Mind-Body Skills Training Improves College Student Mental Health and Well-Being

Mind-Body Skills Training Improves College Student Mental Health and Well-Being

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

By focusing on and controlling our breath, we can change how we think and feel. We can use the breath as a means of changing our emotional state and managing stress.” —Tommy Rosen

 

There is an accumulating volume of research findings to demonstrate that Mind-body practices have highly beneficial effects on the health and well-being of humans. These include meditation, yoga, tai chi, qigong, biofeedback, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, hypnosis, and deep breathing exercises. Because of their proven benefits the application of these practices to relieving human suffering has skyrocketed.

 

There is a lot of pressure on college students to excel. 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. Mindfulness training has been shown through extensive research to be effective in improving physical and psychological health. Indeed, these practices have been found to improve psychological health in college students. So, it would be expected that training in mind-body practices would improve the psychological health of college students.

 

In today’s Research News article “Impact of a University-Wide Interdisciplinary Mind-Body Skills Program on Student Mental and Emotional Well-Being.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7686595/ ) Novak and colleagues recruited college students who were enrolled to take a mind-body skills program and an equivalent group of control college students. The program consisted of 9-weeks of once a week for 2 hours training and discussion of “mindfulness, guided imagery, autogenic training, biofeedback, and breathing techniques, as well as art, music, and movement practices” in groups of 10. The students were instructed to practice daily at home for 20 minutes. They were measured before and after training for perceived stress, positive and negative emotions, resilience, depression, anxiety, fatigue, sleep disturbance, mindfulness, interpersonal reactivity, and burnout. Subsets of each group were remeasured one year after the completion of the study. There were no significant differences in these measures between the groups at baseline.

 

They found that in comparison to the baseline and the control group, the students who received mind-body skills training had significant decreases in perceived stress, negative affect, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and burnout and significant increases in positive emotions, resilience, mindfulness, empathic concern, and perspective taking. In addition, the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the levels of perceived stress, negative emotions and depersonalization and the higher the levels of positive emotions, resilience, and perspective taking. Unfortunately, these improvements, except for mindfulness, disappeared by the one year follow up.

 

The present study did not have an active control condition. So, it is possible that confounding factors such as participant expectancy, experimenter bias, attention effects etc. may have been responsible for the results. But in prior controlled research it has been demonstrated that mindfulness training produces decreases in perceived stress, negative emotions, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and burnout and significant increases in positive emotions, resilience, and empathic concern. So, it is likely that the benefits observed in the present study were due to the mind-body skills training.

 

These results then suggest that mind-body skills training produces marked improvements in the psychological health and well-being of college students. But the improvements were not lasting. This may signal the need for better training protocols or periodic booster session to maintain the benefits. Given the great academic stress, pressure, and social stresses of college life, the students were much better off for taking the mind-body skills training program. It was not measured but these benefits would predict increased academic performance and improved well-being in these students.

 

So, mind-body skills training improves college student mental health and well-being.

 

mind/body approaches to healing and wellness are gaining in popularity in the U.S. and research supports their efficacy in treating a number of psychological and physical health issues that are not easily treated by mainstream medicine.” – Doug Guiffrida

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Novak, B. K., Gebhardt, A., Pallerla, H., McDonald, S. B., Haramati, A., & Cotton, S. (2020). Impact of a University-Wide Interdisciplinary Mind-Body Skills Program on Student Mental and Emotional Well-Being. Global Advances in Health and Medicine, 9, 2164956120973983. https://doi.org/10.1177/2164956120973983

 

Abstract

Background

Positive effects of mind-body skills programs on participant well-being have been reported in health professions students. The success seen with medical students at this university led to great interest in expanding the mind-body skills program so students in other disciplines could benefit from the program.

Objective

The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of a 9-week mind-body skills program on the mental and emotional well-being of multidisciplinary students compared to controls. We also sought to determine if the program’s effects were sustained at 1-year follow-up.

Methods

A cross-sectional pre-post survey was administered online via SurveyMonkey to participants of a 9-week mind-body skills program and a control group of students from 7 colleges at a public university from 2017–2019. Students were assessed on validated measures of stress, positive/negative affect, resilience, depression, anxiety, fatigue, sleep disturbance, mindfulness, empathy, and burnout. Scores were analyzed between-groups and within-groups using bivariate and multivariate analyses. A 1-year follow-up was completed on a subset of participants and controls.

Results

279 participants and 247 controls completed the pre-survey and post-survey (79% response rate; 71% female, 68% white, mean age = 25 years). Participants showed significant decreases in stress, negative affect, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and burnout, while positive affect, resilience, mindfulness, and empathy increased significantly (P < .05). Only sleep disturbance showed a significant decrease in the control group. Follow-up in a subset of participants showed that only mindfulness remained elevated at 1-year (P < .05), whereas the significant changes in other well-being measures were not sustained.

Conclusion

Participation in a 9-week mind-body skills program led to significant improvement in indicators of well-being in multidisciplinary students. A pilot 1-year follow-up suggests that effects are only sustained for mindfulness, but not other parameters. Future programming should focus on implementing mind-body skills booster sessions to help sustain the well-being benefits.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7686595/

 

Improve Psychological Health and Quality of Life of Older Adults with Meditative Movement Practices.

Improve Psychological Health and Quality of Life of Older Adults with Meditative Movement Practices.

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindful techniques can help older adults feel a sense of connection to their body. This can be critical for creating optimal health, even as they manage the ongoing changes in their body.” – Karen Fabian

 

The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline in every system in the body, the brain included. This includes our cognitive (mental) abilities which decline with age including impairments in memory, attention, and problem-solving ability. It is inevitable and cannot be avoided. Research has found that mindfulness practices reduce the deterioration of the brain that occurs with aging restraining the loss of neural tissue. Indeed, the brains of practitioners of meditation and yoga have been found to degenerate less with aging than non-practitioners. Tai Chi and Qigong have also been shown to be beneficial in slowing or delaying physical and mental decline with aging. The research findings are accumulating suggesting that a summarization of what has been learned is called for.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Mind-Body Interventions Involving Meditative Movements on Quality of Life, Depressive Symptoms, Fear of Falling and Sleep Quality in Older Adults: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7559727/ ) Weber and colleagues  review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published randomized controlled studies (RCTs) of the effectiveness of the mind-body practices of Yoga, Tai Chi. Qigong, and Pilates to improve the psychological health and quality of life in the elderly (aged 60 and over). They identified 37 published RCTs, 21 of which employed Tai Chi. 5 Qigong, 10 Yoga, and 3 Pilates.

 

They separated studies employing Tai Chi and Qigong from those employing Yoga and Pilates. They report that the published studies found that all of the meditative movement practices significantly improved the quality of life, physical functioning, and sleep quality and reduced the fear of falling of older adults with small effect sizes. Only the Tai Chi and Qigong practices produced significant improvements in psychological functioning and social functioning while only the Yoga and Pilates produced significant improvements in depression. For Tai Chi and Qigong, they further report that practice occurring 3 or more times per week resulted in larger improvements in quality of life and depression than those with less than 3 practices per week.

 

These findings suggest that meditative movement practices have wide ranging benefits, albeit with relatively small effect sizes, on the physical, psychological, and social functioning of older adults and improve their overall quality of life. These are important benefits for the elderly helping to slow the progressive decline seen with aging. These practices when properly performed and supervised have very few adverse effects. Hence, they should be recommended for aging individuals as safe and effective practices to slow the progressive decline and improve their overall well-being.

 

So, improve psychological health and quality of life of older adults with meditative movement practices.

 

When you age mindfully, you are fully aware and accepting of the challenges that come with the aging process, but you’re also aware of—and seizing—the opportunities that come with being blessed with what I call your ‘longevity bonus,’” – Andrea Brandt.

 

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

 

Weber, M., Schnorr, T., Morat, M., Morat, T., & Donath, L. (2020). Effects of Mind-Body Interventions Involving Meditative Movements on Quality of Life, Depressive Symptoms, Fear of Falling and Sleep Quality in Older Adults: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(18), 6556. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186556

 

Abstract

Background: The aim of the present systematic meta-analytical review was to quantify the effects of different mind–body interventions (MBI) involving meditative movements on relevant psychological health outcomes (i.e., quality of life (QoL), depressive symptoms, fear of falling (FoF) and sleep quality) in older adults without mental disorders. Methods: A structured literature search was conducted in five databases (Ovid, PsycINFO, PubMed, SPORTDiscus, Web of Science). Inclusion criteria were: (i) the study was a (cluster) randomized controlled trial, (ii) the subjects were aged ≥59 years without mental illnesses, (iii) an intervention arm performing MBI compared to a non-exercise control group (e.g., wait-list or usual care), (iv) psychological health outcomes related to QoL, depressive symptoms, FoF or sleep quality were assessed and (v) a PEDro score of ≥5. The interventions of the included studies were sub-grouped into Tai Chi/Qigong (TCQ) and Yoga/Pilates (YP). Statistical analyses were conducted using a random-effects inverse-variance model. Results: Thirty-seven randomized controlled trials (RCTs) (comprising 3224 participants) were included. Small to moderate-but-significant overall effect sizes favoring experimental groups (Hedges’ g: 0.25 to 0.71) compared to non-exercise control groups were observed in all outcomes (all p values ≤ 0.007), apart from one subdomain of quality of life (i.e., social functioning, p = 0.15). Interestingly, a significant larger effect on QoL and depressive symptoms with increasing training frequency was found for TCQ (p = 0.03; p = 0.004). Conclusions: MBI involving meditative movements may serve as a promising opportunity to improve psychological health domains such as QoL, depressive symptoms, FoF and sleep quality in older adults. Hence, these forms of exercise may represent potential preventive measures regarding the increase of late-life mental disorders, which need to be further confirmed by future research.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7559727/

 

Manage Symptoms in Cancer Survivors with Yoga

Manage Symptoms in Cancer Survivors with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“when it’s used alongside conventional medical treatment, yoga may help relieve some of the symptoms linked to cancer.” – American Cancer Society

 

Because of great advances in treatment, many patients today are surviving cancer. But cancer survivors frequently suffer from anxiety, depression, mood disturbance, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sleep disturbance, fatigue, sexual dysfunction, loss of personal control, impaired quality of life, and psychiatric symptoms which have been found to persist even ten years after remission. Also, cancer survivors can have to deal with a heightened fear of reoccurrence. This is particularly true with metastatic cancer. So, safe and effective treatments for the symptoms in cancer and the physical and psychological effects of the treatments are needed.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with general cancer recovery . Yoga is both an exercise and a mindfulness practice that has also been shown to be helpful with the residual symptoms in cancer survivors, the psychological and physical ability to deal with cancer treatment and improves sleep. So, it’s reasonable to review what has been learned about the benefits of yoga practice to improve the residual symptoms of patients who have survived cancer.

 

In today’s Research News article “Yoga for symptom management in oncology: A review of the evidence base and future directions for research.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6541520/ ) Danhauer and colleagues review and summarize the published randomized controlled studies of the effectiveness of yoga practice for the treatment of the symptoms of cancer survivors. They identified 29 published randomized controlled trials, 13 conducted during treatment, 12 after treatment, and 4 both before and after.

 

They report that the published research found that yoga during treatment for cancer significantly improved the patient’s quality of life, including physical, emotional social, and cognitive quality of life. They also report that yoga significantly reduced fatigue, distress, perceived stress, and biomarkers of stress and inflammation. Yoga after treatment completion was found to significantly reduce fatigue and sleep disturbance and improve quality of life. There were no serious adverse events resulting from yoga practice reported.

 

The published research then suggests that yoga practice is a safe and effective treatment both during and after cancer treatment for the relief of the patients’ residual physical and psychological symptoms. Yoga practice is a complex of practices that includes postures, breath control, and meditation. It has not been clearly established which of these components or which combination of components are required for the benefits. So, conclusions cannot be made regarding mechanisms of action by which yoga produces its benefits. But it can be concluded that yoga practice is very beneficial for cancer sufferers.

 

So, manage symptoms in cancer survivors with yoga.

 

yoga can combat fatigue and improve strength and range of motion for patients undergoing cancer treatment,” – Dr. Maggie DiNome

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Danhauer, S. C., Addington, E. L., Cohen, L., Sohl, S. J., Van Puymbroeck, M., Albinati, N. K., & Culos-Reed, S. N. (2019). Yoga for symptom management in oncology: A review of the evidence base and future directions for research. Cancer, 125(12), 1979–1989. https://doi.org/10.1002/cncr.31979

 

Abstract

As yoga is increasingly recognized as a complementary approach to cancer symptom management, patients/survivors and providers need to understand its potential benefits and limitations both during and after treatment. We reviewed randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of yoga conducted at these points in the cancer continuum (N=29; n=13 during treatment, n=12 post-treatment, n=4 with mixed samples). Findings both during and after treatment demonstrated efficacy of yoga to improve overall quality of life (QOL), with improvement in subdomains of QOL varying across studies. Fatigue was the most commonly measured outcome, and most RCTs conducted during or after cancer treatment reported improvements in fatigue. Results additionally suggest that yoga can improve stress/distress during treatment and post-treatment disturbances in sleep and cognition. A number of RCTs showed evidence that yoga may improve biomarkers of stress, inflammation, and immune function. Outcomes with limited or mixed findings (e.g., anxiety, depression, pain, cancer-specific symptoms such as lymphedema, positive psychological outcomes such as benefit-finding and life satisfaction) warrant further study. Important future directions for yoga research in oncology include: enrolling participants with cancer types other than breast, standardizing self-report assessments, increasing use of active control groups and objective measures, and addressing the heterogeneity of yoga interventions, which vary in type, key components (movement, meditation, breathing), dose, and delivery mode.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6541520/

 

Mindfulness is Related to Better Sleep

Mindfulness is Related to Better Sleep

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“By taking this mindful attitude, sleep is facilitated by simply being aware of the moment-to-moment experience of relaxing into the bed, without judging or being critical of that experience, so that the mind can gently slip into sleep.” – John Cline

 

Modern society has become more around-the-clock and more complex producing considerable pressure and stress on the individual. The advent of the internet and smart phones has exacerbated the problem. The resultant stress can impair sleep. Indeed, it is estimated that over half of Americans sleep too little due to stress. As a result, people today sleep 20% less than they did 100 years ago. Not having a good night’s sleep has adverse effects upon the individual’s health, well-being, and happiness. This is heightened in college students who are generally highly stressed. Mindfulness-based practices have been reported to improve sleep amount and quality and help with insomnia. But the mechanisms by which mindfulness improves sleep have not been well explored.

 

In today’s Research News article “Relationship Between Trait Mindfulness and Sleep Quality in College Students: A Conditional Process Model.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.576319/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1456740_69_Psycho_20201013_arts_A ) Ding and colleagues recruited college students and had them complete measures of mindfulness, sleep quality, mood states, and personality. They then subjected the data to regression analysis.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness of the students the lower the levels of neuroticism and negative mood states, and the better the sleep quality. In addition, the greater the negative mood states the poorer the sleep quality and the higher the levels of neuroticism. So, mindfulness was associated with lower negative mood states which were in turn associated with better sleep. They also found that neuroticism significantly affected the relationship of mindfulness with the quality of sleep. Mindfulness was only significantly related to better sleep quality when neuroticism was low but not when it was high.

 

It has been well documented in previous research that mindfulness is related to better sleep quality and improved mood. The present study contributes to our understanding of the mindfulness – sleep relationship by demonstrating that the personality characteristic of neuroticism disrupts the relationship; when neuroticism is high the relationship between mindfulness and sleep disappears.

 

Neuroticism is a personality trait that indicates a tendency toward negative emotions and self-doubt. Neurotic people generally have high negative mood states. It is possible that neuroticism disrupts the mindfulness – sleep relationship by preventing mindfulness from improving mood and thereby improving sleep. This interpretation must be tempered with the understanding that these relationships are correlational. So, definitive conclusions about causation cannot be reached. Nevertheless, previous research has demonstrated that mindfulness causes improved sleep. So, it is likely that the present results represent causal connections.

 

So, mindfulness is related to better sleep.

 

We cannot make ourselves sleep, but perhaps, by aiming to stay settled and getting less caught up in our thoughts, we fall asleep anyway.” – Mark Bertin

 

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

 

Ding X, Wang X, Yang Z, Tang R and Tang Y-Y (2020) Relationship Between Trait Mindfulness and Sleep Quality in College Students: A Conditional Process Model. Front. Psychol. 11:576319. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.576319

 

Sleep quality can affect the physical and mental health, as well as the personal development of college students. Mindfulness practices are known to ameliorate sleep disorder and improve sleep quality. Trait mindfulness, an innate capacity often enhanced by mindfulness training, has been shown to relate to better sleep quality and different aspects of psychological well-being. However, how individual difference factors such as trait mindfulness relate to sleep quality remains largely unclear, which limits the optimization and further application of mindfulness-based intervention schemes targeting the improvement of sleep quality. In this study, we aimed to investigate how negative emotions and neuroticism may influence the relationship between trait mindfulness and sleep quality. A conditional process model was built to examine these relationships in 1,423 Chinese young adults. Specifically, the conditional process model was constructed with trait mindfulness as the independent variable, sleep quality as the dependent variable, negative emotions as the mediating variable, and neuroticism as the moderating variable. Our results showed that negative emotions mediated the link between mindfulness and sleep quality and that neuroticism had a moderating effect on the relationship between mindfulness and sleep quality. Together, these findings suggested a potential mechanism of how trait mindfulness influences sleep quality, provided a therapeutic target for which mindfulness-based interventions may act upon to improve sleep quality, and offered a basis for prediction of different intervention effects among individuals.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.576319/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1456740_69_Psycho_20201013_arts_A

 

Improve Psychological Well-Being, Sleep, and Performance in College Athletes with Mindfulness

Improve Psychological Well-Being, Sleep, and Performance in College Athletes with Mindfulness.

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

How much time do you spend training your body, getting to peak performance?  With mindfulness training you can now train your mind. Learn how to focus more effectively, worry less, be more present and increase your ability to respond and react quickly.” – Blair Bowker

 

Athletic performance requires the harmony of mind and body. Excellence is in part physical and in part psychological. That is why an entire profession of Sports Psychology has developed. “In sport psychology, competitive athletes are taught psychological strategies to better cope with a number of demanding challenges related to psychological functioning.” They use a number of techniques to enhance performance including mindfulness training. It has been shown to improve attention and concentration and emotion regulation and reduces anxiety and worry and rumination, and the physiological and psychological responses to stress. As a result, mindfulness training has been employed by athletes and even by entire teams to enhance their performance.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Benefits Psychological Well-Being, Sleep Quality, and Athletic Performance in Female Collegiate Rowers.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.572980/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1437459_69_Psycho_20200922_arts_A ) Jones and colleagues recruited women members of a college rowing team and randomly assigned them to a no-treatment control condition or to receive 8 weekly 75 minutes group sessions of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). This training includes meditation, body scan, yoga, and discussion with daily home practice. They were measured before and after training for athletic coping skills, anxiety, depression, perceived stress, mindfulness, sleepiness, sleep quality, activity during sleep, rumination, and psychological well-being. They were also measured before the treatment and 6 weeks into the 8-week program for rowing performance.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control group, after Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training there were significant increases in mindfulness, psychological well-being, sleep quality, activity during sleep, athletic coping skills, and rowing performance and significant decreases in daytime sleepiness. In addition, they report that the greater the increase in mindfulness the greater the increase in psychological well-being, sleep quality, and athletic coping skills and the greater the decrease in daytime sleepiness.

 

These are interesting results suggesting that mindfulness training improves the psychological well-being and athletic performance in athletes. But the comparison to a no-treatment condition leaves open alternative interpretations of participant expectancy effects, experimenter bias, attentional effects, etc. In addition, only female athletes were included in the study. Future research should include male athletes and employ an active control comparison condition such as group discussions of college life without mindfulness training.

 

The results from  previous studies have demonstrated that mindfulness training improves the psychological well-being and athletic performance in athletes. So, it is likely that the improvements seen in the present study were also due to the mindfulness training. In addition, the fact that in the group that received Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training that the amount of increase in mindfulness was associated with the degree of improvement in the psychological well-being and athletic performance, suggests that mindfulness was the key determinant of the improvements. So, it would appear likely that increasing mindfulness is of great benefit to athletes.

 

So, improve psychological well-being, sleep, and performance in college athletes with mindfulness.

 

mindfulness meditation for athletes can help them control negative thoughts and sports anxiety which allows them to focus on their skills in the present moment and perform better.’ – Ertheo

 

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

 

Jones BJ, Kaur S, Miller M and Spencer RMC (2020) Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Benefits Psychological Well-Being, Sleep Quality, and Athletic Performance in Female Collegiate Rowers. Front. Psychol. 11:572980. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.572980

 

Factors such as psychological well-being, sleep quality, and athletic coping skills can influence athletic performance. Mindfulness-based interventions, including mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), have been shown to benefit these factors, suggesting they may, at least indirectly, benefit athletic performance. Moreover, while mindfulness training has been linked to better accuracy in some high-precision sports, whether it can improve non-precision elements of athletic performance is unclear. The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of MBSR on psychological well-being, sleep, athletic coping skills, and rowing performance in collegiate rowers in a controlled experimental design. Members of a Division I NCAA Women’s Rowing team completed either an 8-week MBSR course along with their regular athletic training program (Intervention group) or the athletic training program alone (Control group). Measurements of interest were taken at baseline and again either during or shortly following the intervention. In contrast to the Control group, the Intervention group showed improvements in psychological well-being, subjective and objective sleep quality, athletic coping skills, and rowing performance as measured by a 6,000-m ergometer test. Improvements in athletic coping skills, psychological well-being, and subjective sleep quality were all correlated with increases in mindfulness in the Intervention group. These results suggest that mindfulness training may benefit non-precision aspects of athletic performance. Incorporating mindfulness training into athletic training programs may benefit quality of life and performance in student athletes.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.572980/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1437459_69_Psycho_20200922_arts_A

 

Distress Is Lower during a COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown in Mindful People

Distress Is Lower during a COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown in Mindful People

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“During the current pandemic, there is so much uncertainty concerning the future, and many threats to our security (physical, social, emotional, and financial). It is totally natural and normal to feel anxious, fearful, and frustrated. . . Mindfulness can help us acknowledge this situation, without allowing us to be carried away with strong emotions; it can, in turn, help bring ourselves back to a centered calm. Only then can we see more clearly what it is we have control over and what it is that we do not.” – Michigan Medicine

 

Modern living is stressful under the best of conditions. But with the COVID-19 pandemic the levels of stress have been markedly increased. These conditions markedly increase anxiety. This is true for everyone but especially for healthcare workers and people caring for patients with COVID-19 and for people with pre-existing conditions that makes them particularly vulnerable. But it is also true for healthy individuals who worry about infection for themselves or loved ones.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has also produced considerable economic stress, with loss of employment and steady income. For the poor this extends to high levels of food insecurity. This not only produces anxiety about the present but also for the future. It is important for people to engage in practices that can help them control their responses to the stress and their levels of anxiety. Mindfulness practices have been found routinely to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress, reduce anxiety levels, and improve mood.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness, Age and Gender as Protective Factors Against Psychological Distress During COVID-19 Pandemic.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01900/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1437459_69_Psycho_20200922_arts_A ) Conversano and colleagues solicited adult participants online during a government ordered lockdown and had them complete measures of COVID-19 experiences, mindfulness, psychological distress, and mental illness symptoms.

 

They found strong negative relationships between mindfulness and psychological distress. They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the levels of psychological distress including somatic symptoms, symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, internalizing symptoms, depression, anxiety, hostility, phobia, paranoia, psychoticism, and sleep disturbance. They also found weak relationships with age and gender such that younger and female participants tended to have higher psychological distress.

 

It needs to be kept in mind that these results are correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. Mindfulness may produce reduced distress or conversely distress may produce reduced mindfulness or some third factor may produce both. Nevertheless, the results show that during a pandemic lockdown that the people who have high levels of mindfulness also have low levels of psychological distress.

 

So, distress is lower during a COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in mindful people.

 

In many ways, COVID-19 has shown us just how connected and how much the same we really are. All of us—and some of us more than others—are vulnerable to getting sick and none of us wants to become ill. Viewed through the lens of interconnectedness, practicing mindfulness as the coronavirus spreads is not only a way to care for ourselves but a way to care for everyone around us.” – Kelly Baron

 

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

 

Conversano C, Di Giuseppe M, Miccoli M, Ciacchini R, Gemignani A and Orrù G (2020) Mindfulness, Age and Gender as Protective Factors Against Psychological Distress During COVID-19 Pandemic. Front. Psychol. 11:1900. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01900

 

Objective: Mindfulness disposition is associated with various psychological factors and prevents emotional distress in chronic diseases. In the present study, we analyzed the key role of mindfulness dispositions in protecting the individual against psychological distress consequent to COVID-19 social distancing and quarantining.

Methods: An online survey was launched on March 13, 2020, with 6,412 responses by April 6, 2020. Socio-demographic information, exposure to the pandemic, and quarantining were assessed together with psychological distress and mindfulness disposition. Multivariate linear regression analysis was performed to study the influence of predictive factors on psychological distress and quality of life in Italian responders during the early days of lockdown. Pearson correlations were calculated to study the relationship between mindfulness and psychiatric symptoms.

Results: Multivariate linear regression run on socio-demographics, COVID-19-related variables, and mindfulness disposition as moderators of overall psychological distress showed that mindfulness was the best predictor of psychological distress (β = −0.504; p < 0.0001). High negative correlations were found between mindfulness disposition and the overall Global Severity Index (r = −0.637; p < 0.0001), while moderate to high associations were found between mindfulness and all SCL-90 sub-scales.

Discussion: Findings showed that high dispositional mindfulness enhances well-being and helps in dealing with stressful situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Mindfulness-based mental training could represent an effective intervention to stem post-traumatic psychopathological beginnings and prevent the onset of chronic mental disorders.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01900/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1437459_69_Psycho_20200922_arts_A

 

Improve Autonomic Nervous System Function and Well-Being in Cancer Survivors with Mind-Body Practices.

Improve Autonomic Nervous System Function and Well-Being in Cancer Survivors with Mind-Body Practices.

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Tai Chi and Qigong are ancient forms of exercise that fit the bill for helping patients with cancer get moving and improve their overall sense of well-being. Tai Chi practice can help with pain conditions, especially pain involving muscles and joints; it can also reduce stress and anxiety and improve the quality of sleep.” – Susan Yaguda

 

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer has a huge impact on most people. Feelings of depression, anxiety, and fear are very common and are normal responses to this life-changing and potentially life-ending experience. But cancer diagnosis is not necessarily a death sentence. Over half of the people diagnosed with cancer are still alive 10 years later and this number is rapidly increasing. But, surviving cancer carries with it a number of problems. Anxiety, depression, fatigue and insomnia are common symptoms in the aftermath of surviving breast cancer. These symptoms markedly reduce the quality of life of the patients.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with cancer recovery and help to relieve chronic pain. It can also help treat the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress, sleep disturbancefear, and anxiety and depression. Mind-body practices such as Tai Chi or Qigong, and yoga have been shown to be effective in improving the psychological symptoms occurring in breast cancer patients. These practices work to relieve the emotional distress of cancer survivors.

 

A potential mechanism by which mind-body practices may relieve emotional distress is by altering the balance in the autonomic nervous system. A measure of this balance is Heart Rate Variability (HRV). It refers to the change in the time intervals between consecutive heart beats. Higher levels of HRV are indicative of flexibility in the Autonomic Nervous System and are associated with adaptability to varying environments. Increased heart rate variability signals greater relaxation in the autonomic nervous system with a predominance of parasympathetic (relaxation) activity over sympathetic (activation) activity. This all signals greater physiological relaxation.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mind-Body and Psychosocial Interventions May Similarly Affect Heart Rate Variability Patterns in Cancer Recovery: Implications for a Mechanism of Symptom Improvement.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7425257/ ) Larkey and colleagues recruited female breast cancer survivors and randomly assigned them to receive 12 weeks of either Tai Chi or Sham-Tai Chi practice. Sham-Tai Chi used the same movements but did not incorporate breath control or meditative states. They were measured before and after training for fatigue, sleep, and depression and the electrocardiogram was measured and analyzed for Heart Rate Variability (HRV).

 

They found that after Tai Chi Practice, but not Sham-Tai Chi, there were significant reductions in fatigue and depression and significant improvements in sleep. In addition, in the Tai Chi group there was a significant reduction in low coherence Heart Rate Variability (HRV). Also, the greater the change, over training, in high coherence HRV the greater the reduction in depression levels.

 

This study replicates previous findings that Tai Chi practice reduces fatigue, and depression, and improves sleep. And produces changes in Heart Rate Variability (HRV). But this study used a unique control, comparison, condition of Sham-Tai Chi that had the same movements but lacked the breath control and meditative state of true Tai Chi practice. This suggests that it is not the movements of Tai Chi that produces the benefits but the mindfulness components that are essential.

 

The study also presents some evidence as to the mechanism by which Tai Chi practice improves that physical and psychological state of cancer survivors. The observed changes in Heart Rate Variability (HRV) are indicative of greater relaxation in the autonomic nervous system with a predominance of parasympathetic (relaxation) activity over sympathetic (activation) activity. This suggests that Tai Chi practice results in a physiological relaxation that in turn may be responsible for the physical and psychological benefits of the practice.

 

Some advantages of Tai Chi practice include the facts that it is not strenuous, involves slow gentle movements, and is safe, having no appreciable side effects, it is appropriate for all ages including the elderly and for individuals with illnesses that limit their activities or range of motion. It can also be practiced without professional supervision and in groups making it inexpensive to deliver and fun to engage in. This makes Tai Chi practice an excellent means to improve the physical and psychological symptoms experienced by cancer survivors.

 

So, improve autonomic nervous system function and well-being in cancer survivors with mind-body practices.

 

Research in breast cancer patients has shown that tai chi may help to increase strength, balance, flexibility, heart and lung function, [and] feelings of well-being.” – Breast Cancer.org

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

 

Larkey, L., Kim, W., James, D., Kishida, M., Vizcaino, M., Huberty, J., & Krishnamurthi, N. (2020). Mind-Body and Psychosocial Interventions May Similarly Affect Heart Rate Variability Patterns in Cancer Recovery: Implications for a Mechanism of Symptom Improvement. Integrative cancer therapies, 19, 1534735420949677. https://doi.org/10.1177/1534735420949677

 

Abstract

Background:

Advancements in early detection and treatment of cancer have led to increased survival rates and greater need to identify effective supportive care options for resolving symptoms of survivorship. Many non-pharmacological approaches to symptom management during and after cancer treatment involve emotional self-regulation as a central strategy for improving well-being. Identifying commonalities among these strategies’ mechanisms of action may facilitate understanding of what might be useful for optimizing intervention effects. Heart rate variability (HRV) parameters are indicative of improved autonomic nervous system (ANS) balance and resiliency and reduced emotional distress and are thus identified as a mechanism to discuss as a marker of potential for intervention efficacy and a target for optimization.

Methods:

HRV data from 2 studies, 1 examining a mind-body intervention and 1 examining a psychosocial intervention, are presented as a point of discussion about preliminary associations between the interventions, change in HRV, and emotional distress reduction.

Results:

HRV significantly decreased in sympathetic activity in response to a mind-body intervention (Qigong/Tai Chi), and increased vagal tone in response to a psychosocial (storytelling) intervention. In both, these changes in HRV parameters were associated with improved emotional states.

Conclusion:

Our preliminary data suggest that HRV may serve as an important marker of underlying changes that mediate emotional regulation; this observation deserves further investigation. If identified as a worthy target, focusing on interventions that improve HRV within the context of interventions for cancer patients may be important to key outcomes and clinical practice.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7425257/

 

Improve the Quality of Sleep with Tai Chi

Improve the Quality of Sleep with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Tai Chi significantly improved sleep quality for healthy patients and those with chronic health conditions. Their physical performance and psychological well being improved compared with the control group. Along with better sleep, came a reduction in pain. “ – Balanced Life

 

Modern society has become more around-the-clock and more complex producing considerable pressure and stress on the individual. The advent of the internet and smart phones has exacerbated the problem. The resultant stress can impair sleep. Indeed, it is estimated that over half of Americans sleep too little due to stress. As a result, people today sleep 20% less than they did 100 years ago. Not having a good night’s sleep has adverse effects upon the individual’s health, well-being, and happiness. It has been estimated that 30 to 35% of adults have brief symptoms of insomnia, 15 to 20% have a short-term insomnia disorder, and 10% have chronic insomnia

 

Insomnia is more than just an irritant. Sleep deprivation is associated with decreased alertness and a consequent reduction in performance of even simple tasks, decreased quality of life, increased difficulties with memory and problem solving, increased likelihood of accidental injury including automobile accidents, and increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It also can lead to anxiety about sleep itself. This is stressful and can produce even more anxiety about being able to sleep. About 4% of Americans revert to sleeping pills. But these do not always produce high quality sleep and can have problematic side effects. So, there is a need to find better methods to treat insomnia. Mindfulness-based practices have been reported to improve sleep amount and quality and help with insomnia.

 

Tai Chi is an ancient mindfulness practice involving slow prescribed movements. It is gentle and completely safe, can be used with the elderly and sickly, is inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility or even public park, and can be quickly learned. In addition, it can also be practiced in social groups without professional supervision. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice. Indeed, studies have shown that Tai Chi practice is effective in improving sleep. The evidence is accumulating. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Tai Chi Chuan for Subjective Sleep Quality: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7439202/ ) Si and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of published randomized controlled trials of the effectiveness of Tai Chi in improving sleep quality. They identified 25 published randomized controlled with adults as participants.

 

They report that the published research studies found that Tai Chi practiced produced a significant improvement in sleep quality with moderate effect size. They report that the optimum effects were produced by practices that lasted 60 to 90 minutes. Tai Chi was effective in both healthy and clinical populations but it had its greatest effects on sleep in healthy populations. In addition, Tai Chi practice produced large significant improvements in the sleep quality of Asian participants but not American participants.

 

Importantly, the largest effects were seen in studies with low methodological quality while 8 studies with the highest methodological quality did not observe significant improvements in sleep quality. The primary differences between low and high methodological quality studies revolved around how much the participants knew about the study and its intentions. This suggests that participant expectancy factors may be very important here.

 

That participant expectancies may be driving the results is further reflected in the fact that the largest effects were present in Asian participants while they were not significant in American participants. Tai Chi has been practiced in Asia for centuries and is believed to be very beneficial. It has only recently been practiced in America and Americans are generally ignorant or skeptical of its benefits. Hence, Asian participants would be expected to have the largest participant expectancies of positive benefits and they were the only population showing significant effects.

 

In summary, the results suggest that 60 to 90 minutes of Tai Chi practice produce improvements in sleep quality in healthy and clinical populations. But there is a strong suspicion that participant expectancies of Tai Chi efficacy my be responsible for the effects. There is a need, then, for more tightly controlled studies to determine if Tai Chi and not participant bias is responsible for the established benefits.

 

So, improve the quality of sleep with Tai Chi.

 

Tai chi was reported useful in alleviating insomnia, and when combined with qigong, it improved sleep dysfunction and depression.“ – Christina Seluzicki

 

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

 

Si, Y., Wang, C., Yin, H., Zheng, J., Guo, Y., Xu, G., & Ma, Y. (2020). Tai Chi Chuan for Subjective Sleep Quality: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2020, 4710527. https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/4710527

Abstract

Background

This review aims to investigate the efficacy of Tai Chi Chuan on subjective sleep quality among adults.

Methods

We systematically searched PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, Scopus, CNKI (China National Knowledge Infrastructure), and the Wanfang Database from their inception to August 2019 and identified 25 eligible studies that were published in both English and Chinese.

Results

24 out of 25 studies were identified to be high-quality studies according to the PEDro scale. The pooled results confirmed that Tai Chi Chuan elicited moderate improvements in subjective sleep quality (SMD = −0.512, 95% CI [−0.767, −0.257], P < 0.001). Notably, Tai Chi Chuan yielded more significant effects on sleep quality among the healthy population (SMD = −0.684, 95% CI [−1.056, −0.311], P < 0.001) than the clinical population (SMD = −0.395, 95% CI [−0.742, −0.047], P=0.026) and more benefits among the Asian population (SMD = −0.977, 95% CI [−1.446, −0.508], P < 0.001) than the American population (SMD = −0.259, 95% CI [−0.624, 0.105], P=0.164). After controlling the methodological quality of studies, it has been noted that Asians could achieve the most significant sleep-promoting benefit when Tai Chi Chuan was practiced between 60 and 90 min per session.

Conclusions

Available data implied that subjective sleep quality was improved via Tai Chi training, but more thorough studies must be executed to ascertain our findings and optimize Tai Chi practices accordingly toward various populations.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7439202/

 

Improve Sleep and Reduce Insomnia with Mindfulness

Improve Sleep and Reduce Insomnia with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“If insomnia is at the root of your sleepless nights, it may be worth trying meditation. The deep relaxation technique has been shown to increase sleep time, improve sleep quality, and make it easier to fall (and stay) asleep.” – Sleep Foundation

 

Modern society has become more around-the-clock and more complex producing considerable pressure and stress on the individual. The advent of the internet and smart phones has exacerbated the problem. The resultant stress can impair sleep. Indeed, it is estimated that over half of Americans sleep too little due to stress. As a result, people today sleep 20% less than they did 100 years ago. Not having a good night’s sleep has adverse effects upon the individual’s health, well-being, and happiness. It has been estimated that 30 to 35% of adults have brief symptoms of insomnia, 15 to 20% have a short-term insomnia disorder, and 10% have chronic insomnia

 

Insomnia is more than just an irritant. Sleep deprivation is associated with decreased alertness and a consequent reduction in performance of even simple tasks, decreased quality of life, increased difficulties with memory and problem solving, increased likelihood of accidental injury including automobile accidents, and increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It also can lead to anxiety about sleep itself. This is stressful and can produce even more anxiety about being able to sleep. About 4% of Americans revert to sleeping pills. But these do not always produce high quality sleep and can have problematic side effects. So, there is a need to find better methods to treat insomnia. Mindfulness-based practices have been reported to improve sleep amount and quality and help with insomnia.

 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a mindfulness-based psychotherapy technique that is employs many of the techniques of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). ACT 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. It would seem reasonable to expect that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) might improve sleep and relieve insomnia. A number of studies have been performed. So, it makes sense to examine what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “The effect of acceptance and commitment therapy on insomnia and sleep quality: A systematic review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7425538/ ) Salari and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies on the effects of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) on sleep and insomnia.

 

They identified 19 published studies with a total of 1577 participants. They report that the published research found that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) significantly improved sleep quality and reduced insomnia in healthy individuals and in patients with chronic insomnia. These benefits of ACT were still present up to a year after the completion of training.

 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a complex therapy and the studies do not identify which components or combination of components are necessary to produce the benefits. Nevertheless, the results clearly demonstrate that ACT is a safe and effective therapy for the improvement of sleep and the reduction in insomnia. This should have secondary effects of improving health and well-being

 

So, improve sleep and reduce insomnia with mindfulness.

 

The idea is to create a reflex to more easily bring forth a sense of relaxation. That way, it’s easier to evoke the relaxation response at night when you can’t sleep.” – Herbert Benson

 

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

 

Salari, N., Khazaie, H., Hosseinian-Far, A., Khaledi-Paveh, B., Ghasemi, H., Mohammadi, M., & Shohaimi, S. (2020). The effect of acceptance and commitment therapy on insomnia and sleep quality: A systematic review. BMC neurology, 20(1), 300. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12883-020-01883-1

 

Abstract

Background

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), as a type of behavioral therapy, attempts to respond to changes in people’s performance and their relationship to events. ACT can affect sleep quality by providing techniques to enhance the flexibility of patients’ thoughts, yet maintaining mindfullness. Therefore, for the first time, a systematic review on the effects of ACT on sleep quality has been conducted.

Methods

This systematic review was performed to determine the effect of ACT on insomnia and sleep quality. To collect articles, the PubMed, Web of Science (WOS), Cochrane library, Embase, Scopus, Science Direct, ProQuest, Mag Iran, Irandoc, and Google Scholar databases were searched, without a lower time-limit, and until April 2020.

Results

Related articles were derived from 9 research repositories, with no lower time-limit and until April 2020. After assessing 1409 collected studies, 278 repetitive studies were excluded. Moreover, following the primary and secondary evaluations of the remaining articles, 1112 other studies were removed, and finally a total of 19 intervention studies were included in the systematic review process. Within the remaining articles, a sample of 1577 people had been assessed for insomnia and sleep quality.

Conclusion

The results of this study indicate that ACT has a significant effect on primary and comorbid insomnia and sleep quality, and therefore, it can be used as an appropriate treatment method to control and improve insomnia.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7425538/

 

A Healthy Lifestyle is Promoted by Mindfulness

A Healthy Lifestyle is Promoted by Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Let’s say you find yourself eating a bag of chips in front of the TV — your evening pattern. Being mindful can help you break free from the autopilot trance and take a moment to make a different choice. You could trade the chips for carrots, or decide to skip TV and take a walk around the block instead.” – WebMD

 

We tend to think that illness is produced by physical causes, disease, injury, viruses, bacteria, etc. But many health problems are behavioral problems or have their origins in maladaptive behavior. This is evident in car accident injuries that are frequently due to behaviors, such as texting while driving, driving too fast or aggressively, or driving drunk. Other problematic behaviors are cigarette smoking, alcoholism, drug use, or unprotected sex. Problems can also be produced by lack of appropriate behavior such as sedentary lifestyle, not eating a healthy diet, not getting sufficient sleep or rest, or failing to take medications according to the physician’s orders. Additionally, behavioral issues can be subtle contributors to disease such as denying a problem and failing to see a physician timely or not washing hands. In fact, many modern health issues, costing the individual or society billions of dollars each year, and reducing longevity, are largely preventable. Hence, promoting healthy behaviors and eliminating unhealthy ones has the potential to markedly improve health.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to promote health and improve illness. It is well established that if patterns and habits of healthy behaviors can be promoted, ill health can be prevented. There is, however, little research on the effects of mindfulness practice on promotion healthy behaviors.

 

In today’s Research News article “.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7468720/) Soriano-Ayala and colleagues recruited college students and randomly assigned them to a wait-list control group or to receive 7 weekly 2-hour sessions of mindfulness training. Mindfulness training involved breath and body scan meditations, and training on letting thoughts flow. Before and after training they completed measures of lifestyle choices, including alcohol consumption, cannabis consumption, tobacco use, eating habits, and rest habits. They were also measured for eating consumption patterns and eating responses to negative emotions.

 

They found that in comparison to the wait-list control group, the group that received mindfulness training had significant improvements in healthy lifestyles, including eating a balanced diet, rest habits, and alcohol consumption. It is, however, not possible to determine from the current study how lasting these changes may be. The authors did not state how long they waited before the post-test. So, it is not clear that there was sufficient time for the mindfulness training to register an alteration of the lifestyle behaviors.   In addition, the control condition was a passive wait-list control. This leave open the possibility of confound variables like placebo, attentional, or experimenter bias effects being responsible for the observed differences. Nevertheless, these improved lifestyle behaviors would predict better future health and better college performance for the students after mindfulness training.

 

So, promote a healthy lifestyle with mindfulness.

 

While meditation can help you manage stress, sleep well and feel better, it shouldn’t replace lifestyle changes like eating healthiermanaging your weight, and getting regular physical activity. It’s also not a substitute for medication or medical treatment your doctor may have prescribed.” – Heart.org

 

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

 

Encarnación Soriano-Ayala, Alberto Amutio, Clemente Franco, Israel Mañas. Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle through Mindfulness in University Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2020 Aug; 12(8): 2450. Published online 2020 Aug 14. doi: 10.3390/nu12082450

 

Abstract

The present study explored the effects of a second-generation mindfulness-based intervention known as flow meditation (Meditación-Fluir) in the improvement of healthy life behaviors. A sample of university students (n = 51) in Spain were randomly assigned to a seven-week mindfulness treatment or a waiting list control group. Results showed that compared to the control group, individuals in the mindfulness group demonstrated significant improvements across all outcome measures including healthy eating habits (balanced diet, intake rate, snacking between meals, decrease in consumption by negative emotional states, increased consumption by negative emotional states, amount of consumption, meal times, consumption of low-fat products), tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis consumption, and resting habits. There were differences between males and females in some of these variables and a better effect of the treatment was evident in the females of the experimental group when compared to the males. The flow meditation program shows promise for fostering a healthy lifestyle, thus decreasing behaviors related to maladaptive eating, tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis consumption as well as negative rest habits in university students. This mindfulness program could significantly contribute to the treatment of eating disorders and addictions, wherein negative emotional states and impulsivity are central features of the condition.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7468720/