Improve Learning and Well-Being in College Students with Mindfulness and Coaching

Improve Learning and Well-Being in College Students with Mindfulness and Coaching

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

academic benefits of mindfulness include improved memory and focus, as well as relief from stress and anxiety. (Better test scores, anyone?) Mindfulness can also be a remedy for procrastination, which, as it turns out, is an “emotion management problem.” – Priya Thomas

 

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. It has also been found to promote the well-being of college students. Academically, it has been shown to improve memory, focused attention, and school performance. Academic coaching has long been known to also assist college students in their studies. The combination of mindfulness and academic coaching, however, has not been well explored.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness and Coaching to Improve Learning Abilities in University Students: A Pilot Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7142624/) Corti and Gelati compared meditation naïve college students who signed up for and completed a short 10-module intervention called Mindful Effective Learning to students who did not sign up. Each module lasted for 3.5 hours. Modules trained students for mindfulness meditation, effective self-awareness and attention regulation, self-regulated study, study planning and time management, study techniques and mnemonics. The participants were measured before and after training for study organization, elaboration, self-evaluation, use of strategies, and metacognition, self-regulation, emotion regulation, anxiety, resilience, and mindfulness. They also completed a survey 6 months later about their experiences and one year later reported their grades.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and to the no-treatment control group, the group that received Mindful Effective Learning training had significantly greater improvements in all measured variables. In other words, they had better study skills, mindfulness, self-regulation, motivation, and well-being. In addition, a year later, the trained students had improved grades.

 

This study is interesting but must be interpreted cautiously as the control group was not active and did not receive and training of any kind. This opens the study up to alternative interpretations including attention effects, participant expectancy effects, experimenter bias etc. In addition, the students self-selected whether to participate in Mindful Effective Learning training or not. This suggests that there may have been systematic differences between the students in the two groups.

 

It would have been better if the control group was active, receiving some form of training such as coping with college training. It would have been more interesting if a control group was included that received all of the study skills training without mindfulness meditation. This would help to determine if mindfulness or study skills training was the important component. Regardless, the pilot study was successful and provides rationale for performing a more extensive better controlled study.

 

So, improve learning and well-being in college students with mindfulness and coaching.

 

“Mindfulness and meditation are both great ways for students to improve their health. And the benefits of these practices can also trickle into their academic lives.” – Kenya McCullum

 

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

 

Corti, L., & Gelati, C. (2020). Mindfulness and Coaching to Improve Learning Abilities in University Students: A Pilot Study. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(6), 1935. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17061935

 

Abstract

This pilot study investigated the effects of a short 10-module intervention called MEL (Mindful Effective Learning), which integrates mindfulness, coaching, and training on study strategies, to improve learning abilities among university students. Inspired by ample research on the learning topics that points out how effective learning and good academic results depend simultaneously on self-regulation while studying combined with emotional and motivational factors, the intervention aimed to train students simultaneously in these three aspects. The intervention group participants (N = 21) and the control group participants (N = 24) were surveyed pre- and post-intervention with the Italian questionnaire AMOS (Abilities and Motivation to Study) and the Italian version of the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS). The results showed that, regarding self-regulation in study, trained students improved their self-awareness, self-evaluation ability, metacognition skills, and organizational and elaborative ability to manage study materials; regarding emotional aspects, they improved their anxiety control; regarding motivation they developed an incremental theory of Self and improved their confidence in their own intelligence. Moreover, two follow-up self-report surveys were conducted, and trained students reported positive assessments of the MEL intervention. Findings suggest that a short intervention based on mindfulness and coaching and training on study strategies may improve students’ effective learning.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7142624/

 

Reduce Smartphone Addiction and Improve Stress Coping in Adolescents with Meditation

Reduce Smartphone Addiction and Improve Stress Coping in Adolescents with Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

over a third of us check our phones in the middle of the night. And a further third check our phones within five minutes of waking up. The same survey also revealed that about a third of us have argued with our partners about using their phones too much.” – Neil Tranter

 

Over the last few decades, the internet has gone from a rare curiosity to the dominant mode of electronic communications. In fact, it has become a dominant force in daily life, occupying large amounts of time and attention. The dominant mode of accessing the internet is through smartphones creating smartphone addictions. Individuals with smartphone addiction develop greater levels of “tolerance” and experience “withdrawal” and distress when deprived. This phenomenon is so new that there is little understanding of its nature, causes, and consequences and how to treat it.

 

Adolescence is a time of mental, physical, social, and emotional growth. It is during this time that higher levels of thinking, sometimes called executive function, develops. But adolescence can be a difficult time, fraught with challenges and stresses. During this time the child transitions to young adulthood; including the development of intellectual, psychological, physical, and social abilities and characteristics. There are so many changes occurring during this time that the child can feel overwhelmed and stressed and unable to cope with all that is required.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to be helpful with addictions, decreasing cravings, impulsiveness, and psychological and physiological responses to stress, and increasing emotion regulation.  Mindfulness has also been shown to be effective for the treatment of a variety of addictions. Meditation, a core mindfulness training technique, has been shown to be effective in treating addictions. Hence, there is a need to further explore the ability of meditation training to treat smartphone addiction in adolescents.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effect of Mind Subtraction Meditation Intervention on Smartphone Addiction and the Psychological Wellbeing among Adolescents.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7246924/), Choi and colleagues recruited High School sophomores at two different schools and provided one group with school based meditation training for 20 minutes twice a week for 12 weeks while the second group received no treatment. They were measured before and after training and 4 weeks later for smartphone addiction, self-control, perceived stress, and stress coping skills.

 

They found that after treatment the meditation but not the control group had a significant reduction in perceived stress and smartphone addiction, including decreases in daily life disturbance, tolerance, and withdrawal symptoms. They also found significant increases in self-control and stress coping strategies including problem focusing coping and social support navigation coping. They also found that theses effects were still present and significant 4 weeks after the end of training.

 

These are interesting results that would have been stronger is an active control condition such as exercise was used. Nevertheless, the results suggest that school-based meditation practice can reduce stress, improve stress coping and self-control and decrease addiction to smartphones in adolescents. This should help these young people to better deal with their school stress and be better able to perform academically and socially.

 

So, reduce smartphone addiction and improve stress coping in adolescents with meditation.

 

These devices and capabilities do bring incredible benefits and possibilities for sharing information and creating global interaction than ever before. We simply (and yet with great difficulty) need to learn to hold our technology more lightly—with more awareness.” – Mitch Abblett

 

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

 

Choi, E. H., Chun, M. Y., Lee, I., Yoo, Y. G., & Kim, M. J. (2020). The Effect of Mind Subtraction Meditation Intervention on Smartphone Addiction and the Psychological Wellbeing among Adolescents. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(9), 3263. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093263

 

Abstract

As the smartphone has become an indispensable device in modern lives, consequential psychosocial problems such as smartphone addiction have been getting attention worldwide, especially regarding adolescents. Based on its positive effect on young individuals’ mental health, mind subtraction meditation has been widely applied to many school-based programs in South Korea. This study aims to identify the effects of a school program based on mind subtraction on the smartphone addiction of adolescents. A total of 49 high school sophomores, 24 from the experimental group (mean age = 16), and 25 from the control group (mean age = 16) are included in this case-control study. The experimental group is given the meditation program sessions in the morning, two times a week for 20 min per session, for a total of 12 weeks. The experimental group shows improvements regarding the ‘smartphone addiction’ section (p < 0.001), for instant satisfaction (p < 0.001) and long-term satisfaction (p < 0.001). Concerning the ‘self-control’ section and decreasing stress (p < 0.001), problem focusing (p < 0.001), and social support navigation (p = 0.018), there are improvements in these ‘stress coping strategies’ sections. This study directly shows the positive effect of mind subtraction meditation on smartphone addiction in adolescents and, thus, provides guidance to the future development of smartphone addiction prevention programs for young individuals.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7246924/

 

Improve Primary School Students’ Attention and Behavior with Mindfulness

Improve Primary School Students’ Attention and Behavior with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

For kids who have suffered from prolonged stress or trauma, mindfulness seems to offer a way of “short-circuiting” the fight-or-flight response. It helps kids with the greatest self-regulation challenges adapt to slower, more methodical classroom settings.” – Amanda Moreno

 

Childhood is a miraculous period during which the child is dynamically absorbing information from every aspect of its environment. It is here that behaviors, knowledge, skills, and attitudes are developed that shape the individual. But what is absorbed depends on the environment. If it is replete with speech, the child will learn speech, if it is replete with trauma, the child will learn fear, if it is replete with academic skills the child will learn these, and if it is replete with interactions with others, the child will learn social skills.

 

Elementary school environments have a huge effect on development. They are also excellent times to teach children the skills to adaptively negotiate its environment. Mindfulness training in school, at all levels has been shown to have very positive effects. These include academic, cognitive, psychological, and social domains. Importantly, mindfulness training in school appears to improve the student’s self-concept. It also improves attentional ability and reduces stress, which are keys to successful learning in school. Since, what occurs in the early years of school can have such a profound, long-term effect on the child it is important to further study the impact of mindfulness training on the development of thinking skills in elementary school children.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effect of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Attention, Self-Control, and Aggressiveness in Primary School Pupils.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7178275/), Suárez-García and colleagues recruited two 3rd grade primary school classes with children between the ages of 7 to 10 years. One class received 8 weekly mindfulness training sessions with 10 minutes of daily practice. At the end of the 8 weeks of training for the first class, the second class received the mindfulness training. They were measured before and after each intervention for intellectual ability and attentional ability. In addition, the teachers were asked to evaluate the children for attentional problems, self-control deficits, and aggressiveness.

 

They found that in comparison to the control classroom and the baseline the mindfulness trained children had significant reductions in attentional problems and self-control deficits. The second class after their mindfulness training also showed significant reductions in attentional problems and self-control deficits. No significant changes in aggressiveness were observed.

 

The results are similar to findings with adults that mindfulness training improves attention and self-control and that mindfulness training can be successfully implemented in schools producing improvements in attentional ability. The findings that mindfulness training in 3rd grade classrooms can also improve attention and self-control is important as these abilities are essential to the education of the students. The improvements would also contribute to better management of the classroom. Changes in academic progress were not measured. But the results suggest that the children would perform better in school after mindfulness training.

 

So, improve primary school students’ attention and behavior with mindfulness.

 

for students specifically, mindfulness has been shown to improve cognitive performance, so students can focus and concentrate better.” – Anya Kamenetz

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Suárez-García, Z., Álvarez-García, D., García-Redondo, P., & Rodríguez, C. (2020). The Effect of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Attention, Self-Control, and Aggressiveness in Primary School Pupils. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(7), 2447. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072447

 

Abstract

The objective of this study was to examine the effect of Mindkeys Training, a mindfulness-based educational intervention, on attention, self-control, and aggressiveness in third-year primary school pupils. In order to achieve this aim, a switching replications design was used. Two groups of third year primary students (nGE1 = 40; nGE2 = 33), aged between 7 and 10 years old (M = 8.08; DT = 0.49), had the intervention at different time points, such that while one served as the experimental group, the other served as the control group. Longitudinal differences were examined in both groups, and cross-sectional differences were examined between the two groups at three time points; at the start of the study, and following the intervention with each group. To that end, measurements of problems of attention, deficits of self-control, and aggressiveness for students were obtained via a teacher rating scale. The intervention program demonstrated a positive effect on the reduction of pupils’ attention problems, deficits of self-control, and aggressiveness. The effects were greater on the cognitive variables that the intervention worked on directly (attention and self-control). Attention was the variable on which the intervention exhibited the longest term effects.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7178275/