Improve Quality of Life with Yoga and Meditation

Improve Quality of Life with Yoga and Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Though the benefits of a yoga practice initially arrive on our mats, a regular practice expands those benefits as they permeate into our daily lives beyond the four corners of our mats.” – Crystal Borup-Popenoe

 

Yoga practice has been shown to have a myriad of benefits for psychological and physical health, social, and spiritual well-being. It is both an exercise and a mind-body practice those stresses both mental attention to present moment movements, breath control, and flexibility, range of motion, and balance.

 

In today’s Research News article “Health-Related Quality of Life Outcomes With Regular Yoga and Heartfulness Meditation Practice: Results From a Multinational, Cross-sectional Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9116454/  ) Thimmapuram and colleagues recruit participants in the International Day of Yoga 100 day Yoga and heartfulness meditation practice online from countries around the world and had them complete measures of yoga practice, health-related quality of life, relaxation, nervousness, and stress.

 

Both regular yoga practitioners and also heartfulness meditation practitioners in comparison to those who were not had significantly higher health-related quality of life, healthy lifestyle, ability to cope with stress, workplace productivity, relaxation, and staying healthy during Covid-19 and lower levels of stress. Hence, regular practitioners of yoga or heartfulness meditation were associated with greater health and well-being.

 

The study does not establish causation but provide evidence that the relationship of the practices to health and well-being occur regardless of country.

 

Moderate‐quality evidence supports the recommendation of yoga as a supportive intervention for improving health‐related quality of life and reducing fatigue and sleep disturbances when compared with no therapy, as well as for reducing depression, anxiety and fatigue, when compared with psychosocial/educational interventions. “ – Holger Cramer

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Thimmapuram, J., Patel, K., Madhusudhan, D. K., Deshpande, S., Bouderlique, E., Nicolai, V., & Rao, R. (2022). Health-Related Quality of Life Outcomes With Regular Yoga and Heartfulness Meditation Practice: Results From a Multinational, Cross-sectional Study. JMIR formative research, 6(5), e37876. https://doi.org/10.2196/37876

 

Abstract

Background

Although the benefits of yoga are well established across the world, there are limited studies exploring the long-term interrelation between yoga, meditation, and health. Specifically, there is limited research exploring the differences in health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among regular meditators and nonmeditators.

Objective

This study explored the differences in 7 domains of HRQOL (including quality of life, ability to adopt a healthy lifestyle, ability to relax, frequency of nervousness and stress, coping with day-to-day stress, workplace productivity, and staying healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic) among practitioners of yoga and meditation.

Methods

A cross-sectional, online survey was distributed to all members who participated in a 100-day yoga and meditation program, culminating in the International Day of Yoga event, organized by the Heartfulness Institute in partnership with the Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy, Ministry of Ayush, SVYASA Yoga University, and Patanjali Yoga Institute, India. The program consisted of daily virtual yoga, meditation, and speaker sessions. The data were analyzed by nonparametric Mann-Whitney U test and Kruskal-Wallis tests for continuous variables and chi-square test for categorical variables.

Results

A total of 3164 participants from 39 countries completed the survey. Mean age was 33.8 (SD 13.6) years. The majority of the participants were female (n=1643, 52%) and students (n=1312, 41.5%). Regular yoga and meditation practice was associated with a positive impact on all 7 domains of HRQOL (Mann-Whitney P<.05 and χ2 P<.05). Notably, experienced Heartfulness (≥2 years) meditators reported better outcomes in all the domains of HRQOL as compared to those not currently practicing this form of meditation and participants with ≤1 year of Heartfulness meditation experience (P<.05).

Conclusions

This is one of the first cross-sectional studies to explore HRQOL outcomes among participants of a 100-day virtual yoga and meditation program. Overall, a yoga and meditation practice was found to be an effective tool for promoting HRQOL. Regular yoga and meditation practice was associated with factors promoting health and well-being, with long-term meditation practice associated with increased benefits.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9116454/

Improve Health in Unhealthy People with Yoga

Improve Health in Unhealthy People with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Incorporating [yoga] into your routine can help enhance your health, increase strength and flexibility and reduce symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety. Finding the time to practice yoga just a few times per week may be enough to make a noticeable difference when it comes to your health.” – Rachel Link

 

Yoga practice has been shown to have a myriad of benefits for psychological and physical health, social, and spiritual well-being. It is both an exercise and a mind-body practice which stresses both mental attention to present moment movements, breath control, and flexibility, range of motion, and balance. But beginning yoga practice has risks and adverse events are known to occur. These can be particularly problematic for people who are not in the best of health. So, it is important to examine the risks and benefits of beginning yoga practice for people in a variety of health conditions.

 

In today’s Research News article “Health-related benefits and adverse events associated with yoga classes among participants that are healthy, in poor health, or with chronic diseases.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8499562/ ) Oka and colleagues recruited first time participants in 3-month, once a week for 60-90 minutes yoga classes. They were separated into 3 groups: healthy, poor health (some somatic or psychological complaints but no medication), and chronic disease (on medication). Before and after the class they completed measures of mood, perceived stress, quality of life, subjective symptoms, satisfaction with the yoga class, and adverse events defined as “undesirable symptoms or responses that occurred during a yoga class”.

 

They found that from the beginning to the end of both the first and last yoga class there was a significant reduction in fatigue and tension-anxiety and increase in vigor in all groups. Over the 3-months of practice there was a significant reduction in perceived stress, subjective symptoms, and increase in health-related quality of life in the poor health and chronic disease groups. Perceived stress in the unhealthy groups reached the level of the healthy group at the end of training. Relatively mild adverse events were reported in all groups but more so in the unhealthy groups. But the symptoms were mild and did not stop participation inn the class in which they occurred.

 

Previous research with varied groups has shown that yoga training results in reduced fatigue and tension-anxiety and increased vigor. So, these findings were not surprising in the present study. The interesting findings here was that participants in ill health benefited more than healthy participants in reduced perceived stress and subjective symptoms and increased health-related quality of life. This suggests that yoga practice is particularly beneficial for individuals who have current somatic symptoms or who have chronic diseases.

 

Yoga practice appears to be beneficial for the psychological and physical well-being of everyone but is particularly beneficial for those who have current or chronic health issues. Although adverse symptoms produced by participation in yoga classes are common and occur more frequently in people with health problems. they tend to be mild, not stopping participation in the classes in which they occurred. So, for everyone the benefits of yoga practice appear to outweigh the costs.

 

So, improve health in unhealthy people with yoga.

 

there’s also a growing body of science showing that a regular yoga practice may benefit people with a host of chronic health conditions, including asthma, heart disease, and MS.” – Wyatt Meyers

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Oka, T., & Lkhagvasuren, B. (2021). Health-related benefits and adverse events associated with yoga classes among participants that are healthy, in poor health, or with chronic diseases.

BioPsychoSocial medicine, 15(1), 17. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13030-021-00216-z

 

Abstract

Background

Our previous study demonstrated that 42% of yoga class participants in Japan had chronic diseases requiring medication. This raises the question as to whether those with chronic diseases would benefit from practicing yoga or if they are at higher risk for specific adverse events compared to healthy individuals receiving the same instruction.

Methods

To address these questions, 328 adults who started practicing yoga for the first time were asked to complete the Profile of Mood States (POMS), Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), and Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 8, standard version (SF-8™) and to record any adverse events on the first day of the yoga class and again three months later. The participants consisted of three groups: a healthy (H) group (n = 70), a poor health (PH) group (n = 117), and a chronic disease (CD) group (n = 141). The degree of subjective symptoms was also compared between the pre- and post-intervention period in the PH and CD groups.

Results

Typically, yoga classes were held once a week for 60–90 min. The programs included asanas, pranayamas, meditation, isometric yoga, and sukshma vyayama. In the PH and CD groups, the POMS tension-anxiety and fatigue scores decreased and the vigor score increased significantly after the first class. Furthermore, PSS scores decreased and the SF-8™ scores increased significantly three months later. The degree of subjective symptoms such as easy fatigability, shoulder stiffness, and insomnia also decreased over three months. Individuals in these groups experienced more frequent adverse events than those in the H group. The PH and CD groups also experienced a greater variety of symptoms, including psychological ones, not reported by the H group. Adverse events were not so serious that participants stopped practicing yoga during the class. About 60% of all participants were highly satisfied with participating in yoga classes.

Conclusions

If yoga classes are conducted with attention to possible adverse events, yoga practice in a yoga studio may have beneficial effects for people with functional somatic symptoms and chronic diseases, as well as healthy participants. These benefits include reductions in perceived stress and uncomfortable symptoms as well as improved mood and quality of life.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8499562/

 

Mindfulness Improves the Psychological Well-Being of Teachers in Non-Western Societies

Mindfulness Improves the Psychological Well-Being of Teachers in Non-Western Societies

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Teachers who practice “mindfulness” are better able to reduce their own levels of stress and prevent burnout.” – Dee DiGioia

 

Stress is epidemic in the western 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. Teachers experience burnout at high rates. Roughly a half a million teachers out of a workforce of three million, leave the profession each year and the rate is almost double in poor schools compared to affluent schools. Indeed, nearly half of new teachers leave in their first five years.

 

Burnout frequently results from emotional exhaustion. This exhaustion not only affects the teachers personally, but also the students, as it produces a loss of enthusiasm, empathy, and compassion. Regardless of the reasons for burnout or its immediate presenting consequences, it is a threat to schools and their students. In fact, it is a threat to the entire educational systems as it contributes to the shortage of teachers. Hence, methods of reducing stress and improving teacher psychological health needs to be studied.

 

Mindfulness techniques are gaining increasing attention for the treatment of the symptoms of stress and burnout. They have 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 including schools. But most of the research focuses on teachers in Western societies. There is a need to study if mindfulness is equally effective in Eastern societies.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effectiveness and Mechanisms of Mindfulness Training for School Teachers in Difficult Times: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8443903/ ) Tsang and colleagues recruited elementary and secondary school teachers in Hong Kong and randomly assigned them to either a wait-list or to receive 8 weekly 90-minute sessions of mindfulness training along with home practice. The mindfulness training was based upon the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and the Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) programs. They were measured before and after training and two months later for mindfulness, general health, insomnia, stress, positive and negative emotions, life satisfaction, emotion regulation, and mindfulness in teaching.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list group, the teachers who had received mindfulness training had significantly higher levels of mindfulness, general health, positive emotions, life satisfaction, emotion regulation, and mindfulness in teaching and significantly lower levels of insomnia, stress, and negative emotions that were maintained at the 2-month follow-up measurement. In addition, a mediation analysis demonstrated that mindfulness was associated with well-being directly and indirectly via emotion regulation such that mindfulness was associated with increased emotion regulation that was in turn associated with increased well-being. Similarly, mindfulness was associated with mindfulness in teaching directly and indirectly via well-being such that mindfulness was associated with increased well-being that was in turn associated with increased mindfulness in teaching.

 

The present study had a passive control condition, wait-list, and this leaves a number of potential confounding explanations of the results such as placebo effects, attentional effects, and experimenter bias. But a large amount of previous controlled research has demonstrated that mindfulness training produces increases in health, positive emotions, emotion regulation, and life satisfaction, and decreases in insomnia, stress, and negative emotions. So, the present benefits are likely due to the mindfulness training.

 

The findings are important as they demonstrate that teachers in an Eastern society were benefited by mindfulness training to the same extent and in the same ways as teachers in Western societies. Thus, the effects of mindfulness training appear to be universal, regardless of culture. The findings also demonstrate that mindfulness training has direct and indirect effects on well-being that similarly effects mindfulness in teaching. All of this suggests that mindfulness training improves the psychological well-being of teachers which likely makes them happier and more effective teachers.

 

So, mindfulness improves the psychological well-being of teachers in non-western societies

 

Through yoga, mindfulness and social-emotional learning exercises, educators . . .  learned strategies to help reduce stress, prioritize self-care, cultivate resilience and enhance their well-being.” – Wendy McMahon

 

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

 

Tsang, K., Shum, K. K., Chan, W., Li, S. X., Kwan, H. W., Su, M. R., Wong, B., & Lam, S. F. (2021). Effectiveness and Mechanisms of Mindfulness Training for School Teachers in Difficult Times: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Mindfulness, 1–12. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-021-01750-1

 

Abstract

Objectives

Research in recent years has shown that mindfulness-based interventions can enhance teachers’ mental and physical health. However, the existing studies were predominantly conducted in Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic (WEIRD) societies. As a randomized controlled trial in a non-WEIRD society, the present study examined the effectiveness and mechanisms of mindfulness training for Hong Kong teachers in difficult times.

Methods

Teachers from primary and secondary schools (n = 186) were randomly assigned to mindfulness training (eight-week .b Foundations) or waitlist control condition. They completed online self-report surveys on measures of well-being, emotion management, and mindfulness in teaching at baseline, post-intervention, and two-month follow-up.

Results

The intervention group reported significantly higher levels of life satisfaction, positive affect, general health, along with significantly lower levels of insomnia, stress, and negative affect than the control group at post-test and two-month follow-up. The effect sizes were medium to large (ηp2 = 0.06 to 0.14). More importantly, teachers’ baseline well-being had a significant moderating effect on the intervention effectiveness. Those with a lower baseline in well-being benefitted more than their counterparts with a higher baseline. In addition, teachers’ emotion management was found to be the mediator through which mindfulness training enhanced teachers’ well-being. Such improvement in well-being also predicted higher levels of mindfulness in teaching.

Conclusions

This study provides evidence on the efficacy of mindfulness training for teachers beyond WEIRD societies. It suggests the universality and practicality of mindfulness training in enhancing teachers’ well-being and reducing their distress in difficult times.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8443903/

 

Improve Health Outcomes in Women on Long-Term Sick Leave with Mindfulness

Improve Health Outcomes in Women on Long-Term Sick Leave with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Since stress compromises our immune system, becoming caught up in this way can slow down our recovery. Instead, aim to approach your illness with care, seeing things as they are, with acceptance and compassion.” — Mark Bertin

 

Chronic Pain and mental health issues are the most common causes of long-term sick leave. At least 100 million adult Americans have chronic pain conditions. The most common treatment for chronic pain is drugs. These include over-the-counter analgesics and opioids. But opioids are dangerous and highly addictive. So, there is a great need to find safe and effective ways to lower the psychological distress and improve the individual’s ability to cope with the pain. There is an accumulating volume of research findings that demonstrate that mindfulness practices, in general, are effective in treating pain.

 

Depression affects over 6% of the population. Depression can be difficult to treat. It is usually treated with antidepressant medication. But, of patients treated initially with drugs only about a third attained remission of the depression. Even after remission there are a number of symptoms that remain. These include lingering dysphoria, impaired psychosocial functioning, fatigue, and decreased ability to work. These residual symptoms can lead to relapse. Mindfulness training is also an alternative treatment for depression. It has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression and its recurrence and even in the cases where drugs fail.

 

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults, or 18% of the population. A characterizing feature of anxiety disorders is that the suffer overly identifies with and personalizes their thoughts. The sufferer has recurring thoughts, such as impending disaster, that they may realize are unreasonable, but are unable to shake. Anxiety disorders have generally been treated with drugs. But there are considerable side effects, and these drugs are often abused. Recently, it has been found that mindfulness training can be effective for anxiety disorders.

 

A therapeutic technique that contains mindfulness training and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). It focuses on the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior and how they interact to impact their psychological and physical well-being. It then works to change thinking to alter the interaction and produce greater life satisfaction. ACT employs mindfulness practices to increase awareness and develop an attitude of acceptance and compassion in the presence of painful thoughts and feelings. ACT teaches individuals to “just notice”, accept and embrace private experiences and focus on behavioral responses that produce more desirable outcomes. This suggests that ACT may be an effective treatment for women who are on long-term sick leave.

 

In today’s Research News article “Comparing the Efficacy of Multidisciplinary Assessment and Treatment, or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, with Treatment as Usual on Health Outcomes in Women on Long-Term Sick Leave-A Randomised Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7916944/ ) Finnes and colleagues recruited working age women who were on long-term sick leave and randomly assigned them to receive either treatment as usual, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), or ACT in combination with a multidisciplinary team consisting of a physician, a psychologist, an occupational therapist and a social worker. They were measured before and after treatment and at 6 and 12 months after treatment for sick leave, satisfaction with treatment, pain, anxiety, depression, satisfaction with life, and general health well-being.

 

They found that there were no significant differences between Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), or ACT plus team with the women’s satisfaction with treatment. But in comparison to baseline and the treatment as usual group, both treatments produced significant reductions in anxiety, depression, pain intensity and significant increases in satisfaction with life, and general health well-being. At one year after treatment the ACT plus team group had significantly more patients classified as recovered than the ACT alone group.

 

These results demonstrate that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is effective in treating the physical and psychological symptoms of women who were on long-term sick leave. Women on long-term sick leave are very difficult to treat as their issues have resisted improvement for a substantial period of time. So, the ability of ACT to improve these symptoms is impressive. Adding the team produced slightly better outcomes at 12 months but the additional cost of the team is quite significant. So, from a cost effectiveness standpoint, ACT alone is superior.

 

So, improve health outcomes in women on long-term sick leave with mindfulness.

 

Musculoskeletal pain, depression, and anxiety cause the majority of all sick leave. . . Interestingly enough, mindfulness has become an important construct in return-to-work rehabilitation.” – Emily Lipinski

 

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

 

Finnes, A., Anderzén, I., Pingel, R., Dahl, J., Molin, L., & Lytsy, P. (2021). Comparing the Efficacy of Multidisciplinary Assessment and Treatment, or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, with Treatment as Usual on Health Outcomes in Women on Long-Term Sick Leave-A Randomised Controlled Trial. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(4), 1754. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041754

 

Abstract

Background: Chronic pain and mental disorders are common reasons for long term sick leave. The study objective was to evaluate the efficacy of a multidisciplinary assessment and treatment program including acceptance and commitment therapy (TEAM) and stand-alone acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), compared with treatment as usual (Control) on health outcomes in women on long-term sick leave. Method: Participants (n = 308), women of working age on long term sick leave due to musculoskeletal pain and/or common mental disorders, were randomized to TEAM (n = 102), ACT (n = 102) or Control (n = 104). Participants in the multidisciplinary assessment treatment program received ACT, but also medical assessment, occupational therapy and social counselling. The second intervention included ACT only. Health outcomes were assessed over 12 months using adjusted linear mixed models. The results showed significant interaction effects for both ACT and TEAM compared with Control in anxiety (ACT [p < 0.05]; TEAM [p < 0.001]), depression (ACT [p < 0.001]; TEAM [p < 0.001]) and general well-being (ACT [p < 0.05]; TEAM [p < 0.001]). For self-rated pain, there was a significant interaction effect in favour of ACT (p < 0.05), and for satisfaction with life in favour of TEAM (p < 0.001). Conclusion: Both ACT alone and multidisciplinary assessment and treatment including ACT were superior to treatment as usual in clinical outcomes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7916944/

 

Improve Somatic Symptom Disorder with Mindfulness

Improve Somatic Symptom Disorder with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Somatic symptom disorder . . . symptoms cannot be explained by general medical conditions and significantly affect one’s functioning.” – S. Actas

 

According to the American Psychological Association “Somatic symptom disorder involves a person having a significant focus on physical symptoms, such as pain, weakness or shortness of breath, that results in major distress and/or problems functioning. The individual has excessive thoughts, feelings and behaviors relating to the physical symptoms.” Somatic Symptom Disorder occurs in about 5% to 7% of the population, effect people of all ages and is more common in women. It is associated with poor health, problems functioning in daily life, including physical disability, problems with relationships, problems at work or unemployment, other mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression and personality disorders, increased suicide risk related to depression, and financial problems due to excessive health care visits. Obviously, this produces major suffering in the patients. But little is known of the causes or treatment of Somatic Symptom Disorder.

 

Somatic Symptom Disorder is frequently treated with antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs with limited success. It often co-occurs with anxiety and depression. Since, mindfulness training has been shown to be effective in treating anxiety, depression, and somatization, it makes sense to investigate the effectiveness of mindfulness-based therapies for the treatment of Somatic Symptom Disorder.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program on Psychological Symptoms, Quality of Life, and Symptom Severity in Patients with Somatic Symptom Disorder.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8095256/ ) Zargar and colleagues recruited patients with Somatic Symptom Disorder who were on continuing treatment with the antidepressant drug, venlafaxine, and randomly assigned them to either 8 weeks of once a week treatment for 2 hours of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or no further treatment. They were measured before and after treatment for Somatic Symptom Disorder symptom severity, including anxiety, depression, and stress, health-related quality of life, and patient health.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control group, the group that received Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) had significantly lower levels of Somatic Symptom Disorder symptom severity, including significantly lower levels of anxiety, depression, and stress and significant reductions in physical symptoms and increases in physical health. Hence, MBSR treatment significantly improved not only the psychological symptoms but also the physical symptoms of Somatic Symptom Disorder.

 

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a mindfulness training program that includes training and practice in meditation, body scan, and yoga and includes group discussion. The results demonstrate that MBSR is an effective treatment in addition to antidepressant drugs for Somatic Symptom Disorder. But since there wasn’t any follow-up data obtained it is not known how lasting is the symptom relief. It will be interesting in the future to examine if MBSR is effective as a stand-alone treatment and if its effects persist after the cessation of treatment.

 

So, improve Somatic Symptom Disorder with mindfulness.

 

mindfulness-based cognitive therapy that can be useful in the treatment of somatic disorders.” – Recovery Village

 

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

 

Zargar, F., Rahafrouz, L., & Tarrahi, M. J. (2021). Effect of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program on Psychological Symptoms, Quality of Life, and Symptom Severity in Patients with Somatic Symptom Disorder. Advanced biomedical research, 10, 9. https://doi.org/10.4103/abr.abr_111_19

 

Abstract

Background:

Patients with somatic symptom disorder (SSD) had a poor quality of life and suffered from depression, anxiety, and stress. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a psychological treatment with remarkable effects on several psychological disorders. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of the MBSR program on psychological symptoms, quality of life, and symptom severity in patients with SSD.

Materials and Methods:

The patients with SSD were randomly divided into two groups of receiving venlafaxine alone and venlafaxine with an 8-week MBSR program. Depression, anxiety, and stress with their severities were assessed along with the quality of life, the number of physical symptoms and their severities, as well as SSD severity before and after the intervention. Subsequently, the results were compared between the two groups.

Results:

This study included 37 patients with SSD who referred to Shariati Psychosomatic Clinic, Isfahan, Iran, with a mean age of 37.08 ± 8.26 years. It should be noted that 37.8% of the participants were male. The intervention group obtained significantly lower scores in depression, anxiety, stress, and their severities, compared to the control group. Moreover, the number of physical symptoms, their severity, and the severity of SSD were significantly decreased more in the intervention group rather than the controls.

Conclusion:

The MBSR accompanied by prescribing venlafaxine can significantly reduce the severity of SSD, as well as the number and severity of physical symptoms. Moreover, it can reduce depression, anxiety, stress, and their severity. The MBSR can be used as complementary medicine for the treatment of patients with SSD.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8095256/

 

Improve Health and Healthy Behaviors with Yoga and Pilates

Improve Health and Healthy Behaviors with Yoga and Pilates

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Multiple studies have confirmed the many mental and physical benefits of yoga. Incorporating it into your routine can help enhance your health, increase strength and flexibility and reduce symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety.” – Rachael Link

 

We tend to think that illness is produced by physical causes, disease, injury, viruses, bacteria, etc. But many health problems are behavioral problems or have their origins in maladaptive behavior. This is evident in car accident injuries that are frequently due to behaviors, such as texting while driving, driving too fast or aggressively, or driving drunk. Other problematic behaviors are cigarette smoking, alcoholism, drug use, or unprotected sex. Problems can also be produced by lack of appropriate behavior such as sedentary lifestyle, not eating a healthy diet, not getting sufficient sleep or rest, or failing to take medications according to the physician’s orders. Additionally, behavioral issues can be subtle contributors to disease such as denying a problem and failing to see a physician timely or not washing hands. In fact, many modern health issues, costing the individual or society billions of dollars each year, and reducing longevity, are largely preventable. Hence, promoting healthy behaviors and eliminating unhealthy ones has the potential to markedly improve health.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to promote health, healthy behaviors, and improve illness. It is well established that if patterns and habits of healthy behaviors can be promoted, ill health can be prevented. There is, however, little research on the effects of yoga and Pilates on health and healthy behaviors.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Impacts of Pilates and Yoga on Health-Promoting Behaviors and Subjective Health Status.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8038747/ )  Lim and colleagues recruited adults aged 30-49 years who did not have experience with yoga or Pilates and randomly assigned them to receive either no treatment or a 50 minute, 3 times per week for 8 weeks program of either yoga or Pilates. They were measured before and after training for health behaviors and health status.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the no-treatment control group both the yoga and Pilates groups had significant improvements in health status and health related behaviors including eating healthy, avoiding a sedentary lifestyle, being responsible for their own health, maintaining healthy social relationships, managing stress, and emphasizing spiritual growth. But in all cases Pilates was significantly superior to yoga.

 

Both Pilates and yoga are exercises. So, the results demonstrate that engaging in exercises results in improvements in health and health behaviors. Further they demonstrate that Pilates produce superior results. “Pilates focuses more on core control and posture development. In contrast, yoga focuses more on static stretching and flexibility.” These differences in the programs may be responsible for Pilates superior effects on health behaviors.

 

The results, however do not show that yoga and Pilates are superior to other exercises such as aerobic training. Hence, it is not clear whether components specific to yoga and Pilates are important for health or if any exercise would produce comparable results.In addition, the control condition was no treatment. This leaves open the possibility that the participants expectation about the effectiveness of exercise were responsible for the results rather than the exercises themselves. It remains for future studies to address these issues.

 

Nevertheless, promoting health related behaviors are important for the health and well-being of the individual. Both yoga and Pilates were effective in doing this. So, participation in these exercises should be encouraged.

 

So, improve health and healthy behaviors with yoga and Pilates.

 

The benefits of various yoga techniques have been professed to improve body flexibility, performance, stress reduction, attainment of inner peace, and self-realization.” – Manoj Sharma

 

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

 

Lim, E. J., & Hyun, E. J. (2021). The Impacts of Pilates and Yoga on Health-Promoting Behaviors and Subjective Health Status. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(7), 3802. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073802

 

Abstract

This study investigates whether Pilates and yoga lead people to adopt generally health-promoting lifestyle elements and feel better about their physical and mental fitness. To this end, we designed an 8 week exercise program of Pilates and yoga reviewed by veteran practitioners and conducted an experimental study through which we collected the data from 90 volunteered adult subjects between ages 30 and 49 (mean age = 35.47), equally represented by women and men without previous experience with Pilates or yoga. In the 8 week long experiment, we assigned the subjects to three groups, where subjects in the two exercise groups regularly took part in either Pilates or yoga classes, and the control group participated in neither exercise classes. All participants completed two surveys, the Health-Promoting Lifestyle Profile (HPLP II) and the Health Self-Rating Scale (HSRS), before and after their assigned program. In our analysis of pre- and post-treatment differences across the three groups, we ran ANOVA, ANCOVA, and Sheffé test, implemented using SPSS PASW Statistics 18.00. Our results indicate that Pilates and yoga groups exhibited a higher engagement in health-promoting behaviors than the control group after the program. Subjective health status, measured with HSRS, also improved significantly among Pilates and yoga participants compared to those in the control group after the program. The supplementary analysis finds no significant gender-based difference in these impacts. Overall, our results confirm that Pilates and yoga help recruit health-promoting behaviors in participants and engender positive beliefs about their subjective health status, thereby setting a positive reinforcement cycle in motion. By providing clear evidence that the promotion of Pilates or yoga can serve as an effective intervention strategy that helps individuals change behaviors adverse to their health, this study offers practical implications for healthcare professionals and public health officials alike.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8038747/

 

The Well-Being and Quality of Life in Cancer Patients are Related to Spirituality

The Well-Being and Quality of Life in Cancer Patients are Related to Spirituality

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Many patients with cancer rely on spiritual or religious beliefs and practices to help them cope with their disease. This is called spiritual coping.” – National Cancer Institute

 

A cancer diagnosis 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 cancer patients 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 well-being and quality of life of cancer patients.

 

In today’s Research News article “Association between spiritual well-being, quality of life, anxiety and depression in patients with gynecological cancer in China.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7793354/) Chen and colleagues recruited women with primary gynecological cancer and had them complete measures of quality of life with cancer, global health, spiritual well-being, anxiety, and depression.

 

They found that the higher the levels of spiritual well-being the higher the levels of global health and quality of life and the lower the levels of depression and anxiety. Multiple regression analysis revealed that religion, depression, anxiety and quality of life were the strongest predictors of spiritual well-being.

 

These findings are correlational and as a result causation cannot be determined. Regardless, the results clearly show that spiritual well-being is significantly related to better health and quality of life and lower psychological problems in women with primary gynecological cancer. These findings are similar to those seen with other forms of cancer that spirituality is associated with the patient’s quality of life and well-being. This raises the possibility that promoting spirituality in cancer patients may improve their physical and psychological well-being. It remains for future research to explore this possibility.

 

So, the well-being and quality of life in cancer patients are related to spirituality.

 

Consistent associations between spirituality, spiritual well-being, and health outcomes found in published studies highlight the importance of providing spiritual care to enhance cancer patients’ spiritual well-being and address their spiritual needs.” – Yi-Hui Lee

 

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

 

Chen, J., You, H., Liu, Y., Kong, Q., Lei, A., & Guo, X. (2021). Association between spiritual well-being, quality of life, anxiety and depression in patients with gynaecological cancer in China. Medicine, 100(1), e24264. https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000024264

 

Abstract

The physical and psychological condition of patients with gynaecological cancer has received much attention, but there is little research on spirituality in palliative care. This study aimed to investigate spiritual well-being and its association with quality of life, anxiety and depression in patients with gynaecological cancer. A cross-sectional study was conducted in China in 2019 with 705 patients diagnosed with primary gynaecological cancer. European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer quality of life instruments (EORTC QLQ-SWB32 and EORTC QLQ-C30) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale were used to measure spiritual well-being, quality of life, anxiety and depression. Univariate and multiple linear regression analyses were performed to examine associations between spiritual well-being, quality of life, anxiety and depression. Functioning scales and global health status were positively correlated with spiritual well-being (P < .05). Anxiety and depression were negatively correlated with spiritual well-being (P < .05). Depression (−0.362, P < .001) was the strongest predictor of Existential score. Anxiety (−0.522, P < .001) was the only predictor of Relationship with self. Depression (−0.350, P < .001) and Global health (0.099, P = .011) were the strongest predictors of Relationship with others. Religion (−0.204, P < .001) and Depression (−0.196, P < .001) were the strongest predictors of Relationship with someone or something greater. Global health (0.337, P < .001) and Depression (−0.144, P < .001) were the strongest predictors of Global-SWB. Well spiritual well-being is associated with lower anxiety and depression, and better quality of life. Health providers should provide more spiritual care for non-religious patients and combine spiritual care with psychological counselling to help patients with gynaecological cancer, especially those who have low quality of life or severe symptoms, or experience anxiety or depression.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7793354/

 

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Police with Mindfulness

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Police with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“self-reported mindfulness to be associated with increased resilience and emotional intelligence and decreased negative health outcomes among police officers.” – John H. Kim

 

Policing is a very stressful occupation. Stress in police can result from role conflicts between serving the public, enforcing the law, and upholding ethical standards and personal responsibilities as spouse, parent, and friend. Stress also results from, threats to health and safety, boredom, responsibility for protecting the lives of others, continual exposure to people in pain or distress, the need to control emotions even when provoked, the presence of a gun, even during off-duty hours, and the fragmented nature of police work, with only rare opportunities to follow cases to conclusion or even to obtain feedback or follow-up information.

 

This stress can have serious consequences for the individual and in turn for society. Police officers have one of the highest suicide rates in the nation, possibly the highest. They have a high divorce rate, about second in the nation. They are problem drinkers about twice as often as the general population. This is a major problem as stress and the resultant complications can impact job performance, which sometimes involve life or death situations.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to improve the physiological and psychological responses to stress and it has been found to reduce burnout in first responders. So, it is likely that mindfulness training with police can help them cope with the stress and thereby improve their quality of life and psychological well-being.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness Training Improves Quality of Life and Reduces Depression and Anxiety Symptoms Among Police Officers: Results From the POLICE Study-A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7952984/ ) Trombka and colleagues recruited active police officers and randomly assigned them to a wait list control condition or to receive 8 weekly sessions of Mindfulness-Based Health Promotion (MBHP) which is based on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. It includes mindful movements, meditation, body scan, and breathing practices along with teachings on mindfulness and self-compassion and discussion. They were measured 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after training and 6 months later for quality of life, anxiety, depression, religiosity, mindfulness, self-compassion, and quality of life domains of spirituality, religiosity, and personal beliefs.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control group, the group that received Mindfulness-Based Health Promotion (MBHP) had significantly greater quality of life, including physical health, psychological, social relationships, and environment, overall quality of life and general health facets. These improvements remained significant 6 months after the conclusion of treatment. In addition, the MBHP group had significant reductions in anxiety and depression and significant increases in self-compassion which were also still present at the 6-month follow-up. A mediation analysis revealed that MBHP improved all facets of quality of life directly and also indirectly by improving self-compassion which in turn improved the various facets of quality of life.

 

These are clear and important results. Mindfulness-Based Health Promotion (MBHP) produced significant improvements in the psychological well-being of the police. Mindfulness training has been previously shown to improve quality of life and self-compassion. The present study replicates these finding but also demonstrates that the improvement in self-compassion is in part responsible for the improvements in quality of life. Self-compassion involves kindness toward oneself in the face of one’s personal failings. This is important for psychological well-being especially for police who are often dealing with difficult and stressful situations. Recognizing their own imperfect humanness with kindness greatly reduce self-criticism and blame allowing them to being OK with doing the best they can,

 

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

 

The science is validating that mindfulness has the potential to increase fair and impartial policing, because we are open to recognizing our responses to a stimulus, to an event, to a person,” – Sylvia Moir

 

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

 

Trombka, M., Demarzo, M., Campos, D., Antonio, S. B., Cicuto, K., Walcher, A. L., García-Campayo, J., Schuman-Olivier, Z., & Rocha, N. S. (2021). Mindfulness Training Improves Quality of Life and Reduces Depression and Anxiety Symptoms Among Police Officers: Results From the POLICE Study-A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial. Frontiers in psychiatry, 12, 624876. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.624876

 

Abstract

Background: Police officers’ high-stress levels and its deleterious consequences are raising awareness to an epidemic of mental health problems and quality of life (QoL) impairment. There is a growing evidence that mindfulness-based interventions are efficacious to promote mental health and well-being among high-stress occupations.

Methods: The POLICE study is a multicenter randomized controlled trial (RCT) with three assessment points (baseline, post-intervention, and 6-month follow-up) where police officers were randomized to mindfulness-based health promotion (MBHP) (n = 88) or a waiting list (n = 82). This article focuses on QoL, depression and anxiety symptoms, and religiosity outcomes. Mechanisms of change and MBHP feasibility were evaluated.

Results: Significant group × time interaction was found for QoL, depression and anxiety symptoms, and non-organizational religiosity. Between-group analysis showed that MBHP group exhibited greater improvements in QoL, and depression and anxiety symptoms at both post-intervention (QoL d = 0.69 to 1.01; depression d = 0.97; anxiety d = 0.73) and 6-month follow-up (QoL d = 0.41 to 0.74; depression d = 0.60; anxiety d = 0.51), in addition to increasing non-organizational religiosity at post-intervention (d = 0.31). Changes on self-compassion mediated the relationship between group and pre-to-post changes for all QoL domains and facets. Group effect on QoL overall health facet at post-intervention was moderated by mindfulness trait and spirituality changes.

Conclusion: MBHP is feasible and efficacious to improve QoL, and depression and anxiety symptoms among Brazilian officers. Results were maintained after 6 months. MBHP increased non-organizational religiosity, although the effect was not sustained 6 months later. To our knowledge, this is the first mindfulness-based intervention RCT to empirically demonstrate these effects among police officers. Self-compassion, mindfulness trait, and spirituality mechanisms of change are examined.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7952984/

 

Improve Physical and Mental Well-Being with Mindfulness Meditation-Based Interventions

Improve Physical and Mental Well-Being with Mindfulness Meditation-Based Interventions

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness meditation is related to improved mental health across a variety of disorders, including different anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, and chronic pain symptom reduction.” – Jennifer Wolkin

 

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

 

Over the last few decades, a vast amount of research has been published on the benefits of mindfulness practices on the mental and physical health of the practitioners. Many reviews, summarizations, and meta-analyses have been performed of these studies. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what these meta-analyses have found.

 

In today’s Research News article “The empirical status of mindfulness-based interventions: A systematic review of 44 meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://centerhealthyminds.org/assets/files-publications/Goldberg-the-empirical-status.pdf ) Goldberg and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of previous meta-analyses of published randomized controlled studies on benefits of sustained meditation practices on mental and physical well-being. They identified 44 published meta-analyses, representing 336 randomized controlled trials, which included a total of 30,483 participants.

 

They report that the meta-analyses of published randomized controlled trials found that sustained mindfulness meditation practices in comparison to passive, no treatment, controls had a very wide range of beneficial effects across a wide range of participants from children to the elderly, over a variety of programs from Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) to mobile health, over a variety of psychological issues from anxiety to psychoses, and over a wide range of diseases from chronic pain to cancer. These effects were present immediately post treatment and at later follow-ups (an average of 7 months after treatment).

 

Comparison of these mindfulness meditation practices to active control conditions such as attentional controls to evidence-based treatments, resulted in reduced effect sizes and many were non-significant. Mindfulness meditation practices had significantly superior effects than active controls for adults, children, employees, and health care professionals/trainees but not for students. They were superior for psychiatric disorders, substance use, smoking, and depression but not for physical health conditions, pain, weight/eating-related conditions, cancer, or anxiety. They were superior for stress, and psychiatric symptoms but not for sleep, physical health symptoms, objective measures, or physiological measures.

 

These findings are essentially summaries of summaries and are based upon a wide variety of different researchers, methodologies, cultures, and time frames. Yet, the results are fairly consistent. In comparison to doing nothing, passive controls, mindfulness meditation practices are very beneficial for a wide range of physical and psychological issues over a wide range of ages. But these practices when compared to other types of treatments, are less effective and at times not superior. Nevertheless, this meta-analysis of meta-analyses paints a clear picture of the wide-ranging efficacy of mindfulness meditation practices for the relief of physical and psychological issues. These results verify the unprecedented depth and breadth of benefits of mindfulness meditation practices.

 

So, improve physical and mental well-being with mindfulness meditation-based interventions.

 

Practicing mindfulness exercises can have many possible benefits, including: reduced stress, anxiety and depression, less negative thinking and distraction, and improved mood,” -Mayo Clinic

 

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

 

Goldberg, S. B., Riordan, K., Sun, S., & Davidson, R. J. (2021). The empirical status of mindfulness-based interventions: A systematic review of 44 meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials. Perspectives on Psychological Science 1–23, DOI: 10.1177/1745691620968771

 

Abstract

In response to questions regarding the scientific basis for mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs), we evaluated their empirical status by systematically reviewing meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials (RCTs). We searched six databases for effect sizes based on ≥4 trials that did not combine passive and active controls. Heterogeneity, moderators, tests of publication bias, risk of bias, and adverse effects were also extracted. Representative effect sizes based on the largest number of studies were identified across a wide range of populations, problems, interventions, comparisons, and outcomes (PICOS). A total of 160 effect sizes were reported in 44 meta-analyses (k=336 RCTs, N=30,483 participants). MBIs showed superiority to passive controls across most PICOS (ds=0.10-0.89). Effects were typically smaller and less often statistically significant when compared to active controls. MBIs were similar or superior to specific active controls and evidence-based treatments. Heterogeneity was typically moderate. Few consistent moderators were found. Results were generally robust to publication bias, although other important sources of bias were identified. Reporting of adverse effects was inconsistent. Statistical power may be lacking in meta-analyses, particularly for comparisons with active controls. As MBIs show promise across some PICOS, future RCTs and meta-analyses should build upon identified strengths and limitations of this literature.

https://centerhealthyminds.org/assets/files-publications/Goldberg-the-empirical-status.pdf

 

Have Better Sex with Mindfulness

Have Better Sex with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindful sex involves being able to observe and describe what’s happening inside your body and mind without sorting experiences into “bad” and “good” or trying to change your feelings. When we are able to do that, we can “turn off the autopilot.” – Gina Silverstein

 

Sex is a very important aspect of life. Problems with sex are very common and have negative consequences for relationships. While research suggests that sexual dysfunction is common, it is a topic that many people are hesitant or embarrassed to discuss. Women suffer from sexual dysfunction more than men with 43% of women and 31% of men reporting some degree of difficulty. Hence, sex has major impacts on people’s lives and relationships. Greater research attention to sexual activity and sexual satisfaction and the well-being of the individual is warranted.

 

Mindfulness trainings have been shown to improve a variety of psychological issues including emotion regulationstress responsestraumafear and worryanxiety, and depression, and self-esteem. Mindfulness training has also been found to improve relationships and to be useful in treating sexual problems. But there is little empirical research on the relationship of mindfulness with sexuality in normal, non-clinical, individuals.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness in Sexual Activity, Sexual Satisfaction and Erotic Fantasies in a Non-Clinical Sample.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7908537/ )  Sánchez-Sánchez and colleagues recruited online adults who were meditation naïve or who practiced meditation for at least 5 months. They completed measures online of mindfulness, body awareness, sexual satisfaction, sexual activity, and sexual fantasies.

 

They found that the meditation practitioners were significantly higher in emotion regulation, family, academics, relationships, sociability, attention, health, sexuality, and leisure and significantly lower in perceived stress. They were also significantly higher in mindfulness, body awareness, sexual satisfaction, sexual activity, and sexual fantasies. They also found that the higher the levels of mindfulness and the amount of mindfulness practice, the higher the levels of body awareness sexual satisfaction and sexual activity. Also, they found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the levels of body dissociation.

 

It should be kept in mind that there was no random assignment and so the groups may be quite different, People who meditate may be systematically different from those who don’t in many ways including the variables measured in this study. But previous research including randomized studies demonstrated that mindfulness produced higher levels of emotion regulation, family, academics, relationships, sociability, attention, health, and sexuality, and lower levels of stress. So, the present findings likely also represent causal connections.

 

These findings suggest that mindfulness is associated with better psychological and physical health and well-being. They also suggest that mindfulness is associated with better sexual function in terms of sexual activity, satisfaction with sex, and relationship quality and even a better sexual fantasy life. Sex is such an important aspect of life that many of the other psychological and physical benefits of mindfulness may emanate from the improved sex life of the individuals. Much more research is needed.

 

So, have better sex with mindfulness.

 

Think of mindful sex as an invitation, as an opportunity to explore the mystery of sex. The reward is deeper intimacy, more meaningful connections, and (fingers crossed) greater physical pleasure.” – Kayti Christian

 

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

 

Sánchez-Sánchez, L. C., Rodríguez, M., García-Montes, J. M., Petisco-Rodríguez, C., & Fernández-García, R. (2021). Mindfulness in Sexual Activity, Sexual Satisfaction and Erotic Fantasies in a Non-Clinical Sample. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(3), 1161. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18031161

 

Abstract

The goal of this study is to better understand the relation between the practice of Mindfulness and the sexual activity, sexual satisfaction and erotic fantasies of Spanish-speaking participants. This research focuses on the comparison between people who practice Mindfulness versus naïve people, and explores the practice of Mindfulness and its relation with the following variables about sexuality: body awareness and bodily dissociation, personal sexual satisfaction, partner and relationship-related satisfaction, desire, subjective sexual arousal, genital arousal, orgasm, pain, attitudes towards sexual fantasies and types of sexual fantasies. The sample consisted of 106 selected adults, 32 men and 74 women, who completed six measures on an online survey platform: (a) Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS), (b) Scale of Body Connection (SBC), (c) New Sexual Satisfaction Scale (NSSS), (d) Scale of Sexual Activity in Women (SSA-W) and Men (SSA-M), (e) Hurlbert Index of Sexual Fantasy (HISF), (f) Wilson’s Sex Fantasy Questionnaire. In the MAAS, Body Awareness subscale (SBC), NSSS, SSA-W and SSA-M, HISF and intimate fantasies subscale (Wilson’s questionnaire), people in the Mindfulness condition showed higher scores and these differences were statistically significant. These results may have relevant implications in the sexuality of clinical and non-clinical samples.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7908537/