Virtual Mindfulness Training Improves Well-Being

Virtual Mindfulness Training Improves Well-Being

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Spending too much time planning, problem solving, daydreaming, or thinking negative or random thoughts can be draining. It also can make you more likely to experience stress, anxiety and symptoms of depression. Practicing mindfulness exercises, on the other hand, can help you direct your attention away from this kind of thinking and engage with the world around you.” – Mayo Clinic

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to improve health and well-being. It has also been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. As a result, mindfulness training has been called the third wave of therapies. But the vast majority of the mindfulness training techniques require a trained teacher. The participants must be available to attend multiple sessions at scheduled times that may or may not be compatible with their schedules and at locations that may not be convenient.

 

As an alternative, training over the internet has been developed. This has 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 internet training in improving psychological well-being. The evidence is accumulating. So, it makes sense to review what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Virtual mindfulness interventions to promote well-being in adults: A mixed-methods systematic review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8765070/ ) Xu and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies on the effectiveness of mindfulness training over the internet to improve psychological well-being. They identified 32 published studies.

 

They report that the published studies found that internet-based mindfulness training produced significant improvements in well-being and mental health including reductions in anxiety and depression, perceived stress, sleep disruptions, and negative emotions and significant increases in academic performance and cognition, including reduced mind-wandering.

 

The published research indicates that on-line mindfulness training improves the well-being, mental health, and cognitive performance of students.

 

Even though the app we evaluate is vastly less expensive than in-person psychotherapy, it leads to comparable short-run improvements in mental health.” – Advik Shreekumar

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Xu, J., Jo, H., Noorbhai, L., Patel, A., & Li, A. (2022). Virtual mindfulness interventions to promote well-being in adults: A mixed-methods systematic review. Journal of affective disorders, 300, 571–585. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2022.01.027

 

Abstract

Background

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many have experienced drastic changes in their academic and social lives with ensuing consequences towards their physical and mental well-being. The purpose of this systematic review is to identify virtual mindfulness-based interventions for the well-being of adults aged 19 to 40 years in developed countries and examine the efficacy of these techniques/exercises.

Methods

This mixed-methods systematic review follows the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines with a registered PROSPERO protocol. With a convergent integrated synthesis approach, IEEE Xplore, PsychInfo, Web of Science and OVID were searched with a predetermined criteria and search strategy employing booleans and filters for peer-reviewed and gray literature. Data screening and extraction were independently performed by two authors, with a third author settling disagreements after reconciliation. Study quality of selected articles was assessed with two independent authors using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT). Studies were analyzed qualitatively (precluding meta and statistical analysis) due to the heterogeneous study results from diverse study designs in present literature.

Results

Common mindfulness-based interventions used in the appraised studies included practicing basic mindfulness, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy programs (MBCT) and the Learning 2 BREATHE (L2B) program.

Conclusion

Studies implementing mindfulness interventions demonstrated an overall improvement in well-being. Modified versions of these interventions can be implemented in a virtual context, so adults can improve their well-being through an accessible format.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8765070/

 

Mindfulness is Associated with Better Medical Students School Performance

Mindfulness is Associated with Better Medical Students School Performance

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“in medical students . . . mindfulness meditation may be used to elicit positive emotions, minimize negative affect and rumination, and enable effective emotion regulation.” –  Michael Minichiello

 

Medical School is challenging both intellectually and psychologically. Stress levels are high, and burnout is common. It’s been estimated that 63% of medical students experience negative consequences from stress while symptoms of severe stress were present in 25% of students. High stress levels lead to lower performance in medical school and higher levels of physical and mental health problems, especially anxiety and depression. Indeed 50% of medical students report burnout and 11% have considered suicide in the last year.

 

Obviously, there is a need to either lower stress levels in medical education or find methods to assist medical students in dealing with the stress. One promising possibility is mindfulness training. It has been shown to reduce stress in students, to help with the negative consequences of stress and to reduce burnout in medical professionals. So, it would seem reasonable to suspect that mindfulness would be helpful in assisting medical students cope with the stress of their training.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness practice correlates with reduced exam-induced stress and improved exam performance in preclinical medical students with the “acting with awareness”, “non-judging” and “non-reacting” facets of mindfulness particularly associated with improved exam performance.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8864822/ ) Hearn and Stocker recruited undergraduate medical students at the end of their 2nd year of study and measured them 7 days before and immediately before their end-of-year examinations for salivary cortisol levels, perceived stress, mindfulness, and exam performance.

 

They found that just prior to the exams there were, not surprisingly, significant increases in perceived stress and salivary cortisol levels. The greater the increase in salivary cortisol levels the poorer the performance on the exams. In addition, the greater the students’ levels of mindfulness, including the acting with awareness, non-judging, and non-reactivity facet scores, the better the exam performance and the smaller the.increase in salivary cortisol.

 

These findings are correlative. So, causation cannot be determined. But these results suggest that mindfulness is associated with smaller physiological responses to stress and better grades.

 

Hence, the more mindful the students were the better their academic performance.

 

We all have a need to know ourselves better and to understand our place in the world. That’s the fundamental motivation  for students to not only think of medical training as learning a set of facts and procedures but also paying attention to their evolving relationship to the work that they do. The meaning they derive from that work, and their connection to it.” – Ronald Epstein

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Hearn, J. H., & Stocker, C. J. (2022). Mindfulness practice correlates with reduced exam-induced stress and improved exam performance in preclinical medical students with the “acting with awareness”, “non-judging” and “non-reacting” facets of mindfulness particularly associated with improved exam performance. BMC psychology, 10(1), 41. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40359-022-00754-3

 

Abstract

Background

Medical students demonstrate higher levels of psychological distress compared with the general population and other student groups, especially at exam times. Mindfulness interventions show promise in stress reduction for this group, and in the reduction of cortisol, an established clinical marker of the body’s stress response. This study investigated the relationship of mindfulness to exam-induced stress, salivary cortisol and exam performance in undergraduate medical students.

Methods

A controlled pre-post analysis design with within-groups comparisons. 67 medical students completed the five facet mindfulness questionnaire (FFMQ) and provided saliva samples, from which cortisol was extracted, during group work (control/baseline) and immediately prior to end of year 2 examinations (experimental). Academic performance data was extracted for comparison with measures.

Results

Exam-induced salivary cortisol concentration showed a significant negative relation with exam performance. Total FFMQ score showed a significant positive relation with exam performance and a significant negative relation with exam-induced salivary cortisol. The specific mindfulness facets of acting with awareness, non-judging and non-reacting also showed a positive correlation with exam performance.

Conclusions

This study suggests that there exists an important relationship between mindfulness and the physiological biomarker of stress, cortisol, and this manifests into improved assessment outcomes potentially through healthier, more adaptive coping and stress management strategies. In particular, this study identifies the acting with awareness, non-judging and non-reacting facets of mindfulness to be significantly associated with exam performance suggesting that these may be important facets for clinical educators to target when helping students with mindfulness practice.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8864822/

 

Improve College Student Psychological Well-Being with Mindfulness and Relaxation

Improve College Student Psychological Well-Being with Mindfulness and Relaxation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness helps focus by tuning out distractions, improving memory, decision-making and attention skills. . . It is not a panacea; it is not for everyone. However, it is very worth trying. It may be the next evolution in health care and well-being.” – Affordable Colleges

 

In the modern world education is a key for success. There is a lot of pressure on college students to excel so that they can get the best jobs after graduation. The pressure can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression which can impede the student’s mental health, well-being, and school performance. So it is important that methods be found to reduce the college students’ responses to stress; to make them more resilient.

 

Contemplative practices including meditationmindfulness training, exercise, Tai Chi and Qigong, and yoga practice have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stressrelieve anxiety, and reduce depression .  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 effective in improving the psychological well-being of college students.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Combined with Music Relaxation Therapy on the Self-Identity of College Students.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8853795/ ) Yin recruited college students and assigned them to receive either  a 2-month program of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) plus systematic muscle relaxation with music, or conventional self-identity intervention, including health education, regular communication, and regular follow-up. They were measured before and after the treatments for anxiety, depression, resilience, and quality of life.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control condition Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) plus relaxation produced significant reductions in anxiety and depression and significant increases in resilience and quality of life. It cannot be determined if the combination of ACT and relaxation was necessary for the benefits or is each individually may have been effective.

 

So, improve college student psychological well-being with mindfulness and relaxation.

 

mindfulness . . . can also be a great tool for students, reducing stress and increasing well-being and productivity.” – Rebecca Enderby

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Yin J. (2022). Effect of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Combined with Music Relaxation Therapy on the Self-Identity of College Students. Journal of healthcare engineering, 2022, 8422903. https://doi.org/10.1155/2022/8422903

 

Abstract

This paper analyzes various effects of acceptance and commitment therapy combined with music relaxation therapy on the self-identity of the college students. Through open recruitment and following the principle of voluntary and confidential, 80 college students were selected from our school, and then they were divided into two groups: the control group (40 cases) and the observation group (40 cases). The observation group received acceptance and commitment therapy combined with music relaxation therapy. For the control group, conventional mental health interventions were administered. Two months after intervention, psychological status, mental resilience, and quality of life scores were compared between the two groups. Before intervention, there was no significant difference in SAS and SDS scores between the two groups (P > 0.05). After intervention, SAS and SDS scores were significantly higher than those in the control group, and the difference between the two groups was statistically significant (P < 0.05). Before intervention, there was no significant difference in the scores of toughness, strength, and optimism between the two groups (P > 0.05). After intervention, the scores of toughness, strength, and optimism in the two groups were all improved, and the scores of mental resilience in the observation group were higher than those in the control group, with statistical significance (P < 0.05). Before intervention, there was no significant difference in the quality of life scores between the observation group and the control group (P > 0.05). After intervention, the quality of life score of the observation group was higher than that of the control group, and the difference between the two groups was statistically significant (P < 0.05). The combined application of acceptance and commitment therapy and music relaxation therapy can help college students to improve their mental state, improve their mental resilience, enhance their evaluation of life quality, improve their sense of self-identity, and reduce the probability of the occurrence of unhealthy emotions such as depression.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8853795/

 

Reduce Teacher Stress with Mindfulness

Reduce Teacher Stress with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Daily mindfulness practice has been scientifically proven to reduce teacher stress and burnout, in turn improving their effectiveness and engagement with their students.” – InnerExplorer

 

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.

 

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.

 

In today’s Research News article “The effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction for school teachers: a cluster-randomized controlled trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8975540/ ) Bonde and colleagues recruited school teachers and randomly assigned them to either a wait-list control condition or to receive 8 weekly 2.5 hour sessions of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) consisting of training in meditation, yoga, and body scan, with group discussion, and homework. They were measured before and after training and 3 months later for perceived stress, anxiety, depression, well-being, resilience, mindfulness, and resting state.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control group, the teachers who received Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) had significantly lower levels of perceived stress, discontinuity of mind, and bodily awareness that were maintained 3 months later. Although there were no direct measures of burnout, the reductions in stress produced by MBSR would suggest that the training reduced the likelihood of burnout in school teachers.

 

Mindfulness training reduces stress in school teachers.

 

Research shows that teachers experience stress as a result of multiple factors. One thing that can help educators work through this stress, reduce teacher burnout, improve self-efficacy, and increase job satisfaction is meditation and mindfulness.” – April Netz

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Bonde, E. H., Fjorback, L. O., Frydenberg, M., & Juul, L. (2022). The effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction for school teachers: a cluster-randomized controlled trial. European journal of public health, 32(2), 246–253. https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckab223

 

Abstract

Background

Teaching has been found to be one of the most stressful occupations. Hence, current interest in reducing stress and enhancing the well-being of teachers is strong. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is documented to be effective in reducing stress and increasing well-being. This study investigated the effectiveness of delivering MBSR to lower secondary school teachers as a part of a teacher-training programme.

Methods

This study was a nested trial within the parallel cluster-randomized controlled trial, Stress-free Everyday LiFe for Children and Adolescents REsearch (SELFCARE). Schools were recruited from all five geographical regions in Denmark between May 2018 and May 2019. One to three teachers from each school were allowed to participate. At baseline, 110 schools, representing 191 lower secondary school teachers, were cluster-randomized to intervention or a wait-list control group. The intervention group received MBSR during 2019 and the wait-list control group during 2020. Data were collected at baseline and after 3  and 6 months. The primary outcome was measured by Cohen’s Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). Data were analyzed using a mixed-effect linear regression model and bootstrapped for cluster effects.

Results

At 3 months, the intervention group statistically significantly reduced their PSS score 1.7 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.04–3.3] points more than did the wait-list control group. At 6 months, the intervention group had statistically significantly reduced their mean PSS score 2.1 (95% CI: 0.5–3.8) points more than the wait-list control group.

Conclusion

It is possible to reduce perceived stress among lower secondary school teachers by delivering MBSR as part of a teacher-training programme.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8975540/

 

Improve Preschool Teacher Job Satisfaction with Mindfulness

Improve Preschool Teacher Job Satisfaction with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

.

So, improve preschool teacher job satisfaction with mindfulness.

 

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

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

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

 

Abstract

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

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

 

Decrease Anxiety and Improve Test Performance with Virtual Reality Meditation

Decrease Anxiety and Improve Test Performance with Virtual Reality Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“VR based meditation interventions have the potential to play an important role in anxiety management and stress reduction.” – Jeff Tarrant

 

In the modern world education is a key for success. But there is a lot of pressure on university students to excel. The pressure can lead to anxiety which can impede the student’s well-being and school performance. It is, for the most part, beyond the ability of the students to change the environment to reduce anxiety. There are, however, a number of psychological therapies for anxiety. Recently, it has been found that mindfulness training can be effective for anxiety disorders.

 

Technology has recently been applied to training in mindfulness. Indeed, mindfulness training carried out completely on-line has been shown to be effective for as number of conditions including anxiety. Virtual reality (VR) devices are improving and becoming readily available. Previously it has been shown the virtual reality (VR) can be helpful in treating phobias. and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). But, it is not known if VR can enhance the effectiveness of mindfulness training in the treatment of anxiety in college students.

 

In today’s Research News article “The impact of virtual reality meditation on college students’ exam performance.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8520331/ ) Kaplan-Rakowski and colleagues recruited university students and randomly assigned them to receive a 15-minute meditation either with an “animated, slow-paced, calming visualizations of forest scenes” accompanied by music presented in virtual reality or on a video screen. They were measured before and after the meditation for anxiety. They also completed a 30-minute series of computer science tasks.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline both groups had decreased anxiety and improved performance on the computer science tasks, but the virtual reality group had significantly better test performance.

 

This study looked only at the immediate effects of a single 15-minute meditation in the laboratory. So, no conclusions can be reached on whether the benefits are sustained or what would be the effects of long-term meditation practice and whether these interventions would work in real-world applications. Nevertheless, the results are clear, brief meditation with videos produces immediate relief of anxiety and better test performance. In addition, adding virtual reality presentation to a brief meditation practice increases the improvement in test performance.

 

So, decrease anxiety and improve test performance with virtual reality meditation.

 

I see virtual reality as a tool that helps me bridge the gap between that ideal and my reality. Some people might call it “cheating” at meditation. I simply call it relief.” – Sarah Garone

 

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

 

Kaplan-Rakowski, R., Johnson, K. R., & Wojdynski, T. (2021). The impact of virtual reality meditation on college students’ exam performance. Smart Learning Environments, 8(1), 21. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40561-021-00166-7

 

Abstract

Advocates of meditation claim that it can improve various aspects of life, including health, attention, thinking, and learning. The purpose of this empirical, quantitative, between-subject study was twofold. First, it compared the effectiveness of meditation delivered through virtual reality versus video, as measured by students’ test scores. Second, the study provided insights on the use of meditation, whether via virtual reality or video, as a way to positively affect well-being. T-test analysis showed virtual reality meditation to be significantly more beneficial than video meditation. Students reported that meditation techniques delivered using either medium to be helpful in decreasing their pre-exam anxiety. This study has practical implications and offers evidence on the beneficial impact of VR meditation on students’ exam performance and anxiety levels.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8520331/

 

Improve the Psychological Health of College Students with Mindfulness

Improve the Psychological Health of College Students with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness can help students who might be struggling, in particular medical students, find new ways of relating to the difficulties that arise in their clinical work, studying and wellbeing.” – Alice Malpass

 

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 university students to excel so that they can get the best jobs after graduation. This stress might in fact be counterproductive as the increased pressure can lead to stress and anxiety which can impede the student’s physical and 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 college students’ responses to stress; to make them more resilient when high levels of stress occur. Contemplative practices including meditationmindfulness training, and yoga practice have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. Indeed, these practices have been found to reduce stress and improve psychological health in college students. So, it would seem important to summarize what has been learned about mindfulness-based approaches to improve the psychological well-being of college students studying to become health professionals.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Approaches for Managing Stress, Anxiety and Depression for Health Students in Tertiary Education: a Scoping Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8435111/ ) Parsons and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies investigating the effectiveness of mindfulness-based approaches to improve the psychological well-being of college students studying to become health professionals. They identified 24 published research studies.

 

They report that the published research studies found that mindfulness-based training produced significant reductions in perceived stress, anxiety, and depression in the health students. Hence, these health students had similar responses to mindfulness training as has been observed in a large number of studies with a variety of healthy and ill participants. This suggests that it would be beneficial to incorporate mindfulness training in the curriculum of college students studying to become health professionals. This should improve their ability to learn their professions and become more resilient and effective professionals.

 

So, improve the psychological health of college health students with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness-based interventions decrease stress, anxiety, and depression and improve mindfulness, mood, self-efficacy, and empathy in health profession students.” – Janet McConville

 

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

 

Parsons, D., Gardner, P., Parry, S., & Smart, S. (2021). Mindfulness-Based Approaches for Managing Stress, Anxiety and Depression for Health Students in Tertiary Education: a Scoping Review. Mindfulness, 1–16. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-021-01740-3

 

Abstract

Objectives

High rates of depression, anxiety and stress are reported in tertiary health students. Mindfulness-based programs have been included in the training of health students to help them manage depression, anxiety and stress; however, to date, there has been no review of best practice implementation of mindfulness for health students. The aim of this review was to evaluate the outcomes of mindfulness-based practice for health students to inform best practice with this population.

Methods

A comprehensive search was conducted of three electronic databases (PsychINFO, Medline and Embase) guided by the five-step systematic process for conducting scoping reviews to investigate mindfulness-based intervention programs for students enrolled in a tertiary institution in a health-related course.

Results

Twenty-four papers met the eligibility criteria and were reviewed in detail. Findings suggested that mindfulness-based intervention approaches are useful in decreasing depression, anxiety and stress in health students; however, challenges exist in student engagement and retention. Generalization of results was limited by the heterogeneous population, intervention designs and delivery methods, as well as a lack of standardized outcome measures.

Conclusion

The inclusion of mindfulness-based programs within tertiary curricula can be an effective approach to assist with managing depression, stress and anxiety in health students. Providing academic credit to students, improving translation of skills to working with future clients, and embedding mindfulness-based programs within the curriculum could improve engagement and retention.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8435111/

 

Improve Graduate Student Emotion Regulation and Reduce Stress with Mindfulness

Improve Graduate Student Emotion Regulation and Reduce Stress with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“graduate students . . . who practiced mindfulness reported a statistically significant reduction in depression and increased self-efficacy, hope and resilience.” – Coleen Flaherty

 

In the modern world education is a key for success. Where a high school education was sufficient in previous generations, a college or graduate degree is now required to succeed in the new knowledge-based economies. There is a lot of pressure on undergraduate and graduate students to excel so that they can get the best jobs after graduation. This stress might in fact be counterproductive as the increased pressure can lead to stress and anxiety which can impede the student’s physical and mental health, well-being, and school performance.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown through extensive research to be effective in improving physical and psychological health and particularly with reducing the physical and psychological reactions to stress and increasing resilience in the face of stress. Indeed, these practices have been found to reduce stress and improve psychological health in college students. It makes sense that mindfulness might be equally effective for graduate students.

 

In today’s Research News article “Emotion Regulation, Stress, and Well-Being in Academic Education: Analyzing the Effect of Mindfulness-Based Intervention.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8382289/ ) Peixoto and colleagues recruited university graduate students and randomly assigned them to receive 8 weekly 2-hour trainings in mindfulness or to a wait-list control condition. They were measured before and after treatment for perceived stress, mindfulness, psychological well-being, and momentary emotions. They also underwent a structured interview on the impressions, beliefs, opinions, and experiences of the participants.

 

They found that in comparison to the baseline and the wait-list control group, the mindfulness trained group had significantly higher mindfulness and psychological well-being and significantly lower perceived stress. Wait-list control conditions do not produce the kinds of expectations that are produced by mindfulness training, and this raises the possibility that the results may be due to confounding factors such as placebo effects, experimenter bias, and attentional effects. But previous controlled research has shown that mindfulness training produces higher psychological well-being and significantly lower perceived stress. So, it is likely that the benefits observed in the present study were due to the mindfulness training.

 

The interviews of the graduate students revealed that the graduate school training process produced ambivalent feelings of joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment, accompanied by anxiety, distress, and insecurity. The ambivalent feelings resulted from the student’s love of their discipline but the problems they have with graduate study with “excess hours of study, poor academic performance evaluations, relationship with advisor, reconciling with one’s personal life, demand for productivity, deadlines, and institutional problems” and financial insecurity and worries about future career prospects.

 

These results suggest that graduate students benefit from mindfulness training, improving their psychological well-being. In the interviews the students reported that the mindfulness training helped them cope with these stresses in their training. These results suggest that the process of graduate school training should be examined to reduce the stresses and worries of the students and that mindfulness training should be incorporated into the training to improve the student’s ability to cope with the situation.

 

So, improve graduate student emotion regulation and reduce stress with mindfulness.

 

If you are someone struggling with mental health in graduate school, or just feel stressed, mindfulness can help you to focus on the present, remain positive, and feel in control.” – Natalya Ortolano

 

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

 

Santos Alves Peixoto, L., Guedes Gondim, S. M., & Pereira, C. R. (2021). Emotion Regulation, Stress, and Well-Being in Academic Education: Analyzing the Effect of Mindfulness-Based Intervention. Trends in Psychology, 1–25. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s43076-021-00092-0

 

Abstract

Recent studies point to an increase in psychological distress among graduate students. The aim of this study was to analyze the effects of mindfulness practices on emotion regulation, on the perception of stress, and on the psychological well-being of graduate students. Forty-five (45) graduate students participated in the study, divided into an intervention and a control group. Questionnaires were applied for self-assessment of mindfulness, perceived stress, and psychological well-being, in addition to qualitative interviews in the pre- and post-timeframes of a mindfulness-based intervention. Quantitative data were analyzed using ANOVAs for repeated measures, while the interviews were analyzed using the thematic content analysis technique. The results indicated increases in the levels of mindfulness and psychological well-being, and a reduction in perceived stress in the intervention group, post-intervention. The interviews indicated the presence of ambivalent emotions in relation to graduate studies and the development of new strategies to cope with the stress in this work context. The main contribution of the study was to present empirical evidence of the effectiveness of mindfulness practices in the graduate-level education context, allowing students to become more capable of dealing with the challenges of an academic career.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8382289/

 

Increase Positive Psychological States with Mindfulness

Increase Positive Psychological States with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

state mindfulness was associated with positive experiences across the three outcomes: higher levels of autonomy, more intense and frequent pleasant affect, and less intense and less frequent unpleasant affect.” – Kirk Warren Brown

 

The primary focus of the majority of research on mindfulness has been on its ability to treat negative emotional states such as anxiety, depression, and perceived stress. As such, it has been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. But mindfulness training has also been shown to improve health and well-being in healthy individuals. Indeed, it is possible that the effectiveness of mindfulness training in relieving mental and physical illness may result from its ability to improve positive psychological states. There is accumulating research. So, it makes sense to review and summarize what has been learned

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-based positive psychology interventions: a systematic review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8344333/ ) Allen and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies of the effects of mindfulness-based interventions on positive psychological states. They identified 22 published research studies.

 

They report that the published research found that mindfulness-based interventions significantly increased eudaimonia, well-being, of children, adults, and couples. Mindfulness-based interventions were also found to significantly enhance hedonia, positive emotions (amusement, awe, contentment, joy, gratitude, hope, interest, love, and pride, collectively) and quality of life. They also report that mindfulness training produces significant increases in prosocial behavior, social competence, emotion regulation, flexibility, academic performance, delay of gratification, coping behavior, relaxation, self-compassion, and happiness.

 

Hence, the research published to date supports the conclusion that mindfulness-based interventions improve positive psychological states. So, these interventions are not only useful for the relief of negative psychological states in people who are suffering but can also enhance the psychological well-being of everyone.

 

So, increase positive psychological states with mindfulness.

 

 

mindfulness is a fundamental part of a broad program of psycho-spiritual development, aiming to help people reach ‘enlightenment’. . .  it may be conceived of as the superlative state of happiness, equanimity and freedom that a human being is capable of experiencing.” – Itai Ivtzan

 

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

 

Allen, J. G., Romate, J., & Rajkumar, E. (2021). Mindfulness-based positive psychology interventions: a systematic review. BMC psychology, 9(1), 116. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40359-021-00618-2

 

Abstract

Background

There are hundreds of mindfulness-based interventions in the form of structured and unstructured therapies, trainings, and meditation programs, mostly utilized in a clinical rather than a well-being perspective. The number of empirical studies on positive potentials of mindfulness is comparatively less, and their known status in academia is ambiguous. Hence, the current paper aimed to review the studies where mindfulness-based interventions had integrated positive psychology variables, in order to produce positive functioning.

Methods

Data were obtained from the databases of PubMed, Scopus, and PsycNet and manual search in Google Scholar. From the 3831 articles, irrelevant or inaccessible studies were eliminated, reducing the number of final articles chosen for review to 21. Interventions that contribute to enhancement of eudaimonia, hedonia, and other positive variables are discussed.

Results

Findings include the potential positive qualities of MBIs in producing specific positive outcomes within limited circumstances, and ascendancy of hedonia and other positive variables over eudaimonic enhancement.

Conclusion

In conclusion, exigency of modifications in the existing MBIs to bring about exclusively positive outcomes was identified, and observed the necessity of novel interventions for eudaimonic enhancement and elevation of hedonia in a comprehensive manner.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8344333/