Lower Suicide Risk in College Students with Mindfulness

Lower Suicide Risk in College Students with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Zhongyong thinking still plays an important role in regulating mental distress and maintaining subjective well-being among contemporary Chinese young adults.” – Xeuling Yang

 

Around 43,000 people take their own lives each year in the US. Someone dies from suicide every 12.3 minutes. Worldwide over 800,000 people die by suicide every year. 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. Yet compared with other life-threatening conditions there has been scant research on how to identify potential suicide attempters, intervene, and reduce suicidality.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to reduce suicidalityDialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a mindfulness-based therapy targeted at changing the problem behaviors including self-injury and suicide. 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.

 

Zhong‐Yong thinking emphasizes pursuing the middle ground and never going to extremes and is characterized by acting appropriately and flexibly under different situations. It would seem to be compatible with the kinds of training occurring in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and would tend to be an antidote for suicidal thinking. Although it would seem reasonable combining Zhong‐Yong thinking with DBT would improve its effectiveness in lowering the risk of suicide, there have been no systematic studies.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effectiveness of Zhong-Yong thinking based dialectical behavior therapy group skills training versus supportive group therapy for lowering suicidal risks in Chinese young adults: A randomized controlled trial with a 6-month follow-up.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7303376/) Yang and colleagues recruited high suicide risk college students and randomly assigned them to either a wait-list control condition or to receive a 2-hour once a week for 12 weeks program of either Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) modified for inclusion of Zhong‐Yong thinking or a supportive group therapy program based upon interpersonal psychology focusing on emotional regulation and interpersonal effectiveness. They were measured before and after training and 6 months later for suicide behaviors and ideation, hopelessness, psychological distress, and psychopathological symptoms.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control group, the groups that received either treatment has significant reductions in suicide behaviors and ideation, hopelessness, psychological distress, and psychopathological symptoms. But at the 6-month follow up the treatment groups differed with the Zhong-Yong thinking based Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) group producing significantly greater improvements of obsessive compulsive, anxiety, hostility, phobic, and psychotic symptoms in comparison to supportive group therapy.

 

The results are promising that Zhong-Yong thinking based Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) can reduce suicidality and risk factors for suicide in college students and maintain the benefits for 6 months after the end of active treatment. Although supportive therapy was equally beneficial on the short-term, it was less effective on the long-term. So, Zhong-Yong thinking based DBT would appear to be the superior treatment. It would be important in future research to compare Zhong-Yong thinking based DBT to traditional DBT to determine if the addition of training in Zhong-Yong thinking increases the benefits.

 

So, lower suicide risk in college students with mindfulness.

 

those who scored high on the Zhongyong Thinking Scale had substantially lower scores on anxiety and depressive symptoms, and had higher scores on self-esteem and life satisfaction.” – Xeuling Yang

 

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

 

Yang, X., Liu, D., Wang, Y., Chen, Y., Chen, W., Yang, C., Zhang, P., Ding, S., & Zhang, X. (2020). Effectiveness of Zhong-Yong thinking based dialectical behavior therapy group skills training versus supportive group therapy for lowering suicidal risks in Chinese young adults: A randomized controlled trial with a 6-month follow-up. Brain and behavior, 10(6), e01621. https://doi.org/10.1002/brb3.1621

 

Abstract

Background

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a first‐line treatment for the prevention of suicide. Zhong‐Yong thinking could be viewed as a Chinese way of dialectical thinking, has long been a culturally dictating thinking style in China. To enhance cultural adaptability, we integrated Zhong‐Yong thinking into DBT group skills training and examined its efficacy in suicidal prevention compared with a supportive group therapy and a wait‐list group in high‐risk suicidal Chinese college students.

Methods

A total of 97 suicidal participants were randomized to either Zhong‐Yong thinking based DBT group skills training (DBTZYT, n = 33), or supportive group therapy (SGT; n = 32), or wait‐list group (WL; n = 32). DBTZYT was a 12‐week program based on Zhong‐Yong thinking instead of dialectical thinking, coaching participants mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. Supportive group therapy was a 12‐week program aiming at improving interpersonal effectiveness and emotion regulation skills. Outcome measures were assessed at pre‐ and post‐treatment and 6‐month follow‐up.

Results

At post‐treatment measures, the levels of suicidal ideation, hopelessness, psychache symptoms, and general psychopathology had significantly decreased in both intervention groups; at the 6‐month follow‐up measures, the intervention effects were better maintained in the DBTZYT group rather than in the SGT group. Specifically, DBTZYT was more effective in relieving participants’ long‐term obsessive‐compulsive, anxiety, hostility, phobic, psychotic, and additional symptoms.

Conclusions

Zhong‐Yong thinking not only could integrate with DBT skills training in Chinese young adult population, but also has special strength in enhancing DBT’s efficacy.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7303376/

 

Improve Tolerance for Distress with Brief Mindfulness Training

Improve Tolerance for Distress with Brief Mindfulness Training

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

when you are being mindful of your emotions you don’t fight the wave, but instead allow the wave to carry you over its crest and down the other side, or you might choose to surf the wave allowing it to carry you into shore.” – Lisa Saulsman

 

Psychological distress is related to an increase in physiological stress responses. That is, when the individual is anxious, ruminating, or having negative emotions, the physiology including the hormonal system reacts. The increased activity can be measured in heightened stress hormones in the blood and increased heart rate, blood pressure etc. These physiological stress responses on the short-term are adaptive and help to fight off infection, toxins, injury, etc. Unfortunately, psychological distress is often persistent and chronic and resulting in chronic stress which in turn can produce disease.

 

Many of the symptoms of psychological distress have been shown to be related to a lack of mindfulness. Anxiety is often rooted in a persistent dread of future negative events while rumination is rooted in the past, with persistent replaying of negative past events. Since mindfulness is firmly rooted in the present it is antagonistic toward anything rooted in the past or future. Hence, high levels of mindfulness cannot coexist with anxiety and rumination. In addition, high mindfulness has been shown to be related to high levels of emotion regulation and positive emotions. So, mindfulness would appear to be an antidote to psychological distress.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effect of a Brief Mindfulness Training on Distress Tolerance and Stress Reactivity.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6494113/), Carpenter and colleagues recruited undergraduate students who had no experience with mindfulness or meditation practices and measured them for mindfulness, anxiety, depression, perceived stress. mindfulness use, and respiration. They were then measured for distress tolerance with a cold pressor task in which they were asked to keep their arm in very cold water for as long as they could (up to a maximum of 180 seconds). They were also asked to hyperventilate for as long as they could (up to a maximum of 300 seconds). After having completed these tasks they were randomly assigned to receive either 15 minutes of relaxation with music or mindfulness training with meditation and non-judgmental awareness. They then repeated the distress tasks. Finally, only after training they were asked to write a sentence stating that a good friend will be in a bad car accident and think about and visualize the scene. Participants were asked to rate their level of distress prior to each task and after the task to rate their maximal level of distress during the task,

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the relaxation condition, after mindfulness training there was a significant increase in persistence of hyperventilation, time continuing to hyperventilate. The mindfulness participants also were less likely to attempt to neutralize feelings produced by stating and visualizing a friend in a future car accident. There were no significant effects of training on the reported levels of distress. They also found that using mindfulness nonjudging and nonreacting mediated the effect of mindfulness training on persistence in the cold pressor and urge to neutralize feelings in the car accident tasks, such that mindfulness training not only directly affected these outcomes but also indirectly by increasing these uses of mindfulness which in turn affected performance.

 

These results suggest that a brief mindfulness training produces a greater ability to tolerate physical and psychological distress. They also suggest that mindfulness has these effects in part by inducing mindful nonjudgment and nonreaction. The ability to engage in a stressful task appears to be improved by observing it in the present moment nonjudgmentally and nonreactively.

 

Mindfulness training has been previously shown to reduce distress, pain, and responding to stress. What is new and interesting here is that such a brief mindfulness training can have significant effects like these. This suggests that brief mindfulness training may be beneficially employed whenever and individual is about to engage in a distressful task, such as working through traumatic experiences, engaging in athletic endeavors, etc., making the individual better able to focus on the present moment and better cope with the distress.

 

So, improve tolerance for distress with brief mindfulness training.

 

mindfulness is believed to facilitate increased distress tolerance and nonjudgmental acceptance of unpleasant experiences.” – Andrew Bliesner

 

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

 

Carpenter, J. K., Sanford, J., & Hofmann, S. G. (2019). The Effect of a Brief Mindfulness Training on Distress Tolerance and Stress Reactivity. Behavior therapy, 50(3), 630–645. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beth.2018.10.003

 

Highlights

  • Mindfulness training increased distress tolerance on the hyperventilation challenge
  • Mindfulness training led to reduced urges to neutralize an upsetting thought
  • No effect of the intervention was seen on subjective distress
  • Lower trait awareness predicted a greater effect of mindfulness on hyperventilation

Abstract

Distress tolerance (DT) is considered an underlying facet of anxiety, depression and a number of other psychological disorders. Mindfulness may help to increase DT by fostering an attitude of acceptance non-judgment toward distressing experiences. Accordingly, the present study examined the effects of a brief mindfulness training on tolerance of different types of distress, and tested whether trait mindfulness moderates the effect of such training. Undergraduates (n = 107) naïve to mindfulness completed a measure of trait mindfulness and underwent a series of stress tasks (cold pressor, hyperventilation challenge, neutralization task) before and after completing a 15-minute mindfulness training or a no-instruction control in which participants listened to relaxing music. Participants in the mindfulness condition demonstrated greater task persistence on the hyperventilation task compared to the control group, as well as a decreased urge to neutralize the effects of writing an upsetting sentence. No effect on distress ratings during the tasks were found. Overall trait mindfulness did not significantly moderate task persistence, but those with lower scores on the act with awareness facet of mindfulness demonstrated greater relative benefit of mindfulness training on the hyperventilation challenge. Mediation analyses revealed significant indirect effects of mindfulness training on cold pressor task persistence and urges to neutralize through the use of the non-judge and non-react facets of mindfulness. These results suggest that a brief mindfulness training can increase DT without affecting the subjective experience of distress.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6494113/

 

Online Mindfulness Training Improves Clinical Anxiety and Depression

Online Mindfulness Training Improves Clinical Anxiety and Depression

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“adding MMB [mindfulness training] to depression care led to greater reductions in depressive and anxious symptoms, higher rates of remission and higher levels of quality of life compared to patients receiving conventional depression care alone.” – Traci Pederson

 

Mindfulness training has been shown through extensive research to be effective in improving physical and psychological health and particularly with the physical and psychological reactions to stress. They have been shown to be very helpful in treating anxiety and depression. The vast majority of the mindfulness training techniques, however, require a certified trained therapist. This results in costs that many clients can’t afford. In addition, the participants must be available to attend multiple sessions at particular scheduled times that may or may not be compatible with their busy schedules and at locations that may not be convenient.

 

As an alternative, mindfulness training programs have been developed to be implemented over the internet. These have tremendous advantages in decreasing costs, making training schedules much more flexible, and eliminating the need to go repeatedly to specific locations. But, the question arises as to which forms of online mindfulness trainings are most effective for inducing mindfulness and improving the treatment of anxiety and depression.

 

In today’s Research News article “Transdiagnostic internet-delivered CBT and mindfulness-based treatment for depression and anxiety: A randomised controlled trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7044661/), Kladnitski and colleagues recruited online adults with a variety of either depression or anxiety disorders and randomly assigned them to receive either a 17-week internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness enhanced internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy, internet-based mindfulness training, or treatment-as-usual. “The programs consisted of six comic-style, story-based lessons, downloadable lesson summaries, reflective worksheets, and extra support materials including frequently asked questions and troubleshooting of common difficulties.” They were measured before, during, and after treatment and 3 months later for psychological illnesses, anxiety, depression, psychological distress, and functional impairment.

 

They found compared to baseline and the treatment-as-usual control group, there were large and highly significant decreases in anxiety, depression, functional impairment and psychological distress. These improvements were present both at the end of treatment and at the 3-month follow-up. There were no significant differences between the effectiveness of the 3 interventions. There were no adverse events reported. At the 3-month follow-up 60% to 73% of the treated participants improved to the point that they no longer met the criteria for a clinical diagnosis of an anxiety or depressive disorder.

 

It is interesting that the 3 different treatments did not differ in effectiveness. Each has been previously been demonstrated to be effective in treating anxiety and depressive disorders and it appears that their efficacy is almost equivalent. This suggests that patients can self-select the treatment that most appeals to them, improving completion rates, compliance, and perhaps effectiveness.

 

These are exciting and important findings. It has been previously demonstrated that mindfulness training can alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and depression. The advance here is in demonstrating that therapy delivered over the internet is safe, effective, and lasting in treating anxiety or depressive disorders. Internet delivery of treatment can be implemented conveniently, at low cost. and over wide areas making the therapy available to large numbers of patients who previously could not access treatment.

 

So, online mindfulness training improves clinical anxiety and depression.

 

Mindfulness and other meditations, particularly combined with cognitive therapy, work just as well for anxiety or depression as the medications do, but they don’t have those side effects,” – Daniel Goleman

 

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

 

Kladnitski, N., Smith, J., Uppal, S., James, M. A., Allen, A. R., Andrews, G., & Newby, J. M. (2020). Transdiagnostic internet-delivered CBT and mindfulness-based treatment for depression and anxiety: A randomised controlled trial. Internet Interventions, 20, 100310. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.invent.2020.100310

 

Abstract

Aim

To examine the efficacy of transdiagnostic internet-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT), mindfulness-enhanced iCBT, and stand-alone online mindfulness training compared with a usual care control group (TAU) for clinical anxiety and depression.

Method

Individuals (N = 158) with a DSM-5 diagnosis of a depressive and/or anxiety disorder were randomised to one of the three clinician-guided online interventions, or TAU over a 14-week intervention period. The primary outcomes were self-reported depression (PHQ-9) and anxiety (GAD-7) severity at post-treatment. Secondary outcomes included adherence rates, functional impairment (WHODAS-II), general distress (K−10), and diagnostic status at the 3-month follow-up (intervention groups).

Results

All three programs achieved significant and large reductions in symptoms of depression (g = 0.89–1.53), anxiety (g = 1.04–1.40), and distress (g = 1.25–1.76); and medium to large reductions in functional impairment (g = 0.53–0.98) from baseline to post-treatment and 3-month follow-up. Intention-to-treat linear mixed models showed that all three online programs were superior to usual care at reducing symptoms of depression (g = 0.89–1.18) and anxiety (g = 1.00–1.23).

Conclusion

Transdiagnostic iCBT, mindfulness-enhanced iCBT and online mindfulness training are more efficacious for treating depression and anxiety disorders than usual care, and represent an accessible treatment option for these disorders.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7044661/

 

Improve Emotional Distress in The Elderly with Type 2 Diabetes with Mindfulness

Improve Emotional Distress in The Elderly with Type 2 Diabetes with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindfulness based approaches has been found to be particularly effective in supporting diabetes management and the mental turmoil that is accompanied with a diagnosis of such as chronic physical illness. It can address the feelings of guilt, anger and aid self-acceptance to encourage the fulfilment of an unobstructed life. Mindfulness has also been found to have an enhanced clinical effect of glycemic control so not only aids psychological health but could potentially have a positive impact on the management of the physical condition.” – Diabetes UK

 

Diabetes is a major health issue. It is estimated that 30 million people in the United States have diabetes and the numbers are growing. Type 2 Diabetes results from a resistance of tissues, especially fat tissues, to the ability of insulin to promote the uptake of glucose from the blood. As a result, blood sugar levels rise producing hyperglycemia. Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. In addition, diabetes is heavily associated with other diseases such as cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and circulatory problems leading to amputations. As a result, diabetes doubles the risk of death of any cause compared to individuals of the same age without diabetes.

 

Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable. One of the reasons for the increasing incidence of Type 2 Diabetes is its association with overweight and obesity which is becoming epidemic in the industrialized world. A leading cause of this is a sedentary life style. Current treatments for Type 2 Diabetes focus on diet, exercise, and weight control. Recently, mindfulness practices have been shown to be helpful in managing diabetes.

 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a mindfulness-based psychotherapy technique that is employs many of the techniques of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). ACT focuses on the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior and how they interact to impact their psychological and physical well-being. It then works to change thinking to alter the interaction and produce greater life satisfaction. ACT employs mindfulness practices to increase awareness and develop an attitude of acceptance and compassion in the presence of painful thoughts and feelings. ACT teaches individuals to “just notice”, accept and embrace private experiences and focus on behavioral responses that produce more desirable outcomes. The problems resulting from diabetes get magnified in the elderly. So, it is important to study the efficacy of ACT for Type 2 Diabetes in the elderly.

 

In today’s Research News article “Efficacy of Acceptance And Commitment Therapy For Emotional Distress In The Elderly With Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6802537/), Maghsoudi and colleagues recruited patients with Type 2 Diabetes over 60 years of age. They all continued on routine care while half were randomly selected to receive Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in groups once a week for 90 minutes for 8 weeks. They were measured before and after training and 2 months later for diabetes-related emotional distress including the dimensions of emotional burden, physician-related distress, regimen-related distress and diabetes-related interpersonal distress.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the usual care group the patients who received Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) had significantly lower diabetes-related emotional distress. This lower diabetes-related emotional distress was maintained 2 months later. The study contained only a passive control condition, so caution must be exercised in interpreting the results. Nevertheless, ACT\ was a safe, effective, and lasting treatment to improve the emotions of elderly patients with Type 2 Diabetes.

 

So, improve emotional distress in the elderly with Type 2 Diabetes with mindfulness.

 

“Mindfulness training, including focused breathing and awareness training, helped U.S. veterans with diabetes significantly lower their diabetes-related distress and blood sugar levels and improve their self-management of the disease, researchers report.” – Science Daily

 

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

 

Maghsoudi, Z., Razavi, Z., Razavi, M., & Javadi, M. (2019). Efficacy Of Acceptance And Commitment Therapy For Emotional Distress In The Elderly With Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity : targets and therapy, 12, 2137–2143. doi:10.2147/DMSO.S221245

 

Abstract

Introduction

Diabetes is among the common diseases in the elderly which results in depression, anxiety, and emotional distress in the elderly and impacts the disease control by the individual. This study was conducted with the aim of exploring the effectiveness of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) in the improvement of emotional distress in the elderly with type 2 diabetes.

Materials and methods

In this randomized control trial, 80 elderly with type 2 diabetes aged ≥60 years were randomly selected among the individuals visiting Yazd Diabetes Research Center. Then, the patients were randomly divided into two 40 individual groups, ie, the intervention group and the control group. The intervention group underwent group ACT during eight 90-min sessions. The diabetes-related emotional distress questionnaire was completed before the intervention, after the end of the group sessions and 2 months after that. The statistical software SPSS version 21 was used for data analysis.

Results

The emotional mean scores in the intervention and control groups were not significantly different before the intervention. However, the mean score of the intervention group was lower than of the control group immediately after the intervention (p=0.02) and 2 months after the intervention (p=0.02).

Conclusion

ACT results in the improvement of diabetes-related emotional distress in the intervention group. Considering the effectiveness of ACT, this therapeutic method is recommended to be used for the amelioration of emotional distress in the elderly with type 2 diabetes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6802537/

 

Improve the Physical and Psychological Health of Cancer Patients with Mindfulness

Improve the Physical and Psychological Health of Cancer Patients with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

It turns out that some of the most difficult elements of the cancer experience are very well-suited to a mindfulness practice.” – Linda Carlson

 

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. These feeling can result from changes in body image, changes to family and work roles, feelings of grief at these losses, and physical symptoms such as pain, nausea, or fatigue. People might also fear death, suffering, pain, or all the unknown things that lie ahead. So, coping with the emotions and stress of a cancer diagnosis is a challenge and there are no simple treatments for these psychological sequelae of cancer diagnosis.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with cancer recovery and help to alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including fatiguestress,  sleep disturbance, fear, and anxiety and depression. The evidence is accumulating. So, it is timely to review and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-based interventions for psychological and physical health outcomes in cancer patients and survivors: 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/PMC6916350/), Cillessen and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on the effectiveness of mindfulness training in treating the symptoms of cancer and its treatment. They found 29 RCTs that included a total of 3224 participants.

 

The summary of the published research reflected that mindfulness training produced significant reductions in psychological distress in the cancer patients including reductions in anxiety, depression, fatigue, and fear of cancer reoccurrence with small to moderate effects sizes. These improvements were found both immediately after treatment and also at follow-up from 3 to 24 months later. Further they found that mindfulness trainings that adhered to the protocols for Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) had the greatest effect sizes.

 

It has been repeatedly demonstrated that mindfulness training is effective in reducing psychological distress including reductions in anxiety, depression, fatigue, and fear in a wide variety of individuals with and without disease states. The present meta-analysis demonstrates the effectiveness of mindfulness training for the relief of psychological and physical suffering of cancer patients. It does not affect the disease process. Rather, it reduces the patients psychological suffering and does so for a prolonged period of time.

 

So, improve the physical and psychological health of cancer patients with mindfulness.

 

patients who practice mindfulness begin to feel better despite their medical problems. Physical symptoms don’t necessarily go away, but that’s not the aim of mindfulness. Rather, the goal is to help you find a different perspective and a new way of coping with your illness.” – Eric Tidline

 

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

 

Cillessen, L., Johannsen, M., Speckens, A., & Zachariae, R. (2019). Mindfulness-based interventions for psychological and physical health outcomes in cancer patients and survivors: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Psycho-oncology, 28(12), 2257–2269. doi:10.1002/pon.5214

 

Abstract

Objective

Mindfulness‐based interventions (MBIs) are increasingly used within psycho‐oncology. Since the publication of the most recent comprehensive meta‐analysis on MBIs in cancer in 2012, the number of published trials has more than doubled. We therefore conducted a systematic review and meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs), testing the efficacy of MBIs on measures of psychological distress (primary outcome) and other health outcomes in cancer patients and survivors.

Methods

Two authors conducted independent literature searches in electronic databases from first available date to 10 October 2018, selected eligible studies, extracted data for meta‐analysis, and evaluated risk of bias.

Results

Twenty‐nine independent RCTs (reported in 38 papers) with 3274 participants were included. Small and statistically significant pooled effects of MBIs on combined measures of psychological distress were found at post‐intervention (Hedges’s g = 0.32; 95%CI: 0.22‐0.41; P < .001) and follow‐up (g = 0.19; 95%CI: 0.07‐0.30; P < .002). Statistically significant effects were also found at either post‐intervention or follow‐up for a range of self‐reported secondary outcomes, including anxiety, depression, fear of cancer recurrence, fatigue, sleep disturbances, and pain (g: 0.20 to 0.51; p: <.001 to.047). Larger effects of MBIs on psychological distress were found in studies (a) adhering to the original MBI manuals, (b) with younger patients, (c) with passive control conditions, and (d) shorter time to follow‐up. Improvements in mindfulness skills were associated with greater reductions in psychological distress at post‐intervention.

Conclusions

MBIs appear efficacious in reducing psychological distress and other symptoms in cancer patients and survivors. However, many of the effects were of small magnitude, suggesting a need for intervention optimization research.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6916350/

 

Therapeutic Alliance is Important for Mindfulness Training to Improve the Psychological Health of Cancer Patients

Therapeutic Alliance is Important for Mindfulness Training to Improve the Psychological Health of Cancer Patients

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Both face-to-face and internet-based mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) reduced psychological distress compared with usual care in patients with cancer.” – Matthew Stenger

 

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer has a huge impact on most people. Coping with the emotions and stress of a cancer diagnosis is a challenge and there are no simple treatments for these psychological sequelae of cancer diagnosis. 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. It is estimated that 15 million adults and children with a history of cancer are alive in the United States today. But, surviving cancer carries with it a number of problems. “Physical, emotional, and financial hardships often persist for years after diagnosis and treatment. Cancer survivors are also at greater risk for developing second cancers and other health conditions.” National Cancer Survivors Day.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with cancer recovery and help to alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depressionMindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) consists of mindfulness training and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). During therapy the patient is trained to investigate and alter aberrant thought patterns underlying their reactions to cancer. It is thought that the alliance between therapist and patient that is formed during treatment is important for the effectiveness of therapy. So, it would make sense to study the effectiveness of MBCT and the therapeutic alliance on the psychological distress of cancer patients.

 

In today’s Research News article “Development of the Therapeutic Alliance and its Association With Internet-Based Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Distressed Cancer Patients: Secondary Analysis of a Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6827984/), Bisseling and colleagues recruited adult cancer patients and randomly assigned them to either a wait list control condition or to receive Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) in a group setting in 8 weekly 2.5 hour sessions with daily homework or online in 8 weekly practice sessions with therapist feedback emails. The participants were measured before and after training for anxiety, depression, mental well-being, and therapeutic alliance consisting of questions on “(1) how closely client and therapist agree on and are mutually engaged in the goals of treatment; (2) how closely client and therapist agree on how to reach the treatment goals; and (3) the degree of mutual trust, acceptance, and confidence between the client and therapist.

 

Of the Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) participants significantly more dropped out of the online version (12.1%) than the group version(5.6%). The therapeutic alliance increased significantly over the intervention and did not differ between MBCT groups. They found that relative to baseline and the wait list control group MBCT training produced significant reductions in psychological distress and increases in mental well-being. In addition, the higher the level of therapeutic alliance at week 2 of the intervention the greater the reduction in psychological distress and increase in mental well-being over the program. Finally, they found that if the therapeutic alliance was weak at week 2 then there was less improvement in psychological distress in the group version of MBCT than the online version.

 

These results are in line with previous findings that mindfulness training produces improves mental well-being and decreases psychological distress in cancer patients, that online mindfulness training is effective, and that therapeutic alliance is important for the effectiveness of mindfulness training. These results suggest that the development of therapeutic alliance be emphasized in mindfulness training. It is interesting that therapeutic alliance can be just as effectively developed online as in person and that it is less responsive to early low therapeutic alliance. This may explain, in part, why online mindfulness training is very effective.

 

So, therapeutic alliance is important for mindfulness training to improve the psychological health of cancer patients.

 

mindfulness-based therapy is an effective way of treating anxiety and depression in cancer patients.” – Robert Zachariae

 

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

 

Bisseling, E., Cillessen, L., Spinhoven, P., Schellekens, M., Compen, F., van der Lee, M., & Speckens, A. (2019). Development of the Therapeutic Alliance and its Association With Internet-Based Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Distressed Cancer Patients: Secondary Analysis of a Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of medical Internet research, 21(10), e14065. doi:10.2196/14065

 

Abstract

Background

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is an evidence-based group-based psychological treatment in oncology, resulting in reduction of depressive and anxiety symptoms. Internet-based MBCT (eMBCT) has been found to be an effective alternative for MBCT. The therapeutic alliance (the bond between therapist and patient,) is known to have a significant impact on psychological treatment outcomes, including MBCT. A primary concern in the practice of eMBCT is whether a good therapeutic alliance can develop. Although evidence for the beneficial effect of therapist assistance on treatment outcome in internet-based interventions (IBIs) is accumulating, it is still unclear whether the therapeutic alliance is related to outcome in IBIs.

Objective

This study aimed to (1) explore whether early therapeutic alliance predicts treatment dropout in MBCT or eMBCT, (2) compare the development of the therapeutic alliance during eMBCT and MBCT, and (3) examine whether early therapeutic alliance is a predictor of the reduction of psychological distress and the increase of mental well-being at posttreatment in both conditions.

Methods

This study was part of a multicenter randomized controlled trial (n=245) on the effectiveness of MBCT or eMBCT for distressed cancer patients. The therapeutic alliance was measured at the start of week 2 (ie, early therapeutic alliance), week 5, and week 9. Outcome measures were psychological distress, measured with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and mental well-being, measured with the Mental Health Continuum-Short Form.

Results

The strength of early therapeutic alliance did not predict treatment dropout in MBCT or eMBCT (B=−.39; P=.21). Therapeutic alliance increased over time in both conditions (F2,90=16.46; Wilks λ=0.732; P<.001). This increase did not differ between eMBCT and MBCT (F1,91=0.114; P=.74). Therapeutic alliance at week 2 predicted a decrease in psychological distress (B=−.12; t 114=−2.656; P=.01) and an increase in mental well-being (B=.23; t 113=2.651; P=.01) at posttreatment. The relationship with reduction of psychological distress differed between treatments: a weaker early therapeutic alliance predicted higher psychological distress at posttreatment in MBCT but not in eMBCT (B=.22; t 113=2.261; P=.03).

Conclusions

A therapeutic alliance can develop in both eMBCT and MBCT. Findings revealed that the strength of early alliance did not predict treatment dropout. Furthermore, the level of therapeutic alliance predicted reduced psychological distress and increased mental well-being at posttreatment in both conditions. Interestingly, the strength of therapeutic alliance appeared to be more related to treatment outcome in group-based MBCT than in eMBCT.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6827984/

 

Improve Well-Being in Nurses with Mindfulness

Improve Well-Being in Nurses with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

So, improve well-being in nurses with mindfulness.

 

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

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

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

 

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

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

 

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Lupus Patients with Mindfulness

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Lupus Patients with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“For someone with lupus who suffers from persistent joint or muscular pain, the struggle to find relief can be stressful and exhausting. But mindfulness meditation is not about fighting. It’s all about acceptance. And once you have achieved calm, it can help you regain a much-needed sense of control when your disease brings you discomfort.” – Lupus Foundation

 

Autoimmune diseases occur when the body’s systems that are designed to ward off infection attack the individual’s own tissues. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that affects a variety of organ systems including kidneys, joints, skin, blood, brain, heart and lungs. Lupus can produce fever, joint pain, stiffness and swelling, butterfly-shaped rash on the face or rashes elsewhere on the body, skin lesions that appear or worsen with sun exposure, fingers and toes that turn white or blue when exposed to cold or during stressful periods, shortness of breath, chest pain, dry eyes, headaches, confusion and memory loss. Lupus strikes between 10 to 25 people per 100,000, or about 322,000 cases in the U.S.

 

The symptoms of Lupus can look like a number of other diseases so it is hard to diagnose lupus. It is tipped off in many patients by the distinctive facial rash. There are no known cures for lupus and treatment is targeted at symptom relief. Drug treatments include pain relievers, corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, and even antimalarial drugs. Mindfulness practices have been shown to be effective for a wide variety of illnesses and to improve the immune system. So, it is possible that mindfulness training could improve Lupus and its symptoms.

 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a mindfulness-based psychotherapy technique that is employs many of the techniques of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). ACT focuses on the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior and how they interact to impact their psychological and physical well-being. It then works to change thinking to alter the interaction and produce greater life satisfaction. ACT employs mindfulness practices to increase awareness and develop an attitude of acceptance and compassion in the presence of painful thoughts and feelings. ACT teaches individuals to “just notice”, accept and embrace private experiences and focus on behavioral responses that produce more desirable outcomes.

 

In today’s Research News article “Efficacy of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in Reducing Disappointment, Psychological Distress, and Psychasthenia among Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) Patients.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6702277/), Sahebari and colleagues recruited female lupus patients and were randomly assigned to receive 8 weekly sessions of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) or treatment as usual. They were measured before and after treatment for depression, psychological distress, fatigue, disappointment, and psychasthenia.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the treatment as usual control condition, the lupus patients who received Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) had significantly lower levels of psychological distress, psychasthenia, and disappointment with large effect sizes. psychasthenia is a psychological disorder characterized by phobias, obsessions, compulsions, or excessive anxiety. Hence, ACT appears to be effective in improving the psychological state of lupus patients. It can be speculated that ACT has its benefits for lupus patients by increasing mindfulness and the patients’ ability to accept their situation without judgement.

 

So, improve the psychological well-being of lupus patients with mindfulness.

 

“Improvement was observed in several areas: patients’ increased ability to differentiate between themselves and the disease; increased ability to accept, rather than to actively fight the fact that one must live with the disease; and decreased behavioral avoidance. These observations speak to the significant therapeutic potential of mindfulness practice among SLE patients” – Danny Horash

 

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

 

Sahebari, M., Asghari Ebrahimabad, M. J., Ahmadi Shoraketokanlo, A., Aghamohammadian Sharbaf, H., & Khodashahi, M. (2019). Efficacy of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in Reducing Disappointment, Psychological Distress, and Psychasthenia among Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) Patients. Iranian Journal of Psychiatry, 14(2), 130–136.

 

Abstract

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) in the reduction of disappointment, psychological distress, and psychasthenia among patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Method : This quasi-experimental study was conducted on 24 females with lupus who referred to the Rheumatoid Disease Research Center (RDRC) of Ghaem hospital in Mashhad, Iran. This study had a pretest-posttest control group design. The participants were randomly assigned into 2 groups of experimental and control. The experimental group was treated with ACT. Data were collected using the Beck’s Hopelessness Scale, Kessler’s Psychological Distress Inventory, and Krupp’s Psychasthenia Inventory.

Results: Mean age and mean duration of illness were 37.25±4.61 and 5.12±2.33 years, respectively. The mean disappointment score and psychological distress in the experimental group were lower compared to those in control group at the post experimental stage (P<0.001). Moreover, there was a significant difference between the experimental and control groups in the mean scores of psychasthenia in the posttest stage (P<0.001).

Conclusion: According to the obtained results of this study, the enhancement of psychological flexibility based on ACT positively affected disappointment, psychological distress, and psychasthenia among the lupus patients. Therefore, it can be concluded that this therapeutic approach could reduce psychasthenia in patients through clarification of the values.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6702277/

 

Improve Psychological Functioning with Mindfulness

Improve Psychological Functioning with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

” the positive potential benefits of mindfulness practice are more attentional control, more effective emotional regulation, enhanced social relationships, reduced risk for physical ailments, enhanced immune system functioning, and better sleep quality.” – Jason Linder

 

Over the last several decades, research and anecdotal experiences have accumulated an impressive evidential case that the development of mindfulness has positive benefits for the individual’s mental, physical, and spiritual life. Mindfulness appears to be beneficial both for healthy people and for people suffering from a myriad of mental and physical illnesses. It appears to be beneficial across ages, from children to the elderly. And it appears to be beneficial across genders, personalities, race, and ethnicity. The breadth and depth of benefits is unprecedented. There is no other treatment or practice that has been shown to come anyway near the range of mindfulness’ positive benefits.

 

The clustering of these benefits may supply a clue as to how mindfulness training is working to improve mental health. This can be investigated by looking at the interrelationships between the effects of mindfulness training. In today’s Research News article “Does mindfulness change the mind? A novel psychonectome perspective based on Network Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6638953/), Roca and colleagues apply network analysis to investigate the interrelationships between a large number of effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training.

 

They recruited healthy adult participants in a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. The MBSR program consisted of 32 hours of training separated into 8 weekly group sessions involving meditation, yoga, body scan, and discussion. The patients were also encouraged to perform daily practice. They were measured before and after MBSR training for meditation experience, and psychological and physical health problems, and 5 categories of mindfulness effects; 1) Mindfulness, including five facets, decentering, non-attachment, and bodily awareness, 2) Compassion, including compassion towards oneself and others and empathy, 3) Psychological well-being, including satisfaction with life, optimism, and overall well-being, 4) Psychological distress, including anxiety, stress, and depression, and 5) Emotional and cognitive control, including emotional regulation, rumination, thought suppression and attentional control.

 

They found that after MBSR training there were significant improvements in effectively all of the five categories. This is not new as much research has demonstrated that mindfulness training produces improvements in mindfulness, compassion, psychological well-being, psychological distress, and emotional and cognitive control.

 

These data were then subjected to network analysis. Prior to MBSR training the network analysis revealed clustering in three paths “mindfulness and self-compassion; clinical symptoms and rumination; and most of FFMQ mindfulness components with attentional control measure.” After MBSR training, however, there was a network reorganization such that the three paths disappeared and were replaced by two paths, psychopathological and adaptive.

 

Centrality measures in the network analysis indicated that both prior to and after MBSR training the most central, fundamental, and interrelated components were all facets of mindfulness and all well-being measures. In addition, Community Analysis revealed that mindfulness, compassion, and emotional regulation were the most highly associated components.

 

The results are complex but suggest that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training reorganizes the associations of psychological variables, simplifying them into two categories representing distress and adaptation. The training may help the individual see the interrelationships of the problems they have and the solutions employed. The results further suggest, not surprisingly, that mindfulness, compassion, and emotion regulation are central to the benefits of mindfulness training. Many other benefits flow from these.

 

So, improve psychological functioning with mindfulness.

 

“Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction . . . Participants experienced significant decreases in perceived stress, depression, anxiety, emotional dysregulation, and post-traumatic stress symptoms.” – Carolyn McManus

 

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

 

Roca, P., Diez, G. G., Castellanos, N., & Vazquez, C. (2019). Does mindfulness change the mind? A novel psychonectome perspective based on Network Analysis. PloS one, 14(7), e0219793. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0219793

 

Abstract

If the brain is a complex network of functionally specialized areas, it might be expected that mental representations could also behave in a similar way. We propose the concept of ‘psychonectome’ to formalize the idea of psychological constructs forming a dynamic network of mutually dependent elements. As a proof-of-concept of the psychonectome, networks analysis (NA) was used to explore structural changes in the network of constructs resulting from a psychological intervention. NA was applied to explore the effects of an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program in healthy participants (N = 182). Psychological functioning was measured by questionnaires assessing five key domains related to MBSR: mindfulness, compassion, psychological well-being, psychological distress and emotional-cognitive control. A total of 25 variables, covering the five constructs, were considered as nodes in the NA. Participants significantly improved in most of the psychological questionnaires. More interesting from a network perspective, there were also significant changes in the topological relationships among the elements. Expected influence and strength centrality indexes revealed that mindfulness and well-being measures were the most central nodes in the networks. The nodes with highest topological change after the MBSR were attentional control, compassion measures, depression and thought suppression. Also, cognitive appraisal, an adaptive emotion regulation strategy, was associated to rumination before the MBSR program but became related to mindfulness and well-being measures after the program. Community analysis revealed a strong topological association between mindfulness, compassion, and emotional regulation, which supports the key role of compassion in mindfulness training. These results highlight the importance of exploring psychological changes from a network perspective and support the conceptual advantage of considering the interconnectedness of psychological constructs in terms of a ‘psychonectome’ as it may reveal ways of functioning that cannot be analyzed through conventional analytic methods.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6638953/

 

Reduce Psychological Distress Produced by Critical Thinking with Mindfulness

Reduce Psychological Distress Produced by Critical Thinking with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“The most active form of developing critical thinking is through meditation. Meditation makes you exercise control of mind over matter. Your mind becomes an active place for several activities such as: cleansing of mind from rubbish which may lead to wrong actions and decisions; accepting healthy thoughts into the cleansed mind; and letting the good ideas come to work and change the way you think.” – Operation Meditation

 

We tend to believe that the ability to think critically is a major positive characteristic that should be trained. For intellectual tasks this is probably true. But in the emotional realm, critical thinking might actually be negative and lead to greater emotional distress. Disordered, self-critical, thinking is associated with a variety of mental illnesses. This form of thinking can produce cognitive distortions that consist of dysfunctional reasoning including arbitrary inference, false dichotomy, selective abstraction, and overgeneralization. Mindfulness has been shown to improve thought processes and also the individual’s ability to regulate their emotions. So, mindfulness may counteract the negative emotional consequences of critical thinking.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Moderating Effect of Mindfulness on the Mediated Relation Between Critical Thinking and Psychological Distress via Cognitive Distortions Among Adolescents.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6606771/), Su and Shum recruited high school seniors and had them complete measures of anxiety, depression, cognitive distortions, mindfulness, and critical thinking. They then subjected these measures to regression analysis.

 

They found that the higher the levels of cognitive distortions the higher the levels of stress, anxiety, and depression, and lower levels of mindfulness. In other words, psychological distress (anxiety, depression, and stress) were associated with faulty thinking. They then performed linear structural modelling and found that critical thinking was associated with psychological distress directly and indirectly by being associated with cognitive distortions which is, in turn, is associated with psychological distress. They found that mindfulness moderates the relationship between critical thinking and psychological distress. It does so by being related to lower cognitive distortions and by being related to lower psychological distress.

 

These results are interesting and suggest that having high critical thinking can lead to distorted thinking that can, in turn, lead to greater anxiety, depression, and stress. This faulty thinking may be related to thinking about the self, being overly critical of the self and thereby producing psychological problems. The results also suggest that mindfulness can to some extent blunt this process by making it less likely that distorted thinking will develop and also by directly reducing anxiety, depression, and stress. Hence, mindfulness may allow for critical thinking without producing psychological distress.

 

So, reduce psychological distress produced by critical thinking with mindfulness.

 

The capacity to be mindful is associated with higher well-being in daily life.” – David Creswell

 

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

 

Michael Ronald Su, Kathy Kar-man Shum. The Moderating Effect of Mindfulness on the Mediated Relation Between Critical Thinking and Psychological Distress via Cognitive Distortions Among Adolescents. Front Psychol. 2019; 10: 1455. Published online 2019 Jun 26. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01455

 

Abstract

Critical thinking has been widely regarded as an indispensable cognitive skill in the 21st century. However, its associations with the affective aspects of psychological functioning are not well understood. This study explored the interrelations between trait mindfulness, critical thinking, cognitive distortions, and psychological distress using a moderated mediation model. The sample comprised 287 senior secondary school students (57% male and 43% female) aged 14–19 from a local secondary school in Hong Kong. The results revealed that high critical thinking was significantly associated with high levels of psychological distress when mindful awareness was low among adolescents. Trait mindfulness was found to moderate the indirect effects of critical thinking on psychological distress via cognitive distortions as the mediator. Specifically, in low trait mindfulness conditions, critical thinking was found to associate positively with cognitive distortions and psychological distress. Such associations were not observed in high trait mindfulness conditions. The findings reveal that though critical thinking has positive associations with cognitive functioning, its associations with affective well-being might be negative. The results also suggest that mindfulness might play an important role in preventing the possible psychological distress associated with critical thinking. Educational implications relating to the fostering of critical thinking and mindful awareness are discussed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6606771/