Spirituality is Associated with Reduced Emotional Distress in Lung Cancer Survivors

Spirituality is Associated with Reduced Emotional Distress in Lung Cancer Survivors

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“However you define spirituality, studies show that it can play an important role in coping with the recovery and healing process from cancer treatment and its after effects.” – LungCancer.org

 

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer has a huge impact on most people. Feelings of depression, anxiety, and fear are very common and are normal responses to this life-changing and potentially life-ending experience. These feeling can result from changes in body image, changes to family and work roles, feelings of grief at these losses, and physical symptoms such as pain, nausea, or fatigue. People might also fear death, suffering, pain, or all the unknown things that lie ahead. So, coping with the emotional distress and stress of a cancer diagnosis is a challenge and there are no simple treatments for these psychological sequelae of cancer diagnosis.

 

Religion and spirituality become much more important to people when they’re diagnosed with cancer or when living with cancer. It is thought that people take comfort in the spiritual when facing mortality. Hence, spirituality may be a useful tool for the survivors of cancer to cope with their illness and the consequent emotional distress. Thus, it makes sense to study the relationships of spirituality with the mental health of cancer survivors.

 

In today’s Research News article “Spirituality and Emotional Distress Among Lung Cancer Survivors.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6859202/ ) Gudenkauf and colleagues recruited adult patients with lung cancer and had them complete questionnaires measuring spirituality, emotional distress, and quality of life. within 1 year of their diagnosis and 1 year later.

 

They found that the lung cancer survivors, not surprisingly, were generally high in emotional distress. But those survivors who were high in spirituality, including the meaning, peace, and faith dimensions, were high in quality of life and low in emotional distress. In addition, those survivors who were high in distress at the first measurement, if they were also high in spirituality meaning, were more likely to have low emotional distress 1 year later.

 

It should be kept in mind that the present study was observational and as a result causation cannot be determined. But it appears that in these lung cancer survivors, spirituality is associated with better quality of life and lower emotional distress and that spirituality tends to predict lower emotional distress a year later. Hence, spirituality appears to help survivors cope with their emotional reactions to their diagnosis. Future studies should investigate whether promoting spirituality in these survivors may improve their emotions and quality of life.

 

So, spirituality is associated with reduced emotional distress in lung cancer survivors.

 

While having a spiritual or religious foundation can’t change your diagnosis or the effectiveness of treatment, some patients find their beliefs help them find meaning and cope. “It may not impact your prognosis, but it can help improve your overall outlook during treatment,” – Tiffany Meyer

 

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

 

Gudenkauf, L. M., Clark, M. M., Novotny, P. J., Piderman, K. M., Ehlers, S. L., Patten, C. A., Nes, L. S., Ruddy, K. J., Sloan, J. A., & Yang, P. (2019). Spirituality and Emotional Distress Among Lung Cancer Survivors. Clinical lung cancer, 20(6), e661–e666. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cllc.2019.06.015

 

Abstract

Background:

Emerging research is highlighting the importance of spirituality in cancer survivorship as well as the importance of early distress screening. The purpose of this study was to prospectively examine the relationships among spirituality, emotional distress, and sociodemographic variables during the early period of lung cancer survivorship.

Patients and Methods:

864 lung cancer survivors completed the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy – Spiritual Well-Being (FACIT-Sp), and the Short-Form-8 (SF-8) for emotional distress within the first year following lung cancer diagnosis, and 474 of these survivors completed the survey again one year later.

Results:

At baseline, spirituality was associated with lower prevalence of emotional distress, being married, fewer years of cigarette smoking, and better ECOG performance status. Additionally, high baseline spirituality was associated with lower rates of high emotional distress at one-year follow-up.

Conclusion:

These findings suggest that spirituality may serve as a protective factor for emotional distress among lung cancer survivors. Further research is warranted to explore the role of spirituality in promoting distress management among lung cancer survivors.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6859202/

 

Change the Brain to Improve Emotion Regulation in Bereaved Individuals with Mindfulness

Change the Brain to Improve Emotion Regulation in Bereaved Individuals with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“It takes a boat load of self-compassion to allow oneself to feel whatever it is you are feeling at any given time, without judgment, without comparison relative to another’s explicit portrayal of their own process. In this way, to grieve is to be mindful of our thoughts and feelings.” – Jennifer Wolkin

 

Grief is a normal, albeit complex, process that follows a loss of a significant person or situation in one’s life. This can involve the death of a loved one, a traumatic experience, termination of a relationship, relationship to a long-missing person, etc. Exactly what transpires depends upon the individual and the nature of the loss. It involves physical, emotional, psychological and cognitive processes. In about 15% of people grief can be overly intense or long and therapeutic intervention may become necessary.

 

Mindfulness practices have been found to help with coping with loss and its consequent grief.  Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) was specifically developed to treat depression. MBCT involves mindfulness training, containing sitting, walking and body scan meditations, and cognitive therapy that is designed to alter how the patient relates to the thought processes that often underlie and exacerbate psychological symptoms. Mindfulness training has been shown to change the size, activity and connectivity of brain structures. Hence, MBCT may reduce grief by altering the brain.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy on bereavement grief: Alterations of resting-state network connectivity associate with changes of anxiety and mindfulness.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7775995/ ) Huang and colleagues recruited adults who had lost a first degree relative within the last 4 years and had unresolved grief. The patients received an 8-week program of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). They met weekly for 2.5 hours and were encouraged to practice for 45 minutes daily at home. They were measured before and after the training for grief, generalized anxiety, depression, emotion regulation, and mindfulness. After training they underwent brain functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) at rest and while viewing pictures of faces with either neutral or negative emotional expressions.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline, after Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) the participants had significant increases in mindfulness, particularly the describing and non-reacting mindfulness facets, and emotion regulation and significant decreases in grief, anxiety, and depression. The brain connectivity as revealed in the fMRI scans changed after MBCT training with decreased connectivity within the Default Mode Network of the brain and connectivity between the Auditory, Visual, Salience, and frontal-parietal networks during rest but not emotion arousal. In addition, the connectivity between the subcortical caudate with the cortex correlated positively with mindfulness and emotion regulation and negatively with anxiety.

 

The Default Mode Network is thought to underly mind wandering and self-referential thinking. So, the decreases in connectivity may signal heightened present moment awareness. In addition, the changes in the connectivity between cortical areas were negatively related to emotion regulation while the connectivity between cortical and subcortical areas were positively related to emotion regulation. This suggests that MBCT training decreased effects of external perception on emotion regulation while increasing the effects of internal sensations.

 

It should be noted that there wasn’t a comparison, control, condition. So, the passage of time, participant expectancy effects, attentional effects, or experimenter bias may have been responsible for the observed changes. Nevertheless, the results suggest that MBCT training for bereaved patients improves their mental health and reduces grief. The brain scans suggest that the training altered the brain to increase present moment awareness and dependence of the person’s internal state in regulating emotions.

 

So, change the brain to improve emotion regulation in bereaved individuals with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness practice is not meant to minimize that pain or to convince people that everything is OK, but rather to help you recognize the reality of your circumstances, and to do so in a nonjudgmental and self-compassionate way.” – Stephanie Pritchard

 

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

 

Huang, F. Y., Hsu, A. L., Chao, Y. P., Shang, C. M., Tsai, J. S., & Wu, C. W. (2020). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy on bereavement grief: Alterations of resting-state network connectivity associate with changes of anxiety and mindfulness. Human brain mapping, 42(2), 510–520. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25240

 

Abstract

Bereavement, the experience of losing a loved one, is one of the most catastrophic but inevitable events in life. It causes grief and intense depression‐like sadness. Recent studies have revealed the effectiveness and proficiency of mindfulness‐based cognitive therapy (MBCT) in emotional regulation among bereavement populations. MBCT improves the well‐being of the bereaved by enhancing cognitive performances. Regarding the neural correlates of bereavement grief, previous studies focused on the alleviation of emotion–cognition interferences at specific brain regions. Here, we hypothesized that the bereavement grief fundamentally triggers global alterations in the resting‐state brain networks and part of the internetwork connectivity could be reformed after MBCT intervention. We recruited 19 bereaved individuals who participated the 8‐week MBCT program. We evaluated (a) the large‐scale changes in brain connectivity affected by the MBCT program; as well as (b) the association between connectivity changes and self‐rated questionnaire. First, after MBCT, the bereaved individuals showed the reduction of the internetwork connectivity in the salience, default‐mode and fronto‐parietal networks in the resting state but not under emotional arousal, implying the alleviated attention to spontaneous mind wandering after MBCT. Second, the alterations of functional connectivity between subcortical (e.g., caudate) and cortical networks (e.g., cingulo‐opercular/sensorimotor) were associated with the changes of the mindfulness scale, the anxiety and the emotion regulation ability. In summary, MBCT could enhance spontaneous emotion regulation among the bereaved individuals through the internetwork reorganizations in the resting state.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7775995/

 

Lower Stress and Improve the Psychological Health of Healthcare Workers with Mind-Body Practices

Lower Stress and Improve the Psychological Health of Healthcare Workers with Mind-Body Practices

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mind-body programs. . . emphasize the importance of mindfulness, getting more sleep and reducing stress. Not long ago, those life strategies were viewed as irrelevant to a person’s health care. But these are all things that boost one’s mood. An added bonus? They make a huge difference in improving physical health.” – Hal Paz

 

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. These stressors have been vastly amplified during the Covid-19 pandemic. Improving the psychological health of health care professionals, then, 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, it is reasonable to examine the ability of mind-body practices as a means to improve the well-being of healthcare professionals.

 

In today’s Research News article “Long-term beneficial effects of an online mind-body training program on stress and psychological outcomes in female healthcare providers: A non-randomized controlled study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7593019/ ) Lee and colleagues recruited female healthcare workers and randomly assigned them to a wait-list control condition or to receive an 8-week online program of mind-body training. The participants practiced at home for 10 minutes, 5 days per week, for 8 weeks. The training included relaxation training, breathing exercises, and meditation. The participants were measured before and after training and 4 weeks later for occupational stress, stress responses, emotional intelligence, resilience, coping strategies, positive and negative emotions, and anxiety.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control group, the mind-body training group had significant reduction in overall stress levels, anger, and depression and a significant increase in a social support coping strategy that were maintained 4 weeks after the end of training. They also found that the mind-body group had a significant increase in emotion regulation, a problem-solving coping strategy ,and resilience and a significant decrease in negative emotions at the end of training but these improvements were no longer significant 4 weeks later.

 

This is an interesting study but conclusions must be tempered by the fact that the comparison condition was passive, leaving open the possibility for contaminants such as experimenter bias or participant expectancy, or attentional effects as alternative explanations. But the results are similar to other controlled studies that mindfulness training decreases stress, anger, negative emotions. and depression and increases emotion regulation and adaptive coping. So, it would appear that the mind-body training improves the psychological health of female healthcare workers with lasting improvements in stress levels, anger, depression and social support coping but transitory improvements in emotion regulation, resilience, negative emotions and problem-solving coping.

 

An important characteristic of the mind-body training in the present study was that it was provided online and only involved 10 minutes of daily practice. This type of program is convenient and doesn’t add a major time commitment to the healthcare workers’ already very busy schedule. So, it is easy to inexpensively and conveniently provide it to large numbers of healthcare workers without adding extra stress. Such a program, then, can improve the well-being of these stressed workers, potentially reducing burnout and improving job effectiveness. This is particularly important during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

So, lower stress and improve the psychological health of healthcare workers with min-body practices.

 

Mind-body therapies are safe, noninvasive techniques that have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety . . . Furthermore, they have demonstrated preliminary effects in improving psychological outcomes in physicians and health-care providers.” – Ting Bao

 

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, D., Lee, W. J., Choi, S. H., Jang, J. H., & Kang, D. H. (2020). Long-term beneficial effects of an online mind-body training program on stress and psychological outcomes in female healthcare providers: A non-randomized controlled study. Medicine, 99(32), e21027. https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000021027

 

Abstract

Mind-body training (MBT) programs are effective interventions for relieving stress and improving psychological capabilities. To expand our previous study which demonstrated the short-term effects of an 8-week online MBT program, the present study investigated whether those short-term effects persist up to a month after the end of the intervention.

Among previous participants, 56 (64%) participated in this follow-up study, 25 in the MBT group and 31 in the control group. Outcome measures included the stress response, emotional intelligence, resilience, coping strategies, positive and negative affect, and anger expression of both groups at baseline, at 8 weeks (right after the training or waiting period), and at 12 weeks (a month after the training or waiting period).

The MBT group showed a greater decrease in stress response at 8 weeks, and this reduction remained a month after the end of the intervention. The effect of MBT on resilience and effective coping strategies was also significant at 8 weeks and remained constant a month later. However, the improvement to emotional intelligence and negative affect did not persist a month after training.

These findings suggest that the beneficial short-term effects of MBT may last beyond the training period even without continuous practice, but the retention of these benefits seems to depend on the outcome variables. Through a convenient, affordable, and easily accessible online format, MBT may provide cost-effective solutions for employees at worksites.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7593019/

 

Mindfulness is Associated with Better Mental Health in Young Adults

Mindfulness is Associated with Better Mental Health in Young Adults

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindfulness is recommended as a treatment for people with mental ill-health as well as those who want to improve their mental health and wellbeing.” – Mental Health Foundation

 

Mindfulness stresses present moment awareness, minimizing focus on past memories and future planning. Depression is characterized by a focus on the past while anxiety is characterized by focus on the future. Although awareness of the past and future are important, focus on the present moment generally leads to greater psychological health and well-being. Mindfulness appears to improve the individual’s ability to regulate emotions. It is reasonable to assume that this improvement in emotion regulation may be responsible for the beneficial effects of mindfulness on mental health. There is a need to better understand how mindfulness and emotion regulation produce these benefits.

 

In today’s Research News article “Dispositional mindfulness and mental health in Chinese emerging adults: A multilevel model with emotion dysregulation as a mediator.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7676716/ ) Cheung and colleagues recruited from a university healthy young adults aged 18 to 29 years. They completed measures at baseline and 3 and 6 months later of mindfulness, emotion regulation, depression, anxiety, and well-being. These data were then subjected to regression analysis and multilevel mediation analysis.

 

They found that at all time points the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the levels of depression, and anxiety, and the higher the levels of emotion regulation, and subjective well-being. They also found that the higher the levels of emotion regulation the lower the levels of depression, and anxiety, and the higher the levels of subjective well-being.

 

The mediation analysis suggested that mindfulness was associated with improved anxiety, depression, and well-being directly and also indirectly through emotion regulation, such that high mindfulness was associated with high emotion regulation which was, in turn, associated with lower anxiety and depression and higher well-being. Over the 3 measurements mental health of the participants appeared to decrease with higher levels of anxiety and depression and lower levels of well-being, perhaps as the stress of the academic year increased. But the relationships of these variables with mindfulness and emotion regulation remained intact over the 3 time periods.

 

These results are correlational and as such conclusions regarding causation cannot be made. But previous research has shown causal connections between mindfulness and emotion regulation, depression, anxiety, and well-being. So, the present results likely also reflect causal influences of mindfulness. The results suggest that mindfulness has direct beneficial effects on mental health and also indirect effects by improving the regulation of emotions. Emotion regulation involves the ability to fully experience emotions but also being able to control response to the emotions. This appears to be strengthened by mindfulness and is an important route by which mindfulness produces better mental health.

 

So, mindfulness is associated with better mental health in young adults.

 

Young adulthood is an incredibly important time marked by major changes, big life decisions and new pressures. Without proper support and the right skills in place, many young adults can suffer from depression and feelings of anxiety that can manifest as avoidance, substance use and self-harm. Mindfulness techniques help clients attend to their thoughts and feelings non-judgmentally and moment-to-moment. This helps them connect with their inner selves, engage more fully in their present life activities and develop better coping mechanisms for life’s stressors.” – The Dorm

 

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

 

Cheung, R., Ke, Z., & Ng, M. (2020). Dispositional mindfulness and mental health in Chinese emerging adults: A multilevel model with emotion dysregulation as a mediator. PloS one, 15(11), e0239575. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0239575

 

Abstract

Using a multilevel model, this study examined emotion dysregulation as a mediator between dispositional mindfulness and mental health among Chinese emerging adults. Participants were 191 Chinese emerging adults (female = 172) between 18 and 27 years old (M = 21.06 years, SD = 2.01 years), who completed a questionnaire that assessed their dispositional mindfulness, emotion dysregulation, and mental health outcomes for three times over 12 months, with a three-month lag between each time point. Within-person analysis revealed that emotion dysregulation mediated between dispositional mindfulness and mental health outcomes, including subjective well-being and symptoms of depression and anxiety. Time was positively associated with emotion dysregulation and negatively associated with symptoms of depression and anxiety. Between-person analysis revealed that emotion dysregulation negatively mediated between dispositional mindfulness and symptoms of depression and anxiety, but not subjective well-being. These findings call attention to within-person versus between-person effects of emotion dysregulation as a mediator between dispositional mindfulness and psychological outcomes, particularly of symptoms of depression and anxiety. Attesting to the relations established in western societies, the relations are also applicable to emerging adults in the Chinese context. Evidence was thus advanced to inform translational research efforts that promote mindfulness and emotion regulation as assets of mental health.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7676716/

Improve the Brain for Better Emotions with Mindfulness

Improve the Brain for Better Emotions with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“meditation affects the brain. . .  four regions of meditators’ brains associated with healthy brain function become more substantial, while one of the areas associated with undesirable behavior actually shrinks.” – Mindworks

 

Mindfulness 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 number of ways that mindfulness practices produce these benefits, including changes to the brain and physiology.

 

The nervous system is a dynamic entity, constantly changing and adapting to the environment. It will change size, activity, and connectivity in response to experience. These changes in the brain are called neuroplasticity. Over the last decade neuroscience has been studying the effects of contemplative practices on the brain and has identified neuroplastic changes in widespread areas. In other words, mindfulness practice appears to mold and change the brain, producing psychological, physical, and spiritual benefits. It is not clear, however, what effects brief mindfulness training might have on temperament and the brain.

 

In today’s Research News article “Brief Mindfulness Meditation Induces Gray Matter Changes in a Brain Hub.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7704181/ ) Tang and colleagues recruited healthy meditation-naïve college students and randomly assigned them to receive 30 minutes for 20 consecutive days of either Integrative Body-Mind Training or relaxation training. Before and after training they were measured for temperament, including effortful control, negative affect, extraversion/surgency, and orienting sensitivity, and underwent brain scanning with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

 

They found that in comparison to the relaxation group and the baseline after training the mindfulness group had a significant increase in the volume of the ventral posterior cingulate cortex in the brain. They also found that the greater the increase in the volume of the ventral posterior cingulate cortex the greater the decrease in negative emotions in the participant. So, 20 days of mindfulness training increased ventral posterior cingulate cortex volume which was, in turn, associated with lower levels of negative emotions.

 

The ventral posterior cingulate cortex is a component of the default mode network in the brain that is associated with emotion processing, self-referential thinking, and mind wandering. Mindfulness training has been shown previously to produce improvements in emotions including more positive and less negative emotions. This suggests that 20 days of mindfulness training reduces negative emotions by producing neuroplastic changes in the default mode network of the brain.

 

So, change the brain for better emotions with mindfulness.

 

the brains of subjects thickened after an eight-week meditation course.” – Harvard Gazette

 

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

 

Tang, R., Friston, K. J., & Tang, Y. Y. (2020). Brief Mindfulness Meditation Induces Gray Matter Changes in a Brain Hub. Neural plasticity, 2020, 8830005. https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/8830005

 

Abstract

Previous studies suggest that the practice of long-term (months to years) mindfulness meditation induces structural plasticity in gray matter. However, it remains unknown whether short-term (<30 days) mindfulness meditation in novices could induce similar structural changes. Our previous randomized controlled trials (RCTs) identified white matter changes surrounding the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) within 2 to 4 weeks, following 5-10 h of mindfulness training. Furthermore, these changes were correlated with emotional states in healthy adults. The PCC is a key hub in the functional anatomy implicated in meditation and other perspectival processes. In this longitudinal study using a randomized design, we therefore examined the effect of a 10 h of mindfulness training, the Integrative Body-Mind Training (IBMT) on gray matter volume of the PCC compared to an active control—relaxation training (RT). We found that brief IBMT increased ventral PCC volume and that baseline temperamental trait—an index of individual differences was associated with a reduction in training-induced gray matter increases. Our findings indicate that brief mindfulness meditation induces gray matter plasticity, suggesting that structural changes in ventral PCC—a key hub associated with self-awareness, emotion, cognition, and aging—may have important implications for protecting against mood-related disorders and aging-related cognitive declines.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7704181/

 

Workplace Well-Being is Associated with Spirituality

Workplace Well-Being is Associated with Spirituality

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Burnout, compassion fatigue, career exhaustion—you can rewire your brain to see these afflictions as opportunities for embarking on a new path. You don’t have to stay on a dead-end street.”- Pamela Milam

 

Work is very important for our health and well-being. We spend approximately 25% of our adult lives at work. How we spend that time is immensely important for our psychological and physical health. Indeed, the work environment has even become an important part of our social lives, with friendships and leisure time activities often attached to the people we work with. But, more than half of employees in the U.S. and nearly 2/3 worldwide are unhappy at work. This is partially due to work-related stress which is epidemic in the western workplace. Almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. This stress can result in impaired health and can result in burnout; producing fatigue, cynicism, and professional inefficacy.

 

Religion and spirituality have been promulgated as solutions to the challenges of life both in a transcendent sense and in a practical sense. There have been a number of studies of the influence of religiosity and spirituality on the physical and psychological well-being of practitioners mostly showing positive benefits, with spirituality encouraging personal growth and mental health. Perhaps, then, spirituality can be helpful in relieving stress and lowering burnout in the workplace.

 

In today’s Research News article “Employee burnout and positive dimensions of well-being: A latent workplace spirituality profile analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7671502/ ) Del Corso and colleagues performed 2 studies of the association of workplace spirituality with the employee well-being. In the first study they recruited employees of 3 different Italian companies and had them complete measures of positive supervisor behavior, burnout, and workplace spirituality.

 

They found that the higher the levels of workplace spirituality the lower the levels of burnout. They also found that positive supervisor behavior was negatively associated with burnout indirectly by being positively associated with workplace spirituality which was in turn negatively associated with burnout. So, spirituality was higher in employees whose supervisors expressed positive supervisory behavior and burnout was lower in employees who were high in spirituality.

 

In the second study they again recruited employees of Italian companies and had them complete measures of workplace spirituality, work engagement, positive emotions, self-efficacy, and resilience. They found that employees who were high in workplace spirituality were significantly higher in positive emotions, resilience, self-efficacy, vigor, dedication, absorption, and work engagement.

 

These studies were correlational and as such caution must be exercised in reaching causal conclusions. With this in mind, the results suggest that workplace spirituality is highly associated with employee well-being and lower levels of burnout. Workplace spirituality is composed of 4 factors; engaging work, sense of community, spiritual connection, and mystical experiences. Two of these components involve a satisfying work environment while two involve dimensions of spirituality. The results suggested that all of these components were significantly involved in the association with well-being.

 

Spirituality has well documented associations with overall well-being of the individuals. This study demonstrates that this extends into the workplace. These results suggest, not surprisingly, that having a satisfying work environment contributes to the employees’ well-being but more surprisingly being spiritual also contributes.

 

So, workplace well-being is associated with spirituality.

 

When people operate with high-stress levels without rest, they reduce productivity and risk their health. . . practices like meditation make your mind strong balanced and flexible and able to focus at will. “ – Spiritual Earth

 

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

 

Dal Corso, L., De Carlo, A., Carluccio, F., Colledani, D., & Falco, A. (2020). Employee burnout and positive dimensions of well-being: A latent workplace spirituality profile analysis. PloS one, 15(11), e0242267. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0242267

 

Abstract

In recent years, a new and promising construct has attracted the attention of organizational research: Workplace spirituality. To investigate the role of workplace spirituality in organizational contexts, two studies were carried out. Study 1 explored the mediation role of workplace spirituality in the relationship between positive supervisor behaviors and employee burnout. Results showed that workplace spirituality strongly contributes to reduce burnout and mediates the effect of supervisor integrity in reducing this threat. Study 2 considered the relationships of workplace spirituality with positive affectivity, resilience, self-efficacy, and work engagement. In particular, workplace spirituality profiles were investigated through latent profile analysis (LPA). Findings showed that workplace spirituality is related to higher positive affectivity, resilience, self-efficacy, and work engagement. In contrast, a workplace spirituality profile characterized by a low-intensity spiritual experience is associated with higher negative feelings. The practical implications of these findings are discussed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7671502/

 

Mind-Body Skills Training Improves College Student Mental Health and Well-Being

Mind-Body Skills Training Improves College Student Mental Health and Well-Being

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

By focusing on and controlling our breath, we can change how we think and feel. We can use the breath as a means of changing our emotional state and managing stress.” —Tommy Rosen

 

There is an accumulating volume of research findings to demonstrate that Mind-body practices have highly beneficial effects on the health and well-being of humans. These include meditation, yoga, tai chi, qigong, biofeedback, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, hypnosis, and deep breathing exercises. Because of their proven benefits the application of these practices to relieving human suffering has skyrocketed.

 

There is a lot of pressure on college students to excel. This stress might in fact be counterproductive as the increased pressure can actually lead to stress and anxiety which can impede the student’s physical and mental health, well-being, and school performance. Mindfulness training has been shown through extensive research to be effective in improving physical and psychological health. Indeed, these practices have been found to improve psychological health in college students. So, it would be expected that training in mind-body practices would improve the psychological health of college students.

 

In today’s Research News article “Impact of a University-Wide Interdisciplinary Mind-Body Skills Program on Student Mental and Emotional Well-Being.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7686595/ ) Novak and colleagues recruited college students who were enrolled to take a mind-body skills program and an equivalent group of control college students. The program consisted of 9-weeks of once a week for 2 hours training and discussion of “mindfulness, guided imagery, autogenic training, biofeedback, and breathing techniques, as well as art, music, and movement practices” in groups of 10. The students were instructed to practice daily at home for 20 minutes. They were measured before and after training for perceived stress, positive and negative emotions, resilience, depression, anxiety, fatigue, sleep disturbance, mindfulness, interpersonal reactivity, and burnout. Subsets of each group were remeasured one year after the completion of the study. There were no significant differences in these measures between the groups at baseline.

 

They found that in comparison to the baseline and the control group, the students who received mind-body skills training had significant decreases in perceived stress, negative affect, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and burnout and significant increases in positive emotions, resilience, mindfulness, empathic concern, and perspective taking. In addition, the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the levels of perceived stress, negative emotions and depersonalization and the higher the levels of positive emotions, resilience, and perspective taking. Unfortunately, these improvements, except for mindfulness, disappeared by the one year follow up.

 

The present study did not have an active control condition. So, it is possible that confounding factors such as participant expectancy, experimenter bias, attention effects etc. may have been responsible for the results. But in prior controlled research it has been demonstrated that mindfulness training produces decreases in perceived stress, negative emotions, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and burnout and significant increases in positive emotions, resilience, and empathic concern. So, it is likely that the benefits observed in the present study were due to the mind-body skills training.

 

These results then suggest that mind-body skills training produces marked improvements in the psychological health and well-being of college students. But the improvements were not lasting. This may signal the need for better training protocols or periodic booster session to maintain the benefits. Given the great academic stress, pressure, and social stresses of college life, the students were much better off for taking the mind-body skills training program. It was not measured but these benefits would predict increased academic performance and improved well-being in these students.

 

So, mind-body skills training improves college student mental health and well-being.

 

mind/body approaches to healing and wellness are gaining in popularity in the U.S. and research supports their efficacy in treating a number of psychological and physical health issues that are not easily treated by mainstream medicine.” – Doug Guiffrida

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Novak, B. K., Gebhardt, A., Pallerla, H., McDonald, S. B., Haramati, A., & Cotton, S. (2020). Impact of a University-Wide Interdisciplinary Mind-Body Skills Program on Student Mental and Emotional Well-Being. Global Advances in Health and Medicine, 9, 2164956120973983. https://doi.org/10.1177/2164956120973983

 

Abstract

Background

Positive effects of mind-body skills programs on participant well-being have been reported in health professions students. The success seen with medical students at this university led to great interest in expanding the mind-body skills program so students in other disciplines could benefit from the program.

Objective

The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of a 9-week mind-body skills program on the mental and emotional well-being of multidisciplinary students compared to controls. We also sought to determine if the program’s effects were sustained at 1-year follow-up.

Methods

A cross-sectional pre-post survey was administered online via SurveyMonkey to participants of a 9-week mind-body skills program and a control group of students from 7 colleges at a public university from 2017–2019. Students were assessed on validated measures of stress, positive/negative affect, resilience, depression, anxiety, fatigue, sleep disturbance, mindfulness, empathy, and burnout. Scores were analyzed between-groups and within-groups using bivariate and multivariate analyses. A 1-year follow-up was completed on a subset of participants and controls.

Results

279 participants and 247 controls completed the pre-survey and post-survey (79% response rate; 71% female, 68% white, mean age = 25 years). Participants showed significant decreases in stress, negative affect, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and burnout, while positive affect, resilience, mindfulness, and empathy increased significantly (P < .05). Only sleep disturbance showed a significant decrease in the control group. Follow-up in a subset of participants showed that only mindfulness remained elevated at 1-year (P < .05), whereas the significant changes in other well-being measures were not sustained.

Conclusion

Participation in a 9-week mind-body skills program led to significant improvement in indicators of well-being in multidisciplinary students. A pilot 1-year follow-up suggests that effects are only sustained for mindfulness, but not other parameters. Future programming should focus on implementing mind-body skills booster sessions to help sustain the well-being benefits.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7686595/

 

Mindfulness is Associated with Non-Judging and Positive Emotions which Improve Emotional Health

Mindfulness is Associated with Non-Judging and Positive Emotions which Improve Emotional Health

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Almost any approach for cultivating care for others needs to start with paying attention. The beginning of cultivating compassion and concern, or doing something for the benefit of others, is first noticing what something or someone means to you.” – Erika Rosenberg

 

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. One way that mindfulness may be producing its benefits is by improving emotion regulation so that mindful people are better able to experience yet control their responses to emotions. This then improves mental health.

 

Mindfulness, though, is not a unitary concept. It has been segregated into five facets; observing, describing, acting with awareness, non-judgement, and non-reactivity. People differ and an individual can be high or low on any of these facets and any combination of facets. It is not known what pattern of mindfulness facets are most predictive of good mental health. So, it is important to investigate the interrelationships of mindfulness, compassion, and emotions with negative states such as of anxiety, depression, perceived stress, and negative emotions.

 

In today’s Research News article “Network Analysis of Mindfulness Facets, Affect, Compassion, and Distress.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7689647/ ) Medvedev and colleagues recruited college students and also mailed questionnaires to the general population (response rate 12%). They had them complete measures of anxiety, depression, perceived stress, positive and negative emotions, compassion, and mindfulness, including observing, describing, acting with awareness, non-judgement, and non-reactivity facets. These data were subjected to a network analysis.

 

They found two major clusters of variables. The maladaptive factors of anxiety, depression, perceived stress, and negative emotions were highly associated and strongly clustered into a tight node. The adaptive factors of positive emotions, compassion, and mindfulness, including observing, describing, acting with awareness, non-judgement, and non-reactivity facets were also clustered but not as tightly into a second node. Examining which variables were the primary bridge between the two nodes revealed that the mindfulness facet of non-judging of internal experience and positive emotions were by far the strongest negative bridges. Compassion was associated with the maladaptive node by a strong connection with positive emotions that were negatively associated with the maladaptive node.

 

These results are correlative and as such caution must be exercised in reaching causal connections. But mindfulness and its facets have been shown in previous research to reduce anxiety, depression, perceived stress, and negative emotions. So, the associations observed in the present study likely represent causal connections. Nonetheless, the present findings suggest that mindfulness and compassion work to reduce maladaptive emotions through non-judging of internal experience and positive emotions. That is, they increase these bridging factors and thereby reduce the maladaptive emotions.

 

Non-judging of internal experience involves taking a neutral attitude toward one’s own experience. Accepting one’s internal experiences appears to be the key to reducing anxiety, depression, perceived stress, and negative emotions. In other words, if a thought arises that predicts a future negative event it does not evoke anxiety or depression if that thought is not judged, just allowed to happen. The adaptive characteristics also appear to improve one’s emotional state producing greater positive feelings. This also appears to be an antidote to negative feelings. So, mindfulness and compassion increase positive emotions that act to counteract negative feelings.

 

So, mindfulness is associated with non-judging and positive emotions which improve emotional health.

 

The beauty of self-compassion is that instead of replacing negative feelings with positive ones, new positive emotions are generated by embracing the negative ones. The positive emotions of care and connectedness are felt alongside our painful feelings. When we have compassion for ourselves, sunshine and shadow are experienced simultaneously.” – Kristin Neff

 

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

 

Medvedev, O. N., Cervin, M., Barcaccia, B., Siegert, R. J., Roemer, A., & Krägeloh, C. U. (2020). Network Analysis of Mindfulness Facets, Affect, Compassion, and Distress. Mindfulness, 1–12. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-020-01555-8

 

Abstract

Objectives

Mindfulness, positive affect, and compassion may protect against psychological distress but there is lack of understanding about the ways in which these factors are linked to mental health. Network analysis is a statistical method used to investigate complex associations among constructs in a single network and is particularly suitable for this purpose. The aim of this study was to explore how mindfulness facets, affect, and compassion were linked to psychological distress using network analysis.

Methods

The sample (n = 400) included equal numbers from general and student populations who completed measures of five mindfulness facets, compassion, positive and negative affect, depression, anxiety, and stress. Network analysis was used to explore the direct associations between these variables.

Results

Compassion was directly related to positive affect, which in turn was strongly and inversely related to depression and positively related to the observing and describing facets of mindfulness. The non-judgment facet of mindfulness was strongly and inversely related to negative affect, anxiety, and depression, while non-reactivity and acting with awareness were inversely associated with stress and anxiety, respectively. Strong associations were found between all distress variables.

Conclusions

The present network analysis highlights the strong link between compassion and positive affect and suggests that observing and describing the world through the lens of compassion may enhance resilience to depression. Taking a non-judging and non-reacting stance toward internal experience while acting with awareness may protect against psychological distress. Applicability of these findings can be examined in experimental studies aiming to prevent distress and enhance psychological well-being.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7689647/

 

Spirituality is Associated with the Long-Term Psychological Health of Cancer Survivors

Spirituality is Associated with the Long-Term Psychological Health of Cancer Survivors

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“spiritual or religious beliefs and practices create a positive mental attitude that may help a patient feel better and improve the well-being of family caregivers. Spiritual and religious well-being may help improve health and quality of life.” – National Cancer Institute

 

Surviving cancer has a huge impact on most people. Feelings of depression, anxiety, and fear are very common and are normal responses to this life-changing experience. These feeling can result from changes in body image, changes to family and work roles, feelings of grief at these losses, and physical symptoms such as pain, nausea, or fatigue. People might also fear death, suffering, pain, or all the unknown things that lie ahead. So, coping with the emotions and stress of a surviving cancer is a challenge and there are no simple treatments for these psychological sequelae of cancer.

 

Religion and spirituality become much more important to people when they survive cancer. It is thought that people take comfort in the spiritual when facing mortality. Hence, spirituality may be useful for the survivors of cancer to cope with their illness and the psychological difficulties resulting from the disease. Thus, there is a need to study the relationships of spirituality on the long-term psychological health of cancer survivors.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Influence of Daily Spiritual Experiences and Gender on Subjective Well-Being Over Time in Cancer Survivors.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7500286/ ) Rudaz and colleagues garnered data from the longitudinal Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study

of adults that was collected in 2005 and again in 2015. They selected participants who reported having survived cancer and extracted data on spiritual and religious coping, daily spiritual experiences, life satisfaction, positive emotions, and negative emotions.

 

They report that for both men and women the higher the levels of spiritual experiences at baseline the higher the levels of religious coping, life satisfaction, and positive emotions, and the lower the levels of negative emotions at baseline and 10 years later. In addition, they found that spiritual experiences at baseline moderated the association of life satisfaction at baseline with life satisfaction 10 years later such that participants with low life satisfaction at baseline had a greater increase in life satisfaction 10 years later when they were higher in spiritual experiences. Also, they found that for men but not women that spiritual experiences at baseline moderated the association of positive emotions at baseline with positive emotions 10 years later such that men with low positive emotions at baseline had a greater increase in positive emotions 10 years later when they were higher in spiritual experiences.

 

These results are correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. But they show that cancer survivors having high levels of spirituality is associated with better psychological health and this is maintained over time. They also show that spirituality is associated with better psychological health 10 years later in cancer survivors who were low in life satisfaction and positive emotions. Hence, spirituality is important for the psychological health of cancer survivors and this lasts over decades.

 

So, spirituality is associated with the long-term psychological health of cancer survivors.

 

“Patients reporting greater overall religiousness and spirituality also reported better physical health, greater ability to perform their usual daily tasks, and fewer physical symptoms of cancer and treatment.” – 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

 

Rudaz, M., Ledermann, T., & Grzywacz, J. G. (2019). The Influence of Daily Spiritual Experiences and Gender on Subjective Well-Being Over Time in Cancer Survivors. Archive for the psychology of religion = Archiv fur Religionspsychologie, 41(2), 159–171. https://doi.org/10.1177/0084672419839800

 

Abstract

Cancer survivors are at risk for poor subjective well-being, but the potential beneficial effect of daily spiritual experiences is unknown. Using data from the second and third wave of the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study, we examined the extent to which daily spiritual experiences at baseline moderate the association between subjective well-being at baseline and approximately 10 years later in cancer survivors (n = 288). Regression analyses, controlled for age, educational attainment, and religious/spiritual coping, showed that daily spiritual experiences moderated the association between life satisfaction at baseline and follow-up. Specifically, high spiritual experiences enhanced life satisfaction over time in cancer survivors with low life satisfaction at baseline. Also, daily spiritual experiences moderated the association between positive affect at baseline and follow-up, though this moderating effect was different for women and men. No moderating effect emerged for negative affect.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7500286/

 

Reduce Stress and Improve Mood in Healthcare Workers with Mindfulness

Reduce Stress and Improve Mood in Healthcare Workers with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness training among healthcare providers is advocated for the improvement of quality of care as well as a means to mitigate work-related stress and burnout. . . Given the potential for mindfulness to promote health and enrich the practice of medicine, its increased utilization among patients, physicians, and the population at large is encouraged.” – Matias P. Raski

 

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

 

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

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of a Brief Mindfulness-Based Program on Stress in Health Care Professionals at a US Biomedical Research Hospital: A Randomized Clinical Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7448827/ ) Ameli and colleagues recruited healthy adult health care professionals and randomly assigned them to a life as usual, no treatment, condition or to receive a brief course in mindfulness during work hours. The Mindfulness-Based Self-Care program met once a week for 1.5 hours for 5 weeks. The program provided training and discussion of mindful breathing, body scan, mindful walking, mindful movements, mindful eating, and loving-kindness meditation. In addition, participants practiced daily at home. They were measured before and after training and 8 weeks later for perceived stress, anxiety, burnout, positive and negative emotions, mindfulness, and mindful self-care.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the life as usual control group at the end of training the mindfulness group had significantly lower levels of perceived stress and anxiety and significantly higher levels of mindfulness, positive emotions, and mindful self-care. At the 8-week follow-up, the mindfulness groups had maintained their significant improvements in perceived stress, anxiety and mindfulness, but not positive emotions, and mindful self-care.

 

The study did not have an active control condition. So, the results must be interpreted with caution. But they are very similar to the results of a large number of prior studies that mindfulness training reduces perceived stress and anxiety, and increases positive emotions. The fading of the benefits in positive emotions and mindful self-care over the 8-week follow-up period suggests that periodic refresher mindfulness training may be needed to maintain benefits.

 

The present study demonstrated that these benefits can be achieved with a brief mindfulness training conducted in the workplace of health care professionals. Since, stress, time constraints, and burnout are commonplace in this group, being able to conveniently deliver effective mindfulness training briefly at work maximizes the utility of mindfulness training for healthcare professionals and increases the likelihood that they will participate and complete training.

 

So, reduce stress and improve mood in healthcare workers with mindfulness.

 

“Levels of stress and burnout in the healthcare profession have been exacerbated in recent decades . . . 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.” – Jason Green

 

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

 

Ameli, R., Sinaii, N., West, C. P., Luna, M. J., Panahi, S., Zoosman, M., Rusch, H. L., & Berger, A. (2020). Effect of a Brief Mindfulness-Based Program on Stress in Health Care Professionals at a US Biomedical Research Hospital: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA network open, 3(8), e2013424. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.13424

 

Key Points

Question

Is a brief mindfulness-based program effective and feasible in reducing stress among health care professionals during work hours?

Findings

In this randomized clinical trial including 78 participants randomized to a 5-session (7.5-hour total) mindfulness program or a life-as-usual control, participants in the mindfulness program reported reduced stress and anxiety compared with life-as-usual controls at the end of the intervention.

Meaning

This randomized clinical trial found that this brief mindfulness intervention was an effective way of reducing stress in a health care setting.

Question

Is a brief mindfulness-based program effective and feasible in reducing stress among health care professionals during work hours?

Findings

In this randomized clinical trial including 78 participants randomized to a 5-session (7.5-hour total) mindfulness program or a life-as-usual control, participants in the mindfulness program reported reduced stress and anxiety compared with life-as-usual controls at the end of the intervention.

Meaning

This randomized clinical trial found that this brief mindfulness intervention was an effective way of reducing stress in a health care setting.

Abstract

Importance

Stress among health care professionals is well documented. The use of mindfulness-based interventions to reduce stress has shown promising results; however, the time commitment of typical programs can be a barrier to successful implementation in health care settings.

Objective

To determine the efficacy and feasibility of a brief mindfulness-based program to reduce stress during work hours among health care professionals.

Design, Setting, and Participants

This intent-to-treat randomized clinical trial was conducted among full-time health care professionals at the Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, between September 2017 and May 2018. Participants were randomized to receive mindfulness-based self-care (MBSC) training or life-as-usual control. Data were analyzed from June 2018 to January 2020.

Interventions

The MBSC intervention included 5 weekly, 1.5-hour in-class mindfulness practice sessions.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Stress level was the primary outcome, assessed with the Perceived Stress Scale 10-Item version. Secondary outcomes included anxiety, burnout, positive and negative affect, mindfulness (trait and state), and self-care. Assessments were taken at baseline and at the end of the intervention (week 5) in the intervention and control groups, and at follow-up (week 13) in the intervention group to test for a maintenance effect. A postprogram evaluation was also obtained.

Results

Of 82 randomized participants, 78 who completed the study at week 5 were included in the modified intent-to-treat analysis (median [interquartile range] age, 32 [23-48] years; 65 [83%] women), including 43 participants in the MBSC group and 35 participants in the control group. At the end of the intervention, compared with the control group, the MBSC group had reduced levels of stress (mean [SD] score, 17.29 [5.84] vs 18.54 [6.30]; P = .02) and anxiety (mean [SD] score, 2.58 [1.52] vs 4.23 [1.73]; P < .001), and improved positive affect (mean [SD] score, 35.69 [7.12] vs 31.42 [7.27]; P < .001), state mindfulness (mean [SD] score, 3.74 [1.18] vs 2.78 [1.16]; P < .001), and mindful self-care (mean [SD] score, 7.29 [2.44] vs 5.54 [2.77]; P < .001). Burnout, negative affect, and trait mindfulness levels did not differ between groups. Changes within the MBSC group through follow-up included sustained reductions in stress (change, –6.14; 95% CI, –7.84 to –4.44; P < .001), anxiety (change, –1.46; 95% CI, –1.97 to –0.94; P < .001), trait mindfulness (change, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.36 to 0.90; P < .001), and state mindfulness (change, 1.89; 95% CI, 1.39 to 2.39; P < .001).

Conclusions and Relevance

This randomized clinical trial found that this brief mindfulness-based intervention was an effective and feasible means to reduce stress in health care professionals. Larger studies are needed to assess the effects on clinical care and patient outcomes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7448827/Importance