Reduce Covid-19 Lockdown Stress Effects on Sleep and Work Engagement with Mindfulness

Reduce Covid-19 Lockdown Stress Effects on Sleep and Work Engagement with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Research shows that mindfulness meditation can reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression and can have a significant impact in the workplace”. – Headspace

 

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 workers but also for people simply isolating at home. Mindfulness is known to decrease the psychological and physical responses to stress. So, mindfulness training may be helpful in employees coping with the mental challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

 

In today’s Research News article “Stay Mindful and Carry on: Mindfulness Neutralizes COVID-19 Stressors on Work Engagement via Sleep Duration.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.610156/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1757290_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211021_arts_A ) Zheng and colleagues performed 2 studies, recruiting working adult participants, one in China and the other in the UK during Covid-19 lockdown. They were randomly assigned to practice for 10 minutes each morning for 10 days an audio guided practice of mindfulness or mind wandering. They were measured before and after training for mindfulness, sleep quality, work engagement, and the level of stress as indicated by the number of Covid-19 cases in the area.

 

They found that with the mind wandering group the greater the number of cases reported the shorter the sleep duration of the participants while the mindfulness group had no significant change in sleep duration. In addition, they found that work engagement was positively related to sleep duration but negatively related to the number of cases reported.

 

The results suggest that mindfulness training reduces the impact of stress during Covid-19 lockdown on sleep which in turn maintains work engagement. Mindfulness has previously been shown in multiple studies to improve sleep, reduce stress effects, and improve work engagement. The present study suggests that these benefits of mindfulness practice work to buffer the effects of the stress produced by Covid-19 lockdown on sleep and work engagement. In other words mindfulness training makes employees better able to cope with stress.

 

So, reduce Covid-19 lockdown stress effects on sleep and work engagement with mindfulness.

 

“The mindful response to COVID-19 . . . exemplifies that burnout can be mitigated by system-sponsored programming.” – Marianna Klatt

 

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

 

Zheng MX, Masters-Waage TC, Yao J, Lu Y, Tan N and Narayanan J (2020) Stay Mindful and Carry on: Mindfulness Neutralizes COVID-19 Stressors on Work Engagement via Sleep Duration. Front. Psychol. 11:610156. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.610156

 

We examine whether mindfulness can neutralize the negative impact of COVID-19 stressors on employees’ sleep duration and work engagement. In Study 1, we conducted a field experiment in Wuhan, China during the lockdown between February 20, 2020, and March 2, 2020, in which we induced state mindfulness by randomly assigning participants to either a daily mindfulness practice or a daily mind-wandering practice. Results showed that the sleep duration of participants in the mindfulness condition, compared with the control condition, was less impacted by COVID-19 stressors (i.e., the increase of infections in the community). In Study 2, in a 10-day daily diary study in the United Kingdom between June 8, 2020, and June 19, 2020, we replicate our results from Study 1 using a subjective measure of COVID-19 stressors and a daily measure of state mindfulness. In addition, we find that mindfulness buffers the negative effect of COVID-19 stressors on work engagement mediated by sleep duration. As the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing and the number of reported cases continues to rise globally, our findings suggest that mindfulness is an evidence-based practice that can effectively neutralize the negative effect of COVID-19 stressors on sleep and work outcomes. The findings of the present study contribute to the employee stress and well-being literature as well as the emerging organizational research on mindfulness.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.610156/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1757290_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211021_arts_A

 

Improve College Student Psychological Well-Being during Covid-19 with Mindfulness

Improve College Student Psychological Well-Being during Covid-19 with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness-based approaches appear well-suited to deal with the challenges presented by the time of unpresented uncertainty, change, and loss, which can take many forms in the context of COVID-19 pandemic.” – Elena Antonova

 

College is very stressful for students and this stress can impair 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. The COVID-19 pandemic has created intense stress which challenged the mental and physical health of the population. As an antidote, mindfulness is known to decrease the psychological and physical responses to stress. Indeed, mindfulness training has been shown to be helpful in coping with the mental and physical challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. So, it is likely that mindfulness training will improve the psychological well-being of college students during a Covid-19 lockdown.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Efficacy of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention for College Students Under Extremely Stressful Conditions.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8498086/ ) Smit and Stavrulaki recruited two classes of college students one of which was delivered 8-weekly 75-minute sessions of mindfulness training with daily home practice. During the intervention a Covid-19 lockdown was announced, and all classes moved to online delivery. They were measured before during and after the intervention for mindfulness, coronavirus worry, perceive stress, sleep difficulties, and personality.

 

They found that at baseline mindfulness was negatively associated with neuroticism and perceived stress while neuroticism was positively associated with sleep problems and perceived stress. They found that in comparison to the no-treatment controls and baseline, after the intervention the mindfulness trained students were significantly higher in mindfulness and significantly lower in perceived stress, coronavirus worry, and sleep problems.

 

It should be noted that the control condition was passive, no-treatment, and as such confounding explanations such as placebo effects, experimenter bias, attention effects etc. could explain the results. But previous controlled research has demonstrated that mindfulness training decreases sleep problems, worry and perceived stress. So, the current results are probably due to the effects of mindfulness training. The results, though, show that mindfulness training is effective in improving college students’ well-being under the extremely stressful conditions of coronavirus lockdown.

 

So, improve college student psychological well-being during Covid-19 with mindfulness.

 

As the pandemic continues, adding to what was already an epidemic of mental health challenges, college campuses across the U.S . . .  are witnessing a rise in the need and desire for meditation and mindfulness activities.” – Silma Suba

 

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

 

Smit, B., & Stavrulaki, E. (2021). The Efficacy of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention for College Students Under Extremely Stressful Conditions. Mindfulness, 1–15. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-021-01772-9

 

Abstract

Objectives

This study evaluates the effectiveness of a mindfulness-based intervention (MBI), called Koru mindfulness, among college students.

Methods

Undergraduate students (N = 34) participated in a 4-week mindfulness curriculum embedded within a college course, while a control group (N = 35) taking a different course did not. Notably, the intervention coincided with the start of a state-wide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Results

Despite the additional external stress, there was a significant main effect and a significant interaction between the intervention and time for state mindfulness, (the treatment group experienced increased state mindfulness). There was a significant main effect (higher for the control group) on coronavirus worry and a significant interaction between the intervention and time for perceived stress, with the treatment/control group experiencing decreased/increased stress over time. There was also a significant interaction between the intervention and time for sleep problems with the intervention group experiencing declines in sleep problems over time and also being more likely to experience optimal amounts of sleep over time.

Conclusions

The Koru intervention effectively increased state mindfulness, decreased stress, and improved sleep, suggesting that it is robust even under extremely stressful conditions. This study adds to the growing evidence that MBIs can play an important role in addressing rising concerns regarding the mental health of college students.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8498086/

 

Mindfulness Improves the Psychological Well-Being of Teachers in Non-Western Societies

Mindfulness Improves the Psychological Well-Being of Teachers in Non-Western Societies

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Teachers who practice “mindfulness” are better able to reduce their own levels of stress and prevent burnout.” – Dee DiGioia

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. This often produces burnout; fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, and professional inefficacy. Teachers experience burnout at high rates. Roughly a half a million teachers out of a workforce of three million, leave the profession each year and the rate is almost double in poor schools compared to affluent schools. Indeed, nearly half of new teachers leave in their first five years.

 

Burnout frequently results from emotional exhaustion. This exhaustion not only affects the teachers personally, but also the students, as it produces a loss of enthusiasm, empathy, and compassion. Regardless of the reasons for burnout or its immediate presenting consequences, it is a threat to schools and their students. In fact, it is a threat to the entire educational systems as it contributes to the shortage of teachers. Hence, methods of reducing stress and improving teacher psychological health needs to be studied.

 

Mindfulness techniques are gaining increasing attention for the treatment of the symptoms of stress and burnout. They have been demonstrated to be helpful in reducing the psychological and physiological responses to stress and for treating and preventing burnout in a number of work environments including schools. But most of the research focuses on teachers in Western societies. There is a need to study if mindfulness is equally effective in Eastern societies.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effectiveness and Mechanisms of Mindfulness Training for School Teachers in Difficult Times: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8443903/ ) Tsang and colleagues recruited elementary and secondary school teachers in Hong Kong and randomly assigned them to either a wait-list or to receive 8 weekly 90-minute sessions of mindfulness training along with home practice. The mindfulness training was based upon the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and the Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) programs. They were measured before and after training and two months later for mindfulness, general health, insomnia, stress, positive and negative emotions, life satisfaction, emotion regulation, and mindfulness in teaching.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list group, the teachers who had received mindfulness training had significantly higher levels of mindfulness, general health, positive emotions, life satisfaction, emotion regulation, and mindfulness in teaching and significantly lower levels of insomnia, stress, and negative emotions that were maintained at the 2-month follow-up measurement. In addition, a mediation analysis demonstrated that mindfulness was associated with well-being directly and indirectly via emotion regulation such that mindfulness was associated with increased emotion regulation that was in turn associated with increased well-being. Similarly, mindfulness was associated with mindfulness in teaching directly and indirectly via well-being such that mindfulness was associated with increased well-being that was in turn associated with increased mindfulness in teaching.

 

The present study had a passive control condition, wait-list, and this leaves a number of potential confounding explanations of the results such as placebo effects, attentional effects, and experimenter bias. But a large amount of previous controlled research has demonstrated that mindfulness training produces increases in health, positive emotions, emotion regulation, and life satisfaction, and decreases in insomnia, stress, and negative emotions. So, the present benefits are likely due to the mindfulness training.

 

The findings are important as they demonstrate that teachers in an Eastern society were benefited by mindfulness training to the same extent and in the same ways as teachers in Western societies. Thus, the effects of mindfulness training appear to be universal, regardless of culture. The findings also demonstrate that mindfulness training has direct and indirect effects on well-being that similarly effects mindfulness in teaching. All of this suggests that mindfulness training improves the psychological well-being of teachers which likely makes them happier and more effective teachers.

 

So, mindfulness improves the psychological well-being of teachers in non-western societies

 

Through yoga, mindfulness and social-emotional learning exercises, educators . . .  learned strategies to help reduce stress, prioritize self-care, cultivate resilience and enhance their well-being.” – Wendy McMahon

 

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

 

Tsang, K., Shum, K. K., Chan, W., Li, S. X., Kwan, H. W., Su, M. R., Wong, B., & Lam, S. F. (2021). Effectiveness and Mechanisms of Mindfulness Training for School Teachers in Difficult Times: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Mindfulness, 1–12. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-021-01750-1

 

Abstract

Objectives

Research in recent years has shown that mindfulness-based interventions can enhance teachers’ mental and physical health. However, the existing studies were predominantly conducted in Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic (WEIRD) societies. As a randomized controlled trial in a non-WEIRD society, the present study examined the effectiveness and mechanisms of mindfulness training for Hong Kong teachers in difficult times.

Methods

Teachers from primary and secondary schools (n = 186) were randomly assigned to mindfulness training (eight-week .b Foundations) or waitlist control condition. They completed online self-report surveys on measures of well-being, emotion management, and mindfulness in teaching at baseline, post-intervention, and two-month follow-up.

Results

The intervention group reported significantly higher levels of life satisfaction, positive affect, general health, along with significantly lower levels of insomnia, stress, and negative affect than the control group at post-test and two-month follow-up. The effect sizes were medium to large (ηp2 = 0.06 to 0.14). More importantly, teachers’ baseline well-being had a significant moderating effect on the intervention effectiveness. Those with a lower baseline in well-being benefitted more than their counterparts with a higher baseline. In addition, teachers’ emotion management was found to be the mediator through which mindfulness training enhanced teachers’ well-being. Such improvement in well-being also predicted higher levels of mindfulness in teaching.

Conclusions

This study provides evidence on the efficacy of mindfulness training for teachers beyond WEIRD societies. It suggests the universality and practicality of mindfulness training in enhancing teachers’ well-being and reducing their distress in difficult times.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8443903/

 

Reduce Stress and Improve Sleep and Cognition with Yoga

Reduce Stress and Improve Sleep and Cognition with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

yoga can improve your sleep, increase mindfulness, relieve anxiety and even help you stick to healthy habits in other aspects of your life.” – Corey Stieg

 

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 disrder, and 10% have chronic insomnia. These sleep problems can interfere with cognitive functions.

 

Mindfulness-based practices including yoga practice have been reported to improve sleep amount and quality and help with insomnia, to reduce stress, and improve cognitive function. The research is accumulating. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned about the effects of yoga practice on stress, sleep, and cognition.

 

In today’s Research News article “Sleep, Cognition, and Yoga.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8191228/ ) Panjwani and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies on the effects of yoga practice on stress, sleep, and cognition.

 

They report that the published research studies found that yoga practice improved sleep quality, sleep architecture and mental well-being in adults and the elderly. It also improved sleep in individuals with sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. In addition, they report that yoga produces improvement in cognitive function, mood, and stress in healthy adults and reduces cognitive decline in the elderly.

 

Hence, the published research demonstrates that yoga practice is beneficial for sleep, cognition, and mental well-being in adults and the elderly. This suggests that yoga practice should be incorporated into the individual’s lifestyle during their adult life and into their golden years.

 

So, reduce stress and improve sleep and cognition with yoga.

 

A national survey found that over 55% of people who did yoga found that it helped them get better sleep. Over 85% said yoga helped reduce stress.” – Marlyn Wei

 

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

 

Panjwani, U., Dudani, S., & Wadhwa, M. (2021). Sleep, Cognition, and Yoga. International journal of yoga, 14(2), 100–108. https://doi.org/10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_110_20

 

Abstract

Stress is one of the major problems globally, associated with poor sleep quality and cognitive dysfunction. Modern society is plagued by sleep disturbances, either due to professional demands or lifestyle or both the aspects, often leading to reduced alertness and compromised mental function, besides the well documented ill effects of disturbed sleep on physiological functions. This pertinent issue needs to be addressed. Yoga is an ancient Indian science, philosophy and way of life. Recently, yoga practice has become increasingly popular worldwide. Yoga practice is an adjunct effective for stress, sleep and associated disorders. There are limited well controlled published studies conducted in this area. We reviewed the available literature including the effect of modern lifestyle in children, adolescents, adults and geriatric population. The role of yoga and meditation in optimizing sleep architecture and cognitive functions leading to optimal brain functioning in normal and diseased state is discussed. We included articles published in English with no fixed time duration for literature search. Literature was searched mainly by using PubMed and Science Direct search engines and critically examined. Studies have revealed positive effects of yoga on sleep and cognitive skills among healthy adults as well as patients of some neurological diseases. Further, on evaluating the published studies, it is concluded that sleep and cognitive functions are optimized by yoga practice, which brings about changes in autonomic function, structural changes, changes in metabolism, neurochemistry and improved functional brain network connectivity in key regions of the brain.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8191228/

 

Improve the Psychological Health of Obstetrics and Gynecology Patients during Covid-19 with a Mindfulness App

The COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy — what women need to know | Keck School  of Medicine of USC

Improve the Psychological Health of Obstetrics and Gynecology Patients during Covid-19 with a Mindfulness App

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness meditation might be a viable low-cost intervention to mitigate the psychological impact of the COVID-19 crisis and future pandemics.” – Julie Lei Zhu

 

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. The Covid-19 pandemic is extremely stressful particularly for patients who are pregnant or awaiting surgery. This training has been shown to improve the well-being of a wide variety of individuals. So, it should be helpful with these patients.

 

The vast majority of the mindfulness training techniques, however, 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, apps for smartphones have been developed. These have tremendous advantages in decreasing costs, making training schedules much more flexible, and eliminating the need to go repeatedly to specific locations. These should be particularly useful during the Covid-19 pandemic as attending in-person therapy sessions may not be safe or practicable. But the question arises as to the effectiveness of these apps in inducing mindfulness and reducing stress and improving psychological well-being in real-world medical patients.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness Effects in Obstetric and Gynecology Patients During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8132566/ ) Smith and colleagues recruited adult

obstetrics and gynecology patients who were either pregnant or awaiting gynecological surgery delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. They were randomly assigned to receive either standard care or to practice mindfulness for 10 minutes per day for 30 days with a commercially available smartphone app “Calm”. They were measured before training, at 14 days into training, and after training for perceived stress, anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbance.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the usual care control group, the group that practiced mindfulness with the “Calm” app had significantly lower levels of perceived stress, anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbance at 14 days and 30 days. The mindfulness group also reported lower levels of perceived stress due to Covid-19 and less worry about infections in their families. A high degree of satisfaction with the “Calm” app was reported.

 

Covid-19 has affected the psychological health of virtually everyone and past research has shown that mindfulness improves their psychological health. The present study demonstrates that this occurs in pregnant women and women awaiting gynecological surgery. An important aspect of the present study was the use of a smartphone app to do the mindfulness training. These apps are particularly useful during the Covid-19 pandemic as attending in-person therapy sessions may not be safe or practicable. This allows for mindfulness training with its benefits for the well-being of the patients to occur even in the midst of a pandemic.

 

So, improve the psychological health of obstetrics and gynecology patients during covid-19 with a mindfulness app.

 

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

 

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

 

Smith, R. B., Mahnert, N. D., Foote, J., Saunders, K. T., Mourad, J., & Huberty, J. (2021). Mindfulness Effects in Obstetric and Gynecology Patients During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Obstetrics and gynecology, 137(6), 1032–1040. https://doi.org/10.1097/AOG.0000000000004316

 

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess the effect of a consumer-based mobile meditation application (app) on wellness in outpatient obstetric and gynecology patients during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

METHODS:

We conducted a randomized controlled trial at a university outpatient clinic of obstetric and gynecology patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Women were randomly assigned to the intervention group, who was prescribed a mobile meditation app for 30 days, or the control group, which received standard care. The primary outcome was self-reported perceived stress. Secondary outcomes included self-reported depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and satisfaction with the meditation app. A sample size of 80 participants (40 per group) was calculated to achieve 84% power to detect a 3-point difference in the primary outcome.

RESULTS:

From April to May 2020, 101 women were randomized in the study—50 in the meditation app group and 51 in the control group. Analysis was by intention-to-treat. Most characteristics were similar between groups. Perceived stress was significantly less in the intervention group at days 14 and 30 (mean difference 4.27, 95% CI 1.30–7.24, P=.005, d=0.69 and mean difference 4.28, 95% CI 1.68–6.88, P=.002, d=0.69, respectively). Self-reported depression and anxiety were significantly less in the intervention group at days 14 and 30 (depression: P=.002 and P=.04; anxiety: P=.01, and P=.04, respectively). Sleep disturbance was significantly less in the intervention group at days 14 and 30 (P=.001 and P=.02, respectively). More than 80% of those in the intervention group reported high satisfaction with the meditation app, and 93% reported that mindfulness meditation improved their stress.

CONCLUSION:

Outpatient obstetric and gynecology patients who used the prescribed consumer-based mobile meditation app during the COVID-19 pandemic had significant reductions in perceived stress, depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbance compared with standard care.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8132566/

Improve Sleep Quality in Patients with Severe Sleep Disturbance with Online Mindfulness Training.

Improve Sleep Quality in Patients with Severe Sleep Disturbance with Online Mindfulness Training.

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Strengthening your ‘mind muscle’ through daily practice helps you better recognize the negative insomnia-inducing thoughts and let them pass.” – Shelby Harris

 

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. The evidence has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to review and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effect of Virtual Mindfulness-Based Interventions on Sleep Quality: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8300082/ ) Jiang and colleagues review and summarize the published randomized controlled trials of the effectiveness of web based mindfulness training to improve the quality of sleep in patients with severe sleep disturbance. They found 10 published randomized controlled trials with a total of 2777 participants.

 

They report that the published research found that online mindfulness training produced significant improvements in sleep quality that were still present as long as 6 months later. Mindfulness training has been shown to improve sleep in a wide variety of patients and normal individuals. The present review demonstrates that it is effective with patients with severe sleep disturbance. The fact that these studies used online trainings is important as it makes the treatments widely available, convenient, and inexpensive. Hence, mindfulness training is a safe and effective method to improve sleep and should be recommended for individuals who have sleep problems.

 

So, improve sleep quality in patients with severe sleep disturbance with online mindfulness training.

 

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

 

Jiang, A., Rosario, M., Stahl, S., Gill, J. M., & Rusch, H. L. (2021). The Effect of Virtual Mindfulness-Based Interventions on Sleep Quality: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials. Current psychiatry reports, 23(9), 62. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-021-01272-6

 

Abstract

Purpose of Review

We summarized peer-reviewed literature investigating the effect of virtual mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) on sleep quality. We aimed to examine the following three questions: (1) do virtual MBIs improve sleep quality when compared with control groups; (2) does the effect persist long-term; and (3) is the virtual delivery method equally feasible compared to the in-person delivery method?

Recent Findings

Findings suggest that virtual MBIs are equivalent to evidence-based treatments, and to a limited extent, more effective than non-specific active controls at reducing some aspects of sleep disturbance. Overall, virtual MBIs are more effective at improving sleep quality than usual care controls and waitlist controls. Studies provide preliminary evidence that virtual MBIs have a long-term effect on sleep quality. Moreover, while virtual MBI attrition rates are comparable to in-person MBI attrition rates, intervention adherence may be compromised in the virtual delivery method.

Summary

This review highlights virtual MBIs as a potentially effective alternative to managing sleep disturbance during pandemic-related quarantine and stay-at-home periods. This is especially relevant due to barriers of accessing in-person interventions during the pandemic. Future studies are needed to explore factors that influence adherence and access to virtual MBIs, with a particular focus on diverse populations.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8300082/

 

Improve Psychological Well-Being and Sleep in Police with Mindfulness

Improve Psychological Well-Being and Sleep in Police with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“increased mindfulness was related to increased resilience and decreased burnout among police officers.” – John Kim

 

Policing is a very stressful occupation. Stress in police can result from role conflicts between serving the public, enforcing the law, and upholding ethical standards and personal responsibilities as spouse, parent, and friend. Stress also results from, threats to health and safety, boredom, responsibility for protecting the lives of others, continual exposure to people in pain or distress, the need to control emotions even when provoked, the presence of a gun, even during off-duty hours, and the fragmented nature of police work, with only rare opportunities to follow cases to conclusion or even to obtain feedback or follow-up information.

 

This stress can have serious consequences for the individual and in turn for society. Police officers have one of the highest suicide rates in the nation, possibly the highest. They have a high divorce rate, about second in the nation. They are problem drinkers about twice as often as the general population. This is a major problem as stress and the resultant complications can impact job performance, which sometimes involve life or death situations.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to improve the physiological and psychological responses to stress and it has been found to reduce burnout in first responders. So, it is likely that mindfulness training with police can help them cope with the stress and thereby improve their psychological well-being.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Impact of Mindfulness Training on Police Officer Stress, Mental Health, and Salivary Cortisol Levels.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.720753/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1721400_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210909_arts_A ) Grupe and colleagues recruited police officers and randomly assigned them to either a wait-list control condition or to receive 18 hours over 8 weeks of mindfulness training. The program was based upon the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. They were measured before and after training and 3 months later for stress, mental health, physical health, anxiety, depression, fatigue, sleep disturbances, ability to participate in social roles and activities, physical function, pain interference, and pain intensity, sleep, alcohol use, burnout, and work limitations. They also had blood and hair samples collected for analysis of levels of cortisol and markers of inflammation.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control group, the police who received mindfulness training had significantly lower levels of perceived stress, distress, and mental illness symptoms. These improvements were maintained at the 3-month follow up. Sleep quality was significantly improved, and cortisol levels were lower at the 3-month follow up.

 

The comparison, control, condition was a wait-list control which is passive and doesn’t control for many confounding factors such as expectancy, experimenter bias, and attentional effects. But previous controlled research has shown that mindfulness training produces lower levels of stress, distress, anxiety, depression, and cortisol levels, and improved sleep. So, the present findings were likely due to the mindfulness training rather than confounding factors.

 

Policing is a highly stressful difficult job that can have mental health consequences. So, the findings that mindfulness training produces lasting improvements in psychological health in the police are encouraging. They suggest that mindfulness training can help the officers withstand the stress and maintain psychological health and reduce burnout.

 

So, improve psychological well-being and sleep in police with mindfulness.

 

Meditation is helping police officers to de-escalate volatile situations, improve community relations—and improve their own well-being.” – JILL SUTTIE

 

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

 

Grupe DW, Stoller JL, Alonso C, McGehee C, Smith C, Mumford JA, Rosenkranz MA and Davidson RJ (2021) The Impact of Mindfulness Training on Police Officer Stress, Mental Health, and Salivary Cortisol Levels. Front. Psychol. 12:720753. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.720753

 

Unaddressed occupational stress and trauma contribute to elevated rates of mental illness and suicide in policing, and to violent and aggressive behavior that disproportionately impacts communities of color. Emerging evidence suggests mindfulness training with police may reduce stress and aggression and improve mental health, but there is limited evidence for changes in biological outcomes or the lasting benefits of mindfulness training. We conducted a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of 114 police officers from three Midwestern U.S. law enforcement agencies. We assessed stress-related physical and mental health symptoms, blood-based inflammatory markers, and hair and salivary cortisol. Participants were then randomized to an 8-week mindfulness intervention or waitlist control (WLC), and the same assessments were repeated post-intervention and at 3-month follow-up. Relative to waitlist control, the mindfulness group had greater improvements in psychological distress, mental health symptoms, and sleep quality post-training, gains that were maintained at 3-month follow-up. Intervention participants also had a significantly lower cortisol awakening response (CAR) at 3-month follow-up relative to waitlist control. Contrary to hypotheses, there were no intervention effects on hair cortisol, diurnal cortisol slope, or inflammatory markers. In summary, an 8-week mindfulness intervention for police officers led to self-reported improvements in distress, mental health, and sleep, and a lower CAR. These benefits persisted (or emerged) at 3-month follow-up, suggesting that this training may buffer against the long-term consequences of chronic stress. Future research should assess the persistence of these benefits over a longer period while expanding the scope of outcomes to consider the broader community of mindfulness training for police.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.720753/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1721400_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210909_arts_A

 

Relieve Insomnia in Older Adults with Tai Chi or Exercise

Relieve Insomnia in Older Adults with Tai Chi or Exercise

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Tai Chi significantly improved sleep quality in both healthy adults and patients with chronic health conditions, which suggests that Tai Chi may be considered as an alternative behavioral therapy in the treatment of insomnia.” – Gown Raman

 

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. But Tai Chi is both a mindfulness practice and an exercise. It is unclear whether its effects on insomnia are due to the exercise provided or the mindfulness practice.

 

In today’s Research News article “). Effects of Tai Chi or Exercise on Sleep in Older Adults With Insomnia: A Randomized Clinical Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: ) Siu and colleagues recruited older sedentary adults over 60 years of age who were diagnosed with chronic insomnia and randomly assigned them to receive either treatment as usual, or 12 weeks of 3 weekly 1-hour sessions of  exercise, or Tai Chi practice. Exercise consisted of brisk walking and muscle strengthening. Tai Chi practice consisted of the 24 form Yang style Tai Chi. They were measured before and after treatment and 24 months later for objective sleep quality with actigraphy and subjectively for remission of insomnia, insomnia treatment response, perceived sleep quality, insomnia severity, self-reported sleep parameters, and the use of hypnotic medication.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the usual care group, the actigraphy and Tai Chi groups had significant improvements in objective sleep measures of sleep efficiency, sleep onset, wake time after sleep onset, and number of awakenings, and subjective measures of remission of insomnia, perceived sleep quality, insomnia severity, and lower use of hypnotic medications. Importantly, these improvements were still present 2 years later.

 

Hence, both objective and subjective measures of sleep revealed that both exercise and Tai Chi practice produced moderate significant and enduring improvements in sleep in older adults with insomnia. The fact that exercise and Tai Chi practice produced equivalent benefits suggests that the ability of Tai Chi practice to improve sleep is due to the exercise provided by the practice and not to the mindfulness aspects of the practice.

 

So, relieve insomnia in older adults with tai chi or exercise.

 

“TCC [Tai Chi Chih] produce clinically meaningful improvements in insomnia.” – Michael Irwin

 

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

 

Siu, P. M., Yu, A. P., Tam, B. T., Chin, E. C., Yu, D. S., Chung, K. F., Hui, S. S., Woo, J., Fong, D. Y., Lee, P. H., Wei, G. X., & Irwin, M. R. (2021). Effects of Tai Chi or Exercise on Sleep in Older Adults With Insomnia: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA network open, 4(2), e2037199. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.37199

 

Key Points

Question

Can tai chi improve sleep as effectively as conventional exercise in older adults with insomnia?

Findings

In this randomized clinical trial using data collected from 320 older adults, both tai chi and conventional exercise were associated with improved sleep. Both interventions were equally effective in improving various actigraphy-assessed sleep parameters, and these beneficial effects remained persistent 24 months after the intervention with no significant differences between the 2 intervention groups.

Meaning

Given that tai chi is an accepted form of physical activity among older people because of its gentle, low-impact exercises, it can represent an alternative approach to fulfill the physical activity recommendations for improving sleep for individuals who are averse to conventional exercise.

Abstract

Importance

Previous studies that have shown tai chi to improve sleep were mainly based on subjective assessments, which might have produced results confounded by self-reporting bias.

Objective

To compare the effectiveness of tai chi for improving sleep in older adults with insomnia with conventional exercise and a passive control group using actigraphy-based objective measurements.

Design, Setting, and Participants

This randomized, 3-arm, parallel group, assessor-masked clinical trial was conducted at a single research unit in Hong Kong between August 2014 and August 2018. Eligible participants, aged 60 years or older and with chronic insomnia, were randomly allocated into tai chi training, exercise, and control groups.

Interventions

12-week tai chi training, 12-week conventional exercise, and no intervention control.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Primary outcomes were measures taken from actigraphy sleep assessment. Secondary outcomes included remission of insomnia, insomnia treatment response, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index score, Insomnia Severity Index score, and self-reported sleep using a 7-day sleep diary. Assessments were performed at baseline, end of the intervention (postintervention), and 24 months after the intervention (follow-up). Data analysis was performed from September 2018 to August 2020.

Results

A total of 320 participants (mean [SD] age, 67.3 [6.8] years; mean [SD] insomnia duration, 124.4 [134.5] months; 256 [80.0%] women) were randomly allocated into control (110 participants), exercise (105 participants), and tai chi (105 participants) groups and included in the data analysis. Compared with the control group, the exercise and tai chi groups showed improved sleep efficiency (exercise vs control: adjusted mean difference, +3.5%; 95% CI, 1.8-5.2; P < .001; tai chi vs control: adjusted mean difference, +3.4%; 95% CI, 1.6-5.1; P < .001) and reductions of wake time after sleep onset (exercise vs control: −17.0 minutes; 95% CI, −24.9 to −9.0; P < .001; tai chi vs control: −13.3 minutes; 95% CI, −21.3 to −5.2; P = .001) and number of awakenings (exercise vs control: −2.8 times; 95% CI, −4.0 to −1.6; P < .001; tai chi vs control: −2.2 times; 95% CI, −3.5 to −1.0; P < .001) as assessed by actigraphy at postintervention; although there were no significant differences between the exercise and tai chi groups. The actigraphy-assessed beneficial effects were maintained in both intervention groups at follow-up.

Conclusions and Relevance

Conventional exercise and tai chi improved sleep and the beneficial effects sustained for 24 months, although the absolute improvements in sleep parameters were modest. Improvements in objective sleep parameters were not different between the tai chi and exercise groups, suggesting that tai chi can be an alternative approach for managing insomnia.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7885034/

 

Yoga Practitioners Cope Better with the Stress and Psychological Distress During Covid-19 Pandemic

Yoga Practitioners Cope Better with the Stress and Psychological Distress During Covid-19 Pandemic

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“As the lockdown cannot last forever and workplaces will have to be functional soon, there is an increased possibility of recurrent infection. Therefore, Yoga can provide the necessary tool for risk reduction, amelioration of stress and anxiety and strengthening of the immune function.” – Kanupriya Sharma 

 

Mindfulness training and yoga practices have been shown to improve health and well-being in healthy individuals. They have 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. Mindfulness is known to decrease the psychological and physical responses to stress and yoga practice also produces similar improvements. So, yoga practice may be helpful in coping with the mental and physical challenges resulting from the lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

In today’s Research News article “Yoga Practice Is Beneficial for Maintaining Healthy Lifestyle and Endurance Under Restrictions and Stress Imposed by Lockdown During COVID-19 Pandemic.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8257944/ ) Nagarathna and colleagues recruited adult (>18 years of age) participants in India online during the Covid-19 lockdown and had them complete a questionnaire measuring demographics, Covid-19 exposure, physical health, mental health, coping strategies, lifestyle, and physical activities.

 

They defined a yoga group as those participants who practiced yoga before and during the Covid-19 lockdown and the non-yoga group as those who did not. They report that the yoga group had a significantly greater proportion of females and students, were younger, were less likely to use alcohol, tobacco, or other substances and eat junk food, more likely to be vegetarian, were disciplined in their diet, and had greater sleep quality, physical strength and endurance, and energy, have lower levels of anxiety and fear, but did not differ in Covid-19 exposure. In addition, the yoga group indicated more adaptive coping strategies.

 

This study was a comparison between groups defined by whether they were yoga practitioners or not. Any observed differences could well be due to the types of people attracted to yoga practice versus those who are not. It cannot be concluded that the practice of yoga was responsible for the differences. But prior research has demonstrated in controlled trials that the practice of yoga produces many physical and psychological benefits. So, the differences observed here may well be due to causal effects of yoga practice. Regardless of causation, the results clearly show that during the Covid-19 lockdown, yoga practitioners have greater physical and mental well-being and have healthier lifestyles.

 

So, yoga practitioners cope better with the stress and psychological distress during Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Yoga can be a powerful tool to deal with the lockdown’s uncertainty and isolation, as well as to maintain physical well-being.” – United Nations

 

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

Nagarathna, R., Anand, A., Rain, M., Srivastava, V., Sivapuram, M. S., Kulkarni, R., Ilavarasu, J., Sharma, M., Singh, A., & Nagendra, H. R. (2021). Yoga Practice Is Beneficial for Maintaining Healthy Lifestyle and Endurance Under Restrictions and Stress Imposed by Lockdown During COVID-19 Pandemic. Frontiers in psychiatry, 12, 613762. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.613762

 

Abstract

Uncertainty about Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and resulting lockdown caused widespread panic, stress, and anxiety. Yoga is a known practice that reduces stress and anxiety and may enhance immunity. This study aimed to (1) investigate that including Yoga in daily routine is beneficial for physical and mental health, and (2) to evaluate lifestyle of Yoga practitioners that may be instrumental in coping with stress associated with lockdown. This is a pan-India cross-sectional survey study, which was conducted during the lockdown. A self-rated scale, COVID Health Assessment Scale (CHAS), was designed by 11 experts in 3 Delphi rounds (Content valid ratio = 0.85) to evaluate the physical health, mental health, lifestyle, and coping skills of the individuals. The survey was made available digitally using Google forms and collected 23,760 CHAS responses. There were 23,290 valid responses (98%). After the study’s inclusion and exclusion criteria of yogic practices, the respondents were categorized into the Yoga (n = 9,840) and Non-Yoga (n = 3,377) groups, who actively practiced Yoga during the lockdown in India. The statistical analyses were performed running logistic and multinomial regression and calculating odds ratio estimation using R software version 4.0.0. The non-Yoga group was more likely to use substances and unhealthy food and less likely to have good quality sleep. Yoga practitioners reported good physical ability and endurance. Yoga group also showed less anxiety, stress, fear, and having better coping strategies than the non-Yoga group. The Yoga group displayed striking and superior ability to cope with stress and anxiety associated with lockdown and COVID-19. In the Yoga group, participants performing meditation reportedly had relatively better mental health. Yoga may lead to risk reduction of COVID-19 by decreasing stress and improving immunity if specific yoga protocols are implemented through a global public health initiative.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8257944/

 

Produce Lasting Improvements in Resilience and Well-Being in Pre-Retirement Employees with Mindfulness

Produce Lasting Improvements in Resilience and Well-Being in Pre-Retirement Employees with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

workers who took the mindfulness class reported feeling much better. They had less prolonged fatigue — that feeling of exhaustion that doesn’t go away even after having a chance to rest. They also felt less stressed, reported reduced anxiety and depression, and had fewer sleep difficulties, aches and pains, and problems getting along with others.” – Ronald Siegel

 

Work is very important for our health and well-being. We spend approximately 25% of our adult lives at work. How we spend that time is immensely important for our psychological, social, and physical health. But nearly 2/3 of employees worldwide are unhappy at work. This is partially due to work-related stress which is epidemic in the western workplace. Almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. This stress can result in impaired health and can result in burnout; producing fatigue, cynicism, and professional inefficacy. This can lead to early retirement.

 

To help overcome unhappiness, stress, and burnoutmindfulness practices have been implemented in the workplace. Indeed, mindfulness practices have been shown to markedly reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. As a result, it has become very trendy for business to incorporate meditation into the workday to help improve employee well-being, health, and productivity. These programs attempt to increase the employees’ mindfulness at work and thereby reduce stress. It is not known whether mindfulness will be similarly effective for older employees who are approaching retirement.

 

In today’s Research News article “Pre-retirement Employees Experience Lasting Improvements in Resilience and Well-Being After Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.699088/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1684212_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210720_arts_A ) Diachenko and colleagues recruited active employees between the ages of 60-65 years and randomly assigned them to either receive an 8-week program of Mindfulness-Based Stress reduction (MBSR) or to a wait-list control condition. MBSR was delivered in weekly 2.5-hour sessions consisting of meditation, body scan, and yoga along with group discussion and daily 45 minute home practice. After training the participants received monthly 2-hour booster sessions delivered online. They were measured before and after training and 12 months later for perceived stress, resilience, well-being, distress, anxiety, depression, satisfaction with life, quality of thoughts and feelings at rest, and prior experience with yoga and meditation.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list controls, the participants who received Mindfulness-Based Stress reduction (MBSR) had significantly higher levels of resilience, well-being, and comfort in their thoughts at rest, and lower levels of sleepiness that were still significant 12 months later. These findings suggest that MBSR training improves the psychological health of older employees nearing retirement.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown in past research to improve resilience, well-being, and sleep. So, these findings are not surprising. What is new here is that these improvements in psychological health occurred in individuals approaching retirement and these improvements lasted for at least a year after training. It is possible, but not measured, that these improvements may lead to the employees staying in their jobs longer before retirement.

 

So, produce lasting improvements in resilience and well-being in pre-retirement employees with mindfulness.

 

The most vital parts of mindfulness come not from positive thinking and meditation alone but the business’s approach to its employees.” – Forbes

 

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

 

Diachenko M, Smith KK, Fjorback L, Hansen NV, Linkenkaer-Hansen K and Pallesen KJ (2021) Pre-retirement Employees Experience Lasting Improvements in Resilience and Well-Being After Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. Front. Psychol. 12:699088. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.699088

 

The socio-economic benefits of interventions to prevent stress and related mental health problems are enormous. In the labor market, it is becoming desirable to keep employees for as long as possible. Since aging implies additional stressors such as increased risk of illness, and added pressure by professional tasks such as transferring knowledge, or learning new technologies, it is of particular relevance to offer stress-reduction to pre-retirement employees. Here, we report the effects of an eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) intervention on mental well-being in 60–65-year-old work-active Danish employees, compared to a waiting-list control group. We observed improvements in resilience (Brief Resilience Scale) and mental well-being (WHO-5) not only at the end of the intervention, but also at the 12-month follow-up measurement that was preceded by monthly booster sessions. Interestingly, whereas well-being usually refers to experiences in the past weeks or months, we observed increasing Comfort in the MBSR-intervention group during a 5-minute eyes-closed rest session suggesting that this therapeutic effect of MBSR is measurable in how we feel even during short periods of time. We argue that MBSR is a cost-effective intervention suited for pre-retirement employees to cultivate resilience to prevent stress, feel more comfortable with themselves, maintain a healthy work-life in the last years before retirement, and, potentially, stay in their work-life a few more years than originally planned.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.699088/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1684212_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210720_arts_A