Reduce Stress and Increase Self-Compassion in Medical Students with Online Mindfulness Training

Reduce Stress and Increase Self-Compassion in Medical Students with Online Mindfulness Training

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

What we found should encourage even the busiest medical students and physicians. There are shorter, sustainable ways to bring meditation into your life, and they can help you reduce stress and depression and improve your medical study and practice.” – Periel Shapiro

 

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

 

Preventing burnout has to be a priority. Unfortunately, it is beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress and prevent burnout, so it is important that methods be found to reduce the individual’s responses to stress; to make the individual more resilient when high levels of stress occur. Contemplative practices have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, and improving sleep. It would be best to provide techniques to combat burnout early in a medical career. Medical School is extremely stressful and many students show distress and express burnout symptoms. Medical school may be an ideal time to intervene.

 

In today’s Research News article “Determining the feasibility and effectiveness of brief online mindfulness training for rural medical students: a pilot study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7137339/), Moore and colleagues recruited medical students focusing on rural health care who were undergoing training in widespread rural healthcare facilities. They had them complete an 8-week online mindfulness training program. They were measured before and after training and 4 months later for amount of mindfulness practice, perceived stress, self-compassion, and compassion. In addition, they submitted a self-reflective essay on how the mindfulness training program affected them.

 

They found that at the end of training and at the 4-month follow-up there was a significant decrease in perceived stress and increase in self-compassion. The greater the perceived stress and the lower the self-compassion at baseline, the greater the change after training. The essays revealed that although the students found the program valuable, they had difficulty in engaging in the practice amid their busy schedules. The students also commented that the program improved their self-awareness, self-compassion. and performance, and reduced their stress levels.

 

The results are compatible with prior research that mindfulness training decreases perceived stress and increases self-compassion. These benefits would likely contribute to reducing burnout during their education and perhaps later in their careers. Importantly, the study demonstrated that mindfulness training can be successfully delivered to medical students over the internet. This latter point is particularly important as the students were spread out in disparate rural communities and so in-person training was impossible. This underscores that importance of implementing the training over the internet.

 

So, reduce stress and increase self-compassion in medical students with online mindfulness training.

 

mindfulness training positively influences the way students approach and reflect on their well-being and education within the medical education context.” – Alice Malpass

 

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

 

Moore, S., Barbour, R., Ngo, H., Sinclair, C., Chambers, R., Auret, K., Hassed, C., & Playford, D. (2020). Determining the feasibility and effectiveness of brief online mindfulness training for rural medical students: a pilot study. BMC medical education, 20(1), 104. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-020-02015-6

 

Abstract

Background

We sought to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of a mindfulness training program, delivered online to medical students at a Rural Clinical School.

Methods

An 8-week online training program was delivered to penultimate-year medical students at an Australian Rural Clinical School during 2016. Using a mixed methods approach, we measured the frequency and duration of participants’ mindfulness meditation practice, and assessed changes in their perceived stress, self-compassion and compassion levels, as well as personal and professional attitudes and behaviours.

Results

Forty-seven participants were recruited to the study. 50% of participants were practising mindfulness meditation at least weekly by the end of the 8-week program, and 32% reported practising at least weekly 4 months following completion of the intervention. There was a statistically significant reduction in participants’ perceived stress levels and a significant increase in self-compassion at 4-month follow-up. Participants reported insights about the personal and professional impact of mindfulness meditation training as well as barriers to practice.

Conclusions

The results provide preliminary evidence that online training in mindfulness meditation can be associated with reduced stress and increased self-compassion in rural medical students. More rigorous research is required to establish concrete measures of feasibility of a mindfulness meditation program.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7137339/

 

Improve Self-Compassion with Psychophysiological Flexibility and Mindfulness

Improve Self-Compassion with Psychophysiological Flexibility and Mindfulness

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

self-compassion is strongly associated with emotional wellbeing, coping with life challenges, lower levels of anxiety and depression, healthy habits such as diet and exercise, and more satisfying personal relationships. It is an inner strength that enables us to be more fully human—to acknowledge our shortcomings, learn from them, and make necessary changes with an attitude of kindness and self-respect.” – Greater Good Science Center

 

One of the more remarkable aspects of Western culture is that in general people do not like themselves. We are constantly comparing ourselves to others and since there can only one best, virtually everyone falls short. So, we constantly criticize ourselves for not being the smartest, the swiftest, the strongest, the most liked, the most handsome or beautiful. If there wasn’t something wrong with us, then we would be the best. As a result, we become focused and obsessed with our flaws. This can lead to anxiety and worry.

 

Mindfulness promotes experiencing and accepting ourselves as we are, which is a direct antidote to seeing ourselves in comparison to others and as we wish to be. In other words, mindfulness promotes self-compassion. Self-compassion involves being warm and understanding about ourselves rather than self-criticism. If we have that attitude, we will like ourselves more and suffer less. So, it is important to study the mindfulness and self-compassion and their relationships with the ability to regulate emotional arousal.

 

In today’s Research News article “Is Dispositional Self-Compassion Associated With Psychophysiological Flexibility Beyond Mindfulness? An Exploratory Pilot Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00614/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1302118_69_Psycho_20200416_arts_A), Svendsen and colleagues recruited college students and had them complete scales measuring self-compassion, mindfulness, anxiety, and rumination. They also had their cardiac function measured at rest with an electrocardiogram (ECG). This was used to calculate the vagally mediated heart rate variability as a measure of psychophysiological flexibility. It measures the interplay between the parasympathetic and sympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system, with higher heart rate variability signaling parasympathetic predominance, usually indicating relaxation.

 

Employing regression analysis, they found that the higher the levels of self-compassion the higher the levels of mindfulness and psychophysiological flexibility. They also found that both higher levels of mindfulness and also self-compassion the lower the levels of anxiety and rumination (worry). So, mindfulness is related to self-compassion and lower anxiety and rumination and self-compassion is related to mindfulness and psychophysiological flexibility and lower anxiety and rumination.

 

The findings are correlative and as such causation cannot be determined. But they show that mindfulness is significantly related to self-compassion and both are related to better mental health. In prior manipulative studies, it has been demonstrated that mindfulness causes increased self-compassion and decreased anxiety and rumination. So, the present results likely reflect causal connections.

 

The results also demonstrated that self-compassion has the strongest relationship with psychophysiological flexibility suggesting that self-compassion is related to the ability to regulate emotional arousal. It is this ability that may underlie the lower levels of anxiety and rumination found with high levels of self-compassion. Hence, mindfulness and self-compassion are important components of the mental health of young adults.

 

So, improve self-compassion with psychophysiological flexibility and mindfulness.

 

“mindfulness increases empathy and compassion for others and for oneself, and that such attitudes are good for you. To me, that affirms that when we practice mindfulness, we are simultaneously strengthening our skills of compassion.” – Shauna Shapiro

 

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

 

Svendsen JL, Schanche E, Osnes B, Vøllestad J, Visted E, Dundas I, Nordby H, Binder P-E and Sørensen L (2020) Is Dispositional Self-Compassion Associated With Psychophysiological Flexibility Beyond Mindfulness? An Exploratory Pilot Study. Front. Psychol. 11:614. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00614

 

Abstract

Background: Dispositional mindfulness and self-compassion are shown to associate with less self-reported emotional distress. However, previous studies have indicated that dispositional self-compassion may be an even more important buffer against such distress than dispositional mindfulness. To our knowledge, no study has yet disentangled the relationship between dispositional self-compassion and mindfulness and level of psychophysiological flexibility as measured with vagally mediated heart rate variability (vmHRV). The aim was thus to provide a first exploratory effort to expand previous research relying on self-report measures by including a psychophysiological measure indicative of emotional stress reactivity.

Methods: Fifty-three university students filled out the “Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire” (FFMQ) and the “Self-Compassion Scale” (SCS), and their heart rate was measured during a 5 min resting electrocardiogram. Linear hierarchical regression analyses were conducted to examine the common and unique variance explained by the total scores of the FFMQ and the SCS on level of resting vmHRV.

Results: Higher SCS total scores associated significantly with higher levels of vmHRV also when controlling for the FFMQ total scores. The SCS uniquely explained 7% of the vmHRV. The FFMQ total scores did not associate with level of vmHRV.

Conclusion: These results offer preliminary support that dispositional self-compassion associates with better psychophysiological regulation of emotional arousal above and beyond mindfulness

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00614/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1302118_69_Psycho_20200416_arts_A

 

Improve Empathy and Self-Compassion in College Students with Mindfulness

Improve Empathy and Self-Compassion in College Students with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

When we are mindful of our suffering and respond with kindness, remembering that suffering is part of the shared human condition, we are able to cope with life’s struggles with greater ease.” – Kristin Neff

 

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 get the best jobs after graduation. This stress might in fact be counterproductive as the increased pressure can actually lead to stress and anxiety which can impede the student’s physical and mental health, well-being, and school performance. 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.

 

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 and resilience in the face of stress. Additionally, there is a widespread problem that many people don’t seem to like themselves. The antidote to self-dislike is self-compassion. Self-compassion is “treating oneself with kindness and understanding when facing suffering, seeing one’s failures as part of the human condition, and having a balanced awareness of painful thoughts and emotions” – Kristin Neff.  Mindfulness has been found to improve self-compassion. But there has been little systematic research of the effectiveness of mindfulness practice in developing empathy and self-compassion in college students.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of Mindfulness on Empathy and Self-Compassion: An Adapted MBCT Program on Filipino College Students.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7139462/), Centeno and colleagues recruited 2 groups of senior college students majoring in psychology who enrolled in a 4-week counseling class either with or without a mindfulness component. They were measured before and after the classes for mindfulness, self-compassion, and empathy, including the perspective taking, fantasy, empathic concern, and personal distress subscales.

 

They found in comparison to baseline that the group that received the mindfulness training had significantly higher levels of mindfulness, including the describing, observing, acting with awareness, nonjudging and nonreacting subscales, empathetic concern, and perspective taking while the control group did not. Self-compassion was improved in both groups with the mindfulness group having a much larger improvement.

 

The results are interesting and suggest that mindfulness training is beneficial for college students increasing mindfulness, self-compassion, and empathy. Although the study did not investigate this, the improvements in the student’s mental health should help them in dealing with the stresses of college and improve their academic performance.

 

So, improve empathy and self-compassion in college students with mindfulness.

 

the three features of self-compassion are kindness toward oneself, a sense of common humanity with others, and mindfulness— . . . each of these components buffer people against negative reactions to undesired events, like failure, humiliation, and rejection—all situations that are pretty common during the first year of college.” – Bianca Lorenz

 

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

 

Centeno R. (2020). Effect of Mindfulness on Empathy and Self-Compassion: An Adapted MBCT Program on Filipino College Students. Behavioral sciences (Basel, Switzerland), 10(3), 61. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs10030061

 

Abstract

Attending college is meaningful for many young adults. This period is marked by physical, emotional, and psychological changes that can have both positive and negative effects on college students. The last two decades have seen an alarming increase in the number of college students who suffer from mental health conditions, such as depression, suicide, anxiety, and alcohol abuse. It is recommended that actions to support the students’ wellbeing must be creative and evidence-based. Research suggests that a mindfulness-based intervention may be an effective strategy to address mental health conditions among college students. This study was done to examine the efficacy of an adapted mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) program that was implemented in a classroom setting in the Philippines and to explore how mindfulness practice can affect empathy and self-compassion on senior Filipino college students aged 19–22 years old. Two classes were used to compare the effects of mindfulness intervention. One class underwent the adapted MBCT program while the other class underwent the same kind of class without mindfulness interventions. Self-report measures of the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire, Perspective Taking subscale and Empathic Concern subscale of Interpersonal Reactivity Index, and Self-compassion scale—short form were administered before undergoing the adapted MBCT and after the program. After going through the adapted MBCT, college students’ mindfulness significantly improved. Empathy and self-compassion also significantly improved after undergoing the program. This corroborates previous studies done on mindfulness and its efficacy with adolescents and suggests how practicing mindfulness can improve empathy and self-compassion with Filipino college students. It provides a promising groundwork for the emerging interest and research in Asia, particularly in the Philippines, on how the practice of mindfulness can help with the mental health of college students.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7139462/

 

Improve a Biological Marker of Aging, Telomeres, with Meditation

Improve a Biological Marker of Aging, Telomeres, with Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“While we might expect our bodies and brains to follow a shared trajectory of development and degeneration over time, by actively practicing strategies such as meditation, we might actually preserve and protect our physical body and brain structure to extend our golden years and shine even more brightly in old age.” – Sonima Wellness

 

One of the most exciting findings in molecular biology in recent years was the discovery of the telomere. This is a component of the DNA molecule that is attached to the ends of the strands. Recent genetic research has suggested that the telomere and its regulation is the biological mechanism that produces aging. As we age the tail of the DNA molecule called the telomere shortens. When it gets very short cells have a more and more difficult time reproducing and become more likely to produce defective cells. On a cellular basis, this is what produces aging. As we get older the new cells produced are more and more likely to be defective. The shortening of the telomere occurs each time the cell is replaced. So, slowly as we age it gets shorter and shorter.

 

Fortunately, there is a mechanism to protect the telomere. There is an enzyme in the body called telomerase that helps to prevent shortening of the telomere. It also promotes cell survival and enhances stress-resistance.  Research suggests that processes that increase telomerase activity tend to slow the aging process by protecting the telomere.  One activity that seems to increase telomerase activity and protect telomere length is mindfulness practice. Hence, engaging in mindfulness practices may protect the telomere and thereby slow the aging process.

 

In today’s Research News article “Telomere length correlates with subtelomeric DNA methylation in long-term mindfulness practitioners.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7067861/), and Mendioroz colleagues recruited long-term meditators (greater than 10 years of experience) and non-meditators matched for gender, ethnic group, and age. They were measured for mindfulness, anxiety, depression, resilience, happiness, self-compassion, experiential avoidance, and quality of life. They also provided blood samples that were assayed for telomere length and DNA methylation.

 

They found that the long-term meditators were significantly higher in for mindfulness, resilience, happiness, self-compassion, and quality of life and significantly lower in for anxiety, depression, and experiential avoidance.

 

They also found that the meditators had significantly longer telomeres than the matched controls. Interestingly, while in the controls the greater the age of the participant the shorter the telomeres, in the long-term meditators, telomere length was the same regardless of age. In addition, they found that in the long-term meditators, telomere length was significantly associated with DNA methylation at specific regions but not for the matched controls.

 

This study found, as have others, that long-term meditation practice is associated with longer telomeres. The fact, that the telomere length was not associated with age in the meditators suggests that meditation practice may protect the individual from age-related erosion of telomeres. The results further suggest that meditation may do so through specific methylation of DNA. Stress has been shown to results in shortening the telomeres. Hence, a potential mechanism whereby meditation may protect telomeres may be by reducing the physiological and psychological responses to stress.

 

It is suspected, but not proven, that telomere length is related to health and well-being. The findings that the long-term meditators had significantly better mental health tends to support this notion. There is evidence that meditation practice increases longevity. It can be speculated that meditation practice may do so by affecting molecular genetic mechanisms that prevent the degradation of the telomeres with age.

 

So, improve a biological marker of aging, telomeres, with meditation.

 

Meditation also helps to protect our telomeres, the protective caps at the end of our chromosomes. Telomeres are longest when we’re young and naturally shorten as we age. Shorter telomeres are associated with stress and higher risk for many diseases including cancer, and depend on the telomerase enzyme to enable them to rebuild and repair.”- Paula Watkins

 

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

 

Mendioroz, M., Puebla-Guedea, M., Montero-Marín, J., Urdánoz-Casado, A., Blanco-Luquin, I., Roldán, M., Labarga, A., & García-Campayo, J. (2020). Telomere length correlates with subtelomeric DNA methylation in long-term mindfulness practitioners. Scientific reports, 10(1), 4564. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-61241-6

 

Abstract

Mindfulness and meditation techniques have proven successful for the reduction of stress and improvement in general health. In addition, meditation is linked to longevity and longer telomere length, a proposed biomarker of human aging. Interestingly, DNA methylation changes have been described at specific subtelomeric regions in long-term meditators compared to controls. However, the molecular basis underlying these beneficial effects of meditation on human health still remains unclear. Here we show that DNA methylation levels, measured by the Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip (Illumina) array, at specific subtelomeric regions containing GPR31 and SERPINB9 genes were associated with telomere length in long-term meditators with a strong statistical trend when correcting for multiple testing. Notably, age showed no association with telomere length in the group of long-term meditators. These results may suggest that long-term meditation could be related to epigenetic mechanisms, in particular gene-specific DNA methylation changes at distinct subtelomeric regions.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7067861/

 

Reduce Sedentariness with Mindfulness

Reduce Sedentariness with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness- and acceptance-based practices can help exercisers establish the consistent, high-quality exercise practices required to experience the health benefits of exercise and physical activity.” – R. Shangraw

 

We tend to think that illness is produced by physical causes, disease, injury, viruses, bacteria, etc. But many health problems are behavioral problems such as sedentary lifestyle. Promoting exercise and reducing sedentariness has the potential to markedly improve health. Mindfulness training also has been shown to promote health and improve illness. Mindfulness and exercise, though, are not entirely independent. Research has been accumulating on the relationship between mindfulness and exercise. It makes sense, then, to summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Exploring the Use of Meditation as a Valuable Tool to Counteract Sedentariness.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00299/full), Bigliassi and colleagues review and summarize the published research literature on the relationship of mindfulness with physical exercise,

 

They report that the published research has found that mindfulness increases physical activity in both normal, overweight and obese individuals. They also report that mindfulness increases self-compassion and it, in turn, increases the likelihood of engagement or reengagement in exercise. Mindfulness appears to facilitate exercise in active individuals by increasing sensory awareness of interoceptive and exteroceptive stimuli, making exercise more enjoyable. It can also improve mood and decrease anxiety which in turn reduces some emotional impediments to engaging in exercise. In addition, mindfulness reduces pain sensitivity which can improve engagement in high intensity exercises.

 

Both mindfulness and exercise are known to promote mental and physical health. The review suggests that they act synergistically with mindfulness making engaging in exercise more likely, increasing the sensory awareness of the exercise, reducing negative emotional impediments to exercise, increasing self-compassion, reducing the pain during exercise, and increasing the likelihood of reengagement in exercise after a lapse. Hence, mindfulness has beneficial effects to promote exercise, reducing sedentariness, and promoting health and well-being.

 

So, reduce sedentariness with Mindfulness.

 

Practicing mindfulness exercises and daily physical activity has been shown repeatedly to help manage stress and depression, and promote mental balance and happiness.” – Defeat Diabetes Foundation

 

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

 

Bigliassi M and Bertuzzi R (2020) Exploring the Use of Meditation as a Valuable Tool to Counteract Sedentariness. Front. Psychol. 11:299. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00299

 

Some forms of meditation have been recently proposed as effective tools to facilitate the handling of undesired thoughts and reappraisal of negative emotions that commonly arise during exercise-related situations. The effects of meditation-based interventions on psychological responses could also be used as a means by which to increase exercise adherence and counteract the detrimental consequences of sedentariness. In the present article, we briefly describe the effects of meditation on physical activity and related factors. We also propose a theoretical model as a means by which to further understanding of the effects of meditation on psychological, psychophysical, and psychophysiological responses during exercise. The results of very recent studies in the realms of cognitive and affective psychology are promising. The putative psychological mechanisms underlying the effects of meditation on exercise appear to be associated with the interpretation of interoceptive and exteroceptive sensory signals. This is primarily due to the fact that meditation influences the cerebral processing of physical sensations, emotions, and thoughts. In such instances, the bodily and perceptual responses that are commonly reported during exercise might be assuaged during the practice of meditation. It also appears that conscious presence and self-compassion function as an emotional backdrop against which more complex behaviors can be forged. In such instances, re-engagement to physical activity programs can be more effectively achieved through the implementation of holistic methods to treat the body and mind. The comments provided in the present paper might have very important implications for exercise adherence and the treatment of hypokinetic diseases.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00299/full

 

Mindfulness Training Improves Anxiety and Depression in Japanese Patients

Mindfulness Training Improves Anxiety and Depression in Japanese Patients

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“meditation was never conceived of as a treatment for any health problem. Rather, it is a path one travels on to increase our awareness and gain insight into our lives.” – Madhav Goyal

 

Many of the symptoms of psychological distress have been shown to be related to a lack of mindfulness, a focus on the present moment. Anxiety is often rooted in a persistent dread of future negative events while depression and rumination are rooted in the past, with persistent replaying of negative past events. Since mindfulness is firmly rooted in the present it is antagonistic toward anything rooted in the past or future. Hence, high levels of mindfulness cannot coexist with anxiety and rumination. In addition, high mindfulness has been shown to be related to high levels of emotion regulation and positive emotions. So, mindfulness would appear to be an antidote to psychological distress. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to reduce psychological distress, including anxiety and depression.

 

Most psychotherapies were developed to treat disorders in affluent western populations and may not be sensitive to the unique situations, cultures, and education levels of diverse populations. Hence, there is a need to investigate the effectiveness of psychological treatments with diverse populations. One increasingly popular treatment is mindfulness training. These include meditation, tai chi, qigongyoga, guided imagery, prayer, etc. There are indications that mindfulness therapies may be effective in diverse populations. But there is a need for further investigation with different populations.

 

In today’s Research News article “Changes in depression and anxiety through mindfulness group therapy in Japan: the role of mindfulness and self-compassion as possible mediators.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6378713/), Takahashi and colleagues recruited Japanese patients who suffered from anxiety or depression and provided them with an 8-week,  once a week for 2 hours, group mindfulness training that was a combination of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). They also practiced at home daily. They were measured before and after training and 2 months later for mindfulness, depression, anxiety, mind wandering, self-compassion, and behavioral activation.

 

They found that after mindfulness training there were significant reductions in anxiety and depression and significant increases in mindfulness and self-compassion that were maintained 2 months later. They also found that the greater the changes in the levels of mindfulness and self-compassion produced by the training, the greater the reductions in anxiety and depression. Hence, the mindfulness training produced lasting improvements in the mental health of Japanese patients suffering from anxiety or depression.

 

This study lacked a control group and is thus open to alternative confounding interpretations. But mindfulness training has been shown over a large number of well-controlled studies to improve self-compassion and to reduce anxiety and depression. So, the current improvements in mental health were also likely to be due to the mindfulness training. The major contribution of this research, however, is to add to the generalizability of mindfulness training’s ability to improve mental health by demonstrating that it is effective with Japanese patients with anxiety or depression.

 

So, mindfulness training improves anxiety and depression in Japanese patients.

 

“Mindfulness has been shown to help with people living with depression and anxiety. Americans often think a pill is the only way to fix things, but . . .  it doesn’t require any money to meditate so it seems like a purer way for people to live with these disorders.” – Katie Lindsley

 

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

 

Takahashi, T., Sugiyama, F., Kikai, T., Kawashima, I., Guan, S., Oguchi, M., … Kumano, H. (2019). Changes in depression and anxiety through mindfulness group therapy in Japan: the role of mindfulness and self-compassion as possible mediators. BioPsychoSocial medicine, 13, 4. doi:10.1186/s13030-019-0145-4

 

Abstract

Background

Mindfulness-based interventions are increasingly being implemented worldwide for problems with depression and anxiety, and they have shown evidence of efficacy. However, few studies have examined the effects of a mindfulness-based group therapy based on standard programs for depression and anxiety until follow-up in Japan. This study addresses that gap. Furthermore, this study explored the mechanisms of action, focusing on mindfulness, mind wandering, self-compassion, and the behavioral inhibition and behavioral activation systems (BIS/BAS) as possible mediators.

Methods

We examined 16 people who suffered from depression and/or anxiety in an 8-week mindfulness group therapy. Measurements were conducted using questionnaires on depression and trait-anxiety (outcome variables), mindfulness, mind wandering, self-compassion, and the BIS/BAS (process variables) at pre- and post-intervention and 2-month follow-up. Changes in the outcome and process variables were tested, and the correlations among the changes in those variables were explored.

Results

Depression and anxiety decreased significantly, with moderate to large effect sizes, from pre- to post-intervention and follow-up. In process variables, the observing and nonreactivity facets of mindfulness significantly increased from pre- to post-intervention and follow-up. The nonjudging facet of mindfulness and self-compassion significantly increased from pre-intervention to follow-up. Other facets of mindfulness, mind wandering, and the BIS/BAS did not significantly change. Improvements in some facets of mindfulness and self-compassion and reductions in BIS were significantly correlated with decreases in depression and anxiety.

Conclusions

An 8-week mindfulness group therapy program may be effective for people suffering from depression and anxiety in Japan. Mindfulness and self-compassion may be important mediators of the effects of the mindfulness group therapy. Future studies should confirm these findings by using a control group.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6378713/

 

Slow Cellular Aging with Mindfulness

Slow Cellular Aging with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

those with more years of meditation practice had longer telomere length overall, and that women meditators had significantly longer telomeres as compared to women non-meditators. These findings further support meditation’s positive effect on healthy cellular aging.” – Sonima Wellness

 

One of the most exciting findings in molecular biology in recent years was the discovery of the telomere. This is a component of the DNA molecule that is attached to the ends of the strands. Recent genetic research has suggested that the telomere and its regulation is the biological mechanism that produces aging. It has been found that the genes, coded on the DNA molecule, govern cellular processes in our bodies. One of the most fundamental of these processes is cell replication. Cells are constantly turning over. Dying cells or damaged are replaced by new cells. The cells turn over at different rates but most cells in the body are lost and replaced between every few days to every few months. Needless to say, we’re constantly renewing ourselves.

 

As we age the tail of the DNA molecule called the telomere shortens. When it gets very short cells have a more and more difficult time reproducing and become more likely to produce defective cells. On a cellular basis, this is what produces aging. As we get older the new cells produced are more and more likely to be defective. The shortening of the telomere occurs each time the cell is replaced. So, slowly as we age it gets shorter and shorter. This has been called a “mitotic clock.” This is normal. But telomere shortening can also be produced by oxidative stress, which can be produced by psychological and physiological stress. This is mediated by stress hormones and the inflammatory response. So, chronic stress can accelerate the aging process. In other words, when we’re chronically stressed, we get older faster.

 

Fortunately, there is a mechanism to protect the telomere. There is an enzyme in the body called telomerase that helps to prevent shortening of the telomere. It also promotes cell survival and enhances stress-resistance.  Research suggests that processes that increase telomerase activity tend to slow the aging process by protecting the telomere.  One activity that seems to increase telomerase activity and protect telomere length is mindfulness practice. Hence, engaging in mindfulness practices may protect the telomere and thereby slow the aging process.

 

In today’s Research News article “Association among dispositional mindfulness, self-compassion, and leukocyte telomere length in Chinese adults.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6647116/), Keng and colleagues recruited adults, aged 18 to 55 years of age, with no regular meditation or mindfulness practice. Blood samples were drawn and leukocyte telomere length measured. In addition, they were measured for mindfulness, self-compassion, anxiety, depression, and stress.

 

They found that, as expected, the older the participant the shorter the telomere length and the higher the levels of perceived stress, the shorter the telomere length. When controlling for age they found that the higher the levels of overall mindfulness and the nonreactivity facet of mindfulness the longer the length of the telomeres. Also, when controlling for age the higher the levels of overall self-compassion and the common humanity and de-identification from one’s thoughts and emotions facets of self-compassion the longer the length of the telomeres.

 

It needs to be kept in mind that these results are correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. However, previous research has demonstrated a causal link by training mindfulness and finding increased telomere lengths. This suggests that the present associations were due to a causal connection between mindfulness and telomere length.

 

In addition, these were young and middle-aged adults who did not display high levels of mindfulness, stress or psychological distress. Mindfulness is thought to affect telomere length as a result of reducing stress which is responsible for shortening the telomers. So, only mild association would be expected. Clearer larger association may require older more distressed participants. The fact that it was the nonreactivity facet of mindfulness that was most strongly associated with longer telomeres supports the contention that stress reduction is the critical effect of mindfulness. By reducing the reaction to events, stress is lowered which, in turn, decreases cellular aging.

 

These results suggest that mindfulness, particularly the nonreactivity facet of mindfulness and self-compassion common humanity and de-identification from one’s thoughts and emotions facets of self-compassion reduces cellular aging. Mindfulness increases self-compassion. So, although not tested here, mindfulness may decrease cellular aging both directly and indirectly via self-compassion. By protecting the telomeres from shortening and mindfulness reduces cellular aging. In this way mindfulness may lead to happier and longer lives.

 

So, slow cellular aging with mindfulness.

 

one of the most effective interventions, apparently capable of slowing the erosion of telomeres – and perhaps even lengthening them again – is meditation.” – Jo Marchant

 

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

 

Keng, S. L., Yim, O. S., Lai, P. S., Chew, S. H., & Ebstein, R. P. (2019). Association among dispositional mindfulness, self-compassion, and leukocyte telomere length in Chinese adults. BMC psychology, 7(1), 47. doi:10.1186/s40359-019-0323-y

 

Abstract

Background

Whereas meditation training has been purported to support slower cellular aging, little work has explored the association among different facets of dispositional mindfulness, self-compassion, and cellular aging. The present study aimed to examine the relationship between leukocyte telomere length (LTL), an index of cellular aging, dispositional mindfulness, and self-compassion in a sample of Singaporean Chinese adults.

Methods

One hundred and fifty-eight Chinese adults (mean age = 27.24 years; 63.3% female) were recruited from the community and completed self-report measures assessing dispositional mindfulness, self-compassion, and psychological symptoms, as well as provided blood samples for analyses of LTL. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to examine the role of trait mindfulness and self-compassion in predicting LTL, taking into consideration potential covariates such as chronological age and psychological symptoms.

Results

Results showed that nonreactivity, one of the five facets of dispositional mindfulness, was significantly associated with LTL, after controlling for chronological age. There was also a trend for dispositional mindfulness, self-compassion, and their selected facets (i.e., nonjudging, common humanity, and de-identification) to each be associated with longer LTL.

Conclusions

Overall, the findings provide preliminary support for the association among aspects of dispositional mindfulness, self-compassion, and aging. In particular, individuals high on nonreactivity experience slower aging at the cellular level, likely through engaging in more adaptive coping mechanisms.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6647116/

 

Be Better Parents with Online Mindful Parenting

Be Better Parents with Online Mindful Parenting

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Managing our own emotions and behaviors is the key to teaching kids how to manage theirs. . . Unfortunately, when you’re stressed out, exhausted, and overwhelmed, you can’t be available for your child.” – Jill Cedar

 

Raising children, parenting, is very rewarding. But it can also be challenging. Children test parents frequently. They test the boundaries of their freedom and the depth of parental love. They demand attention and seem to especially when parental attention is needed elsewhere. They don’t always conform to parental dictates or aspirations for their behavior. The challenges of parenting require that the parents be able to deal with stress, to regulate their own emotions, and to be sensitive and attentive their child. These skills are exactly those that are developed in mindfulness training. It improves the psychological and physiological responses to stress. It improves emotion regulation. It improves the ability to maintain attention and focus in the face of high levels of distraction.

 

Mindful parenting involves the parents having emotional awareness of themselves and compassion for the child and having the skills to pay full attention to the child in the present moment, to accept parenting non-judgmentally and be emotionally non-reactive to the child. Mindful parenting has been shown to have positive benefits for both the parents and the children.

 

The vast majority of the mindfulness training techniques, however, require a trained therapist. This results in costs that many parents 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 parents’ busy schedules and at locations that may not be convenient. As an alternative, mindfulness trainings over the internet 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 online trainings in reducing parental stress and improving parenting.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Randomized Control Trial Evaluating an Online Mindful Parenting Training for Mothers With Elevated Parental Stress.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6650592/), Potharst and colleagues recruited mothers who were high in perceived stress and reported parenting problems. The mothers were randomly assigned to either receive an online mindful parenting program or to a wait list control condition. The online mindful parenting program consisted of 8 weekly session with instructions and exercises on meditation, mindful parenting, and self-compassion. They were measured before and after the training and 10 weeks later after the wait list group had received the intervention for parental stress, overreactive parenting discipline, mindful parenting, self-compassion, anxiety, and depression. In addition, both parents rated the child for child aggressive behavior and emotional reactivity.

 

They found that the online mindful parenting program in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control group produced significant reductions in anxiety, depression, overreactive parenting discipline, parental role restriction and child emotional reactivity and significant increases in self-compassion.

 

These results suggest that an online mindful parenting program can be successfully implemented and that it significantly improves the psychological health of the mothers, their parenting, and the child’s behavior. Mindful parenting has been previously shown to have positive benefits for both the parents and the children. The contribution of the present study is in demonstrating that mindful parenting can be successfully conducted online with stressed mothers. This greatly increases the ability to roll out this effective program to a much wider audience at low cost.

 

Parenting is difficult and stressful enough under the best of conditions. It is encouraging to find a relatively simple, convenient and inexpensive program that can help the parents to become better parents and to ease their psychological burden.

 

So, be better parents with online mindful parenting.

 

It seems there’s no one right way to parent mindfully. Happily, there are many right ways. Sometimes “It’s as simple as practicing paying full attention to our kids, with openness and compassion, and maybe that’s enough at any moment.” – Juliann Garey

 

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

 

Potharst, E. S., Boekhorst, M., Cuijlits, I., van Broekhoven, K., Jacobs, A., Spek, V., … Pop, V. (2019). A Randomized Control Trial Evaluating an Online Mindful Parenting Training for Mothers With Elevated Parental Stress. Frontiers in psychology, 10, 1550. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01550

 

Abstract

Objectives

The prevalence of maternal stress in early years of parenting can negatively impact child development. Therefore, there is a need for an early intervention that is easily accessible and low in costs. The current study examined the effectiveness of an 8-session online mindful parenting training for mothers with elevated levels of parental stress.

Methods

A total of 76 mothers were randomized into an intervention (n = 43) or a waitlist control group (n = 33). The intervention group completed pretest assessment prior to the online intervention. Participants completed a post intervention assessment after the 10 weeks intervention and a follow-up assessment 10 weeks later. The waitlist group completed waitlist assessment, followed by a 10-week waitlist period. After these 10 weeks, a pretest assessment took place, after which the waitlist group participants also started the intervention, followed by the posttest assessment. Participating mothers completed questionnaires on parental stress (parent-child interaction problems, parenting problems, parental role restriction) and other maternal (over-reactive parenting discipline, self-compassion, symptoms of depression and anxiety) and child outcomes (aggressive behavior and emotional reactivity) while the non-participating parents (father or another mother) were asked to also report on child outcomes.

Results

The online mindful parenting intervention was shown to be significantly more effective at a 95% level than a waitlist period with regard to over-reactive parenting discipline and symptoms of depression and anxiety (small and medium effect sizes), and significantly more effective at a 90% level with regard to self-compassion, and mother-rated child aggressive behavior and child emotional reactivity (small effect sizes). The primary outcome, parental stress, was found to have a 95% significant within-group effect only for the subscale parental role restriction (delayed small effect size improvement at follow-up). No significant improvements on child outcomes were found for the non-participating parent.

Conclusion

To conclude, the results provide first evidence that an online mindful parenting training may be an easily accessible and valuable intervention for mothers with elevated levels of parental stress.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6650592/

 

Improve the Psychological Health of Survivors of Childhood Maltreatment with Mindfulness

Improve the Psychological Health of Survivors of Childhood Maltreatment with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Because traumatic experience is often driven by avoidance of one’s core self, memories, and emotions, many people with unresolved or resolving developmental trauma struggle to remain present with themselves and others. . . Various forms of meditation, typically in the mindfulness tradition, can be helpful for this.” – Grant Brenner

 

“Child maltreatment is the abuse and neglect that occurs to children under 18 years of age. It includes all types of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect, negligence and commercial or other exploitation, which results in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power. Exposure to intimate partner violence is also sometimes included as a form of child maltreatment” (World Health Organization, 2016)

 

This maltreatment is traumatic and can leave in its wake symptoms which can haunt the victims for the rest of their lives. These include persistent recurrent re-experiencing of the traumatic event, including flashbacks and nightmares, loss of interest in life, detachment from other people, increased anxiety and emotional arousal, including outbursts of anger, difficulty concentration, and jumpiness, startling easily. Unfortunately, childhood maltreatment can continue to affect mental and physical health throughout the individual’s life. How individuals cope with childhood maltreatment helps determine the effects of the maltreatment on their mental health. It has been found that experiencing the feelings and thoughts completely allows for better coping. This can be provided by mindfulness. Indeed, mindfulness has been found to be effective for relieving trauma symptoms.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Self-Compassion and Psychological Health Among Young Adults With a History of Childhood Maltreatment.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6843003/), Joss and colleagues recruited meditation naïve adults who had experienced childhood maltreatment. They were randomly assigned either to a wait list or to receive a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program with 8 weekly, 2.5 hour sessions consisting of meditation, yoga, body scan, and discussion. They were also instructed to practice daily at home. They were measured before and after training for perceived stress, anxiety, depression, self-compassion, and mindfulness.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list controls, the participants who received the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program had significant decreases in perceived stress and anxiety and increases in self-compassion, with the greater the number of MBSR sessions attended the greater the size of the effects. They also found that the greater the severity of the childhood maltreatment the lower the effectiveness of the MBSR program. In addition, they found that the changes in mindfulness produced by MBSR affected both anxiety and stress both directly and indirectly via changes in self-compassion. So, higher mindfulness produced reductions in both anxiety and stress directly and also as a result of the changes in mindfulness producing increases in self-compassion that in turn produced reductions in anxiety and stress.

 

These results are not surprising as mindfulness training has been previously shown to reduce perceived stress and anxiety and increase self-compassion. But this study demonstrated that mindfulness training is effective for adults who experience maltreatment during childhood. Childhood maltreatment produces life-long negative consequences for the psychological health of the individual. The findings, then, are encouraging and suggest that mindfulness training can help in reducing these negative effects. It appears, though that the worse the maltreatment the harder it is for the mindfulness training to improve the victim’s mental health.

 

The findings suggest that mindfulness training improves the psychological health of childhood maltreatment victims, in part, by increasing the individual’s compassion for themselves. Self-compassion is “treating oneself with kindness and understanding when facing suffering, . . . and having a balanced awareness of painful thoughts and emotions” – (Kristin Neff).  Learning to have this compassion for oneself appears to be important for dealing with the consequences of childhood maltreatment. Mindfulness training can effectively elevate this self-compassion producing improved mental health.

 

So, improve the psychological health of survivors of childhood maltreatment with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness practice interventions in their various forms were found to have positive outcomes when addressing trauma children and adolescents and adults with childhood trauma.” – Margaret Fisher

 

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

 

Joss, D., Khan, A., Lazar, S. W., & Teicher, M. H. (2019). Effects of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Self-Compassion and Psychological Health Among Young Adults With a History of Childhood Maltreatment. Frontiers in psychology, 10, 2373. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02373

 

Abstract

Background

Individuals who were maltreated during childhood are faced with increased risks for developing various psychological symptoms that are particularly resistant to traditional treatments. This pilot study investigated the effects of a mindfulness based behavioral intervention for young adults with a childhood maltreatment history.

Methods

This study looked at self-report psychological questionnaires from 20 subjects (5 males) before and after a mindfulness-based behavioral intervention, compared to 18 subjects (6 males) in the waiting list control group (age range 22–29); all subjects experienced mild-to-moderate childhood maltreatment. We analyzed changes in stress, anxiety, depression, mindfulness and self-compassion related to the intervention with linear mixed effects models; we also analyzed the relationships among questionnaire score changes with partial correlation analyses and mediation analysis.

Results

Linear mixed effects model analyses revealed significant group by time interaction on stress (p < 0.01), anxiety (p < 0.05), and self-compassion (p < 0.01), with the mindfulness group having significant reduction in stress and anxiety (p < 0.01), and significant increase in mindfulness (p < 0.05) and self-compassion (p < 0.001). Partial correlation analyses showed that among all subjects from both groups, changes in mindfulness positively correlated with changes in self-compassion (r = 0.578, p = 0.001), which negatively correlated with changes in depression (r = −0.374, p = 0.05) and anxiety (r = −0.395, p < 0.05). Changes in self-compassion mediated, in part, the relationship between changes in mindfulness and changes in anxiety (average causal mediation effect = −4.721, p < 0.05). We observed a dose-dependent effect of the treatment, i.e., the number of intervention sessions attended were negatively correlated with changes in stress (r = −0.674, p < 0.01), anxiety (r = −0.580, p < 0.01), and depression (r = −0.544, p < 0.05), after controlling for the individual differences in childhood maltreatment severity.

Conclusion

Our results suggest that, to some extent, the mindfulness-based intervention can be helpful for improving self-compassion and psychological health among young adults with a childhood maltreatment history.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6843003/

 

Improve Well-Being in Nurses with Mindfulness

Improve Well-Being in Nurses with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“For nurses, many of them went into the field because of their ability to connect with people and make a difference in their lives. Mindfulness is a path to help us reconnect with what brings meaning to the profession. It brings humanity back to healthcare.” – Susan Bauer-Wu

 

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

 

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

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness to promote nurses’ well-being.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6716566/), Penque recruited Registered Nurses (RNs). They participated in a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. The MBSR program consists of 8 weekly 1-hour group sessions involving meditation, yoga, body scan, and discussion. The participants were also encouraged to perform daily practice at home. They were measured before and after training and 3 months later for mindfulness, self-compassion, serenity, interpersonal reactivity, work satisfaction, and burnout.

 

She found that following the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program there were significant increases in mindfulness, self-compassion including  self-kindness, common humanity, mindfulness, serenity, and interpersonal reactivity including perspective taking, and empathetic concern. There were also significant decreases in burnout, isolation, overidentification, self-judgment, and personal distress. She also found that the higher the levels of mindfulness, the higher the levels of self-compassion and serenity.

 

The results must be interpreted with caution as there wasn’t a control, comparison, group. So, potential confounds such as placebo effects, experimenter bias, Hawthorne effects, etc. were present. Other, better controlled studies, however, have demonstrated that mindfulness training increases self-compassion and reduces burnout. So, it is likely that these same benefits of mindfulness training occurred here irrespective of confounding conditions.

 

The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program is a complex of meditation, yoga, and body scan practices. It is not possible to determine which components or combination of components were responsible for the benefits. Regardless, the results suggest that MBSR training is a safe and effective program to improve the well-being of nurses and reduce burnout. This can not only improve the psychological health of the nurses but also improve the retention of these valuable and important healthcare workers.

 

So, improve well-being in nurses with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness can positively affect how nurses feel and cope with the pressures of their work, thereby resulting in better self-care and improved patient outcomes.” – Nursing Times

 

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

 

Penque S. (2019). Mindfulness to promote nurses’ well-being. Nursing management, 50(5), 38–44. doi:10.1097/01.NUMA.0000557621.42684.c4

 

This article examines the effects of MBSR on job-relevant factors, including mindfulness, self-compassion, empathy, serenity, work satisfaction, incidental overtime, and job burnout. Nursing is a high-stress profession that may be taking a toll on our nurses. Mindfulness-based programs can help nurses develop skills to manage clinical stress and improve their health; increase overall attention, empathy, and presence with patients and families; and experience work satisfaction, serenity, decreased incidental overtime, and reduced job burnout.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6716566/