-42) scores (nearly 40% reduction of three subscale scores). Spectral analysis of EEG data showed that this intervention is longitudinally associated with increased frontal and occipital lobe alpha band power. Additionally, the increase in alpha power is more prevalent when the Test group was being stress-induced by cognitive tasks, suggesting that practicing MBSR might enhance the practitioners’ tolerance of negative emotional states. In conclusion, MBSR intervention led to a sustained reduction of negative emotional states as measured by both psychological and electrophysiological metrics, which supports the adoption of MBSR as an effective and sustainable stress-countering approach for students in LMICs.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9121238/

 

Reduce Psychological Distress by Increasing Emotion Regulation with Mindfulness

 

Reduce Psychological Distress by Increasing Emotion Regulation with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

When the chest is opening, the mind is opening, and we feel emotionally shiny and stability comes.” – Vanda Scaravelli

 

Mindfulness practice has been shown to improve emotion regulation. Practitioners demonstrate the ability to fully sense and experience emotions but respond to them in more appropriate and adaptive ways. The ability of mindfulness training to improve emotion regulation is thought to be the basis for a wide variety of benefits that mindfulness provides to mental health and the treatment of mental illness especially depression and anxiety disorders. It appears to be able to prevent or relieve psychological distress. So, it is important to examine the mechanisms by which mindfulness improves emotion regulation and psychological well-being.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness as a Protective Factor Against Depression, Anxiety and Psychological Distress During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Emotion Regulation and Insomnia Symptoms as Mediators.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9010863/ ) Mamede and colleagues had adult from the general population answer an online questionnaire regarding their mindfulness, emotion regulation, and psychological states.

 

They report that the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the levels of psychological distress, including anxiety and depression. These were direct effects of mindfulness. But, in addition, mindfulness had indirect effects by improving emotion regulation which in turn decreased psychological distress. Also, the higher the levels of mindfulness, the lower the levels of insomnia which were in turn associated with lower levels of psychological distress.

 

The findings suggest that mindfulness works directly to improve psychological well-being but also indirectly by improving the emotion regulation and reducing insomnia. This clearly suggests that improving mindfulness levels is a good method to improve psychological health.

 

Mindfulness isn’t about escaping negative emotions or painful experiences but learning how to feel peace amidst them.” – Charlotte Hilton Anderson

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Mamede A, Merkelbach I, Noordzij G, Denktas S. Mindfulness as a Protective Factor Against Depression, Anxiety and Psychological Distress During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Emotion Regulation and Insomnia Symptoms as Mediators. Front Psychol. 2022 Apr 1;13:820959. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.820959. PMID: 35432084; PMCID: PMC9010863.

 

Abstract

Objectives

Research has linked mindfulness to improved mental health, yet the mechanisms underlying this relationship are not well understood. This study explored the mediating role of emotion regulation strategies and sleep in the relationship between mindfulness and symptoms of depression, anxiety and psychological distress during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods

As detailed in this study’s pre-registration (osf.io/k9qtw), a cross-sectional research design was used to investigate the impact of mindfulness on mental health and the mediating role of emotion regulation strategies (i.e., cognitive reappraisal, rumination and suppression) and insomnia. A total of 493 participants from the general population answered an online survey and were included in the final analysis. The online survey consisted of the short form of the Five-Facets Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ-SF), the Impact of Event Scale-revised (IES-R), the Generalised Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD-7), the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-8), the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ), the short form of the Rumination Response Scale (RSS-SF), and the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI).

Results

Structural equation modelling revealed that mindfulness was related to lower symptoms of depression, anxiety and psychological distress, both directly and indirectly. Mindfulness was negatively associated with rumination and insomnia. As hypothesised, models revealed that the associations between mindfulness and depression, anxiety and psychological distress were significantly mediated by its negative associations with rumination and insomnia. Our findings also demonstrated that rumination was related to increased insomnia symptoms, which in turn was associated with increased mental health problems, indicating a mediated mediation. Mindfulness was also positively associated with cognitive reappraisal and negatively associated with suppression, which were, respectively, negatively and positively associated with depressive symptoms, and thus functioned as specific mediators of the association between mindfulness and depression.

Conclusion

Our findings suggest that rumination and insomnia operate transdiagnostically as interrelated mediators of the effects of mindfulness on mental health, whereas cognitive reappraisal and suppression function as specific mediators for depression. These insights emphasise the importance of targeting emotion regulation and sleep in mindfulness interventions for improving mental health. Limitations and implications for practice are discussed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9010863/

Reduce Dysfunctional Eating with Mindfulness

Reduce Dysfunctional Eating with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

The more you eat, the less flavor; the less you eat, the more flavor.” ~Chinese Proverb

 

Around 30 million people in the United States of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder: either anorexia nervosa, bulimia, or binge eating disorder. 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 26. Eating disorders are not just troubling psychological problems, they can be deadly, having the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Two example of eating disorders are binge eating disorder (BED) and bulimia nervosa (BN). BED involves eating a large amount of food within a short time-period while experiencing a sense of loss of control over eating. BN involves binge-eating and purging (e.g., self-induced vomiting, compensatory exercise).

 

Eating disorders can be difficult to treat because eating is necessary and cannot be simply stopped as in smoking cessation or abstaining from drugs or alcohol. One must learn to eat appropriately not stop. So, it is important to find methods that can help prevent and treat eating disorders. Contemplative practices, mindfulness, and mindful eating have shown promise for treating eating disorders. It is not known however, if mindfulness training can improve dysregulated eating and in turn reduce the likelihood of eating disorders.

 

In today’s Research News article “Delivering Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Insomnia, Pain, and Dysfunctional Eating Through a Text Messaging App: Three Randomized Controlled Trials Investigating the Effectiveness and Mediating Mechanisms.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9115660/ ) Li and colleagues recruited adults over the internet and provided mindfulness training through text messaging. They measured insomnia, pain, and dysregulated eating.

 

They found that mindfulness training compared to a wait-list control condition resulted in resulted in significant decreases in anxiety, depression, insomnia, pain, and dysregulated eating and these improvements were sustained 3 months after the end of training. They found a wide array of improvements from mindfulness training. Particularly important from the perspective of eating disorders were the findings of reductions in depression and dysregulated eating. This suggests that mindfulness training reduces the likelihood of the development of an eating disorder.

 

When walking, walk. When eating, eat.” rashaski · Zen Proverb

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Li AC, Wong KK, Chio FH, Mak WW, Poon LW. Delivering Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Insomnia, Pain, and Dysfunctional Eating Through a Text Messaging App: Three Randomized Controlled Trials Investigating the Effectiveness and Mediating Mechanisms. J Med Internet Res. 2022 May 3;24(5):e30073. doi: 10.2196/30073. PMID: 35503653; PMCID: PMC9115660.

 

Abstract

Background

Although text messaging has the potential to be the core intervention modality, it is often used as an adjunct only. To improve health and alleviate the distress related to insomnia, pain, and dysregulated eating of people living in urban areas, text messaging–based mindfulness-based interventions were designed and evaluated in 3 randomized controlled trials.

Objective

This study investigated the effectiveness and mediating mechanisms of text messaging–based mindfulness-based interventions for people with distress related to insomnia, pain, or dysregulated eating.

Methods

In these trials, 333, 235, and 351 participants were recruited online and randomized to intervention and wait-list control conditions for insomnia, pain, and dysregulated eating, respectively. Participants experienced 21 days of intervention through WhatsApp Messenger. Participants completed pre-, post-, 1-month follow-up, and 3-month follow-up self-report questionnaires online. The retention rates at postmeasurements were 83.2% (139/167), 77.1% (91/118), and 72.9% (129/177) for intervention groups of insomnia, pain, and dysregulated eating, respectively. Participants’ queries were answered by a study technician. Primary outcomes included insomnia severity, presleep arousal, pain intensity, pain acceptance, and eating behaviors. Secondary outcomes included mindfulness, depression, anxiety, mental well-being, and functional impairments. Mindfulness, dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes about sleep, pain catastrophizing, and reactivity to food cues were hypothesized to mediate the relationship between the intervention and outcomes.

Results

For all 3 studies, the intervention groups showed significant improvement on most outcomes at 1-month follow-up compared to their respective wait-list control groups; some primary outcomes (eg, insomnia, pain, dysregulated eating indicators) and secondary outcomes (eg, depression, anxiety symptoms) were sustained at 3-month follow-up. Medium-to-large effect sizes were found at postassessments in most outcomes in all studies. In the intervention for insomnia, mediation analyses showed that dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes about sleep mediated the effect of the intervention on all primary outcomes and most secondary outcomes at both 1-month and 3-month follow-ups, whereas mindfulness mediated the intervention effect on presleep arousal at 1-month and 3-month follow-ups. In the intervention for pain, pain catastrophizing mediated the effect of intervention on pain intensity and functioning at both 1-month and 3-month follow-ups, whereas mindfulness only mediated the effect of intervention on anxiety and depressive symptoms. In the intervention for dysregulated eating, power of food mediated the effect of intervention on both uncontrolled and emotional eating at both 1-month and 3-month follow-ups and mindfulness was found to mediate the effect on depressive symptoms at both 1-month and 3-month follow-ups.

Conclusions

These 3 studies converged and provided empirical evidence that mindfulness-based interventions delivered through text messaging are effective in improving distress related to sleep, pain, and dysregulated eating. Text messaging has the potential to be a core intervention modality to improve various common health outcomes for people living a fast-paced lifestyle.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9115660/

 

Mindfulness is Associated with Less Relapse and Recurrence of Major Depressive Disorder

Mindfulness is Associated with Less Relapse and Recurrence of Major Depressive Disorder

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Fall seven times, stand up eight.” – Japanese Proverb

 

Clinically diagnosed depression is the most common mental illness, affecting over 6% of the population. Major depression can be quite debilitating. Depression can be difficult to treat and is usually treated with anti-depressive medication. But, of patients treated initially with drugs only about a third attained remission of the depression. After repeated and varied treatments including drugs, therapy, exercise etc. only about two thirds of patients attained remission. But drugs often have troubling side effects and can lose effectiveness over time. In addition, many patients who achieve remission have relapses and recurrences of the depression.

 

Relapsing into depression is a terribly difficult situation. The patients are suffering, and nothing appears to work to relieve their intense depression. Suicide becomes a real possibility. So, it is imperative to study the factors that lead to relapse and recurrence. Mindfulness training is an alternative treatment for depression. It has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression and its recurrence and even in the cases where drugs fail. So, it makes sense to study the relationship of mindfulness with relapse and recurrence of Major Depressive Disorder.

 

In today’s Research News article “Factors associated with relapse and recurrence of major depressive disorder in patients starting mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9298927/ ) de Klerk-Sluis and colleagues studied patients who were in remission for Major Depressive Disorder and the factors that predicted relapse and recurrence.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the risk of relapse and recurrence. They also found that the greater the ability of mild emotions to reactivate negative thinking patterns (cognitive reactivity) the greater the likelihood of relapse and recurrence. Finally, they found that rumination was associated with relapse and recurrence in patients who were not taking antidepressant drugs but not in patients on the drugs.

 

It appears that thought processes have large effects on relapse and recurrence of Major Depressive Disorder. But mindful thinking is helpful in preventing relapse. This suggests that mindfulness training should be recommended for patients in remission from Major Depressive Disorder. Indeed, mindfulness training has been shown to reduce the likelihood of relapse.

 

But if you’ve fought depression or know somebody who has, you know that no amount of money can fix it. No amount of fame. No logic. The continuing stigma around suicide and mental illness tells me that not enough people truly understand it. I don’t really blame them—its impossible unless you’ve lived it.”-  David Chang

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

de Klerk-Sluis JM, Huijbers MJ, Löcke S, Spijker J, Spinhoven P, Speckens AEM, Ruhe HG. Factors associated with relapse and recurrence of major depressive disorder in patients starting mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. Depress Anxiety. 2022 Feb;39(2):113-122. doi: 10.1002/da.23220. Epub 2021 Nov 9. PMID: 34752681; PMCID: PMC9298927.

 

Abstract

Background

Mindfulness‐based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is effective for relapse prevention in major depressive disorder (MDD). It reduces cognitive reactivity (CR) and rumination, and enhances self‐compassion and mindfulness. Although rumination and mindfulness after MBCT are associated with relapse, the association of CR, rumination, self‐compassion, and mindfulness with relapse before initiation of MBCT has never been investigated.

Methods

Data were drawn from two randomized controlled trials, including a total of 282 remitted MDD participants (≥3 depressive episodes) who had been using maintenance antidepressant medication (mADM) for at least 6 months before baseline. All participants were offered MBCT while either their mADM was maintained or discontinued after MBCT. CR, rumination, self‐compassion, and mindfulness were assessed at baseline by self‐rated questionnaires and were used in Cox proportional hazards regression models to investigate their association with relapse.

Results

CR and mindfulness were associated with relapse, independent of residual symptoms, previous depressive episodes, and mADM‐use. Higher CR and lower mindfulness increased the risk of relapse. Self‐compassion was not associated with relapse. For rumination, a significant interaction with mADM‐use was found. Rumination was associated with relapse in patients who discontinued their mADM, while this effect was absent if patients continued mADM.

Conclusions

These results show that CR, rumination, and mindfulness are associated with relapse in remitted MDD‐patients before initiation of MBCT, independent of residual symptoms and previous depressive episodes. This information could improve decisions in treatment planning in remitted individuals with a history of depression.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9298927/

 

Mindfulness Improves the Well-Being of The Caregivers of Children with Developmental Disabilities

Mindfulness Improves the Well-Being of The Caregivers of Children with Developmental Disabilities

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.” — Rosalyn Carter

 

Intellectual disabilities involve below average intelligence and relatively slow learning. They are quite common, affecting an estimated 10% of individuals worldwide. These disabilities present problems for the individual in learning mathematics, reading and writing. Individuals with intellectual disorders often have challenging behaviors including aggression, disruptive and socially inappropriate behaviors, self‐injury and withdrawal behaviors. The challenging behaviors not only reduce the quality of life of the individual but also puts them at higher risk of abuse, neglect, deprivation, institutionalization, and restraints.  In addition, caregivers may have to deal with verbal and physical abuse. Obviously, there is a need for therapies that can reduce these behaviors. Mindfulness training may be useful. It has been shown to improve the behavior of individuals with intellectual disabilities and the well-being or their caregivers. So, there is a need to summarize what has been learned regarding the influence of mindfulness on the caregivers of children with developmental disabilities.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effect of Mindfulness-Based and Acceptance Commitment Therapy-Based Interventions to Improve the Mental Well-Being Among Parents of Children with Developmental Disabilities: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8237545/ ) Chua and Shorey review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research on the influence of mindfulness on the caregivers of children with developmental disabilities.

 

They identified 10 published research studies that clearly demonstrate that mindfulness improves the well-being of the caregivers including improvements in anxiety, depression, and perceived stress. Importantly, these improvements would predict that the caregivers would be less likely to burnout and would provide better care for the children.

 

My caregiver mantra is to remember: the only control you have is over the changes you choose to make.” — Nancy L. Kriseman

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Chua JYX, Shorey S. The Effect of Mindfulness-Based and Acceptance Commitment Therapy-Based Interventions to Improve the Mental Well-Being Among Parents of Children with Developmental Disabilities: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. J Autism Dev Disord. 2022 Jun;52(6):2770-2783. doi: 10.1007/s10803-021-04893-1. Epub 2021 Jun 28. PMID: 34181139; PMCID: PMC8237545.

 

Abstract

Parents of children with developmental disabilities are susceptible to mental health problems. Mindfulness-based and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)-based interventions can improve their mental well-being. This review examined the effectiveness of mindfulness-based and ACT-based interventions in improving mental well-being and mindfulness among parents of children with developmental disabilities. Six electronic databases were searched, resulting in the inclusion of ten studies published between 2014 and 2020. Meta-analysis was conducted using the random-effect model. The results suggest that mindfulness-based and ACT-based interventions were effective in decreasing parental stress, anxiety and depression, however, the effectiveness of these interventions in increasing parental mindfulness was inconclusive. Based on these findings, we discussed considerations for implementing interventions and identified areas which warrant further research.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8237545/

 

Improve Psychological Well-Being and Labor Duration with Pregnancy Yoga

Improve Psychological Well-Being and Labor Duration with Pregnancy Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Prenatal yoga is a great way to stay active during pregnancy. It’s both gentle and low impact, while offering physical and mental benefits.” – Karisa Ding

 

The period of pregnancy is a time of intense physiological and psychological change. Anxiety, depression, and fear are quite common during pregnancy. More than 20 percent of pregnant women have an anxiety disorder, depressive symptoms, or both during pregnancy. Mindfulness training has been shown to improve anxiety and depression normally and to relieve maternal anxiety and depression during pregnancy and to relieve postpartum depression. Yoga has been shown to relieve maternal anxiety and depression during pregnancy. The research is accumulating. So, it makes sense to review and summarize what has been learned regarding the effects of yoga during pregnancy.

 

In today’s Research News article “The characteristics and effectiveness of pregnancy yoga interventions: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8957136/ ) Corrigan and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research studies of the effects of yoga during pregnancy. They identified 31 published research studies including 2413 pregnant women.

 

They report that the published research found that practicing yoga during pregnancy produces significant psychological benefits including decreases in perceived stress, anxiety, and depression and significant increases in physical, psychological, and social quality of life. They also report that practicing yoga reduced the duration of labor.

 

The findings of the published research to date suggests that practicing yoga during pregnancy improves the psychological well-being of the women and reduces the amount of labor.

 

Women who do yoga — including breathing exercises, posture positions and meditation — for one hour a day have been shown to have a lower preterm labor rate, as well as lower risk of pregnancy-reduced hypertension, compared with women who spent the same amount of time walking.” – Maura Hohman

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Corrigan, L., Moran, P., McGrath, N., Eustace-Cook, J., & Daly, D. (2022). The characteristics and effectiveness of pregnancy yoga interventions: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC pregnancy and childbirth, 22(1), 250. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-022-04474-9

 

Abstract

Background

Yoga is a popular mind-body medicine frequently recommended to pregnant women. Gaps remain in our understanding of the core components of effective pregnancy yoga programmes. This systematic review and meta-analysis examined the characteristics and effectiveness of pregnancy yoga interventions, incorporating the FITT (frequency, intensity, time/duration and type) principle of exercise prescription.

Methods

Nine electronic databases were searched: MEDLINE, PsycINFO, EMBASE, CINAHL, WHOLiS, AMED, ScieLo, ASSIA and Web of Science. Randomised control trials and quasi-experimental studies examining pregnancy yoga interventions were eligible. Covidence was used to screen titles, abstracts, and full-text articles. Outcomes of interest were stress, anxiety, depression, quality of life, labour duration, pain management in labour and mode of birth. The Cochrane Collaboration’s Risk of Bias Assessment tool was used to assess methodological quality of studies and GRADE criteria (GRADEpro) evaluated quality of the evidence. Meta-analysis was performed using RevMan 5.3.

Results

Of 862 citations retrieved, 31 studies met inclusion criteria. Twenty-nine studies with 2217 pregnant women were included for meta-analysis. Pregnancy yoga interventions reduced anxiety (SMD: -0.91; 95% CI: − 1.49 to − 0.33; p = 0.002), depression (SMD: -0.47; 95% CI: − 0.9 to − 0.04, P = 0.03) and perceived stress (SMD: -1.03; 95% CI: − 1.55 to − 0.52; p < 0.001). Yoga interventions also reduced duration of labour (MD = − 117.75; 95% CI − 153.80 to − 81.71, p < 0.001) and, increased odds of normal vaginal birth (OR 2.58; 95% CI 1.46–4.56, p < 0.001) and tolerance for pain. The quality of evidence (GRADE criteria) was low to very low for all outcomes. Twelve or more yoga sessions delivered weekly/bi-weekly had a statistically significant impact on mode of birth, while 12 or more yoga sessions of long duration (> 60 min) had a statistically significant impact on perceived stress.

Conclusion

The evidence highlights positive effects of pregnancy yoga on anxiety, depression, perceived stress, mode of birth and duration of labour.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8957136/