Improve Acute Respiratory Infections (Colds) with Mindfulness and Exercise

Improve Acute Respiratory Infections (Colds) with Mindfulness and Exercise

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“A recent study . . .has found that exercising or practicing meditation can be an effective way to reduce acute respiratory infections. These infections, such as influenza, are incredibly common and can account for millions of doctor visits each year.” – To Your Health

 

Acute Respiratory Infections are infections that impair breathing. They involve infections of the sinuses, throat, vocal chords and lungs. They are produced by both viral infections such as colds, flu, and pneumonia, and bacterial infections such as streptococci and diphtheria. They can produce minor transitory symptoms or major, life-threatening diseases and are particularly serious for children, older people and people with immune system disorders. In fact, Acute Respiratory Infections are the third leading cause of death worldwide and are responsible for an estimated 4.25 million deaths per year.

 

Treatments for Acute Respiratory Infections, primarily drugs, address symptomatic relief. For bacterial infections antibiotics are frequently prescribed. It is primarily the role of the immune system to attack foreign viruses and bacteria. A weakened immune system then increases the likelihood of infection and reduces the ability to fight the infection. Mindfulness practices have been shown to improve immune system function. So, it would be expected that mindfulness practices such as meditation would improve the ability to fight off the causes of Acute Respiratory Infections.

 

In today’s Research News article “Meditation or exercise for preventing acute respiratory infection (MEPARI-2): A randomized controlled trial. PLoS ONE.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6014660/ ), Barrett and colleagues recruited meditation naïve adults who did not regularly exercise and who reported having at least one cold in the last year. Participants were then randomly assigned to receive either an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, a matched 8-week progressive exercise program, or to a no-treatment control condition. “Training classes in MBSR or EX were matched in terms of location, class time (2.5 hours per week), homework practice assigned (20 to 45 minutes per day).” MBSR contains meditation, yoga, and body scan practices and discussion.

 

Training occurred in September and October and weekly monitoring continued through May to maximize the likelihood of the participants being exposed to a cold virus. If they reported an Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) during the monitoring period they were brought in for measurement and intensive monitoring during the ARI. They were measured for ARI severity, impact on quality of life, duration, absenteeism, health care utilization, and inflammatory biomarkers. They were also measured before and after training and twice more during the monitoring period for general physical and mental health, physical activity, perceived stress, sleep, self-efficacy, mindfulness, positive and negative emotions, social support, sense of feeling loved, Big 5 Personality characteristic, other illnesses, and social network and they provided blood and nasal samples.

 

They found that 58% of the participants developed colds during the monitoring period. The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) participants had significantly fewer colds than the controls while the exercise group had significantly less severe colds and used less medications than the controls. In addition, the MBSR and exercise groups had significant improvements in mental health, perceived stress, sleep quality, self-efficacy, depression, and mindfulness. Hence, both exercise and MBSR produced significant reductions in colds and significant improvements in psychological health.

 

The magnitude of the effects of MBSR and exercise training on colds was comparable to the magnitude of the effects of flu shots on influenza. So, the improvements were medical significant. It is quite impressive that mindfulness and physical activity both improve health and well-being and reduce Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI). So, mindfulness and exercise are good for the mental and physical health of the individual, including reducing the frequency and severity of colds.

 

So, improve acute respiratory infections (colds) with mindfulness and exercise.

 

The investigators found that improved mindfulness at three months. . . . impacted acute respiratory infection severity and duration. The researchers showed that a one-point increase in the mindfulness score corresponded to a shortened acute respiratory infection duration by 7.2 to 9.6 hours.” – Medford

 

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

 

Barrett, B., Hayney, M. S., Muller, D., Rakel, D., Brown, R., Zgierska, A. E., … Coe, C. L. (2018). Meditation or exercise for preventing acute respiratory infection (MEPARI-2): A randomized controlled trial. PLoS ONE, 13(6), e0197778. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0197778

 

Abstract

Background

Practice of meditation or exercise may enhance health to protect against acute infectious illness.

Objective

To assess preventive effects of meditation and exercise on acute respiratory infection (ARI) illness.

Design

Randomized controlled prevention trial with three parallel groups.

Setting

Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

Participants

Community-recruited adults who did not regularly exercise or meditate.

Methods

1) 8-week behavioral training in mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR); 2) matched 8-week training in moderate intensity sustained exercise (EX); or 3) observational waitlist control. Training classes occurred in September and October, with weekly ARI surveillance through May. Incidence, duration, and area-under-curve ARI global severity were measured using daily reports on the WURSS-24 during ARI illness. Viruses were identified multiplex PCR. Absenteeism, health care utilization, and psychosocial health self-report assessments were also employed.

Results

Of 413 participants randomized, 390 completed the trial. In the MBSR group, 74 experienced 112 ARI episodes with 1045 days of ARI illness. Among exercisers, 84 had 120 episodes totaling 1010 illness days. Eighty-two of the controls had 134 episodes with 1210 days of ARI illness. Mean global severity was 315 for MBSR (95% confidence interval 244, 386), 256 (193, 318) for EX, and 336 (268, 403) for controls. A prespecified multivariate zero-inflated regression model suggested reduced incidence for MBSR (p = 0.036) and lower global severity for EX (p = 0.042), compared to control, not quite attaining the p<0.025 prespecified cut-off for null hypothesis rejection. There were 73 ARI-related missed-work days and 22 ARI-related health care visits in the MBSR group, 82 days and 21 visits for exercisers, and 105 days and 24 visits among controls. Viruses were identified in 63 ARI episodes in the MBSR group, compared to 64 for EX and 72 for control. Statistically significant (p<0.05) improvements in general mental health, self-efficacy, mindful attention, sleep quality, perceived stress, and depressive symptoms were observed in the MBSR and/or EX groups, compared to control.

Conclusions

Training in mindfulness meditation or exercise may help protect against ARI illness.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6014660/

 

Improve Psychological Health with Mindfulness Training at Work

Improve Psychological Health with Mindfulness Training at Work

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“As an executive coach and physician, I often sing the praises of mindfulness approaches and recommend them to clients to manage stress, avoid burnout, enhance leadership capacity, and steady their minds when in the midst of making important business decisions, career transitions, and personal life changes.” – David Brendel

 

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.

 

To help overcome unhappiness, stress, and burnoutmindfulness practices have been implemented in the workplace. Indeed, mindfulness practices have been shown to markedly reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. As a result, many businesses have incorporated mindfulness practices into the workday to help improve employee well-being, health, and productivity and reduce burnout and turnover.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Stress Reduction Program Adapted for the Work Environment: A Randomized Controlled Trial With a Follow-Up.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5954607/ ), Lacerda and colleagues recruited employees at two business locations who complained of stress and randomly assigned them to an 8-week mindfulness training or wait-list condition. At the end of the 8-weeks the wait-list group received the mindfulness training. Training occurred once a week for 60 minutes and consisted of self-awareness, empathy, stress reduction, meditation and body scan practices. The participants were measured before and after training and 8 weeks later for psychiatric symptoms, stress symptoms, depression, anxiety, processing speed, and mindfulness.

 

They found that compared to baseline and the wait-list control group, the employees who received the mindfulness training had significant reductions in non-severe psychiatric symptoms, anxiety, depression, and stress, and increases in processing speed/attention and mindfulness. These improvements were still present 8 weeks later. Hence, mindfulness training produced significant improvements in the mental health of these stressed employees.

 

It is well established that mindfulness training results in reductions in anxiety, depression, perceived stress and burnout, and improvements in cognition. The importance of this study stems from the fact that the mindfulness program only required a 1-hour commitment at work once a week to produce these improvements. This is a tolerable commitment of time for most managers and may not only improve the employees’ mental health but also lead to improvements in productivity, and reductions in turnover and health care costs. Thus, this form of training would appear to be well worth the investment.

 

So, improve psychological health with mindfulness training at work.

 

“when someone says, “Learn this so it’s second nature,” let a bell go off in your head, because that means mindlessness. The rules you were given were the rules that worked for the person who created them, and the more different you are from that person, the worse they’re going to work for you. When you’re mindful, rules, routines, and goals guide you; they don’t govern you.” – Harvard Business Review

 

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

 

Lacerda, S. S., Little, S. W., & Kozasa, E. H. (2018). A Stress Reduction Program Adapted for the Work Environment: A Randomized Controlled Trial With a Follow-Up. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 668. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00668

 

Abstract

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate an in situ stress reduction program, named PROGRESS, developed to meet the specific needs of workers in a business context and to research its impact upon non-severe psychiatric symptoms, stress, anxiety, depression, processing speed/attention and mindfulness.

Methods: Participants with stress complaints were randomized into two groups: the main intervention group: group 1-G1, (n = 22); and the control group: group 2-G2, (n = 22). The protocol was divided into three distinct phases for the purpose of the study. Both groups were evaluated at time 1 (T1), before the first 8-week intervention, which only G1 received. The second evaluation was made on both groups at time 2 (T2), immediately after this first program; in order to test the program’s replicability and investigate possible follow-up effects, an identical second 8-week program was offered to G2 during time 3 (T3), while G1 was simply instructed to maintain the practice they had learned without further instruction between T2 and T3. A Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted to investigate the construct validity of PROGRESS.

Results: Repeated measures MANOVA test, comparing G1 and G2, showed the effect of the intervention from T1 to T2 (p = 0.021) and from T2 to T3 (p = 0.031). Univariate analysis showed that participants from G1 improved levels of non-severe psychiatric symptoms, anxiety, depression, stress, processing speed/attention and mindfulness when compared with G2, from T1 to T2 (p < 0.05). After the participants in G2 received the intervention (T2 to T3), this group also showed improvement in the same variables (p < 0.05). At the end of their follow-up period (T2-T3) – during which they received no further support or instruction – G1 maintained the improvements gained during T1-T2. The two main components were stress (stress in the last 24-h, in the last week and last month) and mental health (non-severe psychiatric symptoms, depression, anxiety and mindfulness).

Conclusion: PROGRESS, an in situ mindfulness program adapted to fit within the reality of business time constraints, was effective at replicating in more than one group the reduction of stress, depression, anxiety, non-severe psychiatric symptoms, processing speed and also the improvement of attention skills, showing sustained improvement even after 8-weeks follow-up.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5954607/

 

Mindfulness Improves Psychological and Physical Health in South Africans

Mindfulness Improves Psychological and Physical Health in South Africans

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) can be seen as a public health intervention, designed to over time move the bell curve of society as a whole toward greater health.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to be effective in improving physical and psychological health and particularly with the physical and psychological reactions to stress. Techniques such as Mindfulness Training, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) as well as Yoga practice and Tai Chi or Qigong practice have been demonstrated to be effective. This has led to an increasing adoption of these mindfulness techniques for the health and well-being of both healthy and ill individuals. Although these benefits have been well established in western populations, there is a need to demonstrate that these same benefits accrue across cultures.

 

In today’s Research News article “Examining the impact of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction intervention on the health of urban South Africans.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6018653/ ), Whitesman and colleagues performed a retrospective analysis of South African participants in an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. MBSR was delivered in weekly 2.5-hour sessions accompanied with home practice. It consisted of meditation, yoga, and body scan practices and group discussion. The participants were measured before and after treatment for mindfulness, perceived stress, positive and negative emotions, and medical and psychological symptoms.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline, after the MBSR program there were significant increases in mindfulness and positive emotions, and significant decreases in perceived stress, negative emotions, medical symptoms, and psychological symptoms. They also found that the greater the increase in mindfulness scores after the MBSR program the higher the scores for positive emotions and the lower the levels of perceived stress, negative emotions, medical symptoms, and psychological symptoms. So, mindfulness training improved mental and physical health in participants from South Africa and the great the improvement in mindfulness the greater the benefits.

 

This study did not contain a control condition and was thus subject to contamination and potential confounding. But, similar results have been repeated found with randomized clinical trials employing MBSR. So, it is unlikely that bias and confounding are responsible. In addition, the current study simply demonstrated that training is similarly effective in people from a different culture. This suggests that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a safe and effective program for the enhancement of mental and physical well-being in diverse populations of participants.

 

So, it appears that mindfulness improves psychological and physical health in South Africans.

 

mindfulness practices may help people manage stress, cope better with serious illness and reduce anxiety and depression. Many people who practice mindfulness report an increased ability to relax, a greater enthusiasm for life and improved self-esteem.” – NIH News

 

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

 

Whitesman, S. L., Hoogenhout, M., Kantor, L., Leinberger, K. J., & Gevers, A. (2018). Examining the impact of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction intervention on the health of urban South Africans. African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine, 10(1), 1614. http://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v10i1.1614

 

Abstract

Background

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has been found to have significant health benefits in studies conducted in the global North.

Aim

This study examined the effects of MBSR on stress, mood states and medical symptoms among urban South Africans to inform future research and clinical directions of MBSR in local settings.

Setting

Participants completed an 8-week MBSR programme based in central Cape Town.

Method

A retrospective analysis of 276 clinical records was conducted. Mindfulness, stress, negative and positive mood, medical symptoms and psychological symptoms were assessed before and after the intervention using self-report questionnaires. We compared pre and post-intervention scores and examined the relationship between changes in mindfulness and changes in stress, mood and medical symptoms.

Results

Mindfulness scores were significantly higher after intervention, both on the Kentucky Inventory of Mindfulness Skills (KIMS) and the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS). Changes on the KIMS were associated with reductions in stress, negative mood, psychological symptoms and total medical symptoms, and improvement in positive mood. Changes in mindfulness, as measured by the MAAS, were significantly correlated only with reduced total number of medical symptoms.

Conclusion

This study provides preliminary evidence for the positive health impact of MBSR on urban South Africans, and in turn acceptability and feasibility evidence for MBSR in South Africa and supports the case for larger trials in different local settings.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6018653/

 

Improve Student Resilience to Stress with Mindfulness

Improve Student Resilience to Stress with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“This is, to the best of our knowledge, the most robust study to date to assess mindfulness training for students, and backs up previous studies that suggest it can improve mental health and wellbeing during stressful periods.” – Julieta Galante

 

In the modern world education is a key for success. Where a high school education was sufficient in previous generations, a college degree is now required to succeed in the new knowledge-based economies. There is a lot of pressure on students to excel so that they can be admitted to the best universities and there is a lot of pressure on university students to excel so that they can get the best jobs after graduation. As a result, parents and students are constantly looking for ways to improve student performance in school. The primary tactic has been to pressure the student and clear away routine tasks and chores so that the student can focus on their studies. But, this might in fact be counterproductive as the increased pressure can actually lead to stress and anxiety which can impede the student’s mental health, well-being, and school performance.

 

It is, for the most part, beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress, so it is important that methods be found to reduce the individuals’ responses to stress; to make them more resilient when high levels of stress occur. Contemplative practices including meditation, mindfulness training, and yoga practice have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in increasing resilience and coping with the school environment and for both students and teachers. So, perhaps, mindfulness training may be helpful for college students to better cope with stress and improve their well-being.

 

In today’s Research News article “A mindfulness-based intervention to increase resilience to stress in university students (the Mindful Student Study): a pragmatic randomised controlled trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5813792/ ), Galante and colleagues recruited healthy college students and randomly assigned them to receive either 8 weeks of mindfulness training or to support as usual from the university counseling center. The mindfulness course consisted of 8 weekly sessions of 75-90 minutes teaching mindfulness skills adapted for college students. The mindfulness students were encouraged to practice for 15 minutes daily at home. They were measured before and after training and during the examination period for psychological distress, mental health problems, well-being, sleep and activity levels, examination scores, and altruism.

 

They found that after training and during the examination period the students who had received the mindfulness training had significantly less psychological distress and greater well-being than the support as usual students. Hence mindfulness training appeared to improve the students psychological state in general and particularly during the stressful examination period. This suggests that the training improved the students’ resilience in the face of stress and this in turn improved their psychological state. Training in mindfulness may be an important component in education to improve the students’ abilities to cope with the pressure and stresses of higher education.

 

So, improve student resilience to stress with mindfulness.

 

“Students who had been practising mindfulness had distress scores lower than their baseline levels even during exam time, which suggests that mindfulness helps build resilience against stress.” – Julieta Galante

 

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

 

Julieta Galante, Géraldine Dufour, Maris Vainre, Adam P Wagner, Jan Stochl, Alice Benton, Neal Lathia, Emma Howarth, Prof Peter B Jones. A mindfulness-based intervention to increase resilience to stress in university students (the Mindful Student Study): a pragmatic randomised controlled trial. Lancet Public Health. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2018 Feb 15. Published in final edited form as: Lancet Public Health. 2018 Feb; 3(2): e72–e81. Published online 2017 Dec 19. doi: 10.1016/S2468-2667(17)30231-1

 

Summary

Background

The rising number of young people going to university has led to concerns about an increasing demand for student mental health services. We aimed to assess whether provision of mindfulness courses to university students would improve their resilience to stress.

Methods

We did this pragmatic randomised controlled trial at the University of Cambridge, UK. Students aged 18 years or older with no severe mental illness or crisis (self-assessed) were randomly assigned (1:1), via remote survey software using computer-generated random numbers, to receive either an 8 week mindfulness course adapted for university students (Mindfulness Skills for Students [MSS]) plus mental health support as usual, or mental health support as usual alone. Participants and the study management team were aware of group allocation, but allocation was concealed from the researchers, outcome assessors, and study statistician. The primary outcome was self-reported psychological distress during the examination period, as measured with the Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation Outcome Measure (CORE–OM), with higher scores indicating more distress. The primary analysis was by intention to treat. This trial is registered with the Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, number ACTRN12615001160527.

Findings

Between Sept 28, 2015, and Jan 15, 2016, we randomly assigned 616 students to the MSS group (n=309) or the support as usual group (n=307). 453 (74%) participants completed the CORE–OM during the examination period and 182 (59%) MSS participants completed at least half of the course. MSS reduced distress scores during the examination period compared with support as usual, with mean CORE–OM scores of 0·87 (SD 0·50) in 237 MSS participants versus 1·11 (0·57) in 216 support as usual participants (adjusted mean difference –0·14, 95% CI –0·22 to –0·06; p=0·001), showing a moderate effect size (β –0·44, 95% CI –0·60 to –0·29; p<0·0001). 123 (57%) of 214 participants in the support as usual group had distress scores above an accepted clinical threshold compared with 88 (37%) of 235 participants in the MSS group. On average, six students (95% CI four to ten) needed to be offered the MSS course to prevent one from experiencing clinical levels of distress. No participants had adverse reactions related to self-harm, suicidality, or harm to others.

Interpretation

Our findings show that provision of mindfulness training could be an effective component of a wider student mental health strategy. Further comparative effectiveness research with inclusion of controls for non-specific effects is needed to define a range of additional, effective interventions to increase resilience to stress in university students.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5813792/

 

Improve Psychological Health with Dynamic Mindfulness

Improve Psychological Health with Dynamic Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

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

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to be effective in improving physical and psychological health and particularly with the physical and psychological reactions to stress. Techniques such as Mindfulness Training, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) as well as Yoga practice and Tai Chi or Qigong practice have been demonstrated to be effective. This has led to an increasing adoption of these mindfulness techniques for the health and well-being of both healthy and ill individuals.

 

“Langerian mindfulness is defined as the process of paying attention on purpose to the present moment, of being aware of novelty in experiences or situations, and of perceiving differences in contexts and events.” This is a more dynamic view of mindfulness than the view contained in most measures of mindfulness. It includes the classic idea of mindfulness but also extends it to include impermanence and the ever-changing nature of reality. It emphasizes the continuous dynamic change that produces novelty in every present moment. This view of mindfulness, however, has not been examined for its benefits.

 

In today’s Research News article “Langerian mindfulness, quality of life and psychological symptoms in a sample of Italian students.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5801901/ ), Pagnini and colleagues examine the relationship of Langerian mindfulness with psychological well-being. They recruited college students and measured their levels of mindfulness with the Langer Mindfulness Scale. In addition, the students completed measures of quality of life, including physical, psychological, social relationships, and environment dimensions, and measures of psychological symptoms, including somatization, obsessive compulsive disorder, interpersonal sensitivity, depression, anxiety, hostility, phobic anxiety, paranoid ideation and psychoticism.

 

They found that the higher the levels of Langerian mindfulness, including novelty seeking, novelty producing, and particularly engagement, the higher the levels of physical and psychological health, and the lower the levels of psychological symptoms, including obsessive compulsive disorder, interpersonal sensitivity, depression, hostility, and phobic anxiety. The study was correlational, so no conclusions regarding causation can be reached.

 

The results indicate that Langerian mindfulness is associated with higher levels of physical and mental health. This further suggests that maintaining openness and attention to novelty throughout one’s daily life is associated with mental and physical wellness. It is not clear whether this dynamic, Langerian, view of mindfulness produces clear associations than the classic more static mindfulness view. It remains for future research to compare the two approaches and actively manipulate their levels through training to conclusively demonstrate that Langerian mindfulness causes improvements in mental and physical health.

 

So, improve psychological health with dynamic mindfulness.

 

“Mindfulness also allows us to become more aware of the stream of thoughts and feelings that we experience and to see how we can become entangled in that stream in ways that are not helpful.” – Mark Williams

 

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

 

Francesco Pagnini, Katherine E. Bercovitz, Deborah Phillips. Langerian mindfulness, quality of life and psychological symptoms in a sample of Italian students. Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2018; 16: 29. Published online 2018 Feb 6. doi: 10.1186/s12955-018-0856-4

 

Abstract

Background

Noticing new things, accepting the continuously changing nature of circumstances, and flexibly shifting perspectives in concert with changing contexts constitute the essential features of Langerian mindfulness. This contrasts with a “mindless” approach in which one remains fixed in a singular mindset and is closed off to new possibilities. Despite potentially important clinical applications for this construct, few studies have explored them. The instrument developed to measure Langerian mindfulness is the Langer Mindfulness Scale (LMS), although this tool has been limited primarily to English-speaking populations. The study aimed to test LMS validity in the Italian language and to analyze the relationships between Langerian mindfulness and well-being.

Methods

We translated the LMS into Italian, analyzed its factor structure, and investigated the correlation between mindfulness and quality of life and psychological well-being in a sample of 248 Italian students (88.7% females, mean age 20.05). A confirmatory factor analysis confirmed the tri-dimensional structure of the English LMS in the Italian version.

Results

The primary analysis found a significant negative correlation between mindfulness and psychological symptoms including obsessive-compulsive tendencies, depression, anxiety, and paranoid ideation. There was also a positive correlation between mindfulness and reports of quality of life.

Conclusions

The Italian LMS appears reliable and it shows relevant correlations with well-being.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5801901/

Improve Psychological Health with Mindfulness Smartphone Aps

Improve Psychological Health with Mindfulness Smartphone Aps

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“With apps reaching more people than face-to-face teaching can, he says, “nothing will influence how mindfulness is perceived and practised in our culture more in the next 20 years”. – Amy Fleming

 

Mindfulness training has been shown through extensive research to be effective in improving physical and psychological health and particularly with the physical and psychological reactions to stress. The vast majority of the mindfulness training techniques, however, require a certified trained therapist. This results in costs that many clients can’t afford. In addition, the participants must be available to attend multiple sessions at particular scheduled times that may or may not be compatible with their busy schedules and at locations that may not be convenient. As an alternative, Apps for smartphones have been developed. These have tremendous advantages in decreasing costs, making training schedules much more flexible, and eliminating the need to go repeatedly to specific locations. But, the question arises as to the effectiveness of these Apps in inducing mindfulness and improving psychological health.

 

In today’s Research News article “Efficacy of a Mindfulness-Based Mobile Application: a Randomized Waiting-List Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5770479/ ), van Emmerik and colleagues recruited adults who had an interest in mindfulness and spirituality through social media and randomly assigned them to either a mindfulness App group or a wait-list control group.

 

The mindfulness App participants were directed to download from the App Store of Google Play Store the VGZ Mindfulness Coach App and complete the 5-week program consisting of 25 exercises including “breathing exercises, attention exercises, body scan exercises, guided meditation exercises, visualization exercises, mantra exercises, and yoga exercises.” The participants were measured before the program and 8 and 20 weeks later for mindfulness, including the observing, describing, non-reacting, non-judging, and acting with awareness facets, quality of life, including physical health, psychological health, social relationships and environment, psychiatric symptomology, self-actualization, and satisfaction with the App.

 

They found that the App produced large significant increases in mindfulness including all five facets, psychological health, social relationships and environment, and decreases in psychiatric symptomology. In addition, the participants reported a high degree of satisfaction and engagement with the App. Hence, the mindfulness App group evidenced marked improvement in mindfulness and psychological health.

 

The results need to be interpreted with caution as the study did not contain an active control condition. This leaves open the possibility that the results were affected by biases such as placebo effects, demand characteristics, experimenter bias, etc. Nevertheless, with these caveats in mind, the results suggest that mindfulness can be increased with a smartphone app which may, in turn, improve psychological health in otherwise healthy individuals. This is exciting as the low cost, convenience, and ease of use, of such Apps allows for widespread applicability. This may provide a low-cost means of improving the mindfulness and psychological health of large swaths of the general population.

 

So, improve psychological health with mindfulness smartphone Aps.

 

“Every app uses varying voices, work flow styles, and types of guided meditation. . . At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you feel drawn to practice everyday.” – Marylyn Wei

 

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

 

Arnold A. P. van Emmerik, Fieke Berings, Jaap Lancee. Efficacy of a Mindfulness-Based Mobile Application: a Randomized Waiting-List Controlled Trial. Mindfulness (N Y) 2018; 9(1): 187–198. Published online 2017 Jun 21. doi: 10.1007/s12671-017-0761-7

 

Abstract

Although several hundreds of apps are available that (cl)aim to promote mindfulness, only a few methodologically sound studies have evaluated the efficacy of these apps. This randomized waiting-list controlled trial therefore tested the hypothesis that one such app (the VGZ Mindfulness Coach) can achieve immediate and long-term improvements of mindfulness, quality of life, general psychiatric symptoms, and self-actualization. One hundred ninety-one experimental participants received the VGZ Mindfulness Coach, which offers 40 mindfulness exercises and background information about mindfulness without any form of therapeutic guidance. Compared to 186 control participants, they reported large (Cohen’s d = 0.77) and statistically significant increases of mindfulness after 8 weeks and small-to-medium increases of the Observing, Describing, Acting with awareness, Nonjudging, and Nonreactivity mindfulness facets as measured with the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (Cohen’s d = 0.66, 0.26, 0.49, 0.34, and 0.43, respectively). Also, there were large decreases of general psychiatric symptoms (GHQ-12; Cohen’s d = −0.68) and moderate increases of psychological, social, and environmental quality of life (WHOQOL-BREF; Cohen’s d = 0.38, 0.38, and 0.36, respectively). Except for social quality of life, these gains were maintained for at least 3 months. We conclude that it is possible to achieve durable positive effects on mindfulness, general psychiatric symptoms, and several aspects of quality of life at low costs with smartphone apps for mindfulness such as the VGZ Mindfulness Coach.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5770479/

Improve Employee’s Mental Health with Mindfulness

Improve Employee’s Mental Health with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Toxic emotions disrupt the workplace, and mindfulness increases your awareness of these destructive patterns, helping you recognize them before they run rampant. It’s a way of reprogramming your mind to think in healthier, less stressful, ways.” – Drew Hansen

 

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.

 

To help overcome unhappiness, stress, and burnoutmindfulness practices have been implemented in the workplace. Indeed, mindfulness practices have been shown to markedly reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. As a result, it has become very trendy for business to incorporate meditation into the workday to help improve employee well-being, health, and productivity. For example, Google offers “Search Inside Yourself” classes to teach mindfulness at work. But, although there is a lot of anecdotal evidence of meditation improving well-being and work performance, there is actually very little systematic research on its effectiveness.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on employees’ mental health: A systematic review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5783379/ ), Janssen and colleagues review and summarize the published research literature on the effectiveness of mindfulness programs to improve the mental health of workers. They identify 23 studies, most of which employed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs.

 

They report that the published research demonstrates that mindfulness programs produced significant increases in workers’ mindfulness, personal accomplishment, self-compassion, sleep quality, relaxation, life satisfaction, emotion regulation, self-efficacy, and work engagement, and significant decreases in stress levels, psychological distress, depression, anxiety, burnout, emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, mood disturbance, They also found that the mindfulness programs did not produce any harmful side-effects. But, the studies were in general of only moderate research quality and there is a need for more high-quality studies.

 

The summary of the research provides extensive evidence that mindfulness programs produce significant improvements in workers’ mental health and well-being. It is striking how widespread the benefits are for otherwise healthy employees. These effects are important in not only preventing burnout and mental illness, but the stress reduction will tend to prevent illness and promote physical health. This may, in turn, improve employee retention and productiveness and decrease employee absences and health-care costs.

 

So, improve employee’s mental health with mindfulness.

 

“Many corporations and employees are realizing that the benefits of mindfulness practices can be dramatic. In addition to supporting overall health and well-being, mindfulness has been linked to improved cognitive functioning and lower stress levels.” – Carolyn Gregoire

 

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

 

Math Janssen, Yvonne Heerkens, Wietske Kuijer, Beatrice van der Heijden, Josephine Engels. Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on employees’ mental health: A systematic review. PLoS One. 2018; 13(1): e0191332. Published online 2018 Jan 24. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0191332

 

Abstract

Objectives

The purpose of this exploratory study was to obtain greater insight into the effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) on the mental health of employees.

Methods

Using PsycINFO, PubMed, and CINAHL, we performed a systematic review in October 2015 of studies investigating the effects of MBSR and MBCT on various aspects of employees’ mental health. Studies with a pre-post design (i.e. without a control group) were excluded.

Results

24 articles were identified, describing 23 studies: 22 on the effects of MBSR and 1 on the effects of MBSR in combination with some aspects of MBCT. Since no study focused exclusively on MBCT, its effects are not described in this systematic review. Of the 23 studies, 2 were of high methodological quality, 15 were of medium quality and 6 were of low quality. A meta-analysis was not performed due to the emergent and relatively uncharted nature of the topic of investigation, the exploratory character of this study, and the diversity of outcomes in the studies reviewed. Based on our analysis, the strongest outcomes were reduced levels of emotional exhaustion (a dimension of burnout), stress, psychological distress, depression, anxiety, and occupational stress. Improvements were found in terms of mindfulness, personal accomplishment (a dimension of burnout), (occupational) self-compassion, quality of sleep, and relaxation.

Conclusion

The results of this systematic review suggest that MBSR may help to improve psychological functioning in employees.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5783379/

 

Psilocybin in Combination with Meditation Practice Improves Psychological Functioning

Psilocybin in Combination with Meditation Practice Improves Psychological Functioning

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“The ingestion of psilocybin, brought on “mystical” experiences that reduced illness-related anxiety and depression in nearly 80 percent of subjects studied in research trials.” – Andrew McCarron

 

Psychedelic substances have been used almost since the beginning of recorded history to alter consciousness and produce spiritually meaningful experiences. Psychedelics produce effects that are similar to those that are reported in spiritual awakenings. They report a loss of the personal self. They experience what they used to refer to as the self as just a part of an integrated whole. They report feeling interconnected with everything else in a sense of oneness with all things. They experience a feeling of timelessness where time seems to stop and everything is taking place in a single present moment. They experience ineffability, being unable to express in words what they are experiencing and as a result sometimes producing paradoxical statements. And they experience a positive mood, with renewed energy and enthusiasm.

 

It is easy to see why people find these experiences so pleasant and eye opening. They often report that the experiences changed them forever. Even though the effects of psychedelic substances have been experienced and reported on for centuries, only very recently have these effects come under rigorous scientific scrutiny.

 

Psilocybin is a psychedelic substance that is found naturally in a number of varieties of mushrooms. It has been used for centuries particularly by Native Americans for their spiritual practices. When studied in the laboratory under double blind conditions, Psilocybin has been shown to “reliably occasion deeply personally meaningful and often spiritually significant experiences (e.g. mystical-type experiences).” How lasting the changes are has not been systematically studied in controlled research studies.

 

In today’s Research News article “Psilocybin-occasioned mystical-type experience in combination with meditation and other spiritual practices produces enduring positive changes in psychological functioning and in trait measures of prosocial attitudes and behaviors.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5772431/ ), Griffiths and colleagues examine the duration of Psilocybin effects when administered under laboratory conditions. They recruited participants from the community who were not experienced with either psychedelics or meditation and randomly assigned to one of three groups; very low Psilocybin dose – standard spiritual support, high Psilocybin dose – standard spiritual support, or high Psilocybin dose – high spiritual support. Participants and researchers who interacted with them were not informed as to the dosing conditions.

 

Psilocybin was administered in capsule form in the morning and the participants remained in the laboratory and were measured until Psilocybin immediate effects were gone 7 hours later. One month later the participants returned for a second similar Psilocybin session. For the standard support conditions, the participants met with “guides” for five 1 to 2-hour sessions and a couple of days after Psilocybin administration for another 1-hour session, followed up later with a 10-minute teleconference. Sessions consisted of instruction and support for their usual spiritual practices. For the high support conditions, participants met on a similar schedule and dad additional sessions approximately monthly thereafter. The “spiritual practice suggestions had three primary elements: meditation (10 to 30 minutes of sitting meditation daily); daily awareness practice (use of mantra and one-pointed attention in daily activities); and daily self-reflective journaling of insights, benefits, and challenges of spiritual practice in daily life.”

 

They found that the high Psilocybin dose administration during the 7-hour post-administration period produced hallucinations and illusions, feelings of transcendence, grief, joy, and/or anxiety, and a sense of meaning and insight. These effects were significantly greater in the high spiritual support group. At the 6-month follow up they found that the high Psilocybin dose group in comparison the very low dose group had significantly improves attitudes about life and self, improved mood, increased altruism and spirituality, and significantly greater personal meaning, spiritual significance, and change in well-being. Again, in the high spiritual support group had significantly greater effects. Virtually all of the participants in the high Psilocybin dose conditions reported that this was among the greatest spiritual experiences of their lives.

 

These results are striking and important. Administration of the psychedelic substance, Psilocybin, produced consistently positive personal and spiritual effects immediately and the effects appeared to be relatively permanent, still present after 6 months. In addition, engaging in spiritual meditative practices appeared to heighten these effects. The use of psychedelic substances is extremely controversial and for the most part illegal. But, the present findings suggest that at least under controlled circumstances, they may have positive and lasting, effects on the individual and their spirituality. Further research should explore the use of Psilocybin for the treatment of mental illness and the promotion of human well-being.

 

So, psilocybin in combination with meditation practice improves psychological functioning.

 

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

 

Roland R Griffiths, Matthew W Johnson, William A Richards, Brian D Richards, Robert Jesse, Katherine A MacLean, Frederick S Barrett, Mary P Cosimano, Maggie A Klinedinst. Psilocybin-occasioned mystical-type experience in combination with meditation and other spiritual practices produces enduring positive changes in psychological functioning and in trait measures of prosocial attitudes and behaviors. J Psychopharmacol. 2018 Jan; 32(1): 49–69. Published online 2017 Oct 11. doi: 10.1177/0269881117731279

 

Abstract

Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences with participant-attributed increases in well-being. However, little research has examined enduring changes in traits. This study administered psilocybin to participants who undertook a program of meditation/spiritual practices. Healthy participants were randomized to three groups (25 each): (1) very low-dose (1 mg/70 kg on sessions 1 and 2) with moderate-level (“standard”) support for spiritual-practice (LD-SS); (2) high-dose (20 and 30 mg/70 kg on sessions 1 and 2, respectively) with standard support (HD-SS); and (3) high-dose (20 and 30 mg/70kg on sessions 1 and 2, respectively) with high support for spiritual practice (HD-HS). Psilocybin was administered double-blind and instructions to participants/staff minimized expectancy confounds. Psilocybin was administered 1 and 2 months after spiritual-practice initiation. Outcomes at 6 months included rates of spiritual practice and persisting effects of psilocybin. Compared with low-dose, high-dose psilocybin produced greater acute and persisting effects. At 6 months, compared with LD-SS, both high-dose groups showed large significant positive changes on longitudinal measures of interpersonal closeness, gratitude, life meaning/purpose, forgiveness, death transcendence, daily spiritual experiences, religious faith and coping, and community observer ratings. Determinants of enduring effects were psilocybin-occasioned mystical-type experience and rates of meditation/spiritual practices. Psilocybin can occasion enduring trait-level increases in prosocial attitudes/behaviors and in healthy psychological functioning.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5772431/

Improve Arthritis with Qigong

Improve Arthritis with Qigong

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Qigong techniques are simple and do not need to be carried out precisely to bring about its great benefits. Qigong practice is known for preventing disease, strengthening immunity and producing better health and well-being. However it is under-appreciated, even in China, that Qigong therapy can be effective for relieving pain and treating arthritis.” – Kellen Chia

 

Arthritis is a chronic disease that most commonly affects the joints. There are over 100 different types of arthritis. Depending on the type of arthritis symptoms may include pain, stiffness, swelling, redness, and decreased range of motion. It affects an estimated 52.5 million adults in the United States. It is associated with aging as arthritis occurs in only 7% of adults ages 18–44, while 30% adults ages 45–64 are affected, and 50% of adults ages 65 or older. The pain, stiffness, and lack of mobility associate with arthritis produce fatigue and markedly reduce the quality of life of the sufferers. Arthritis can have very negative psychological effects diminishing the individual’s self-image and may lead to depression, isolation, and withdrawal from friends and social activities Arthritis reduces the individual’s ability to function at work and may require modifications of work activities which can lead to financial difficulties. It even affects the individual’s physical appearance. In addition, due to complications associated with rheumatoid arthritis, particularly cardiovascular disease, the lifespan for people with rheumatoid arthritis may be shortened by 10 years.

 

It is obvious that there is a need for a safe and effective treatment to help rheumatoid arthritis sufferers cope with the disease and its consequences. Increasing exercise has been shown to increase flexibility and mobility but many form of exercise are difficult for the arthritis sufferer to engage in and many drop out. But all that may be needed is gentle movements of the joints. Qigong or Tai Chi training are designed to enhance and regulate the functional activities of the body through regulated breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. They have been shown to have many physical and psychological benefits, especially for the elderly. Because They are not strenuous, involving slow gentle movements, and are safe, having no appreciable side effects, they are appropriate for an elderly population. So, it would seem that Qigong or Tai Chi practice would be well suited to treat arthritis in seniors.

 

In today’s Research News article “Qigong Exercise and Arthritis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5750595/ ), Marks reviewed and summarized the published research on the effectiveness of Qigong practice for the treatment of arthritis. He found that Qigong practice produced significant improvements in the musculoskeletal system including increased strength, joint flexibility, posture, balance motor function, and motor coordination, and improvements in quality of life and cognitive function. In addition, the research reported decreased pain, fatigue, and blood pressure and improved immune function, metabolic function, circulation, aerobic capacity, and reduced falls, improved psychological health, mood, and sleep.

 

These are impressive results. Scientific research suggests that Qigong practice produces  widespread improvements in mental and physical health in arthritis sufferers. In addition, it is inexpensive, convenient, appropriate for individuals of all ages and health condition and is safe to practice, making it an almost ideal treatment for the symptoms of arthritis.

 

So, improve arthritis with Qigong.

 

“Qigong focuses on relaxing the body, which over time, allows the joints and muscles to loosen up, improving the circulation of fluids and blood. The practice focuses on rebuilding overall health and strengthening the spirit, while encouraging one to change the way one looks at life in general, and at the illness affecting you.” – 1MD

 

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

 

Ray Marks. Qigong Exercise and Arthritis. Medicines (Basel) 2017 Dec; 4(4): 71. Published online 2017 Sep 27. doi: 10.3390/medicines4040071

 

Abstract

Background: Arthritis is a chronic condition resulting in considerable disability, particularly in later life. Aims: The first aim of this review was to summarize and synthesize the research base concerning the use of Qigong exercises as a possible adjunctive strategy for promoting well-being among adults with arthritis. A second was to provide related intervention directives for health professionals working or who are likely to work with this population in the future. Methods: Material specifically focusing on examining the nature of Qigong for minimizing arthritis disability, pain and dependence and for improving life quality was sought. Results: Collectively, despite almost no attention to this topic, available data reveal that while more research is indicated, Qigong exercises—practiced widely in China for many centuries as an exercise form, mind-body and relaxation technique—may be very useful as an intervention strategy for adults with different forms of painful disabling arthritis. Conclusion: Health professionals working with people who have chronic arthritis can safely recommend these exercises to most adults with this condition with the expectation they will heighten the life quality of the individual, while reducing pain and depression in adults with this condition.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5750595/

Be Mindful for Improved Psychological Health

Be Mindful for Improved Psychological Health

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

We’ve seen this in the clinical domain for many years. People, in concert with their physicians… actually going off their medications for pain, for anxiety, for depression, as they begin to learn the self-regulatory elements of mindfulness. They discover that the things that used to be symptomatically problematic for them are no longer arising at the same level.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

 

Mindfulness training has been shown through extensive research to be effective in improving the physical and psychological condition of otherwise healthy people and also treating the physical and psychological issues of people with illnesses and particularly with the physical and psychological reactions to stress. Techniques such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) as well as Yoga practice and Tai Chi or Qigong practice have been demonstrated to be particularly effective. This has led to an increasing adoption of these mindfulness techniques for the health and well-being of both healthy and ill individuals.

 

In fact, the degree of mindfulness, inherent in the individual, without training, known as dispositional mindfulness, has been shown to be associated with the degree of mental and physical health. In today’s Research News article “Dispositional Mindfulness and Psychological Health: a Systematic Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5770488/ ), Tomlinson and colleagues review and summarize the published scientific research regarding the relationship of dispositional mindfulness to psychological health. They identified 93 research studies that found three different areas of relationship.

 

They report that the published research found that dispositional mindfulness was associated with improved psychopathological symptoms. The published research report that the higher the individuals’ levels of dispositional mindfulness the lower the levels of depression, anxiety, disordered eating, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and Borderline Personality Disorder (DPD) symptoms.

 

They report that the published research found that dispositional mindfulness was associated with improved cognitive performance. It was found that that the higher the individuals’ levels of dispositional mindfulness the lower the levels of avoidant coping strategies e.g. procrastination, rumination, impulsivity, catastrophizing and neuroticism, and the higher the levels of executive function (high level thinking).

 

Finally, they report that dispositional mindfulness was associated with improved emotional control. It was reported that the higher the individuals’ levels of dispositional mindfulness the lower the levels of perceived stress, emotional distress, and higher levels of emotion regulation, emotional stability, psychological well-being, and recovery following stressful conditions.

 

This review of the published research suggests that being generally mindful (dispositional mindfulness) is associated with psychological health and well-being. The problem with dispositional characteristics is that they cannot be manipulated as they are relatively stable characteristics of the individual. They can only be correlated with other characteristics. As such, it is impossible to conclude causal relationships between dispositional mindfulness and psychological health. It is equally likely that psychological health produces dispositional mindfulness, that dispositional mindfulness produces psychological health, or that a third factor causes both.

 

Manipulative research, producing changes in the short-term state of mindfulness, however, demonstrates that increases in mindfulness cause improvements in psychological well-being. So, it is likely that the observed relationships of dispositional mindfulness and psychological health are the result of dispositional mindfulness causing improved emotional and cognitive function and thereby reduced psychopathology and improved mental health.

 

So, be mindful for improved psychological health.

 

“A great deal of research has documented physical health benefits of mindfulness, such as an improved immune system, lower blood pressure, and better sleep. Mindfulness has also been linked to mental health benefits, such as reduced stress and anxiety, and improved concentration and focus, less emotional reactivity.” – American Psychiatric Association

 

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

 

Eve R. Tomlinson, Omar Yousaf, Axel D. Vittersø, Lauraine Jones. Dispositional Mindfulness and Psychological Health: a Systematic Review. Mindfulness (N Y) 2018; 9(1): 23–43. Published online 2017 Jul 1. doi: 10.1007/s12671-017-0762-6

 

Abstract

Interest in the influence of dispositional mindfulness (DM) on psychological health has been gathering pace over recent years. Despite this, a systematic review of this topic has not been conducted. A systematic review can benefit the field by identifying the terminology and measures used by researchers and by highlighting methodological weaknesses and empirical gaps. We systematically reviewed non-interventional, quantitative papers on DM and psychological health in non-clinical samples published in English up to June 2016, following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. A literature search was conducted using PsycINFO, PubMED, Medline and Embase, and 93 papers met the inclusion criteria. Within these, three main themes emerged, depicting the relationship between DM and psychological health: (1) DM appears to be inversely related to psychopathological symptoms such as depressive symptoms, (2) DM is positively linked to adaptive cognitive processes such as less rumination and pain catastrophizing and (3) DM appears to be associated with better emotional processing and regulation. These themes informed the creation of a taxonomy. We conclude that research has consistently shown a positive relationship between DM and psychological health. Suggestions for future research and conceptual and methodological limitations within the field are discussed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5770488/