Mindfulness Improves the Psychological Well-Being of Lung Cancer Patients

Mindfulness Improves the Psychological Well-Being of Lung Cancer Patients

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

You can be a victim of cancer, or a survivor of cancer. It’s a mindset.” — Dave Pelzer

 

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 general cancer recovery. Mindfulness practices have been shown to improve the residual symptoms in cancer survivors. 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. The research findings have been accumulating. So, it makes sense to take a look at what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Impact of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on Psychological Outcomes and Quality of Life in Patients With Lung Cancer: A Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.901247/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1896364_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20220705_arts_A&id_mc=312338674&utm_source=sfmc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Article+Alerts+V4.1-Frontiers&utm_term=%%%3d++++++REDIRECTTO(+++++CONCAT(%27http%3a%2f%2fjournal.frontiersin.org%2farticle%2f%27%2c+TreatAsContent(field(%40article%2c+%27DOI__c%27))%2c+%27%2ffull%3futm_source%3dF-AAE%26utm_medium%3dEMLF%26utm_campaign%3dMRK_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(JobID)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(%40FieldId)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(Substring(Replace(Field(%40field%2c+%27Name%27)%2c+%27+%27%2c ) Tian and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the of the published research studies of the effectiveness of a mindfulness practice, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on the psychological well-being of lung cancer survivors. MBSR consists of meditation, yoga, body scan, and group discussion.

 

They identified 17 published research studies that included a total of 1680 participants. They report that the published research found that the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) produced a significant reduction in cancer related fatigue, anxiety, depression, and psychological distress, and significantly increased mindfulness, self-efficacy, and sleep quality.

 

Hence, the research to date supports the use of mindfulness training to improve the psychological well-being of lung cancer survivors.

 

Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” – Unknown

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Tian X, Yi L-J, Liang C-S-S, Gu L, Peng C, Chen G-H and Jiménez-Herrera MF (2022) The Impact of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on Psychological Outcomes and Quality of Life in Patients With Lung Cancer: A Meta-Analysis. Front. Psychol. 13:901247. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.901247

 

Objective: The impact of the mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program on psychological outcomes and quality of life (QoL) in lung cancer patients remains unclear. This meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of the MBSR program on psychological states and QoL in lung cancer patients.

Methods: Eligible studies published before November 2021 were systematically searched from PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, PsycINFO, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), and Wanfang databases. The risk of bias in eligible studies was assessed using the Cochrane tool. Psychological variables and QoL were evaluated as outcomes. We used the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) system to grade the levels of evidence. Statistical analysis was conducted using RevMan 5.4 and STATA 14.0.

Results: A total of 17 studies involving 1,680 patients were included for meta-analysis eventually. MBSR program significantly relieved cancer-related fatigue (standard mean difference [SMD], −1.26; 95% confidence interval [CI], −1.69 to −0.82; moderate evidence) and negative psychological states (SMD, −1.35; 95% CI, −1.69 to −1.02; low evidence), enhanced positive psychological states (SMD, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.56–1.27; moderate evidence), and improved quality of sleep (MD, −2.79; 95% CI, −3.03 to −2.56; high evidence). Evidence on MBSR programs’ overall treatment effect for QoL revealed a trend toward statistical significance (p = 0.06, low evidence).

Conclusion: Based on our findings, the MBSR program shows positive effects on psychological states in lung cancer patients. This approach should be recommended as a part of the rehabilitation program for lung cancer patients.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.901247/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1896364_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20220705_arts_A&id_mc=312338674&utm_source=sfmc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Article+Alerts+V4.1-Frontiers&utm_term=%%%3d++++++REDIRECTTO(+++++CONCAT(%27http%3a%2f%2fjournal.frontiersin.org%2farticle%2f%27%2c+TreatAsContent(field(%40article%2c+%27DOI__c%27))%2c+%27%2ffull%3futm_source%3dF-AAE%26utm_medium%3dEMLF%26utm_campaign%3dMRK_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(JobID)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(%40FieldId)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(Substring(Replace(Field(%40field%2c+%27Name%27)%2c+%27+%27%2c

 

Reduce Dysfunctional Eating with Mindfulness

Reduce Dysfunctional Eating with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

The more you eat, the less flavor; the less you eat, the more flavor.” ~Chinese Proverb

 

Around 30 million people in the United States of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder: either anorexia nervosa, bulimia, or binge eating disorder. 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 26. Eating disorders are not just troubling psychological problems, they can be deadly, having the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Two example of eating disorders are binge eating disorder (BED) and bulimia nervosa (BN). BED involves eating a large amount of food within a short time-period while experiencing a sense of loss of control over eating. BN involves binge-eating and purging (e.g., self-induced vomiting, compensatory exercise).

 

Eating disorders can be difficult to treat because eating is necessary and cannot be simply stopped as in smoking cessation or abstaining from drugs or alcohol. One must learn to eat appropriately not stop. So, it is important to find methods that can help prevent and treat eating disorders. Contemplative practices, mindfulness, and mindful eating have shown promise for treating eating disorders. It is not known however, if mindfulness training can improve dysregulated eating and in turn reduce the likelihood of eating disorders.

 

In today’s Research News article “Delivering Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Insomnia, Pain, and Dysfunctional Eating Through a Text Messaging App: Three Randomized Controlled Trials Investigating the Effectiveness and Mediating Mechanisms.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9115660/ ) Li and colleagues recruited adults over the internet and provided mindfulness training through text messaging. They measured insomnia, pain, and dysregulated eating.

 

They found that mindfulness training compared to a wait-list control condition resulted in resulted in significant decreases in anxiety, depression, insomnia, pain, and dysregulated eating and these improvements were sustained 3 months after the end of training. They found a wide array of improvements from mindfulness training. Particularly important from the perspective of eating disorders were the findings of reductions in depression and dysregulated eating. This suggests that mindfulness training reduces the likelihood of the development of an eating disorder.

 

When walking, walk. When eating, eat.” rashaski · Zen Proverb

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Li AC, Wong KK, Chio FH, Mak WW, Poon LW. Delivering Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Insomnia, Pain, and Dysfunctional Eating Through a Text Messaging App: Three Randomized Controlled Trials Investigating the Effectiveness and Mediating Mechanisms. J Med Internet Res. 2022 May 3;24(5):e30073. doi: 10.2196/30073. PMID: 35503653; PMCID: PMC9115660.

 

Abstract

Background

Although text messaging has the potential to be the core intervention modality, it is often used as an adjunct only. To improve health and alleviate the distress related to insomnia, pain, and dysregulated eating of people living in urban areas, text messaging–based mindfulness-based interventions were designed and evaluated in 3 randomized controlled trials.

Objective

This study investigated the effectiveness and mediating mechanisms of text messaging–based mindfulness-based interventions for people with distress related to insomnia, pain, or dysregulated eating.

Methods

In these trials, 333, 235, and 351 participants were recruited online and randomized to intervention and wait-list control conditions for insomnia, pain, and dysregulated eating, respectively. Participants experienced 21 days of intervention through WhatsApp Messenger. Participants completed pre-, post-, 1-month follow-up, and 3-month follow-up self-report questionnaires online. The retention rates at postmeasurements were 83.2% (139/167), 77.1% (91/118), and 72.9% (129/177) for intervention groups of insomnia, pain, and dysregulated eating, respectively. Participants’ queries were answered by a study technician. Primary outcomes included insomnia severity, presleep arousal, pain intensity, pain acceptance, and eating behaviors. Secondary outcomes included mindfulness, depression, anxiety, mental well-being, and functional impairments. Mindfulness, dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes about sleep, pain catastrophizing, and reactivity to food cues were hypothesized to mediate the relationship between the intervention and outcomes.

Results

For all 3 studies, the intervention groups showed significant improvement on most outcomes at 1-month follow-up compared to their respective wait-list control groups; some primary outcomes (eg, insomnia, pain, dysregulated eating indicators) and secondary outcomes (eg, depression, anxiety symptoms) were sustained at 3-month follow-up. Medium-to-large effect sizes were found at postassessments in most outcomes in all studies. In the intervention for insomnia, mediation analyses showed that dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes about sleep mediated the effect of the intervention on all primary outcomes and most secondary outcomes at both 1-month and 3-month follow-ups, whereas mindfulness mediated the intervention effect on presleep arousal at 1-month and 3-month follow-ups. In the intervention for pain, pain catastrophizing mediated the effect of intervention on pain intensity and functioning at both 1-month and 3-month follow-ups, whereas mindfulness only mediated the effect of intervention on anxiety and depressive symptoms. In the intervention for dysregulated eating, power of food mediated the effect of intervention on both uncontrolled and emotional eating at both 1-month and 3-month follow-ups and mindfulness was found to mediate the effect on depressive symptoms at both 1-month and 3-month follow-ups.

Conclusions

These 3 studies converged and provided empirical evidence that mindfulness-based interventions delivered through text messaging are effective in improving distress related to sleep, pain, and dysregulated eating. Text messaging has the potential to be a core intervention modality to improve various common health outcomes for people living a fast-paced lifestyle.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9115660/

 

Mindfulness is Associated with Greater Well-Being During Covid – 19

Mindfulness is Associated with Greater Well-Being During Covid – 19

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“When you practice mindfulness and are present moment-to-moment, you are much more tuned in during typically “mindless” activities and routines throughout your day. This level of awareness not only positively affects your mind and body, but it turns out to be pretty darn useful during a pandemic.” – Henry Ford Health

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to improve health and well-being in healthy individuals. It has also been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the mental and physical health of the population. It has created intense stress both for frontline workers but also for people simply isolating at home. So, there is a need to find ways to improve psychological well-being during the pandemic. Mindfulness is known to decrease the psychological and physical responses to stress. So, mindfulness may be helpful in coping with the mental and physical challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

In today’s Research News article “Did Mindful People Do Better during the COVID-19 Pandemic? Mindfulness Is Associated with Well-Being and Compliance with Prophylactic Measures.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9105751/ ) Wen and colleagues performed an online survey during a Covid-19 lockdown in France. The participants completed measures of mindfulness, mood, quality of sleep, and behaviors to control the spread of Covid-19.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the better their psychological well-being including less sleep disruption, and deterioration of mood. They also found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the greater the engagement in behaviors to control the spread of Covid-19, including physical distancing, lockdown and coughing into your sleeve, but not washing hands, not touching faces and wearing masks.

 

Hence, being mindful during the Covid-19 lockdown was associated with less deterioration in well-being and greater prophylactic behaviors. This suggests that mindful people fared better during the pandemic.

 

During the current pandemic . . .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 Psychiatry

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Wen, X., Rafaï, I., Duchêne, S., & Willinger, M. (2022). Did Mindful People Do Better during the COVID-19 Pandemic? Mindfulness Is Associated with Well-Being and Compliance with Prophylactic Measures. International journal of environmental research and public health, 19(9), 5051. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095051

 

Abstract

This paper investigates the relationship between mindfulness and well-being within the context of compliance with prophylactic measures in the time of COVID-19. We conducted a large-scale survey among a representative sample of the French population. We measured mindfulness, using the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale, and the extent to which respondents were impacted by COVID-19 in terms of their mood and quality of sleep, as well as how they complied with prophylactic measures. Our results suggest that more mindful individuals were less negatively impacted by COVID-19 with regard to their sleep and mood. Concerning the prophylactic measures, we obtained mixed results: more mindful participants were more likely to respect lockdowns, physical distancing and to cough in their sleeves, but did not wash their hands, wear masks or avoid touching their face more often than less mindful individuals.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9105751/

 

Virtual Mindfulness Training Improves Well-Being

Virtual Mindfulness Training Improves Well-Being

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

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

 

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

 

As an alternative, training over the internet has been developed. This has tremendous advantages in decreasing costs, making training schedules much more flexible, and eliminating the need to go repeatedly to specific locations. But the question arises as to the effectiveness of internet training in improving psychological well-being. The evidence is accumulating. So, it makes sense to review what has been learned.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

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

 

Abstract

Background

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

Methods

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

Results

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

Conclusion

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

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

 

Improve Sleep in Patients with Mental Disorders with Mindfulness

Improve Sleep in Patients with Mental Disorders with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Not getting enough sleep skews our ability to regulate our emotions. In the long run, this can increase our risk of developing a mental health condition. In turn, conditions such as anxiety and depression may cause further sleep disruption.” – James Kingsland

 

Over the last several decades, research and anecdotal experiences have accumulated an impressive evidential case that meditation has positive benefits for the individual’s mental, physical, and spiritual life. Meditation appears to be beneficial both for healthy people and for people suffering from a myriad of mental and physical illnesses. One of these benefits appears to be improving sleep and relieving insomnia.

 

It has been shown that mental disorders such as anxiety and depression are associated with sleep problems and insomnia. The research on mindfulness training for sleep problems with patients with mental disorders has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of mindfulness-based intervention programs on sleep among people with common mental disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9048455/ ) Chan and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published randomized controlled trials examining the effectiveness of mindfulness training for the treatment of sleep problems in patients with mental disorders. They found 10 published randomized controlled trials containing a total of 541 participants.

 

They report that the published studies found that mindfulness training significantly reduced sleep problems in patients with chronic anxiety or depression. It has been well established that mindfulness training reduces anxiety and depression. Although not addressed in the present study, it is possible that these improvements may at least in part result from improved sleep.

 

mindfulness helps patients manage anger, worry, anxiety, and depression. These researchers theorized that mindfulness may improve sleep quality by supplying patients with the mental resources to calm down the nervous system in preparation for sleep.” – Danielle Pacheco

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Chan, S. H., Lui, D., Chan, H., Sum, K., Cheung, A., Yip, H., & Yu, C. H. (2022). Effects of mindfulness-based intervention programs on sleep among people with common mental disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. World journal of psychiatry, 12(4), 636–650. https://doi.org/10.5498/wjp.v12.i4.636

 

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Sleep problems are particularly prevalent in people with depression or anxiety disorder. Although mindfulness has been suggested as an important component in alleviating insomnia, no comprehensive review and meta-analysis has been conducted to evaluate the effects of different mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) programs on sleep among people with depression or anxiety disorder.

AIM

To compare the effects of different MBI programs on sleep among people with depression or anxiety disorder.

METHODS

Related publications in Embase, Medline, PubMed and PsycINFO databases were systematically searched from January 2010 to June 2020 for randomised controlled trials. Data were synthesized using a random-effects or a fixed-effects model to analyse the effects of various MBI programs on sleep problems among people with depression or anxiety disorder. The fixed-effects model was used when heterogeneity was negligible, and the random-effects model was used when heterogeneity was significant to calculate the standardised mean differences (SMDs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

RESULTS

We identified 397 articles, of which 10 randomised controlled trials, involving a total of 541 participants, were included in the meta-analysis. Studies of internet mindfulness meditation intervention (IMMI), mindfulness meditation (MM), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and mindfulness-based touch therapy (MBTT) met the inclusion criteria. The greatest effect sizes are reported in favour of MBTT, with SMDs of -1.138 (95%CI: -1.937 to -0.340; P = 0.005), followed by -1.003 (95%CI: -1.645 to -0.360; P = 0.002) for MBCT. SMDs of -0.618 (95%CI: -0.980 to -0.257; P = 0.001) and -0.551 (95%CI: -0.842 to -0.260; P < 0.0001) were reported for IMMI and MBSR in the pooling trials, respectively. Significant effects on sleep problem improvement are shown in all reviewed MBI programs, except MM, for which the effect size was shown to be non-significant.

CONCLUSION

All MBI programs (MBTT, MBCT, IMMI and MBSR), except MM, are effective options to improve sleep problems among people with depression or anxiety disorder.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9048455/

 

Alter Memory Processes with Mindfulness

Alter Memory Processes with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness training can improve working memory by overcoming proactive interference, which occurs when old information prevents the recall of new information.” – Sara Lazar

 

Humans have both an amazing capacity to remember. Our long-term store of information is virtually unlimited. Often the problem is retrieving that information when needed. Memory ability is so important to everyday human functioning that it is important to study ways to maintain or improve it. Mindfulness has been shown to improve working memory capacity.. But little is known about the components of memory that are affected by mindfulness training.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness and false memories: state and dispositional mindfulness does not increase false memories for naturalistic scenes presented in a virtual environment.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8885469/ ) Ayache and colleagues recruited college students and randomly assigned them to a mindfulness condition or a control condition. They were measured for mindfulness, depression, mood, and cognitive flexibility. The participants listened to a 15-minute audio instruction on mindfulness or a philosophical tale. Afterward they completed scales measuring sleepiness, mind wandering, focused attention, internal absorption, body awareness, and external absorption. They then completed a memory task involving watching a virtual scene with many elements including animals, fruits, vegetables, musical instruments, furniture, clothes, and tools. They were then presented with a number of items some of which were included in the scene and some that were not and asked to indicate whether they had seen them in the scene.

 

They found that in comparison to the control condition after mindfulness induction the participants had significantly higher levels of body awareness, focused attention, and sleepiness. The mindfulness group also had significant increases in memory sensitivity. Also, mindfulness non-reactivity levels were associated with better overall recall rates while acting with awareness was associated with false recognitions.

 

The findings are complex but suggest that brief mindfulness inductions can affect memory processes. To disentangle the various components more research is warranted.

 

When you try to learn something new, it’s difficult to do it because you have all these past memories that interfere. It makes a lot of sense that mindfulness might improve that, because the tendency to attend to the present moment is a core concept of mindfulness.” – Jonathan Greenberg

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Ayache, J., Abichou, K., La Corte, V., Piolino, P., & Sperduti, M. (2022). Mindfulness and false memories: state and dispositional mindfulness does not increase false memories for naturalistic scenes presented in a virtual environment. Psychological research, 86(2), 571–584. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-021-01504-7

 

Abstract

Mindfulness attracted increased research interests in the last decade, reporting an overall beneficial effect of this practice on cognitive performances. Nevertheless, recently a possible detrimental impact of mindfulness has been underlined. While the effect of mindfulness on memory remains under-explored, recent studies have observed an increased false-memory susceptibility after mindfulness practice. A possible explanatory mechanism has been suggested, related to the nature of the studied material. For semantically related information, mindfulness would increase false memories; however, the addition of rich perceptual information could prevent this detrimental effect. The present study aimed to verify this hypothesis by testing the impact of state mindfulness induced by a short meditation session, and dispositional mindfulness on the production of false memory for pictorial material presented in a complex virtual environment. We employed a virtual reality version of the Deese–Roediger–McDermott paradigm (DRM), a classical protocol to induce false memories. Contrary to previous studies, we did not observe any effect of mindfulness on false or correct memories (free recall and recognition) after a short mindfulness practice session compared to a control condition. Nonetheless, we found a beneficial effect of mindfulness practice on memory sensitivity. Additionally, we reported a positive and negative effect of dispositional mindfulness on memory outcomes. While the Non-Reactivity facet was associated with overall better memory performances, we observed an association between the Acting with Awareness facet and an increased recollection of lures. We discuss these findings in line with a recent proposal on the link between mindfulness and episodic memory.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8885469/

 

Improve Psychological Health During Addiction Recovery with Qigong

Improve Psychological Health During Addiction Recovery with Qigong

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

For people in the early stages of recovery whose emotions may be all over the map, Tai Chi can help stabilize moods, provide mental focus and clarity, and smooth out the rough spots. “ – Pinnacle

 

Substance abuse is a major health and social problem. There are estimated 22.2 million people in the U.S. with substance dependence. It is estimated that worldwide there are nearly ¼ million deaths yearly as a result of illicit drug use which includes unintentional overdoses, suicides, HIV and AIDS, and trauma. Obviously, there is a need to find effective methods to prevent and treat substance abuse. There are a number of programs that are successful at stopping the drug abuse, including the classic 12-step program emblematic of Alcoholics Anonymous. Unfortunately, the majority of drug and/or alcohol abusers relapse and return to substance abuse. Hence, it is important to find an effective method to both treat substance abuse disorders and to prevent relapses.

 

Mindfulness practices have been shown to improve recovery from various addictionsTai Chi is a mindfulness practice that has documented benefits for the individual’s psychological and physical health and well-being. Tai Chi and Qigong are ancient mindfulness practices involving slow prescribed movements. Since Tai Chi and Qigong are both mindfulness practices and gentle exercises, that may be an acceptable and effective treatment for patients recovering from addictions. Studies on the use of Tai Chi and Qigong practices to treat substance abuse have been accumulating and there is a need to pause and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Impact of Qigong and Tai Chi Exercise on Drug Addiction: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8957847/ ) Cui and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research studies on the effects of Tai Chi and Qigong practice during substance abuse treatment. They identified 11 studies including a total of 1072 participants.

 

They report that the published research found that Tai Chi and Qigong practices during substance abuse treatment produced significant reduction in depression, and anxiety, and significant improvements in quality of life, and sleep quality. Qigong practice appears to be superior to Tai Chi practice in producing these benefits.

 

Hence, the published research suggests that Tai Chi and Qigong practices improve the psychological health of the patients during addiction recovery.

 

 

Tai chi can also be continued in life following treatment. It can serve as an important part of an aftercare plan that enhances well-being and reduces the likelihood of relapse.” – Footprints to Recovery

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Cui, J., Liu, F., Liu, X., Li, R., Chen, X., & Zeng, H. (2022). The Impact of Qigong and Tai Chi Exercise on Drug Addiction: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in psychiatry, 13, 826187. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2022.826187

 

Abstract

Background

Previous preliminary studies have found that qigong exercises produced significant effects in healthy people and in various clinical populations. The purpose of this study was to systematically review the effects of qigong and tai chi exercise on individuals with drug addiction.

Methods

A systematic search of seven English databases and three Chinese databases was conducted to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and non-randomized comparative studies (NRS) assessing the effects of qigong and tai chi on drug addiction. Study quality was assessed using the Checklist for the Evaluation of Non-Pharmaceutical Trial Reports (CLEAR-NPT).

Results

Two RCTs and nine NRS studies were included in this study, including a total of 1072 patients with drug addiction (age range, 27–43 years). The results showed that qigong and tai chi exercise had a significant overall effect on depression (SMD = −0.353, 95%CI [−0.548, −0.159]), anxiety (SMD = −0.541, 95%CI [−0.818, −0.264]), quality of life (SMD = 0.673, 95%CI [0.438, 0.907]), and sleep quality (SMD = −0.373, 95%CI [−0.631, −0.116]). The subgroup analysis found that qigong outperformed tai chi on the improving depression, anxiety, and sleep quality.

Conclusion

Existing studies suggest that qigong and tai chi are effective at improving depression, anxiety, and quality of life in drug users; however, the evidence from rigorous randomized controlled group trials is lacking.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8957847/

 

Meditation is an Effective Treatment for a Variety of Medical Conditions

Meditation is an Effective Treatment for a Variety of Medical Conditions

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness is not a cure-all. . . . There have been thousands of studies showing that there are psychological and physical benefits to mindfulness meditation, but the intention . . . is not to cure the disease or fully treat the symptoms, but to treat the whole person — and that includes their mental and emotional well-being — so they can live in greater health and joy.” – Men’s Health

 

Over the last several decades, research and anecdotal experiences have accumulated an impressive evidential case that meditation has positive benefits for the individual’s mental, physical, and spiritual life. Meditation appears to be beneficial both for healthy people and for people suffering from a myriad of mental and physical illnesses. It appears to be beneficial across ages, from children to the elderly. And it appears to be beneficial across genders, personalities, race, and ethnicity. The breadth and depth of benefits is unprecedented. There is no other treatment or practice that has been shown to come anyway near the range of mindfulness’ positive benefits.

 

Over the last few decades, a vast amount of research has been published on the benefits of meditation on the mental and physical health of the practitioners. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Systematic Review for the Medical Applications of Meditation in Randomized Controlled Trials.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8834867/ ) Kim and colleagues review and summarize the 104 published randomized controlled trials on the benefits of meditation practices on mental and physical well-being.

 

They report that the published research found that different studies report varying results but the most common significant benefits of meditation practice were improvements in fatigue, sleep quality, quality of life, stress, PTSD symptoms, blood pressure, intraocular pressure, and depression. In general yoga-based practices produced slightly better results than mindfulness based techniques,

 

Hence, meditation practices have been found to help improve mental and physical well-being.

 

meditation can improve mental health and reduce symptoms associated with chronic conditions.” – Ashley Welch

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Kim, D. Y., Hong, S. H., Jang, S. H., Park, S. H., Noh, J. H., Seok, J. M., Jo, H. J., Son, C. G., & Lee, E. J. (2022). Systematic Review for the Medical Applications of Meditation in Randomized Controlled Trials. International journal of environmental research and public health, 19(3), 1244. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031244

 

Abstract

Background: Meditation has been increasingly adapted for healthy populations and participants with diseases. Its beneficial effects are still challenging to determine due to the heterogeneity and methodological obstacles regarding medical applications. This study aimed to integrate the features of therapeutic meditation in randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Methods: We conducted a systematic review of RCTs with meditation for populations with diseases using the PubMed database through June 2021. We analyzed the characteristics of the diseases/disorders, participants, measurements, and their overall benefits. Results: Among a total of 4855 references, 104 RCTs were determined and mainly applied mindfulness-based (51 RCTs), yoga-based (32 RCTs), and transcendental meditation (14 RCTs) to 10,139 patient-participants. These RCTs were conducted for participants with a total of 45 kinds of disorders; the most frequent being cancer, followed by musculoskeletal and connective tissue diseases and affective mood disorder. Seven symptoms or signs were frequently assessed: depressive mood, feeling anxious, quality of life, stress, sleep, pain, and fatigue. The RCTs showed a higher ratio of positive outcomes for sleep (73.9%) and fatigue (68.4%). Conclusions: This systematic review produced the comprehensive features of RCTs for therapeutic meditation. These results will help physicians and researchers further study clinical adaptations in the future as reference data.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8834867/

 

Effectiveness of Mindfulness Training on Stress Depends Upon Baseline Levels of Anxiety and Sleep Disruption

Effectiveness of Mindfulness Training on Stress Depends Upon Baseline Levels of Anxiety and Sleep Disruption

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Chronic stress can impair the body’s immune system and make many other health problems worse. By lowering the stress response, mindfulness may have downstream effects throughout the body.” – American Psychological Association

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to improve health and well-being in healthy individuals. It has also been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. One of the primary effects of mindfulness that may be responsible for many of its benefits is that it improves the physiological and psychological responses to stress. But there are large individual differences in the effectiveness of mindfulness training for reduction in stress and its effects. Hence, there is a need to investigate what individual characteristics may predict the positive benefits of mindfulness training.

 

In today’s Research News article “Do gender, anxiety, or sleep quality predict mindfulness-based stress reduction outcomes?.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7814316/ ) Brown and colleagues recruited adult participants in an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. the program consists of weekly training meetings that include meditation, yoga, and body scan along with group discussion and daily home practice. The participants were measured before and after the program for anxiety. depression, sleep quality, stress-related symptoms, and emotion regulation.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline after the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program there was a significant decrease in stress-related symptoms and emotion suppression and a significant increase in cognitive reappraisal. Participants who were high in anxiety and sleep disruptions at baseline had significantly greater reductions in stress-related symptoms and greater increases in cognitive reappraisal after MBSR. In addition, men had significantly greater decreases in emotion suppression after MBSR than women.

 

This study lacked a control (comparison condition). So, caution must be exercised in reaching definitive conclusions. But previous controlled studies have demonstrated that mindfulness training results in significant decreases in the physiological and psychological responses to stress and improvements in emotion regulation. So, the present findings are likely due to the impact of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program.

 

The study demonstrates that the characteristics of the participants at the beginning of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program predict it’s impact. Participants who are highly anxious and have troubled sleep at the start tend to benefit the most. Since anxiety and sleep disruption tend to contribute to stress and mindfulness training has been shown to decrease anxiety and improve sleep, it is not surprising that they would be predictive of greater reduction in stress-related symptoms. Nevertheless, the results suggest that MBSR should be employed particularly for anxious individuals and those with troubled sleep.

 

So, effectiveness of mindfulness training on stress depends upon baseline levels of anxiety and sleep disruption.

 

The benefits of mindfulness training may persist for years, because learning to be mindful is something that can be applied to your daily routine.” – Arielle Silverman

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Brown, M. M., Arigo, D., Wolever, R. Q., Smoski, M. J., Hall, M. H., Brantley, J. G., & Greeson, J. M. (2021). Do gender, anxiety, or sleep quality predict mindfulness-based stress reduction outcomes?. Journal of health psychology, 26(13), 2656–2662. https://doi.org/10.1177/1359105320931186

 

Abstract

Although mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) can improve health and well-being, less is known about factors that predict outcomes. This prospective observational study examined gender and baseline anxiety and sleep quality as predictors of change in emotion regulation and stress symptoms following an 8-week MBSR program. Women and men reported similar improvement in stress symptoms and cognitive reappraisal, whereas men improved more in emotion suppression. Individuals with higher anxiety and worse sleep pre-treatment benefited most in terms of decreased stress. Evaluating pre-treatment characteristics could help determine optimal candidates for MBSR training and could optimize outcomes for both women and men.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7814316/

Improve Sleep in Resident Physicians with Meditation

Improve Sleep in Resident Physicians with Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

residents. . . are on the move, working rotations in different clinics and even different hospitals. “Life in the hospital can be very stressful for residents. They aren’t just working long hours, they’re also geographic orphans.”- Chandra Are

 

Resident physicians have long tense shifts. The resultant stress can impair sleep. Not having adequate sleep has adverse effects upon the individual’s health, well-being, and happiness. 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, and increased likelihood of accidental injury including automobile accidents. So, it is important that methods be found to improve sleep in resident physicians. 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. So, meditation may be able to improve sleep in resident physicians.

 

In today’s Research News article “Sleep Patterns of Resident Physicians and the Effect of Heartfulness Meditation.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8558985/ ) Thimmapuram and colleagues recruited medical residents and had them record sleep for a week including objective measurement with actigraphy. They received heartfulness meditation training for 20 minutes per day for one week and practiced this meditation for 6 minutes each night before sleep. After the weeks training sleep was measured again for 1 week.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline after meditation training there was a significant reduction in self-report and actigraphy measures of mean sleep onset time and sleep fragmentation and a significant increase in sleep quality and restfulness. There were no significant changes in caffeine or alcohol intake or naps.

 

It should be kept in mind that there wasn’t a comparison (control) condition leaving open many confounding alternative explanations including expectancy (placebo) effects, attentional and Hawthorne effects, experimenter bias etc. In addition, there were no follow-up measures to determine if the effects were lasting. So, conclusions must be limited and tempered. Nevertheless, the present study provides evidence that meditation training may result in improved sleep for medical residents. This may result in reduced stress and better health and performance.

 

So, improve sleep in resident physicians with meditation.

 

Sleep deficiency impairs performance and patient safety, adversely affects the mental and physical health of resident physicians, and increases their risk of occupational injury and motor vehicle crashes,” – Charles Czeisler

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Thimmapuram, J., Pargament, R., Tredici, S. D., Bell, T., Yommer, D., Daoud, D., Powell, F., & Madhusudhan, D. K. (2021). Sleep Patterns of Resident Physicians and the Effect of Heartfulness Meditation. Annals of neurosciences, 28(1-2), 47–54. https://doi.org/10.1177/09727531211039070

 

Abstract

Background:

Medical residents are vulnerable to poor sleep quality due to intense work shifts and academic load. Studies objectively quantified with sleep quantity and quality among resident physicians are limited. Meditation techniques have been shown to improve sleep but are rarely studied in this population. The aim of the present study is to evaluate sleep patterns of internal medicine residents and the effect of a structured Heartfulness meditation program to improve sleep quality.

Methods:

A total of 36 residents participated in a pre–post cohort study from January 2019 through April 2019. Sleep was monitored during a one-week outpatient rotation with two validated assessment tools, namely consensus sleep diary and actigraphy. After four intervening weeks, when the residents returned to the same rotation, Heartfulness meditation was practiced and the same parameters were measured. At the end of the study period, an anonymous qualitative feedback survey was collected to assess the feasibility of the intervention.

Results:

All 36 residents participated in the study (mean age 31.09 years, SD 4.87); 34 residents (94.4%) had complete pre–post data. Consensus sleep diary data showed decreased sleep onset time from 21.03 to 14.84 min (P = .01); sleep quality and restfulness scores increased from 3.32 to 3.89 and 3.08 to 3.54, respectively (P < .001 for both). Actigraphy showed a change in sleep onset time from 20.9 min to 14.5 min (P = .003). Sleep efficiency improved from 83.5% to 85.6% (P = .019). Wakefulness after initial sleep onset changed from 38.8 to 39.9 min (P = .682). Sleep fragmentation index and the number of awakenings decreased from 6.16 to 5.46 (P = .004) and 41.71 to 36.37 (P = .013), respectively.

Conclusions:

Residents obtained nearly 7 h of sleep during outpatient rotation. Findings suggest a structured Heartfulness meditation practice to be a feasible program to improve subjective sleep onset time and several objective measures among resident physicians.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8558985/