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 Psychological Well-Being of Patients Living with HIV/AIDS with Mindfulness

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Patients Living with HIV/AIDS with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Given the stress-reduction benefits of mindfulness meditation training, these findings indicate there can be health protective effects not just in people with HIV but in folks who suffer from daily stress,” – – David Creswell

 

More than 35 million people worldwide and 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection. These include a significant number of children and adolescents. In 1996, the advent of the protease inhibitor and the so-called cocktail changed the prognosis for HIV. Since this development a 20-year-old infected with HIV can now expect to live on average to age 69. Hence, living with HIV is a long-term reality for a very large group of people.

 

People living with HIV infection experience a wide array of physical and psychological symptoms which decrease their perceived quality of life. The symptoms include chronic pain, muscle aches, anxiety, depression, weakness, fear/worries, difficulty with concentration, concerns regarding the need to interact with a complex healthcare system, stigma, and the challenge to come to terms with a new identity as someone living with HIV. Mindfulness training has been shown to improve psychological well-being, lower depression and strengthen the immune system of patients with HIV infection. Yoga practice has also been found to be effective in treating HIV.

 

The research is accumulating. So, it makes sense to step back and review what has been learned about the effectiveness of mindfulness training for the treatment of the symptoms of living with HIV/AIDS. In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Adults Living with HIV/AIDS: 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/PMC6344266/), Scott-Sheldon and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) for the treatment of the symptoms experienced by people living with HIV/AIDS.

 

They identified 16 published research studies containing a total of 1059 participants. Of these studies 11 employed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) while 5 studies employed Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). All studies compared pre- to post-treatment measures while 9 of these studies also had a control comparison group.

 

They report that the published research found that in comparison to baseline after treatment with Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) there were significant improvements in quality of life and positive emotions and significant reductions in anxiety and depression. The reductions in depression were significantly greater for those participants who received Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). No significant effects were reported for improvements in immune system function (CD4 counts).

 

This analysis of the available research suggests that Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) are a safe and effective treatment to improve the psychological health of patients diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. The fact that Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) was more effective for depression was not surprising as MBCT was specifically developed to treat depression. It has been well established the Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) are effective in reducing anxiety and depression and improving positive emotions and quality of life in a wide variety of patients. The present analysis simply extends types of patients for which Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs)are beneficial to patients diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.

 

So, improve the psychological well-being of patients living with HIV/AIDS with mindfulness.

 

mindfulness-based therapies . . . had a long-term effect on stress and both a short- and long-term effect on depression in people living with an HIV infection.” – Xu Tian

 

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

 

Scott-Sheldon, L., Balletto, B. L., Donahue, M. L., Feulner, M. M., Cruess, D. G., Salmoirago-Blotcher, E., … Carey, M. P. (2019). Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Adults Living with HIV/AIDS: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. AIDS and behavior, 23(1), 60–75. doi:10.1007/s10461-018-2236-9

 

Abstract

This meta-analysis examined the effects of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) on stress, psychological symptoms, and biomarkers of disease among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). Comprehensive searches identified 16 studies that met the inclusion criteria (N = 1,059; M age = 42 years; 20% women). Participants had been living with HIV for an average of 8 years (range = <1 to 20 years); 65% were currently on antiretroviral therapy. Between-group analyses indicated that depressive symptoms were reduced among participants receiving the MBIs compared to controls (d+ = 0.37, 95% CI = 0.03, 0.71). Within-group analyses showed reductions in psychological symptoms (i.e., less anxiety, fewer depressive symptoms) and improved quality of life over time among MBI participants (d+s = 0.40–0.85). No significant changes were observed for immunological outcomes (i.e., CD4 counts) between- or within- groups. MBIs may be a promising approach for reducing psychological symptoms and improving quality of life among PLWHA. Studies using stronger designs (i.e., randomized controlled trials) with larger sample sizes and longer follow-ups are needed to clarify the potential benefits of MBIs for PLWHA.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6344266/

 

Less Negative Emotions Occur in Mindful Children and Adolescents

Less Negative Emotions Occur in Mindful Children and Adolescents

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

We ultimately want to give children (and teens, and adults!) the ability to notice however they feel in the moment, and the tools to manage and respond appropriately to their inner and outer experience.” – Oren Jay Sofer

 

Childhood and adolescence are times of mental, physical, social, and emotional growth. But they can be difficult times, fraught with challenges. During these times the individual transitions from childhood to young adulthood; including the development of intellectual, psychological, physical, and social abilities and characteristics. There are so many changes occurring during these times that the child can feel overwhelmed and unable to cope with all that is required. This can heighten negative emotions and anxiety. Indeed, up to a quarter of adolescents suffer from depression or anxiety disorders, and an even larger proportion struggle with subclinical symptoms.

 

Mindfulness training in adults has been shown to reduce anxietydepression, and perceived stress levels and improve emotional regulation. In addition, in adolescents it has been shown to improve emotion regulation and to benefit the psychological and emotional health. On the other hand, getting lost in thought (mind wandering) has been shown to be associated with negative emotions. Hence, there is a need to explore the relationship between mindfulness, getting lost in thought, and emotions in children and adolescents.

 

In today’s Research News article “Cognitive Fusion Mediates the Relationship between Dispositional Mindfulness and Negative Affects: A Study in a Sample of Spanish Children and Adolescent School Students.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6926870/), García-Gómez and colleagues recruited children and adolescents between the ages of 8 to 16 years. They were measured for cognitive fusion, experiential avoidance, mindfulness, positive and negative emotions, and anxiety.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the levels of cognitive fusion, experiential avoidance, negative emotions, and anxiety. A mediation analysis revealed that mindfulness had both direct and indirect associations such that mindfulness was negatively associated directly with both negative emotions and anxiety and also indirectly by way of its negative association with cognitive fusion which was in turn negatively associated with negative emotions and anxiety. Higher levels of mindfulness were associated with lower levels of cognitive fusion which, in turn, were associated with lower levels of negative emotions and anxiety.

 

These results are correlational and thus causation cannot be determined. Also, this study employed only children and adolescents, So, it is not established if similar findings would occur in adults. But there are a large number of studies that demonstrate a causal effect of mindfulness on negative emotions and anxiety with adults. Indeed, in the present study, age did not moderate the results. Hence the present results probably are due to the effects of mindfulness on cognitive fusion and on these negative emotions and occur regardless of age.

 

“Cognitive fusion is a process by which the individual becomes entangled with memories, thoughts, judgments, and evaluations and adjust behavior to the internal experiences.” Hence cognitive fusion is the antithesis of mindfulness. One cannot be mindful and at the same time be lost in thoughts. This suggests that being lost in thought (cognitive fusion) tends to produce negative emotions, while being mindful tends to reduce these negative emotions. This suggests that mindfulness by focusing the individual on the present moment improves the individual’s emotional state and also tends to prevent getting lost in thought which also improves the individual’s emotional state.

 

So, reduce getting lost in thought and negative emotions with mindfulness.

 

When I look at childhood anxiety I see an enormous problem and a precursor to other problems in adolescents and adults,” – Randye Semple

 

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

 

García-Gómez, M., Guerra, J., López-Ramos, V. M., & Mestre, J. M. (2019). Cognitive Fusion Mediates the Relationship between Dispositional Mindfulness and Negative Affects: A Study in a Sample of Spanish Children and Adolescent School Students. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(23), 4687. doi:10.3390/ijerph16234687

 

Abstract

Nowadays, mindfulness-based interventions (MBI) have experienced a remarkable development of studies among childhood and adolescent interventions. For this reason, dispositional mindfulness (DM) measures for children and adolescents have been developed to determine the effectiveness of MBI at this age stage. However, little is known about how key elements of DM (for example, cognitive de/fusion or experiential avoidance that both confirm psychological inflexibility) are involved in the mechanisms of the children and adolescents’ mental health outcomes. This research examined the mediating effect of cognitive fusion between DM and anxiety and other negative emotional states in a sample of 318 Spanish primary-school students (aged between 8 and 16 years, M = 11.24, SD = 2.19, 50.8% males). Participants completed the AFQ-Y (Avoidance and Fusion Questionnaire for youth), which is a measure of psychological inflexibility that encompasses cognitive defusion and experiential avoidance; CAMM (DM for children and adolescents), PANAS-N (positive and negative affect measure for children, Spanish version of PANASC), and STAIC (an anxiety measure for children). The study accomplished ethical standards. As MBI relevant literature has suggested, cognitive defusion was a significant mediator between DM and symptoms of both negative emotions and anxiety in children and adolescents. However, experiential avoidance did not show any significant mediating relationship. Probably, an improvement of the assessment of experiential avoidance is needed. MBI programs for children and adolescents may include more activities for reducing effects of the cognitive defusion on their emotional distress.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6926870/

 

Reduce Aggression with Mindfulness

Reduce Aggression with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

young adults who participated in an app-based meditation training were less aggressive after receiving critical feedback, but not less angry. It suggests that being mindful doesn’t interfere with experiencing emotions, but changes how one responds to them.” – AMRA

 

The human tendency to lash out with aggression when threatened was adaptive for the evolution of the species. It helped promote the survival of the individual, the family, and the tribe. In the modern world, however, this trait has become more of a problem than an asset. It results in individual violence and aggression such as physical abuse, fights, road rage, and even murders, and in societal violence such as warfare. It may even be the basis for the horrors of terrorism and mass murder. Obviously, there is a need in modern society to control these violent and aggressive urges.

 

Aggression may, at least in part, be amplified by anger rumination; an uncontrollable, repetitive thinking about anger and its sources. This can produce a downward spiral where people repeatedly think about their anger which, in turn, reinforces the anger making it worse and worse. It is like a record that’s stuck and keeps repeating the same lyrics. It’s replaying a dispute in the individual’s mind. It’s going over their anger, again and again. Fortunately, rumination may be interrupted by mindfulness and mindfulness may improve the individual’s ability to regulate their emotions. This may, in part, be a mechanism by which mindfulness training reduces aggression and hostility. Hence, mindfulness may be an antidote to violent and aggressive urges by interrupting anger rumination and improving emotion regulation.

 

In today’s Research News article “Emotion regulation mediates relationships between mindfulness facets and aggression dimensions.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6916265/), Garofalo and colleagues recruited adult prisoners and a community sample of adult nonoffenders. They then had them complete measures of mindfulness, emotion regulation, and aggressiveness.

 

Correlational analysis revealed that in both the offender and nonoffender samples, the higher the levels of mindfulness, the higher the levels of emotion regulation and the lower the levels of aggressiveness. In addition, the higher the levels of emotion regulation the lower the levels of aggressiveness. Further, structural equation modelling revealed that in both the offender and nonoffender samples that emotion regulation mediated the relationship between mindfulness and aggressiveness. That is, the mindfulness was not associated with aggressiveness directly but rather mindfulness was associated with higher levels of emotion regulation which, in turn, was associated with lower levels of aggressiveness.

 

These findings are correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. But, prior research has shown a causal connection between mindfulness and higher levels of emotion regulation and that emotion regulation has a causal connection to lower aggressiveness and that mindfulness has a causal connection to lower aggressiveness. So, it is likely that the present findings are the results of causal links between mindfulness, emotion regulation, and aggressiveness.

 

Hence, the present results suggest that being mindful goes along with having better ability to regulate emotions and that goes along with less aggressiveness. Emotion regulation is not suppression of emotions rather it is the ability to feel the emotions but not let them dictate behavior; feeling emotions but remaining in control. Thus, the results suggest that aggressiveness may result from uncontrolled reactions to emotions and that mindfulness by improving emotion regulation reduces these responses.

 

It is interesting that the results were exactly the same for both prisoners and nonoffender adults. This suggests that there is nothing special about the mechanisms controlling aggressiveness in prisoners. Rather it would appear that prisoners have a lower level of emotion regulation. This implies that improving mindfulness and emotion regulation in prisoners would lead to greater control and less violence and aggression.

 

So, reduce aggression in with mindfulness.

 

When any emotion rises up, we tend to first get caught up in it and then act it out, through speech or action. This couldn’t be truer for the heightened emotion of anger. Meditation, though, can teach us how to change a rash, reactive mindset into a more considered, responsive, and productive one.” – Headspace

 

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

 

Garofalo, C., Gillespie, S. M., & Velotti, P. (2020). Emotion regulation mediates relationships between mindfulness facets and aggression dimensions. Aggressive behavior, 46(1), 60–71. doi:10.1002/ab.21868

 

Abstract

Recent years have witnessed an increase of research on socio‐affective factors that can explain individual differences in aggressive tendencies across community and offender populations. Specifically, mindfulness and emotion regulation have emerged as important factors, which could also constitute important prevention and treatment targets. Yet, recent studies have advanced the possibility that mindfulness may also have a “dark” side, being associated with increased levels of aggression‐related variables, especially when accounting for the variance associated with emotion regulation. The present study sought to elucidate relationships among mindfulness, emotion regulation, and aggression dimensions (i.e., verbal and physical aggression, anger, and hostility) across violent offender (N = 397) and community (N = 324) samples. Results revealed expected associations between both mindfulness and emotion regulation and aggression dimensions, such that greater impairments in mindfulness and emotion regulation were related to increased levels of aggression across samples. Further, analyses of indirect effects revealed that a latent emotion dysregulation factor accounted for (i.e., mediated) relationships between mindfulness facets and aggression dimensions in both samples. Previously reported positive associations between the residual variance in mindfulness scales (i.e., controlling for emotion regulation) and aggression‐related variables were not replicated in the current samples. Taken together, findings suggest that mindfulness and emotion regulation have unequivocal relations with lower levels of aggression, and should therefore be considered as relevant targets for prevention and treatment programs aimed at reducing aggressive tendencies.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6916265/

 

Improve Emotion Processing with Brief Short-Term Meditation

Improve Emotion Processing with Brief Short-Term Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“brief mindfulness meditation, but not deliberate engagement in state mindfulness, produces demonstrable changes in emotional processing indicative of reduced emotional reactivity,” – Yanli Lin

 

Mindfulness practice has been shown to improve emotions and their regulation. Practitioners demonstrate more positive and less negative emotions and the ability to fully sense and experience emotions, while responding to them in appropriate and adaptive ways. In other words, mindful people are better able to experience yet control their responses to emotions. 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. Dose-response, however, has not been explored and it is not known how much meditation practice is needed to produce emotional benefits.

 

In today’s Research News article “Brief Mindfulness Meditation Improves Emotion Processing.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6795685/), Wu and colleagues recruited physically and mentally healthy nom- meditating university students and randomly assigned them to a daily, 15 minutes, for 7 days of either mindfulness meditation or a course on emotional awareness. They were measured before and after treatment for anxiety, and depression. They also viewed a set of emotionally positive, negative or neutral pictures and were measured for their reactions of emotion intensity, emotional memory, and emotional attentional bias.

 

They found that the meditation group did not change in depression levels while the emotional awareness group increased in depression producing a significant difference between the groups. The meditation group had significant reductions in both positive and negative emotional intensity following the intervention while the emotional awareness group had a significant increase in negative emotional intensity. Following the intervention, the meditation group demonstrated a significant decrease in negative and a significant increase in positive emotional attentional bias while the emotional awareness group had a significant decrease in positive and emotional attentional bias.

 

These results are in line with prior research in demonstrating mindfulness training producing significant improvements in depression and emotional regulation. The results, however, are particularly interesting as the meditation intervention was brief and short-term, yet had significant impacts on mood and emotional regulation. Hence, a relatively small dose of meditation practice is sufficient to produce emotional benefits. The control condition was an active control condition, which is a strength. But it may have produced increased attention to emotions increasing reactions to them. Regardless, the study demonstrates that mindfulness meditation can have beneficial effects on emotions and their regulation even after only brief and short-term practice.

 

So, improve emotion processing with brief short-term meditation.

 

Meditation trains you to be resilient. The more you can learn to stay with all the highs and lows of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, the more strength you can bring to each moment and experience.”Carley Hauck

 

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

 

Wu, R., Liu, L. L., Zhu, H., Su, W. J., Cao, Z. Y., Zhong, S. Y., … Jiang, C. L. (2019). Brief Mindfulness Meditation Improves Emotion Processing. Frontiers in neuroscience, 13, 1074. doi:10.3389/fnins.2019.01074

 

Abstract

Mindfulness-based interventions have previously been shown to have positive effects on psychological well-being. However, the time commitment, teacher shortage, and high cost of classic mindfulness interventions may have hindered efforts to spread the associated benefits to individuals in developing countries. Brief mindfulness meditation (BMM) has recently received attention as a way to disseminate the benefits of mindfulness-based interventions. Most existing BMM methods are adaptations of the classic approach. Few studies have investigated the mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of BMM. We developed a 15-min BMM named JW2016, which is based on the core concepts of mindfulness, Anapanasati (breath meditation of Buddhist Vipassana), our practical experience, and the results of scientific reports on meditation. We investigated the effects of this BMM on mood and emotion processing in an effort to create an effective, convenient, safe, and standardized BMM method that could benefit individuals with limited time or money to devote to meditation. Forty-six healthy participants (aged 18–25 years) were randomly allocated to the BMM group (n = 23) or the emotional regulation education (ERE) control group (n = 23). Forty-two of the study participants cooperated fully in all measurements and interventions (one time daily for seven consecutive days). Mood was measured with the Centre for Epidemiological Studies–Depression scale (CES-D) and the State Anxiety Inventory (SAI). Emotion processing was evaluated by assessing performance on an emotion intensity task, an emotional memory task, and an emotional dot-probe task. After intervention, the BMM group, but not the ERE group, showed a significant decreases in emotional intensity in response to positive as well as negative emotional stimuli, response time for emotional memory, and duration of attention bias toward negative emotional stimuli. Negative effects on mood state were found in the ERE group but not in the BMM group. This study demonstrated that BMM may improve aspects of emotion processing such as emotion intensity, emotional memory, and emotional attention bias. JW2016 BMM may be an effective, convenient, safe and standardized way to help practitioners remain focused and peaceful without any negative effect on emotion.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6795685/

 

Improve the Well-Being of Mothers of Children with Autism with Mindfulness

Improve the Well-Being of Mothers of Children with Autism with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Parents of children with autism spectrum disorder . . . who engage in a mindfulness-based practice see a decrease in their child’s aggression and challenging behaviors and an improvement in the child’s overall functioning.” – Katy Oberle

 

There is a tremendous demand for caregiving in the US. It is estimated that over 65 million (29% of the adult population) provides care to someone who is ill, disabled or aged, averaging 20 hours per week spent caring for their loved ones. This caregiving comes at a cost exacting a tremendous toll on caregivers’ health and well-being. Caregiving has been associated with increased levels of depression and anxiety as well as higher use of psychoactive medications, poorer self-reported physical health, compromised immune function, and increased mortality.

 

Providing care for a child with autism can be particularly challenging. About one out of every 68 children is considered autistic. These children’s behavior is characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. These make it difficult to relate to the child and receive the kind of positive feelings that often help to support caregiving. The challenges of caring for a child with autism require that the parent be able to deal with stress, to regulate their own emotions, and to be sensitive and attentive to their child. These skills are exactly those that are developed in mindfulness training. It improves the psychological and physiological responses to stress. It improves emotion regulation. And it improves the ability to maintain attention and focus in the face of high levels of distraction.

 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a mindfulness-based psychotherapy technique that 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 application of mindfulness skills to the parents of children with autism is relatively new. So, it would seem reasonable to investigate the ability of ACT to improve the psychological well-being of mothers of children with autism.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effectiveness of Group Based Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) on Emotion Cognitive Regulation Strategies in Mothers of Children with Autism Spectrum.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6861729/?report=classic), Salimi and colleagues recruited mothers of children with autism and randomly assigned them to receive either a once a week for 2 hours for 8 weeks program of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) or a health education control condition. They were measured before and after training for emotion regulation including self-blaming, blaming others and positive reevaluation, blaming, rumination, considering a situation as disastrous, reception, planning/positive refocuses.

 

They found that after treatment the mothers showed a significant increase in reception, planning/positive refocuses and significant decreases in self-blaming, blaming others and positive reevaluation, blaming, and considering a situation as disastrous. Hence, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) significantly improved the ability of mothers of children with autism to regulate their emotions. This is very important as these mothers are extremely important for these children but under great stress and emotional turmoil. Being able to improve their psychological well-being is important for both the mother and child.

 

So, improve the well-being of mothers of children with autism with mindfulness.

 

“People who practice mindfulness learn to pay specific attention to what is happening in the moment — and that includes moments that are stressful or chaotic. It is easy to get overtaken by stress or negativity, but mindfulness teaches people to find distance from their negative thoughts by learning to acknowledge them and label them when they happen.” – Julianne Garey

 

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

 

Salimi, M., Mahdavi, A., Yeghaneh, S. S., Abedin, M., & Hajhosseini, M. (2019). The Effectiveness of Group Based Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) on Emotion Cognitive Regulation Strategies in Mothers of Children with Autism Spectrum. Maedica, 14(3), 240–246. doi:10.26574/maedica.2019.14.3.240

 

Abstract

Background:Autism spectrum disorder has a big impact on family life. Mothers of children with autism face many challenges. This study was conducted to determine the effectiveness of group-based acceptance and commitment therapy on cognitive emotion regulation strategies in mothers of children with autism.

Method:This is a quasi-experimental study with a pretest-posttest control group design. The research population included mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder referring to exceptional schools, who were living in Tehran. After cluster random sampling, 30 mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder were selected and randomly assigned to two groups: an experimental group and a control group, each consisting of 15 women. Participants responded to the cognitive emotion regulation questionnaire vulbefore and after intervention. The experimental group received group-based acceptance and commitment therapy (eight two-hour sessions), while no intervention was given to the control group.

Results and conclusion:Covariance analysis of data showed that group-based acceptance and commitment therapy had a significant effect on positive/planning strategy refocusing (p=0.003), positive reappraisal (p=0.004), self-blaming (p=0.001), blaming others (p=0.007), considering a situation as disastrous (p=0.001), reception (p=0.008). However, there was not a significant difference in the dimensions of rumination (p=0.025). Therefore, it is recommended that welfare institutions and centers should provide a training plan based on acceptance and commitment therapy to improve the current cognitive emotion regulation strategies for mothers of children with autism spectrum.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6861729/?report=classic

 

Mindfulness Training Improves the Psychological Health of Health Care Professionals

Mindfulness Training Improves the Psychological Health of Health Care Professionals

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

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

 

Abstract

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

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

 

Monitoring and Acceptance of the Present Moment Underlies Mindfulness’ Improving of Positive Emotions

Monitoring and Acceptance of the Present Moment Underlies Mindfulness’ Improving of Positive Emotions

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“developing an orientation of acceptance toward present-moment experiences is a central mechanism of mindfulness interventions for boosting positive emotions in daily life.” – Emily Lindsay

 

Mindfulness practice has been shown to improve emotions and their regulation. Practitioners demonstrate more positive and less negative emotions and the ability to fully sense and experience emotions, while responding to them in appropriate and adaptive ways. In other words, mindful people are better able to experience yet control their responses to emotions. 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.

 

The mechanisms by which mindfulness produces improved positive emotions have not been widely explored. In today’s Research News article “How mindfulness training promotes positive emotions: Dismantling acceptance skills training in two randomized controlled trials.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6296247/), Lindsay and colleagues performed 2 studies to examine the relative effectiveness of the acceptance of and monitoring the present moment components of mindfulness training for improving positive emotions.

 

In study 1 they recruited adult participants who were smartphone owners and who measured high in perceived stress and randomly assigned them to a no-treatment control condition or to receive an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program consisting of meditation, yoga, body scan, and discussion, and meeting once weekly for 2 hours for 8 weeks, including daily home practice. In one condition the MBSR program contained the normal instructions to monitor the present moment and to accept what is transpiring in the present moment without judgement (Monitor & Accept). In another condition the MBSR program contained a modified instruction that deleted all reference to acceptance an non-judging (Monitoring Only). Before and after training the participants completed measures of positive and negative emotions. In addition, the participants completed a measure of positive and negative emotions 5 times daily on their smartphones.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the no-treatment control group, both groups who received the MBSR training had progressive significant increases in positive emotions and decreases in negative emotions over the course of training. But the Monitor & Accept group had significantly greater increases in positive emotions especially happiness and significantly greater decreases in negative emotions especially hostility than the Monitor Only group.

 

In study 2 to prevent discussions of acceptance during group discussions there were no group meetings or discussions. Rather all mindfulness training was delivered over smartphones with daily 20-minute guided practice followed by 10 minutes of home practice for 14 days. The stressed participants were randomly assigned to a Monitor & Accept, Monitor Only, or Coping Control conditions. The Coping condition consisted of instructions on coping and reappraising emotions.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the Coping control group, both groups who received the mindfulness training had progressive significant increases in positive emotions and the Monitor & Accept group had significantly greater increases in positive emotions than the Monitor Only group. All 3 groups had significant decreases in negative emotions without significant differences between groups.

 

These results increase our understanding of the effectiveness of different components of mindfulness training in altering emotions. In particular, they indicate that both the monitoring and acceptance of present moment experience are important for increasing positive emotions in practitioners and that they act additively. The addition of acceptance of present moment experience to monitoring produces greater increases in positive emotions. The findings also suggest that MBSR training produces greater reductions in negative emotions than smartphone-based mindfulness training.

 

Emotions are very important and dictate our overall happiness and well-being. In fact, they are essential to mental health. Mindfulness training by improving emotions produces greater happiness, well-being, and mental health. The present studies suggest that both monitoring and acceptance of present moment experience are important for the improvement of emotions and should be emphasized in mindfulness trainings.

 

So, monitoring and acceptance of the present moment underlies mindfulness’ improving of positive emotions.

 

“In mindfulness practice, feelings are not good or bad; they just are what they are – emotions that might be comfortable or uncomfortable, easy or difficult.” – Living Well

 

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

 

Lindsay, E. K., Chin, B., Greco, C. M., Young, S., Brown, K. W., Wright, A., … Creswell, J. D. (2018). How mindfulness training promotes positive emotions: Dismantling acceptance skills training in two randomized controlled trials. Journal of personality and social psychology, 115(6), 944–973. doi:10.1037/pspa0000134

 

Abstract

Mindfulness meditation interventions – which train skills in monitoring present-moment experiences with a lens of acceptance – have shown promise for increasing positive emotions. Using a theory-based approach, we hypothesized that learning acceptance skills in mindfulness interventions helps people notice more positive experiences in daily life, and tested whether removing acceptance training from mindfulness interventions would eliminate intervention-related boosts in positive affect. In two randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of stressed community adults, mindfulness skills were dismantled into two structurally equivalent interventions: (1) training in both monitoring and acceptance (Monitor+Accept) and (2) training in monitoring only (Monitor Only) without acceptance training. Study 1 tested 8-week group-based Monitor+Accept and Monitor Only interventions compared to a no treatment control group. Study 2 tested 2-week smartphone-based Monitor+Accept and Monitor Only interventions compared to an active control training. In both studies, end-of-day and momentary positive affect and negative affect were measured in daily life for three days pre- and post-intervention using ambulatory assessments. As predicted, across two RCTs, Monitor+Accept training increased positive affect compared to both Monitor Only and control groups. In Study 1, this effect was observed in end-of-day positive affect. In Study 2, this effect was found in both end-of-day and momentary positive affect outcomes. In contrast, all active interventions in Studies 1 and 2 decreased negative affect. These studies provide the first experimental evidence that developing an orientation of acceptance toward present-moment experiences is a central mechanism of mindfulness interventions for boosting positive emotions in daily life.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6296247/

 

Improve Psychological Well-Being with Meditation

Improve Psychological Well-Being with Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Taking a few minutes to meditate every day with the goal of becoming more mindful, or focused on and accepting of the present, is a great way to relieve stress. But it’s even more powerful than you think. Mindfulness meditation helps ease mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.” – Amy Marturana Winderl

 

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.

 

There is a vast array of techniques for the development of mindfulness. They include a variety of forms of meditationyogamindful movementscontemplative prayer, and combinations of practices. In addition, there are many sub-forms of each; e.g. meditation can be practiced in focused, open monitoring, or compassion techniques. The relative effectiveness of these techniques in promoting psychological adjustment and mental health needs to be further explored.

 

In today’s Research News article “Religiosity and Meditation Practice: Exploring Their Explanatory Power on Psychological Adjustment.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6445895/), Montero-Marin and colleagues recruited both male and female adults (aged 18-74 years) online and had them complete measures of religious beliefs, amounts of meditation and prayer practice, happiness, depression, positive and negative emotions, and emotional overproduction.

 

They found that the greater the amounts of lifetime practice of focused meditation and the longer the sessions the greater the levels of happiness and positive emotions and the lower the levels of depression, negative emotions and emotional overproduction. Similarly, the greater the amounts of lifetime practice of open monitoring meditation the greater the levels of happiness and positive emotions and the lower the levels of depression, negative emotions and emotional overproduction. Finally, the greater the amounts of lifetime practice of compassion meditation the greater the levels of happiness and positive emotions. Age was not a significant factor. There were no similar relationships with the amounts of prayer or religious beliefs.

 

The findings are correlational and as such no conclusions regarding causation can be reached. But the findings suggest that meditation practice is associated with the practitioners’ psychological well-being. It is interesting that religious beliefs were not associated with well-being and that there were no significant relationships found between prayer practice and measures of well-being. Prior research suggests that spirituality rather then religiosity is associated with positive well-being. The present study, however, did not include measures of spirituality. It would be expected that the degree to which religious beliefs and prayer were spiritual practices rather than religious recitals would be important in determining the relationships of beliefs and practice with well-being.

 

Although there are different patterns of significant relationships between the different meditation techniques and measures of well-being, there were no direct statistical comparisons conducted. So, no conclusions can be reached regarding the differential effectiveness of the different meditation techniques. In general, it would appear that meditation practice, including focused, open monitoring, and compassion types is related to greater well-being regardless of age, gender, or health status.

 

So, improve psychological well-being with meditation.

 

 

While I could point to lots of research outlining the impressive benefits of meditation, I think it always works best if people do the experiment for themselves. Spend just a little time practising every day and see what a difference it makes in your life.” – Black Dog Institute

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Montero-Marin, J., Perez-Yus, M. C., Cebolla, A., Soler, J., Demarzo, M., & Garcia-Campayo, J. (2019). Religiosity and Meditation Practice: Exploring Their Explanatory Power on Psychological Adjustment. Frontiers in psychology, 10, 630. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00630

 

Abstract

There has been increased interest in the relationships between religiosity, meditation practice and well-being, but there is lack of understanding as to how specific religious components and distinct meditation practices could influence different positive and negative psychological adjustment outcomes. The aim of this study was to assess the explanatory power of religious beliefs and the practice of prayer, focused attention (FA), open monitoring (OM), and compassion meditation (CM) on psychological adjustment, taking into consideration a number of practice-related variables such as session length, frequency of practice and lifetime practice. Psychological adjustment was assessed by means of happiness, positive affect, depression, negative affect, and emotional overproduction. A cross-sectional design was used, with a final sample comprising 210 Spanish participants who completed an online assessment protocol. Hierarchical regressions were performed, including age, sex and psychotropic medication use in the first step as possible confounders, with the addition of religious beliefs and the practice of prayer, FA, OM, and CM in the second step. FA session length was related to all psychological adjustment outcomes: happiness (ΔR2 = 0.09, p = 0.002; β = 0.25, p = 0.001), positive affect (ΔR2 = 0.09, p = 0.002; β = 0.18, p = 0.014), depression (ΔR2 = 0.07, p = 0.004; β = -0.27, p < 0.001), negative affect (ΔR2 = 0.08, p = 0.007; β = -0.27, p < 0.001) and emotional overproduction (ΔR2 = 0.07, p = 0.013; β = -0.23, p = 0.001). CM session length was related to positive affect (β = 0.18, p = 0.011). CM practice frequency was associated with happiness (ΔR2 = 0.06, p = 0.038; β = 0.16, p = 0.041). Lifetime practice of FA was related to happiness (ΔR2 = 0.08, p = 0.007; β = 0.21, p = 0.030) and OM to emotional overproduction (ΔR2 = 0.08, p = 0.037; β = -0.19, p = 0.047). Religious beliefs and prayer seemed to be less relevant than meditation practices such as FA, OM, and CM in explaining psychological adjustment. The distinct meditation practices might be differentially related to distinct psychological adjustment outcomes through different practice-related variables. However, research into other forms of institutional religiosity integrating social aspects of religion is required.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6445895/

 

Improve Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with Seated Yoga

Improve Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with Seated Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

The benefits of yoga, in general, include loosening up muscles, joints, and connective tissues, and improving strength and balance. But is it right for ME/CFS, with post-exertional malaise plus other problematic symptoms such as dizziness and muscle pain? We don’t have a lot of research on yoga for ME/CFS, but what we do have suggests that it just might be.” – Adrienne Dellwo

 

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) occurs in about 0.2% of the population. It produces a profound, prolonged, and debilitating tiredness. When severe, it can produce a chronic and extreme tiredness, so severe that sufferers can become bed-bound or need to use a wheel-chair. It produces muscle pain, brain fog and dizziness, poor memory, disturbed sleep and trouble with digestion. Unfortunately, there are no known cures for CFS. The usual treatments for fatigue are targeted at symptom relief and include exercise and drugs. As an alternative to these traditional treatments, mindfulness training has been shown to reduce fatigue. The mindfulness practice of Yoga also includes exercise and it has been shown to be an effective treatment for the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). But the mechanism is not known of how yoga may be affecting the symptoms of CFS.

 

In today’s Research News article “The longitudinal effects of seated isometric yoga on blood biomarkers, autonomic functions, and psychological parameters of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome: a pilot study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6836361/), Oka and colleagues recruited adults with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and randomly assigned them to receive either 20 minute, twice a week, for 2 months seated yoga practice with daily home practice or to no further treatment. Both groups continued to receive pharmacotherapy. They were measured before and after treatment for fatigue, anxiety, depression, and alexithymia. In addition, blood was drawn and assayed for DHEA-S, PRL, and TNF-α. Heart rate variability was also measured with and electrocardiogram (EKG).

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control group, the seated yoga group had a large and significant decrease in fatigue and depression. Further they found that the greater the decrease in fatigue for the seated yoga group, the greater the decrease in TNF-α, in the high frequency component of heartrate variability, and in alexithymia.

 

These results suggest that seated yoga is effective in reducing fatigue and depression in patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). The correlation analysis suggests that the reduction in fatigue is associated with decreases in inflammation (TNF-α) and an increase in the ability to sense emotions (decreased alexithymia). The correlations do not indicate causation. So, it is not clear if the changes in fatigue produced the reductions in inflammation and alexithymia, or the reverse, or a third factor is responsible. But it is clear that seated yoga practice improves fatigue and depression in patients with CFS.

 

This is important as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is relatively common and debilitating and pharmacological treatments are most often ineffective. The fact that yoga practice can improve the symptoms of CFS is encouraging. In addition, the fact that the yoga practice was performed in a seated position makes it better suited to patients with fatigue who lack the energy for more intense yoga practice. The results of this small pilot study further provide justification for performing a large randomized controlled trial. Seated yoga practice may be able to at least in part reduce the physical and psychological problems produced by CFS.

 

So, improve chronic fatigue syndrome with seated yoga.

 

“isometric yoga together with conventional therapy was more effective in relieving fatigue than was conventional therapy alone in patients with CFS who did not respond adequately to conventional therapy.” – Takakazu Oka

 

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

 

Oka, T., Tanahashi, T., Lkhagvasuren, B., & Yamada, Y. (2019). The longitudinal effects of seated isometric yoga on blood biomarkers, autonomic functions, and psychological parameters of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome: a pilot study. BioPsychoSocial medicine, 13, 28. doi:10.1186/s13030-019-0168-x

 

Abstract

Background

In a previous randomized controlled trial, we found that practicing seated isometric yoga regularly for 2 months improved the fatigue of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) who are resistant to conventional therapy. The aim of this pilot study was to investigate the possible mechanisms behind this finding by comparing blood biomarkers, autonomic nervous function, and psychological indices before versus after an intervention period of seated isometric yoga practice.

Methods

Fifteen patients with CFS who did not show satisfactory improvements after at least 6 months of conventional therapy practiced seated isometric yoga (biweekly 20-min sessions with a yoga instructor and daily practice at home) for 2 months. The longitudinal effects of seated isometric yoga on fatigue, blood biomarkers, autonomic function, and psychological state were investigated by comparing the following parameters before and after the intervention period: Fatigue severity was assessed by the Chalder fatigue scale (FS) score. Levels of the blood biomarkers cortisol, DHEA-S, TNF-α, IL-6, prolactin, carnitine, TGF-β1, BDNF, MHPG, HVA, and α-MSH were measured. The autonomic nervous functions assessed were heart rate (HR) and HR variability. Psychological indices included the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).

Results

Practicing seated isometric yoga for 2 months resulted in significant reductions in the Chalder FS (P = 0.002) and HADS-depression (P = 0.02) scores. No significant changes were observed in any other parameter evaluated. The change in Chalder FS score was not correlated with the change in HADS-depression score. However, this change was positively correlated with changes in the serum TNF-α levels (P = 0.048), the high frequency component of HR variability (P = 0.042), and TAS-20 scores (P = 0.001).

Conclusions

Regular practice of seated isometric yoga for 2 months reduced the fatigue and depressive symptom scores of patients with CFS without affecting any other parameters we investigated. This study failed to identify the markers responsible for the longitudinal fatigue-relieving effect of seated isometric yoga. However, considering that the reduced fatigue was associated with decreased serum TNF-α level and TAS-20 scores, fatigue improvement might be related to reduced inflammation and improved alexithymia in these patients.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6836361/