Improve Response Inhibition to Quit Smoking with Mindfulness

Improve Response Inhibition to Quit Smoking with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness home practice significantly predicted reduced smoking behavior, even after controlling for initial craving and cigarette use. In fact, every day the participants meditated meant 1.2 fewer cigarettes, and every day they were mindful with their cravings and in everyday activities meant 1.52 fewer cigarettes.” – Mayo Clinic

 

“Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States.” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). So, treating nicotine addiction and producing smoking cessation could greatly improve health. But smoking has proved devilishly difficult to treat. There are a wide variety of methods and strategies to quit smoking which are to only a very limited extent effective. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 40% of smokers who want to quit make a serious attempt to do so each year, but fewer than 5% actually succeed. Most people require three or four failed attempts before being successful.

 

One problem is that nicotine is one of the most addictive substances known and withdrawal from nicotine is very stressful, producing many physical and psychological problems, including negative emotional states and depression. In essence, the addict feels miserable without the nicotine. This promotes relapse to relieve the discomfort. Better methods to quit which can not only promote quitting but also prevent relapse are badly needed. Mindfulness practices have been found to be helpful in treating addictions, including nicotine addiction, and reducing the risk of relapse. In order to quit smoking, the addict must learn to withhold responding to smoking related cues. That is the smoker must be better able to inhibit the smoking response.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of a brief mindfulness-meditation intervention on neural measures of response inhibition in cigarette smokers.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5784955/ ), Andreu and colleagues explore a possible mechanism by which mindfulness may affect smoking cessation; improved response inhibition. This is the ability to stop or withhold a behavior that may be highly motivated. Obviously, smoking is strongly motivated and a behavior that is very hard to stop or withhold.

 

They recruited adult smokers and exposed them to a cigarette and either provided them with a recorded mindfulness instruction or were told to cope with their urge to smoke in any way they could. They then had the Electroencephalogram (EEG) recorded while performing a smoking go/no-go task in which they pushed a button each time a picture was presented with a particularly colored frame on a computer screen and did not press the button when the picture had a different colored frame. The pictures were either smoking related or neutral. The go-no-go task is a standard test for response inhibition.

 

They found that there were no significant differences between the error rates or response speeds between the mindfulness or no instruction groups on the go/no-go task. But there were differences in the EEG. During the task the changes in the electrical activity that occur in response to the pictures was recorded. These event-related potentials or ERPs are the fluctuations of the signal after specific periods of time which are thought to measure different aspects of the nervous system’s processing of the stimulus. The P3 response in the evoked potential (ERP) is a positive going electrical response occurring between a 3 to 5 tenths of a second following the target stimulus presentation. These responses were significantly larger with the smoking related than neutral pictures. Importantly, the mindfulness instruction group had significantly smaller P3 responses on the no-go trials than the no-instruction group.

 

The P3 component is thought to reflect response inhibition. The lower P3 response after mindfulness instruction suggests that mindfulness reduces the effort needed to withhold a response when needed (no-go trials). By paying closer attention in the present moment, detection of the no-go stimulus may be enhanced making it easier to withhold responding. Hence, the results suggest that mindfulness improves response inhibition in smokers. This may be, in part, the mechanism by which mindfulness training improves smoking cessation and reduces relapse. It makes it easier to not respond to smoking related situation with smoking.

 

So, improve response inhibition to quit smoking with mindfulness.

 

mindfulness training may actually target the addictive loop, breaking the relationship between craving and smoking and resulting in greater smoking cessation.” – Lori Pbert

 

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

 

Andreu, C. I., Cosmelli, D., Slagter, H. A., & Franken, I. (2018). Effects of a brief mindfulness-meditation intervention on neural measures of response inhibition in cigarette smokers. PloS one, 13(1), e0191661. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0191661

 

Abstract

Research suggests that mindfulness-practices may aid smoking cessation. Yet, the neural mechanisms underlying the effects of mindfulness-practices on smoking are unclear. Response inhibition is a main deficit in addiction, is associated with relapse, and could therefore be a candidate target for mindfulness-based practices. The current study hence investigated the effects of a brief mindfulness-practice on response inhibition in smokers using behavioral and electroencephalography (EEG) measures. Fifty participants (33 females, mean age 20 years old) underwent a protocol of cigarette exposure to induce craving (cue-exposure) and were then randomly assigned to a group receiving mindfulness-instructions or control-instructions (for 15 minutes approximately). Immediately after this, they performed a smoking Go/NoGo task, while their brain activity was recorded. At the behavioral level, no group differences were observed. However, EEG analyses revealed a decrease in P3 amplitude during NoGo vs. Go trials in the mindfulness versus control group. The lower P3 amplitude might indicate less-effortful response inhibition after the mindfulness-practice, and suggest that enhanced response inhibition underlies observed positive effects of mindfulness on smoking behavior.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5784955/

 

Improve Response Inhibition with Yogic Breathing

Improve Response Inhibition with Yogic Breathing

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“At its core YOGA is early study of human psychology. For me, to be curious about yoga is to be curious about yourself, and about other people…I’m curious about YOU! I’m interested in the way our community responds, and more importantly how we behave, IN REAL LIFE.” – Erica Mather

 

Mindfulness practices such as meditationyoga, and tai chi/qigong have been shown to have a myriad of positive benefits for the practitioner and they have been shown to alter a large variety of cognitive (thought) processes, such as attentional ability, memory, verbal fluency, critical thinking, learning, analytic thinking, mathematical ability, higher level (meta-cognitive) thinking, and cognitive reappraisal. A very important cognitive ability for the control of behavior is response inhibition. This is the ability to restrain or withhold an inappropriate behavior when necessary. This ability is particularly underdeveloped in adolescents frequently resulting in impulsive behavior.

 

In today’s Research News article “Immediate effects of yoga breathing with intermittent breath holding on response inhibition among healthy volunteers.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: http://www.ijoy.org.in/article.asp?issn=0973-6131;year=2018;volume=11;issue=2;spage=99;epage=104;aulast=Saoji ), Saoji and colleagues examine the ability of yoga breathing practices to improve short-term response inhibition. Yoga practitioners between the ages of 18 – 25 years were recruited and participated in 8 weeks of breathing practice followed by baseline assessment. On separate days the participants engaged in either a 40-minute conditions of yoga breathing with intermittent breath holding or yoga breathing with breath awareness.

 

Yoga breathing with intermittent breath holding included the regulated yogic breathing for 20 min incorporating phases of inhalation, internal retention of breath, exhalation, and external retention of breath. Yoga breathing with breath awareness involved normal breathing while attending to the breath. At baseline and immediately after the breathing sessions they participated in a Go – No Go task where they pressed keys in response to stimuli unless a No Go signal was presented after the stimulus in which case they were to not respond; inhibit responding.

 

They found that after both the Yogic breathing with breath awareness condition and the Yogic breathing with intermittent breath holding condition the participants demonstrated significantly improved performance in the No Go condition but not the Go condition. This suggests that after either breathing sessions response inhibition was enhanced but not simple responding. This is an interesting result, but it does not demonstrate that the breathing condition was responsible as any attention task may have produced similar results. So, future work needs to include alternative attentional tasks not involving breathing. Nevertheless, the results suggest that short-term yogic breathing may be beneficial to the practitioner in improving their ability to withhold responses when appropriate.

 

So, improve response inhibition with yogic breathing.

 

a growing number of scientific studies suggest that yoga may enhance students’ mind-body awareness, self-regulation, and physical fitness which may, in turn, promote improved behavior, mental state, health, and performance ” – Bethany Butzer

 

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

 

Saoji AA, Raghavendra B R, Rajesh S K, Manjunath N K. Immediate effects of yoga breathing with intermittent breath holding on response inhibition among healthy volunteers. Int J Yoga 2018;11:99-104

 

Abstract
Background: There is very little evidence available on the effects of yoga-based breathing practices on response inhibition. The current study used stop-signal paradigm to assess the effects of yoga breathing with intermittent breath holding (YBH) on response inhibition among healthy volunteers. Materials and Methods: Thirty-six healthy volunteers (17 males + 19 females), with mean age of 20.31 ± 3.48 years from a university, were recruited in a within-subject repeated measures (RM) design. The recordings for stop signal task were performed on three different days for baseline, post-YBH, and post yogic breath awareness (YBA) sessions. Stop-signal reaction time (SSRT), mean reaction time to go stimuli (go RT), and the probability of responding on-stop signal trials (p [r/s]) were analyzed for 36 volunteers using RM analysis of variance. Results: SSRT reduced significantly in both YBH (218.33 ± 38.38) and YBA (213.15 ± 37.29) groups when compared to baseline (231.98 ± 29.54). No significant changes were observed in go RT and p (r/s). Further, the changes in SSRT were not significantly different among YBH and YBA groups. Conclusion: Both YBH and YBA groups were found to enhance response inhibition in the stop-signal paradigm. YBH could be further evaluated in clinical settings for conditions where response inhibition is altered.

http://www.ijoy.org.in/article.asp?issn=0973-6131;year=2018;volume=11;issue=2;spage=99;epage=104;aulast=Saoji