Improve Teacher Well-Being and Immune Function with Mindfulness

Improve Teacher Well-Being and Immune Function with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

learning and cultivating skills of mindfulness . . .can help us to promote the calm, relaxed, but enlivened classroom environment that children need to learn. Mindfulness can also help us to be more effective at reducing conflict and developing more positive ways of relating in the classroom, which can help us feel more job satisfaction.” – Patricia Jennings

 

Stress is epidemic in the workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. This often produces burnout; fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, and professional inefficacy. In a school setting, this burnout and exhaustion not only affects teachers personally, but also the students and schools, as it produces a loss of enthusiasm, empathy, and compassion. Hence, there is a need to identify methods of reducing stress and improving teachers’ psychological health. Mindfulness has been demonstrated to be helpful in reducing the psychological and physiological responses to stress and for treating and preventing burnout. This suggests that mindfulness would improve the psychological and physiological well-being of teachers,

 

In today’s Research News article “Fostering emotional self-regulation in female teachers at the public teaching network: A mindfulness-based intervention improving psychological measures and inflammatory biomarkers.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8881415/ ) Wilson and colleagues recruited public school teachers and provided them with either 8 weeks of mindfulness training or neuroscience education. Measurements were taken before and after training of reactivity, emotions, stress, resilience, and psychological well-being as well as blood inflammatory markers.

 

Compared to controls, the teachers who received mindfulness training had significant decreases in stress levels and negative emotions and significant increases in resilience, positive emotions and psychological well-being. Blood inflammatory markers also showed significant improvements. These results suggest that mindfulness training improves immune function, reduces stress, and increases psychological well-being in teachers.

 

This suggests that teachers should receive mindfulness training to make them better able to withstand the stresses of the job.

 

In the last decade, many professional development programs have sprung up that use mindfulness as a key tool to alleviate teacher stress.” – Catherine Gewertz

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Wilson, D., Rodrigues de Oliveira, D., Palace-Berl, F., de Mello Ponteciano, B., Fungaro Rissatti, L., Piassa Pollizi, V., Sardela de Miranda, F., D’Almeida, V., & Demarzo, M. (2022). Fostering emotional self-regulation in female teachers at the public teaching network: A mindfulness-based intervention improving psychological measures and inflammatory biomarkers. Brain, behavior, & immunity – health, 21, 100427. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbih.2022.100427

 

Abstract

Objective

To examine the effect of a mindfulness-based program specifically designed for teachers in reducing perceived stress and improving the quality of experienced emotion in female active working teachers. A second outcome evaluated is the associated change in cellular inflammatory activity, measured by peripheral blood levels of cytokines.

Method

Eighty-eight female active teachers from public schools from São Paulo Municipality were recruited, and randomly allocated to an eight-week Mindfulness-Based Health Program for Educators (MBHP-Educa) or to Neuroscience for Education Program (Neuro-Educa: active control group). The venue of both programs were several public school facilities, where many of the teachers actually worked. Both groups received activities during eight weeks in a 2 ​h/week regimen, totalizing 16 ​h. Sixty-five participants completed the program and pre- and post-interventions measures were taken from the following scales: Interpersonal Multidimensional Reactivity Scale (IRI), Positive-and-Negative Affects Scale (PANAS), Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC), and a primary outcome in Ryff’s Psychological Well-Being Scale (PBWS). At pre-and post-intervention, blood samples were collected for the measurement of several important inflammatory biomarkers, Tumor Necrosis Factor – α (TNF-α), Interleukin 1β (IL-1β), Interleukin 6 (IL-6), Interleukin 8 (IL-8), Interleukin 10 (IL-10) and Interleukin 12p70 (IL-12P70) through flow cytometry assay. Intervention effects were analyzed via Generalized mixed models (GLMM).

Results

According to the GLMM, MBHP-Educa significantly reduced the scores of perceived stress (p ​< ​0.0001), and negative affect (p ​< ​0.0001) compared to active control group (Neuro-Educa). Conversely, an increase was observed on Psychological Well Being Scale in dimensions of Self-acceptance (p ​< ​0.0001), and Autonomy (p ​= ​0.001), as well as improvements in Resilience (p ​< ​0.0001), and Positive Affect (p ​< ​0.0001). MBHP-Educa also promoted a reduction in the levels of IL-6 (p ​= ​0.003), IL-8 (p ​= ​0.036), and increase in the levels of IL-10 (p ​< ​0.0001) and IL-12p70 (p ​< ​0.044). TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-10p70 showed results below theoretical limit of detection accepted for CBA kit.

Conclusions

Our data suggest that mindfulness-based interventions introduced as a strategy for reducing stress, promoting well-being and improve immune function can be a useful asset in promoting psychological health among teachers in Basic Education.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8881415/

 

Improve Psychological Well-Being of Elementary School Children with Mindfulness

Improve Psychological Well-Being of Elementary School Children with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“engaging in mindfulness meditation cultivates our ability to both focus and broaden our attention, which is a practical way to elicit psychological well-being.” – Jennifer Wolkin

 

Childhood is a miraculous period during which the child is dynamically absorbing information from every aspect of its environment. This is particularly evident during the elementary school years. Mindfulness training in school has been shown to have very positive effects. These include improvements in the cognitive, psychological, emotional and social domains. It is important to teach skills that improve well-being early in life. This can affect individuals throughout their lives. So, there is a need to further study the ability of mindfulness training to improve the well-being of elementary school students.

 

In today’s Research News article “Randomized Trial on the Effects of a Mindfulness Intervention on Temperament, Anxiety, and Depression: A Multi-Arm Psychometric Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8945710/ ) Poli and colleagues recruited 5th grade students. They were measured before and after either 8 weeks of mindfulness training or no treatment for anxiety depression, and temperament.

 

They found that mindfulness training reduced anxiety levels and inhibition to novelty and increased attention, social orientation, positive emotionality. These results suggest that mindfulness training improves the psychological well-being of elementary school children.

 

Mindfulness improves the well-being of kids.

 

mental wellbeing does not mean being happy all the time and it does not mean you won’t experience negative or painful emotions, such as grief, loss, or failure, which are a part of normal life. However, whatever your age, mindfulness can help you lead a mentally healthier life and improve your wellbeing.” – Mental Health Foundation

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Poli, A., Maremmani, A., Gemignani, A., & Miccoli, M. (2022). Randomized Trial on the Effects of a Mindfulness Intervention on Temperament, Anxiety, and Depression: A Multi-Arm Psychometric Study. Behavioral sciences (Basel, Switzerland), 12(3), 74. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs12030074

 

Abstract

Mindfulness is a mental state that can be achieved through meditation. So far, studies have shown that practicing mindfulness on a consistent and regular basis can improve attentional functions and emotional well-being. Mindfulness has recently begun to be used in the field of child development. The goal of this study is to assess if a mindfulness program may help primary school students in reducing anxiety and depression while also improving their temperamental characteristics. This multi-arm pre-post study included 41 subjects recruited in the fifth year of two primary school classes. Participants were randomly assigned to the experimental and control groups. The experimental group, but not the control group, underwent an eight-week mindfulness training. Every week, the program included 60-min group sessions. QUIT (Italian Questionnaires of Temperament) and TAD (Test for Anxiety and Depression in Childhood and Adolescence) were used to assess temperament, and anxiety and depression, respectively. Both groups were administered both instruments before and after mindfulness intervention. The mindfulness program lowered anxiety levels and was effective in changing temperament dimensions: there was an increase in social orientation (SO), positive emotionality (PE), and attention (AT), as well as a decrease in inhibition to novelty (IN) and negative emotionality. Path analysis revealed that AT may promote the improvement of both SO and IN. Similarly, PE may be promoted by the decrease of IN. Clinical implications are discussed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8945710/

 

Improve the Regulation of Emotions with Yoga

Improve the Regulation of Emotions with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“yoga has an important role in regulating the feelings of the adolescents and the students who practice yoga are more happy, energetic, focused, and healthy.” – Yasmin Janjhua

 

Emotions are important to our well-being. They provide the spice of life, the joy, the love, the happiness. But they can be troubling producing sadness, hurt and fear. They can also be harmful such as the consequences of out-of-control anger or suicidal depression. We need emotions, but we must find ways to keep them under control. Emotion regulation is the term used to describe the ability to control emotions. It is not eliminating or suppressing them. Far from it, emotion regulation allows for the emotion to be fully felt and experienced. But it maintains the intensity of the emotion at a manageable level and also produces the ability to respond to the emotion appropriately and constructively. Clearly, emotion regulation is a key to a happier life.

 

Mindfulness practices have been shown to improve emption regulation. Exercise has also been shown to improve mental health. Yoga is both a mindfulness practice and an exercise. It has been shown to have a myriad of benefits for psychological and physical health, social, and spiritual well-being. So, there is reason to believe that yoga practice may improve emotion regulation. How this might work in young adults has not been well explored.

 

In today’s Research News article “”I Just Find It Easier to Let Go of Anger”: Reflections on the Ways in Which Yoga Influences How Young People Manage Their Emotions.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8645589/ ) Hagen and colleagues examine the changes in emotions that occur in teenagers during participation in an 8-week yoga class. The teens received semi-structured interviews and filled out logs of their experiences.

 

The youths reported that yoga reduced negative emotions and improved their ability to regulate these emotions. This is very important for everyone but especially during the highly volatile teenage years. By making the teens more aware of their emotions and improving their ability to understand their origins, they become better at working with them as opposed to suppressing or ignoring them. Hence, yoga practice may be an important means to help teens navigate this difficult period.

 

Yoga is beneficial for everyone, from 3 years to 103! It might be said though, that the 13-18 year old age group needs it the most.” – Lyn Russell

 

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Hagen, I., Skjelstad, S., & Nayar, U. S. (2021). “I Just Find It Easier to Let Go of Anger”: Reflections on the Ways in Which Yoga Influences How Young People Manage Their Emotions. Frontiers in psychology, 12, 729588. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.729588

 

Abstract

In this article we discuss how young people experienced a school-based yoga intervention. We pay particular attention to how yoga provides a space for young people to deal with their emotions. We base our discussion on qualitative data from young people in Norway who participated in the European research project “Hippocampus: Promoting Mental Health and Wellbeing among Young People through Yoga.” The qualitative results are based on experiences described by these young people in individual semi-structured interviews and in diaries or logs. Our data include nine interviews performed in the spring of 2019 with young people of Norwegian and refugee background in their late teens and early twenties. There were also 133 logs noted by the students exposed to the yoga intervention. In the qualitative interviews, young people talk about yoga and emotional management, improved sleep habits, and regulation. They also report improved ability to regulate and cope with stress. Yoga seemed especially beneficial for refugee trauma. In this article, we have chosen to focus on the utterances of young people about emotions, as those were quite dominant in our data, especially in the interview material. We have identified instances of emotional regulation, but also of emotional processes and changes of emotions, all of which were related to these young students practicing yoga. The impact of yoga on emotions illustrates the potential of yoga to improve the well-being and mental health of young people.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8645589/

Socio-Cognitive Mindfulness is Associated with Better Emotions and Their Regulation in Nursing Students

Socio-Cognitive Mindfulness is Associated with Better Emotions and Their Regulation in Nursing Students

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness enables you to become a more cognizant observer of your experience, allowing you to become more “tuned in” to what you are feeling inside.” –  Laura K. Schenck

 

Mindfulness practice has been shown to improve emotion regulation. Practitioners demonstrate the ability to fully sense and experience emotions but respond to them in more appropriate and adaptive ways. In other words, mindful people are better able to experience yet control their responses to emotions. This is a very important consequence of mindfulness. Humans are very emotional creatures, and these emotions can be very pleasant, providing the spice of life. But when they get extreme, they can produce misery and even mental illness. 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.

 

Mindfulness can be divided into two different aspects. Meditation mindfulness emphasizes focusing on what is occurring right now without judgement. On the other hand, socio-cognitive mindfulness emphasizes openness to external stimuli allowing for flexible interactions with the environment.  It would be expected that socio-cognitive mindfulness with its flexibility in interpreting external events in particular would underlie improvements in emotion regulation.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mediating Effects of Emotion Regulation between Socio-Cognitive Mindfulness and Achievement Emotions in Nursing Students.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8464977/ ) Lee and Jang recruited healthy college nursing students and had them complete questionnaires measuring reappraisal and suppression emotion regulation, positive and negative achievement emotions, and socio-cognitive mindfulness, including novelty seeking, novelty producing, flexibility, and engagement.

 

They found that the higher the levels of all components of socio-cognitive mindfulness the higher the levels of emotion reappraisal and positive achievement emotions and the lower the levels of negative achievement emotions. Linear structural modelling revealed that all components of socio-cognitive mindfulness were significantly positively related to positive achievement emotions directly and also indirectly by having a positive relationship with emotion reappraisal that in turn was associated with higher levels of positive achievement emotions. In addition, all components of socio-cognitive mindfulness were significantly negatively related to negative achievement emotions directly while only the engagement component also was associated indirectly by having a negative relationship with emotion suppression that in turn was associated with lower levels of negative achievement emotions.

 

These results are correlational and as such causation cannot be concluded. But previous controlled research has demonstrated that mindfulness training improves emotions and their regulation. So, the present findings likely resulted from mindfulness producing improved achievement emotions.

 

An interesting facet of the current study is that it focused on socio-cognitive mindfulness which promotes a flexible approach to the environment. This flexibility is seen in the reappraisal of emotions to better reflect reality and in turn making emotions less extreme both positively and negatively. This would predict that the students would be better able to cope with the stresses of their education and future nursing careers. This suggests that mindfulness training should be included in nursing education.

 

So, socio-cognitive mindfulness is associated with better emotions and their regulation in nursing students.

 

With [mindfulness meditation] training or practice . . . we become more able to allow disturbing emotions and thoughts to pass through awareness. We develop the ability to NOT act or react to every emotion or thought we have.” – Timothy A Pychy

 

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Lee, M., & Jang, K. S. (2021). Mediating Effects of Emotion Regulation between Socio-Cognitive Mindfulness and Achievement Emotions in Nursing Students. Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland), 9(9), 1238. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9091238

Abstract

Background: Mindfulness is known as an effective emotion regulation strategy and is beneficial for improving emotions. While meditative mindfulness has been widely studied, socio-cognitive mindfulness has received little attention in nursing literature, despite its potential benefits to the field. This study investigated relationships between nursing students’ socio-cognitive mindfulness, emotion regulation (reappraisal and suppression), and achievement emotions, and explored the mediating effects of emotion regulation. Methods: A total of 459 nursing students from three universities in Korea completed the questionnaire measuring the study variables. Structural equation modeling and path analysis were conducted to test the hypotheses. Results: Socio-cognitive mindfulness was found to positively influence reappraisal while negatively influencing suppression. Additionally, socio-cognitive mindfulness positively predicted positive achievement emotions but negatively predicted negative emotions. Reappraisal positively influenced positive emotions, whereas suppression positively influenced negative emotions. Furthermore, reappraisal mediated the link between mindfulness and positive emotions, and suppression mediated the link between mindfulness and negative emotions. Conclusions: Socio-cognitive mindfulness may be effective in regulating emotions among nursing students by enhancing reappraisal and reducing suppression. Mediating effects highlight the relevance of students’ emotion regulation in nursing education, suggesting the need to develop emotion regulation education programs.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8464977/

 

Improve Preschool Teacher Job Satisfaction with Mindfulness

Improve Preschool Teacher Job Satisfaction with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Teachers who engage in mindfulness-based practices have been shown to have lower cortisol levels and to be more responsive and compassionate towards their students, less emotionally reactive, and more intentional in their teaching practices.” – Meghan Robles

 

Stress is epidemic in the workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. This often produces burnout; fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, and professional inefficacy. In a school setting, this burnout and exhaustion not only affects teachers and administrators personally, but also the students and schools, as it produces a loss of enthusiasm, empathy, and compassion. If stress doesn’t produce burnout, it at least can produce lowered psychological well-being and job satisfaction and impair teaching performance.

 

Hence, there is a need to identify methods of reducing stress and improve teachers’ psychological health. Mindfulness has been demonstrated to be helpful in reducing the psychological and physiological responses to stress and for treating and preventing burnout in a number of work environments. But the relationship of mindfulness on preschool teacher’s job satisfaction has not been explored.

 

In today’s Research News article “Can Trait Mindfulness Improve Job Satisfaction? The Relationship Between Trait Mindfulness and Job Satisfaction of Preschool Teachers: The Sequential Mediating Effect of Basic Psychological Needs and Positive Emotions.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.788035/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1796285_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211223_arts_A ) Song and colleagues recruited kindergarten teachers and had them complete an online survey measuring mindfulness, positive emotions, job satisfaction, and basic psychological needs, including capacity needs, relationship needs, and autonomy needs.

 

They found that the higher the teacher’s level of mindfulness the higher the levels of basic psychological needs, positive emotions, and job satisfaction and the higher the level of positive emotions the higher the levels of basic psychological needs and job satisfaction. Modelling analysis revealed that mindfulness was associated with higher levels of job satisfaction directly and also indirectly by being associated with higher levels of basic psychological needs and positive emotions that were in turn associated with higher levels of job satisfaction.

 

These findings are correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. But previous controlled studies have demonstrated that mindfulness training increases positive emotions, job satisfaction, and basic psychological needs. So, the present findings are probably due to causative effects of mindfulness. This suggests that mindfulness is an important determinant of the psychological well-being of kindergarten teachers leading to satisfaction with their work. This should decrease the likelihood of burnout and improve teaching performance. This further suggests that mindfulness training would be of great benefit for preschool teachers.

.

So, improve preschool teacher job satisfaction with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness can also help us to be more effective at reducing conflict and developing more positive ways of relating in the classroom, which can help us feel more job satisfaction.” – Patricia Jennings

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Song Z, Pan B and Wang Y (2021) Can Trait Mindfulness Improve Job Satisfaction? The Relationship Between Trait Mindfulness and Job Satisfaction of Preschool Teachers: The Sequential Mediating Effect of Basic Psychological Needs and Positive Emotions. Front. Psychol. 12:788035. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.788035

 

Objective: This study aims to explore the relationship between basic psychological needs and positive emotions of preschool teachers between trait mindfulness and job satisfaction.

Methods: Three hundred and ninety-eight preschool teachers were tested with mindfulness attention awareness scale, basic psychological needs scale, positive emotion scale, and job satisfaction scale.

Results: Preschool teachers trait mindfulness can predict job satisfaction (β = 0.265, p < 0. 001). Preschool teachers trait mindfulness has an indirect impact on job satisfaction through basic psychological needs (β = 0.059, p = 0.002), and preschool teachers trait mindfulness has an indirect impact on job satisfaction through positive emotions (β = 0.123, p < 0. 001). In addition, basic psychological needs and positive emotions play a sequential intermediary role between preschool teachers trait mindfulness and job satisfaction (β = 0.017, p < 0. 001).

Conclusion: Basic psychological needs and positive emotions play a sequential mediating role between preschool teachers trait mindfulness and job satisfaction, and this sequential mediating effect accounts for a high proportion of the total effect.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.788035/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1796285_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211223_arts_A

Increase Body Awareness and Emotional Regulation in College Women with Yoga

Increase Body Awareness and Emotional Regulation in College Women with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Among the suite of tools and strategies that so many of us lean on when it comes to living peacefully (or not) with our emotions, yoga is probably one of the most affecting and effective.” – Monisha Rudhran

 

Yoga training has been shown to improve health and well-being. It has also been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. There are a wide variety of different yoga training techniques. Many varieties employ breath-focused and meditative-focused practices. Although the benefits of yoga practices in general are well studied there is little scientific research comparing breathing and meditative-focused yoga versus only yoga postures.

 

In today’s Research News article “Can Yoga Boost Access to the Bodily and Emotional Self? Changes in Heart Rate Variability and in Affective Evaluation Before, During and After a Single Session of Yoga Exercise With and Without Instructions of Controlled Breathing and Mindful Body Awareness in Young Healthy Women.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.731645/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1790561_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211214_arts_A ) Herbert recruited female college students and had them perform 30 minutes of yoga exercises. One randomly assigned group was instructed to “exercise any movement with heightened body awareness and breathing control” while the other received no further instruction. They were measured before and after the 30 minutes of yoga for cardiac activity including heart rate variability with an electrocardiogram, positive and negative emotions, interoceptive awareness, self-referential processing, empathy, affective judgement, and heartbeat counting.

 

They found that cardiac activity was, not surprisingly, increased by yoga, but the two groups did not differ. Also, compared to pre-yoga, after yoga the heart rate was significantly lower during the affective task. In addition, after practicing yoga the participants were significantly faster and more accurate in their affective judgements to emotional stimuli and higher levels of body awareness (heartbeat counting). Hence, there were significant effects of yoga on cardiac activity, emotion regulation, and body awareness, but there was no significant effect of the instruction to be aware of the body and breathing during yoga.

 

The results suggest that a single 30-minute yoga session, like any other exercise, affects cardiac activity and it improves emotional processing and body awareness regardless of body awareness instruction. These findings are not new as it has been established in previous research by other researchers studying different groups that yoga practice improves body awareness and emotion regulation. That this happens after a single 30-minute practice is new and interesting.

 

The lack of a control group participating in another form of exercise, however, limits the conclusions regarding the effects of yoga per se. It is possible that any form of exercise would produce similar effects. In addition, a single 30-minute session may not be sufficient to observe effect of an intention to be aware of the body and breathing. More practice may be necessary. Alternatively, participating in yoga may heighten body and breathing awareness regardless of whether there was an explicit instruction. Nevertheless, short-term exercise appears to be healthful for the heart, body awareness, and the emotions.

 

So, increase body awareness and emotional regulation in college women with yoga.

 

Change your posture and you change the way you breathe. Change your breathing and you change your nervous system. This is one of the great lessons of yoga: Everything is connected.” – Timothy McCall

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Herbert C (2021) Can Yoga Boost Access to the Bodily and Emotional Self? Changes in Heart Rate Variability and in Affective Evaluation Before, During and After a Single Session of Yoga Exercise With and Without Instructions of Controlled Breathing and Mindful Body Awareness in Young Healthy Women. Front. Psychol. 12:731645. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.731645

 

Exercise is indispensable for a healthy lifestyle. Yoga exercise can have positive effects on well-being and on cardiac autonomic activity making it an ideal intervention for improving mind-body interactions and resilience to physical and mental stressors. Emotions trigger especially strong bodily and affective-cognitive responses because of their social relevance for the self and their biological relevance of mobilizing the organism for action. This study investigates whether changes in emotion processing related to self-other referential processing and changes in cardiac autonomic activity, reflected by heart rate variability (HRV), occur immediately after already a single session of yoga exercise when yoga postures are practiced with or without breathing- and mindful body awareness instructions. Women, all university students (N = 34, final sample: n = 30, n = 25 naïve to yoga practice) were randomly assigned to two experimental groups who performed the same yoga exercises with or without controlled breathing and mindfulness instructions. Emotional, self-other referential processing, awareness of bodily signals and HRV indicators were investigated before and after the exercise using standardized experimental tasks, standardized questionnaires, and mobile recording devices. Exercising for 30 minutes changed cardiac activity significantly. HRV measures showed adaptability of cardiac activity during the exercise as well as during the affective task post- to pre-exercise. Exercising with breathing instructions and mindful body awareness had no superior effects on cardiac, particularly parasympathetic activity, compared to practicing the same movements without such explicit instructions. Self-referential processing did not change; however, participants were faster and more accurate in their affective judgments of emotional stimuli [regardless of their reference (self/other)], and showed better awareness of bodily signals after compared to before the exercise session. The results support immediate, adaptive effects of yoga exercise on cardiac and affective-cognitive processing in an all-female healthy sample. Therefore, yoga exercise could be recommended as a physical activity for boosting cardiac and emotional resilience in this target group.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.731645/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1790561_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211214_arts_A

 

Reduce Stress and Increase Well-Being in People with Schizophrenia with Mindfulness

Reduce Stress and Increase Well-Being in People with Schizophrenia with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“In schizophrenic patients, mindfulness intervention leads to better psychosocial functioning, improved positive emotions, and reduced negative symptoms.” – Jia‐Ling Sheng

 

Schizophrenia is the most common form of psychosis. Its effects about 1% of the population worldwide. It appears to be highly heritable and involves changes in the brain. It is characterized by both positive and negative symptoms. Positive symptoms include hallucinations; seeing and, in some cases, feeling, smelling or tasting things that aren’t there, or delusions; unshakable beliefs that, when examined rationally, are obviously untrue. Negative symptoms include a reduced ability to function normally, neglect of personal hygiene, lack of emotion, blank facial expressions, speaking in a monotone, loss of interest in everyday activities, social withdrawal, an inability to experience pleasure, and a lack of insight into their symptoms. The symptoms of schizophrenia usually do not appear until late adolescence or early adulthood.

 

Schizophrenia is very difficult to treat with psychotherapy and is usually treated with antipsychotic drugs. These drugs, however, are not always effective, sometimes lose effectiveness, and can have some difficult side effects. Mindfulness training has been shown to be beneficial for a variety of mental health problems, including psychosis. Mindfulness has also been shown to associated with lower symptom severity of schizophrenia.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on Stress, Heart Rate Variability, Affect, and Wellbeing among People with Schizophrenia.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8617870/ ) Kim and colleagues recruited patients who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia at two centers. The participants from one center constituted the no-treatment control condition while those from the other received 8-weekly 60 minute sessions of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. The participants were measured before and after the treatment and 6 weeks later for perceived stress, positive and negative emotions, well-being, and heart rate variability.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control group, the group that received Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) had significantly lower perceived stress and negative emotions and significantly higher heart rate variability. Increases in heart rate variability indicates a reduction in physiological activation, an increase in parasympathetic relaxation, providing a physiological indicator of reduced stress. These changes remained significant at the 6 week follow up.

 

These findings demonstrate that mindfulness training with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is effective in reducing stress and negative emotions in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. Mindfulness training has been shown, in the past with a variety of groups to reduce stress, negative emotions, and heart rate variability. The present findings demonstrate that mindfulness training also improves the psychological well-being in patients with a major mental illness. This suggests that MBSR should be incorporated into the treatment program for patients who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

 

So, reduce stress and increase well-being in people with schizophrenia with mindfulness.

 

meditation is the best and successful treatment for Schizophrenia without any side-effects, caused by the very strong medications.” – Ruchi Singhal

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Kim, A. S., Jang, M. H., & Sun, M. J. (2021). Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on Stress, Heart Rate Variability, Affect, and Wellbeing among People with Schizophrenia. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(22), 11871. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182211871

 

Abstract

Mindfulness-based stress reduction programs have been found to be effective in reducing the stress response and improving the psychological wellbeing of various populations. We aimed to confirm the effects of a mindfulness-based stress reduction program on perceived stress, heart rate variability, positive and negative affect, and subjective wellbeing of community-dwelling people with schizophrenia. The participants in this study were 26 people with schizophrenia (experimental group: 14, control group: 12) enrolled in two community mental health centers located in Gyeonggi Province in South Korea. In the experimental group, the mindfulness-based stress reduction program was applied once a week for 60 min over 8 weeks. The experimental group showed a significantly greater decrease in perceived stress and negative affect, as well as significantly greater improvement in heart rate variability than the control group. The mindfulness-based stress reduction program was an effective nursing intervention to reduce stress and negative affect in people with schizophrenia.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8617870/

 

Reduce Stress and Improve Well-Being in Nursing Students with Mindfulness

Reduce Stress and Improve Well-Being in Nursing Students with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness meditation has a positive impact on nurses’ and nursing students’ stress, anxiety, depression, burnout, sense of well-being and empathy.” – Pamela van der Riet

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. In high stress occupations, like healthcare, burnout is all too prevalent. It is estimated that over 45% of healthcare workers experience burnout. Burnout not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion. So, preventing burnout has to be a priority.

 

It is important that methods be found to reduce the individual’s responses to stress and to improve their resilience. 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. Developing mindfulness early in healthcare careers could work to prevent later burnout. There has been considerable research on this topic. So, it makes sense to summarize what has been learned regarding the effects of mindfulness training for nursing students.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Undergraduate Nursing Students in a University Setting: A Narrative Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8621067/ ) McVeigh and colleagues review and summarize the published research on the effectiveness of mindfulness training on the psychological well-being of nursing students. They identified 15 published research studies.

 

They report that the published research found that mindfulness training for nursing students resulted in significant decreases in anxiety, depression, perceived stress, and negative coping strategies, and significant increases in mindfulness, self-efficacy, emotion regulation, and self-awareness. These benefits accrued regardless of the type and form of mindfulness training from meditation, to Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), to mindful movement practice.

 

These results are very promising. Mindfulness training of nursing students appears to markedly improve their psychological well-being. There was no long-term follow-up reported. So, it is not known whether the training has lasting effects and potentially improve resilience to later career stresses and reduce burnout. Future research needs to follow-up to identify whether the effects of this early intervention might assist the nurses in their later careers.

 

So, reduce stress and improve well-being in nursing students with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness practices have been found beneficial for nurses. The program has been found to increase self-compassion, serenity, and empathetic concern as well as decrease burnout and self-reported distress “ – Sandra Bernstein

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are available at the Contemplative Studies Blog http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/ andon Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

McVeigh, C., Ace, L., Ski, C. F., Carswell, C., Burton, S., Rej, S., & Noble, H. (2021). Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Undergraduate Nursing Students in a University Setting: A Narrative Review. Healthcare, 9(11), 1493. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9111493

 

Abstract

(1) Introduction: Undergraduate (UG) nursing students are vulnerable to stress throughout their education, known to result in burnout, with high attrition rates of up to 33%. There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that mindfulness-based interventions are effective for the management of anxiety, depression and wellbeing, thereby reducing stress in healthcare provider populations. The aim of this narrative review was to synthesize and provide a critical overview of the current evidence in relation to mindfulness-based interventions for UG nursing students in a university setting. (2) Methods: A review of the literature was conducted in March 2020 and updated in May 2021, utilising the databases CINAHL, Medline and PsycINFO. (3) Results: Fifteen studies were included in the review, with three common themes identified: (i) the positive impact of mindfulness on holistic wellbeing, (ii) mindfulness-based techniques as a positive coping mechanism within academic and clinical practice, and (iii) approaches to the delivery of mindfulness-based interventions. (4) Conclusions: Mindfulness-based interventions are effective strategies for the management of stress, development of self-awareness and enhanced academic and clinical performance in undergraduate nursing students. No ideal approach to delivery or duration of these interventions was evident from the literature. Best practice in relation to delivery of mindfulness-based interventions for nursing students is recommended for future studies.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8621067/

 

Improve Emotion Regulation and Well-Being During Covid-19 with Mindfulness

Improve Emotion Regulation and Well-Being During Covid-19 with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

A mindfulness practice can help us connect with awareness and let things come and go without our attention getting stuck on it. It can also help us make better choices. Between the emotion and the action, there is a choice, so this can help you to respond rather than to react.” – Anne Dutton

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to improve health and well-being in healthy individuals. It has also been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the mental and physical health of the population. It has created intense stress both for frontline workers but also for people simply isolating at home. So, there is a need to find ways to improve psychological well-being during the pandemic.

 

Mindfulness is known to decrease the psychological and physical responses to stress. So, mindfulness training may be helpful in coping with the mental and physical challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. But exposure to others during a pandemic is very dangerous. So, providing mindfulness training online is a preferred method. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a well-established and heavily used mindfulness training technique that employs meditation, body scan, yoga, group discussion and homework. It has been successfully implemented online. But it’s efficacy during a Covid-19 lockdown is not well established.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Increases Mental Wellbeing and Emotion Regulation During the First Wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Synchronous Online Intervention Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.720965/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1778822_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211123_arts_A ) Sanilevici and colleagues during the first wave Covid-19 lockdown recruited adult participants who enrolled in an online Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course and a control group who expressed interest in the online program but who were unable to participate. MBSR was administered in 8 weekly, 2.5 hour online meetings along with 30 minutes of daily home practice. The groups were measured before and after MBSR and 1 month later for mindfulness, anxiety, perceived stress, emotion regulation, intolerance of uncertainty, and loneliness.

 

At baseline they found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the levels of anxiety, perceived stress, intolerance of uncertainty, and loneliness and the higher the levels of emotion regulation. They also found that in comparison to baseline and the control group, the group that completed the online Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course had significantly lower levels of anxiety and perceived stress and significantly higher levels of emotion regulation. Finally, they found that MBSR lowered anxiety and perceived stress directly and also indirectly by increasing emotion regulation which in turn lowered anxiety and perceived stress. These benefits were still significant one month after the completion of MBSR.

 

Previous research by others has established that mindfulness training reduces anxiety and perceived stress and improves emotion regulation. The present findings suggest that a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course can be successfully implemented online, improving the psychological well-being of individuals during an extremely stressful time. They further demonstrate that MBSR improved psychological well-being directly and through improving emotion regulation. These findings are important as during a pandemic it is not feasible to provide mindfulness-based therapy in person. So, the findings that mindfulness training can be implemented successfully online improving the psychological well-being of individuals in the real world provides a means to help individuals cope with the pandemic and the lockdown.

 

So, improve emotion regulation and well-being during Covid-19 with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness practice . . . can bring about an understanding and acceptance of transient and ever-changing nature of all our experiences, whether mental (thoughts, emotions, body sensations) or physical (events, things, relationships). This experiential understanding of all phenomena as being “impermanent” might prove to be an important mechanism for promoting positive adaptation to a highly unpredictable and constantly changing landscape of COVID-19 pandemic.” – Elena Antonova

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Sanilevici M, Reuveni O, Lev-Ari S, Golland Y and Levit-Binnun N (2021) Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Increases Mental Wellbeing and Emotion Regulation During the First Wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Synchronous Online Intervention Study. Front. Psychol. 12:720965. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.720965

 

The COVID-19 pandemic imposed extreme living conditions of social distancing, which triggered negative mental health problems and created challenges in seeking mental health support. Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) have been found to enhance wellbeing and mental health by reducing stress and anxiety and improving emotion regulation. Preliminary evidence suggests that online, synchronous MBIs may produce beneficial effects similar to face-to-face programs. However, the effectiveness of such online-MBIs to support mental health in highly stressful times, such as a global pandemic, requires further study. To this end, we investigated the effect of an online 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program on aspects of mental health during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants (N=92) who expressed interest in discounted online-MBSR programs were recruited for the study. The division into experimental and control groups was based on actual enrollment to the courses. Those who enrolled in a program were assigned to the experimental condition and those who decided not to enroll served as controls. Participants were assessed pre-intervention, post-intervention, and 1-month post-intervention for levels of mindfulness, perceived stress, anxiety, emotion regulation, and intolerance of uncertainty. Differences between the groups were tested using the general linear mixed effects model (GLMM) and Individual Growth Curve Models (IGCM) in intent to treat analysis. The findings indicated that, relative to the control group, MBSR improved mindfulness abilities (p <0.001), decreased anxiety (p <0.001), and stress (p <0.001) and increased emotion regulation (p <0.001). These effects were found to persist 1 month after the end of the program, despite the increased governmental public-health restrictions due to COVID-19 at that time. The ability to tolerate uncertainty, a central characteristic of the pandemic, was not found to be affected by the program. A mediation analysis revealed that the effect of the intervention on mental health improvement was partially mediated by the improvement in emotion regulation. Overall, the findings provide positive evidence for the feasibility of an online-MBSR program to support the mental health of individuals from the general population through the mediation of emotion regulation in challenging times, such as a global pandemic.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.720965/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1778822_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211123_arts_A

 

Improve Cognitive and Socio-Emotional Skills in Children with Mindfulness

Improve Cognitive and Socio-Emotional Skills in Children with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Teaching mindfulness to kids can also help shape three critical skills developed in early childhood: paying attention and remembering information, shifting back and forth between tasks, and behaving appropriately with others.” – Christopher Willard

 

Childhood is a miraculous period during which the child is dynamically absorbing information from every aspect of its environment. This is particularly evident during the elementary school years. Mindfulness training in school has been shown to have very positive effects. These include improvements in the cognitive, psychological, emotional and social domains. Importantly, mindfulness training in school appears to improve attentional ability which is fundamental to success in all aspects of academic performance. The research evidence has been accumulating. So, there is a need to summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Exploring the Effects of Meditation Techniques Used by Mindfulness-Based Programs on the Cognitive, Social-Emotional, and Academic Skills of Children: A Systematic Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.660650/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1778822_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211123_arts_A ) Filipe and colleagues review and summarize the published controlled research studies on the effects of mindfulness training on 6-12 year old children. They found 29 published research articles.

 

They report that the published research found that mindfulness training produced significant improvements in the children’s cognitive skills, including overall executive functions, attention, concentration, inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility, and immediate auditory-verbal memory. They also found that there were significant improvements in socio-emotional skills, including stress, wellbeing, mindfulness, self-esteem, resilience, psychological happiness, empathy, perspective-taking, emotional control, optimism, depression, internalizing problems, peer aggression, prosocial behavior, peer acceptance, anxiety, self-control, self-regulation, mental health problems, quality of life, self-compassion, acceptance, relaxation, happiness, aggressive behaviors, and social competence. But only one of the 29 studies reported improvements in academic skills.

 

The published research makes a strong case for the effectiveness of mindfulness training to improve the cognitive and socio-emotional skills on children. But there is little evidence for improvement in academic performance. Unfortunately, only 9 of the 29 studies employed strong research designs (randomized controlled trails). So, there is a need for further research with high quality research designs. Nevertheless, the consistency and magnitude of the findings suggest robust positive effects of mindfulness trainings on a myriad of cognitive, social, and emotional skills in children. These are important benefits for these developing humans that may have important contributions to their growth and well-being, perhaps eventually making them better adults. As such, mindfulness training should be incorporated into the school curriculum.

 

So, improve cognitive and socio-emotional skills in children with mindfulness.

 

For children, mindfulness can offer relief from whatever difficulties they might be encountering in life. It also gives them the beauty of being in the present moment.” – Annaka Harris

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Filipe MG, Magalhães S, Veloso AS, Costa AF, Ribeiro L, Araújo P, Castro SL and Limpo T (2021) Exploring the Effects of Meditation Techniques Used by Mindfulness-Based Programs on the Cognitive, Social-Emotional, and Academic Skills of Children: A Systematic Review. Front. Psychol. 12:660650. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.660650

 

There is evidence for the positive impact of mindfulness in children. However, little is known about the techniques through which mindfulness practice results in differential outcomes. Therefore, this study intended to systematically review the available evidence about the efficacy of meditation techniques used by mindfulness-based programs on cognitive, socio-emotional, and academic skills of children from 6 to 12 years of age. The review was registered on the PROSPERO database, and the literature search was conducted according to PICO criteria and PRISMA guidelines. The EBSCO databases were searched, and 29 studies were eligible: nine randomized controlled trials and 20 quasi-experimental studies. All the included randomized controlled trials were rated as having a high risk of bias. Overall, the evidence for mindfulness techniques improving cognitive and socio-emotional skills was reasonably strong. Specifically, for cognitive skills, results showed that all the interventions used “body-centered meditations” and “mindful observations.” Regarding socio-emotional skills, although all the studies applied “body-centered meditations” and “mindful observations,” “affect-centered meditations” were also frequent. For academic skills, just one quasi-experimental trial found improvements, thus making it difficult to draw conclusions. Further research is crucial to evaluate the unique effects of different meditation techniques on the cognitive, social-emotional, and academic skills of children.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.660650/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1778822_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211123_arts_A