Enhance Relaxation and Reduce Stress with a Brief Sound Meditation

Enhance Relaxation and Reduce Stress with a Brief Sound Meditation

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Sound meditation is the use of therapeutic instruments played in an intuitive way.  It’s an extremely effective and powerful tool for physical and energetic healing/self care. You don’t just hear the vibrations but you FEEL them within your body.” – Babeskills

 

Meditation 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, meditation training has been called the third wave of therapies. One problem with understanding meditation effects is that there are, a wide variety of meditation techniques and it is not known which work best for improving different conditions.

 

There are a number of different types of meditation. Many can be characterized on a continuum with the degree and type of attentional focus. In focused attention meditation, the individual practices paying attention to a single meditation object, learns to filter out distracting stimuli, including thoughts, and learns to stay focused on the present moment, filtering out thoughts centered around the past or future. There are a variety of objects of focused meditation, the most common of which is focusing on the breath. But focusing on sounds can also be very effective.

 

In today’s Research News article “Didgeridoo Sound Meditation for Stress Reduction and Mood Enhancement in Undergraduates: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6769210/), Philips and colleagues recruited meditation naïve college students and randomly assigned them to a single 30 minute meditation session focusing on either sound or the breath. The sound meditation occurred to music played on a Didgeridoo. They were measured before and after the session for mood and perceived stress.

 

They found that after the meditation both groups had significant increases in relaxation and energy and decreases in negative arousal, tiredness, and perceived stress. But the sound meditation group had significantly greater increases in relaxation and decreases in perceived stress than the breath meditation group. The students reported enjoying the meditation but the sound meditation group reported significantly greater enjoyment than the breath meditation group.

 

The results of the study suggest that a single brief meditation session can improve mood and reduce perceived stress but that meditating to music played on a Didgeridoo produced greater relaxation and greater reductions in perceived stress that a more traditional meditation focused on the breath. It appears that the Didgeridoo music made for a more enjoyable meditation. It is possible that the effects observed were due to making meditation more enjoyable rather than a superiority of sound meditation. Future research needs to explore whether these effects occur to different sounds varying in enjoyability and are maintained with a greater number of meditation sessions.

 

So, enhance relaxation and reduce stress with a brief sound meditation.

 

Sound enhances our self-awareness, it facilitates connecting with the higher self, it promotes self-observation and self-worth, and it increases the state of personal resonance. It brings awareness to the inner processes of the mind: the habitual patterns, the good and bad discursive thinking, the judgment, the filters through which we experience the inner and the outer worlds and realities.” – SoundMeditation.com

 

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

 

Philips, K. H., Brintz, C. E., Moss, K., & Gaylord, S. A. (2019). Didgeridoo Sound Meditation for Stress Reduction and Mood Enhancement in Undergraduates: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Global advances in health and medicine, 8, 2164956119879367. doi:10.1177/2164956119879367

 

Short abstract

Background

College students report feeling frequently stressed, which adversely impacts health. Meditation is one effective method for reducing stress, but program length and required effort are potential obstacles. Research on sound meditation, involving focused listening to sounds, is nascent but may appeal to undergraduates. The effects of listening to didgeridoo, an Australian wind instrument producing a low, resonant, droning sound, have not been studied.

Objective

This study compared the effect of a 30-minute didgeridoo sound meditation versus silent meditation with focus on one’s breath on acute self-perceived stress and mood in undergraduates without prior meditation experience.

Methods

Seventy-four undergraduates were randomized to 2 interventions: (1) didgeridoo meditation (n = 40) performed live by a musician or (2) silent meditation (n = 34) taught by a meditation instructor. Immediate pre–post effects of the session were examined using the 4-Dimension Mood Scale and an item assessing acute self-perceived stress. Intervention acceptability was assessed postintervention.

Results

Two-way mixed analyses of variance were performed. Both groups reported significantly increased relaxation after meditation (Group D, P = .0001 and Group S, P = .0005). Both groups reported decreased negative arousal (Group D, P = .02 and Group S, P = .02), energy (Group D, P = .0001 and Group S, P = .003), tiredness (Group D, P = .0001 and Group S, P = .005), and acute stress (Group D, P = .0001 and Group S, P = .0007). Group Didgeridoo experienced significantly more relaxation (P = .01) and less acute stress (P = .03) than Group Silent. Fifty-three percent of silent participants and 80% of didgeridoo participants agreed that they would attend that type of meditation again. Forty-seven percent of silent participants and 80% of didgeridoo participants enjoyed the meditation.

Conclusion

Didgeridoo sound meditation is as effective as silent meditation for decreasing self-perceived negative arousal, tiredness, and energy and more effective than silent meditation for relaxation and acute stress in undergraduates. Didgeridoo meditation participants reported higher levels of enjoyment and higher likelihood of attending another session. Further investigation into didgeridoo and sound meditation is warranted.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6769210/

 

Mindfulness Training Improves the Psychological Health of Health Care Professionals

Mindfulness Training Improves the Psychological Health of Health Care Professionals

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Levels of stress and burnout in the healthcare profession have been exacerbated in recent decades by significant changes in how health care is delivered and administered. Extensive research has shown that mindfulness training . . . can have significant positive impacts on participants’ job satisfaction; their relationships with patients, co-workers and administration; and their focus and creativity at work.” – WPHP

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. In high stress occupations, like healthcare, burnout is all too prevalent. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. It is estimated that over 45% of healthcare workers experience burnout. It not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion.

 

Improving the psychological health of health care professionals has to be a priority. Contemplative practices have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, and improving sleep. Hence, mindfulness may be a means to improve the psychological health of medical professionals.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based IARA Model® Proves Effective to Reduce Stress and Anxiety in Health Care Professionals. A Six-Month Follow-Up Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6888054/), Barattucci and colleagues recruited doctors, nurses, and healthcare assistants and randomly assigned them to either a no-treatment control condition or to receive self-awareness/mindfulness training. The training occurred in 4 8-hour group sessions and emphasized mindfulness, emotion regulation, counseling techniques and skills to deal with stress. They were measured before and 6 months after training for anxiety, perceived stress, and emotion regulation.

 

They found that 6 months after training the self-awareness/mindfulness training group had significant reductions in perceived stress and anxiety and significant improvements in emotion regulation while the control group did not. They also found that the higher the levels of emotion regulation the lower the levels of anxiety and perceived stress.

 

The intervention of self-awareness/mindfulness training involves a complex set of trainings and it cannot be determined which component or combination of components are responsible for the effects. But it has been shown in previous research showing that mindfulness training produces lasting improvements in emotion regulation, reductions in anxiety and perceived stress, and improvements in the psychological health of healthcare workers. Hence, it can be concluded that at least the mindfulness training component of the self-awareness/mindfulness training is effective. It was not established but it is assumed that these psychological improvements will lead to greater resilience and decrease burnout in healthcare workers.

 

So, mindfulness training improves the psychological health of health care professionals.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to reduce depression, anxiety, rumination, and stress, and to improve self-compassion and positive mood states in health care professionals. Second, the practice of mindfulness improves qualities that are critical to effective treatment, such as attention, empathy, emotion regulation, and affect tolerance.” – Shauna Shapiro

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Barattucci, M., Padovan, A. M., Vitale, E., Rapisarda, V., Ramaci, T., & De Giorgio, A. (2019). Mindfulness-Based IARA Model® Proves Effective to Reduce Stress and Anxiety in Health Care Professionals. A Six-Month Follow-Up Study. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(22), 4421. doi:10.3390/ijerph16224421

 

Abstract

Changes in the health care environment, together with specific work-related stressors and the consequences on workers’ health and performance, have led to the implementation of prevention strategies. Among the different approaches, those which are mindfulness-based have been institutionally recommended with an indication provided as to their effectiveness in the management of stress. The aim of the present study was to analyze the efficacy of the mindfulness-based IARA Model® (an Italian acronym translatable into meeting, compliance, responsibility, autonomy) in order to ameliorate perceived stress, anxiety and enhance emotional regulation among health care professionals (HCPs; i.e., doctors, nurses, and healthcare assistants). Four hundred and ninety-seven HCPs, 215 (57.2%) of which were women, were randomly assigned to a mindfulness-based training or control group and agreed to complete questionnaires on emotion regulation difficulties (DERS), anxiety, and perceived stress. Results showed that HCPs who attended the IARA training, compared to the control group, had better emotional regulation, anxiety and stress indices after 6 months from the end of the intervention. Furthermore, the results confirmed the positive relationship between emotional regulation, perceived stress and anxiety. The present study contributes to literature by extending the effectiveness of IARA in improving emotional regulation and well-being in non-clinical samples. Moreover, the study provides support for the idea that some specific emotional regulation processes can be implicated in perceived stress and anxiety. From the application point of view, companies should invest more in stress management intervention, monitoring and training, in order to develop worker skills, emotional self-awareness, and relational resources.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6888054/

 

Mindfulness is Related to the Well-Being of First Year College Students

Mindfulness is Related to the Well-Being of First Year College Students

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Being mindful makes it easier to savor the pleasures in life as they occur, helps you become fully engaged in activities, and creates a greater capacity to deal with adverse events,” – Abby Fortin

 

In the modern world education is a key for success. Where a high school education was sufficient in previous generations, a college degree is now required to succeed in the new knowledge-based economies. There is a lot of pressure on university students to excel so that they can get the best jobs after graduation. This stress might in fact be counterproductive as the increased pressure can actually lead to stress and anxiety which can impede the student’s physical and mental health, well-being, and school performance.

 

Contemplative practices including meditationmindfulness training, and yoga practice have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. Indeed, these practices have been found to reduce stress and improve psychological health in college students. But these techniques have been primarily tested with western populations and may not be sensitive to the unique situations, cultures, and education levels of diverse populations. Hence, there is a need to investigate the relationships of mindfulness to psychological health with diverse populations. There are indications that mindfulness therapies may be effective in diverse populations. But there is a need for further investigation with different populations.

 

In today’s Research News article “Relationship Between Dispositional Mindfulness and Living Condition and the Well-Being of First-Year University Students in Japan.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02831/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1191386_69_Psycho_20191224_arts_A), Irie and colleagues had first year Japanese college students complete questionnaires measuring mindfulness, well-being, living conditions and daily stressors. These data were then subjected to hierarchical multivariate regression analysis.

 

They found that the greater the number of daily life stressors, the lower the well-being of the first-year college students and the higher the levels of mindfulness the greater the well-being of the students. In addition, they found that for students low in mindfulness, living alone decreased well-being. But for students high in mindfulness, living alone had no effect on well-being.

 

It has been well established with multiple groups that mindfulness improves well-being. The present findings suggest that mindfulness is positively related to well-being in first-year Japanese college students. This further expands the generalizability of the mindfulness-well-being relationship. In addition, the results suggest that mindfulness may protect the students from the deleterious effects of living alone, away from home, on the difficult psychological adjustments occurring during the transition to college. It is for future research to establish if mindfulness training may help students in their adjustment to college life.

 

So, mindfulness is related to the well-being of first year college students.

 

mindfulness training can improve the mental health of university students. The finding is important as recent evidence suggests university students are more likely to develop mental health problems when compared with the general population.” – Rick Nauert

 

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

 

Irie T and Yokomitsu K (2019) Relationship Between Dispositional Mindfulness and Living Condition and the Well-Being of First-Year University Students in Japan. Front. Psychol. 10:2831. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02831

 

The present study was conducted to examine how dispositional mindfulness and living conditions are related to well-being among first-year university students in Japan. Participants were 262 Japanese first-year students (156 females and 106 males; Mage = 18.77 years, SDage = 0.85). Dispositional mindfulness was measured using the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS), and living condition was operationalized as living at home or living alone after having left their home. Hierarchical multivariate regression analysis was used to analyze whether the factors of living condition and dispositional mindfulness had predictive effects on well-being. The results showed that dispositional mindfulness positively correlated with well-being in first-year university students; however, living condition had no significant correlation. On the other hand, the interaction between living condition and dispositional mindfulness significantly correlated with well-being. Simple slope analysis revealed that higher levels of dispositional mindfulness had a protective effect in the relationship between living condition and well-being. These results suggest that an intervention to promote dispositional mindfulness could be effective in protecting the well-being of first-year university students, especially for those who have left their home and are living alone. Further research will be necessary to examine, longitudinally, how mental health changes depending on the level of dispositional mindfulness of first-year university students.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02831/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1191386_69_Psycho_20191224_arts_A

 

Slow Cellular Aging with Mindfulness

Slow Cellular Aging with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

So, slow cellular aging with mindfulness.

 

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

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

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

 

Abstract

Background

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

Methods

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

Results

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

Conclusions

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

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

 

Reduce Stress and Substance Abuse in Ex-Prisoner HIV Patients with Yoga

Reduce Stress and Substance Abuse in Ex-Prisoner HIV Patients with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Yoga is an ideal exercise for people with HIV. It not only helps build muscle and energy, but also reduces stress.” – Matt McMillen

 

More than 35 million people worldwide and 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection. These include a significant number of children and adolescents. In 1996, the advent of the protease inhibitor and the so-called cocktail changed the prognosis for HIV. Since this development a 20-year-old infected with HIV can now expect to live on average to age 69. Hence, living with HIV is a long-term reality for a very large group of people. People living with HIV infection experience a wide array of physical and psychological symptoms which decrease their perceived quality of life. The symptoms include chronic pain, muscle aches, anxiety, depression, weakness, fear/worries, difficulty with concentration, concerns regarding the need to interact with a complex healthcare system, stigma, and the challenge to come to terms with a new identity as someone living with HIV.

 

Incarcerated people are 5 times more likely to have HIV infection and also are much more likely to suffer from substance abuse problems. Dealing with these issues upon release from prison is essential for successful reintegration into society. Mindfulness training has been shown to improve psychological well-being, lower depression and strengthen the immune system of patients with HIV infection. Yoga practice has also been found to be effective in treating HIV and with substance abuse.  It is not known whether yoga can help with these HIV patients with substance abuse upon release from prison.

 

In today’s Research News article “A randomized trial of yoga for stress and substance use among people living with HIV in reentry.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6397425/), Wimberly and colleagues recruited adult HIV patients who had a history of substance abuse and who were recently released from prison. The participants were randomly assigned to either treatment as usual or to treatment as usual plus once a week for 12 weeks, 90-minute yoga practice. They were measured before and after training for perceived stress and substance abuse.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and treatment as usual the patients who practiced yoga had significant reductions in perceived stress and the percentage of days with substance abuse (20% for yoga participants vs. 41% for treatment as usual). The patients had difficulty attending yoga classes with an average attendance of 35% of the classes.

 

It is well documented that yoga practice reduces stress and is helpful in controlling substance abuse. The present results are encouraging in that they suggest that yoga practice may be helpful in reducing stress and substance abuse in this vulnerable group of HIV patients who had a history of substance abuse and who were recently released from prison. Finding ways to improve attendance would seem important, perhaps online yoga classes would help. Regardless, participation in yoga appears to improve the likelihood that these ex-prisoners will be able to deal with HIV infection and life outside of prison.

 

So, reduce stress and substance abuse in ex-prisoner HIV patients with yoga.

 

Drugs, I believe, are keeping me alive. But yoga,” he says, “keeps my spirit alive.” – Ken Lowstetter

 

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

 

Wimberly, A. S., Engstrom, M., Layde, M., & McKay, J. R. (2018). A randomized trial of yoga for stress and substance use among people living with HIV in reentry. Journal of substance abuse treatment, 94, 97–104. doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2018.08.001

 

Highlights

– Compared stress and substance use outcomes of yoga versus treatment as usual.

– Participants included returning citizens with HIV and substance use problems.

– At three-months, the yoga group had reduced stress and slightly reduced substance use.

– Future research with this population can compare yoga with an active intervention.

Abstract

Background:

People in reentry from prison or jail (returning citizens) living with HIV and substance use problems often experience numerous stressors and are at high risk for resumed substance use. Interventions are needed to manage stress as a pathway to reduced substance use.

Objective:

This study explored the effect of a Hatha yoga intervention as compared to treatment as usual on stress and substance use among returning citizens living with HIV and substance use problems.

Methods:

Participants were randomized to either a 12-session, 90-minute weekly yoga intervention or treatment as usual. All participants were clients of a service provider for returning citizens that offered case management, health care, and educational classes. Outcomes included stress as measured by the Perceived Stress Scale at the completion of the yoga intervention (three-months) and substance use as measured by the Timeline Followback at one-month, two- months, and three-months.

Results:

Seventy-five people were enrolled, two of whom were withdrawn from the study because they did not have HIV. Of the 73 remaining participants, 85% participated in the three- month assessment. At three-months, yoga participants reported less stress than participants in treatment as usual [F (1,59)=9.24, p<.05]. Yoga participants reported less days of substance use than participants in treatment as usual at one-month, two-months, and three-months [X2 (1)= 11.13, p<.001].

Conclusion:

Yoga interventions for returning citizens living with HIV and substance use problems may reduce stress and substance use. This finding is tentative because the control group did not receive an intervention of equal time and intensity.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6397425/

 

Improve the Psychological Health of Survivors of Childhood Maltreatment with Mindfulness

Improve the Psychological Health of Survivors of Childhood Maltreatment with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

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

 

Abstract

Background

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

Methods

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

Results

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

Conclusion

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

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

 

Have Higher Job Satisfaction with Cancer Survivors with Spirituality

Have Higher Job Satisfaction with Cancer Survivors with Spirituality

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Although addressing spiritual concerns is often considered an end-of-life issue, such concerns may arise at any time after diagnosis. Acknowledging the importance of these concerns and addressing them, even briefly, at diagnosis may facilitate better adjustment throughout the course of treatment and create a context for richer dialogue later in the illness.” – National Cancer Institute

 

Over half of the people diagnosed with cancer are still alive 10 years later and this number is rapidly increasing. It is estimated that 15 million adults and children with a history of cancer are alive in the United States today. Cancer survivors are often challenged with a wide range of residual issues including chronic pain, sleep disturbance, sexual problems, loss of appetite, and chronic fatigue. Cancer survivors are also at greater risk for developing second cancers and other health conditions. Hence there is a need to identify safe and effective treatments for the physical, emotional, and financial hardships that can persist for years after diagnosis and treatment.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with cancer recovery and help to alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including fatiguestress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depression. In addition, religion and spirituality become much more important to people when they’re diagnosed with cancer or when living with cancer. It is thought that people take comfort in the spiritual when facing mortality. Hence, spirituality may be a useful tool for the survivors of cancer to cope with their illness. A very important issue for cancer survivors is returning to work. Thus, there is a need to study the relationships of spirituality to cancer survivors’ ability to adjust to their work situations.

 

In today’s Research News article “.” The Mediating Effect of Workplace Spirituality on the Relation between Job Stress and Job Satisfaction of Cancer Survivors Returning to Work. (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6846173/), Jin and Lee recruited cancer survivors who had returned to work for at least 6 months following treatment. They completed measures of job stress, job satisfaction, and workplace spirituality.

 

They found that the higher the levels of spirituality in the cancer survivors, the lower the reported levels of job stress and the higher the reported levels of job satisfaction. They also noted that higher the levels of job stress were associated with lower levels of job satisfaction. In addition, a mediation analysis revealed that the negative relationship of job stress with job satisfaction was in part mediated by spirituality, such that high levels of job stress was directly negatively related to job satisfaction and was also related indirectly by being associated with lower levels of spirituality which were, in turn, related to lower levels of job satisfaction.

 

These findings are correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. But it can be speculated that for cancer survivors stress on the job is detrimental to satisfaction with the job and that being spiritual helps to buffer the influence of stress on satisfaction. Hence, being spiritual may help cancer survivors to better weather stress effects and thus be happier with their work. This may assist the survivors in overcoming some of the residual problems and being better able to return to their occupations.

 

So, have higher job satisfaction with cancer survivors with spirituality/

 

“Spirituality and religion can be important to the well-being of people who have cancer, enabling them to better cope with the disease. Spirituality and religion may help patients and families find deeper meaning and experience a sense of personal growth during cancer treatment, while living with cancer, and as a cancer survivor.” – National Comprehensive Cancer Network

 

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

 

Jin JH, Lee EJ. The Mediating Effect of Workplace Spirituality on the Relation between Job Stress and Job Satisfaction of Cancer Survivors Returning to Work. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Sep 20;16(19):3510. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16193510. PMID: 31547142; PMCID: PMC6801382.

 

Abstract

This study aimed to investigate the mediating effect of workplace spirituality in the relation between job stress and job satisfaction as well as the level of job stress, job satisfaction, and workplace spirituality of cancer survivors returning to work. A total of 126 cancer survivors who returned to work more than six months prior to the research participated in this study. Participants were recruited through snowball sampling; they were visiting the outpatient clinic at two general hospitals located in a metropolitan city and their clinical stage was stage 0 or stage 1. The collected data were analyzed using SPSS 22.0. Job stress, workplace spirituality, and job satisfaction had a negative correlation, whereas workplace spirituality and job satisfaction had a positive correlation. The Sobel test was performed to verify the significance of the mediating effect size of workplace adaptation, the results confirmed a partial mediating effect of workplace spirituality on the relation between job stress and job satisfaction (Z = –4.72, p < 0.001). This study confirmed the mediating effect of workplace spirituality in the relation between job stress and job satisfaction. A systematic program needs to be developed to enhance workplace spirituality, a spiritual approach, to relieve job stress and increase job satisfaction.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6801382/

 

Improve the Behavior of Prisoners and Prison Staff with Mindfulness

Improve the Behavior of Prisoners and Prison Staff with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“I have seen how men in maximum security prison were able to support not only their own resilience, but also that of their guards, nurses, and other prison staff, through the practice of meditation, mindfulness, and deliberate kindness.” – Doug Carnine

 

Around 2 ¼ million people are incarcerated in the United States. Even though prisons are euphemistically labelled correctional facilities very little correction actually occurs. This is supported by the rates of recidivism. About three quarters of prisoners who are released commit crimes and are sent back to prison within 5-years. The lack of actual treatment for the prisoners leaves them ill equipped to engage positively in society either inside or outside of prison. Hence, there is a need for effective treatment programs that help the prisoners while in prison and prepares them for life outside the prison.

 

Contemplative practices are well suited to the prison environment. Mindfulness training teaches skills that may be very important for prisoners. In particular, it puts the practitioner in touch with their own bodies and feelings. It improves present moment awareness and helps to overcome rumination about the past and negative thinking about the future. It also relieves stress and improves overall health and well-being. Finally, mindfulness training has been shown to be effective in treating depressionanxiety, and anger. It has also been shown to help overcome trauma in male prisoners.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in Prison: Experiences of Inmates, Instructors, and Prison Staff.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6745607/), Bouw and colleagues examine the effectiveness of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program for prisoners. They recruited male prisoners, staff, and instructors from prisons in the Netherlands where the prisoners had attended an MBSR program. The MBSR program consisted of 8 weekly 2-hour group sessions involving meditation, yoga, body scan, and discussion. The prisoners were also encouraged to perform practice on their own for 45 minutes for 6 days per week.

 

The prisoners were administered a semi-structured interview to obtain the prisoners’ views of level of satisfaction and challenges regarding the program as well as potential effects on stress responsivity, coping style, impulse control, aggression, and self-esteem. The staff members and instructors were also interviewed about the effects or changes they observed in the inmates who underwent the intervention. The prisoners were highly appreciative of the program with 82% attending all MBSR sessions and 64% completing all homework assignments.

 

The prisoners reported that after the program they had significant decreases in both the frequency and intensity of experiencing anger, that they were better able to handle the anger when it did arise, and were more likely to seek solutions to the situation that evoked the anger. They also reported a significant reduction in their reactions to stress, that they were more likely to be relaxed, and less likely to be sad or silent after stress. The prisoners also reported that they were more likely to employ cognitive-oriented coping styles and less emotion-oriented coping styles after the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. Finally, the prisoners reported a significant increase in self-esteem. The prison staff, and instructors reported that the prisoners had overall improvements in their behavior after the MBSR program including reduced stress responses, anger, aggressive behavior, and hostility and increased self-esteem, emotional stability, dealing with difficult emotions, problem solving skills, and regulation of aggression.

 

It has to be recognized that there was no control, comparison, condition. As such the results are open to confounding factors such as demand characteristics, placebo effects, time-based changes, etc. Nevertheless, the results are very encouraging. Even if they are due to confounding factors rather than the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, there was a significant improvement in the prisoners. From a practical standpoint that was the intent of the program in the first place.

 

So, improve the behavior of prisoners and prison staff with mindfulness.

 

“By working with both prisoners and correctional facilities professionals, mindfulness programs systematically transform the impact of our criminal justice system. Through cultivating greater awareness and compassion, mindfulness “encourages a shift away from fear-based and often anti-social or criminal strategies for meeting needs” – Prison Mindfulness Institute

 

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

 

Bouw, N., Huijbregts, S., Scholte, E., & Swaab, H. (2019). Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in Prison: Experiences of Inmates, Instructors, and Prison Staff. International journal of offender therapy and comparative criminology, 63(15-16), 2550–2571. doi:10.1177/0306624X19856232

 

Abstract

Mindfulness intervention aims to reduce stress and to improve physical and mental health. The present study investigated feasibility and effectiveness of mindfulness intervention in a prison context, in both a qualitative and quantitative fashion. Specifically, the mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) intervention was investigated, in a retrospective pre–post design, in five Dutch prisons. Twenty-two inmates (out of 25 approached, mean age: 40.1 years (SD = 11.1), convicted of murder, manslaughter, sexual offenses, drug offenses, robbery with violence, and/or illegal restraint/kidnap, and sentenced to incarceration between 15 and 209 months (M = 5.5 years; SD = 3.8) took part in a semistructured interview after completion of the MBSR intervention. The interviews addressed level of satisfaction and challenges regarding the MBSR intervention as well as potential effects on stress responsivity, coping style, impulse control, aggression, and self-esteem. Ten staff members and four MBSR instructors were interviewed about their own practical issues experienced while providing or facilitating the MBSR intervention, and about the effects or changes they observed in the inmates who underwent the intervention. Both participants and instructors/prison staff reported improvements in all of the addressed domains and expressed satisfaction with the intervention. Challenges were mainly identified in practical issues regarding the organization of the intervention sessions. Future studies should investigate mindfulness in longitudinal randomly controlled designs, should strive for a multi-method approach, and distinguish inmates according to personality characteristics.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6745607/

 

Better Mental Health During Pregnancy is Associated with Mindfulness

Better Mental Health During Pregnancy is Associated with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness is a seriously beneficial practice during pregnancy, too? Simply tuning in and being aware can be a powerful tool to lessen stress, calm anxiety, and help you feel more connected during those long nine months.” – Carrie Murphy

 

The period of pregnancy is a time of intense physiological and psychological change. Anxiety, depression, and fear are quite common during pregnancy. More than 20 percent of pregnant women have an anxiety disorder, depressive symptoms, or both during pregnancy. A debilitating childbirth fear has been estimated to affect about 6% or pregnant women and 13% are sufficiently afraid to postpone pregnancy. It is difficult to deal with these emotions under the best of conditions but in combinations with the stresses of pregnancy can turn what could be a joyous experience of creating a human life into a horrible worrisome, torment.

 

The psychological health of pregnant women has consequences for fetal development, birthing, and consequently, child outcomes. Depression during pregnancy is associated with premature delivery and low birth weight. Hence, it is clear that there is a need for methods to treat depression, and anxiety during pregnancy. Since the fetus can be negatively impacted by drugs, it would be preferable to find a treatment that did not require drugs. Mindfulness training has been shown to improve anxiety and depression normally and to relieve maternal anxiety and depression during pregnancy.

 

In today’s Research News article “An investigation of dispositional mindfulness and mood during pregnancy.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6676599/), Krusche and colleagues recruited pregnant women and had them complete measures of mindfulness, anxiety, depression, perceived stress, pregnancy distress, worries about labor, prenatal distress, pregnancy related discomforts, and pregnancy expectancies.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness, the lower the levels of anxiety, depression, perceived stress, worries about labor, pregnancy distress, prenatal distress, first and second trimester discomfort, and frequency and intensity of negative pregnancy experiences, and greater frequency and intensity of positive pregnancy experiences.

 

This study was correlational, so no conclusions can be reached about causation. But the results are striking that mindfulness is associated with better pregnancy related experiences, mood, and mental health. This portends well for the outcome of pregnancy and the health of the child. Future research should attempt to investigate the effects of mindfulness training during pregnancy on the mood, experiences, and mental health of the women.

 

So, better mental health during pregnancy is associated with mindfulness.

 

cultivating moment-to-moment awareness of thoughts and surroundings seem to help pregnant women keep their stress down and their spirits up. . . it may also lead to healthier newborns with fewer developmental problems down the line.” – Kira Newman

 

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

 

Krusche, A., Crane, C., & Dymond, M. (2019). An investigation of dispositional mindfulness and mood during pregnancy. BMC pregnancy and childbirth, 19(1), 273. doi:10.1186/s12884-019-2416-2

 

Abstract

Background

Mindfulness courses are being offered to numerous groups and while a large body of research has investigated links between dispositional mindfulness and mood, few studies have reported this relationship during pregnancy. The aim of this study was to investigate this relationship in pregnant women to offer insight into whether an intervention which may plausibly increase dispositional mindfulness would be beneficial for this population.

Methods

A cross-sectional analysis was conducted to explore potential relationships between measures of mindfulness and general and pregnancy-specific mood. A sample of pregnant women (n = 363) was recruited using online advertising and community-based recruitment and asked to complete a number of questionnaires online.

Results

Overall, higher levels of mindfulness were associated with improved levels of general and pregnancy-related mood in pregnant women. Controlling for general stress and anxiety, higher scores for mindfulness in (psychologically) healthy women were associated with lower levels of pregnancy-related depression, distress and labour worry but this relationship was not apparent in those with current mental health problems. In participants without children, higher mindfulness levels were related to lower levels of pregnancy-related distress.

Conclusions

These results suggest a promising relationship between dispositional mindfulness and mood though it varies depending on background and current problems. More research is needed, but this paper represents a first step in examining the potential of mindfulness courses for pregnant women. Increasing mindfulness, and therefore completing mindfulness-based courses, is potentially beneficial for improvements in mood during pregnancy.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6676599/

 

Treat Depression with Tai Chi

Treat Depression with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“A 12-week program of instruction and practice of the Chinese martial art tai chi led to significantly reduced symptoms of depression in Chinese Americans not receiving any other treatments.” – Science Daily

 

Clinically diagnosed depression is the most common mental illness, affecting over 6% of the population. Major depression can be quite debilitating. Depression can be difficult to treat and is usually treated with anti-depressive medication. But, of patients treated initially with drugs only about a third attained remission of the depression. After repeated and varied treatments including drugs, therapy, exercise etc. only about two thirds of patients attained remission. But drugs often have troubling side effects and can lose effectiveness over time. In addition, many patients who achieve remission have relapses and recurrences of the depression. Even after remission some symptoms of depression may still be present (residual symptoms).

 

Being depressed and not responding to treatment or relapsing is a terribly difficult situation. The patients are suffering and nothing appears to work to relieve their intense depression. Suicide becomes a real possibility. So, it is imperative that other treatments be identified that can relieve the suffering. Mindfulness training is an alternative treatment for depression. It has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression and its recurrence and even in the cases where drugs fail.  Mindful Movement practices such as Qigong and Tai Chi have been found to be effective for depression. Research has been accumulating. So, it is important to step back and examine what has been learned regarding the application of Tai Chi practice for depression.

 

In today’s Research News article “Treating Depression With Tai Chi: State of the Art and Future Perspectives.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6474282/), Kong and colleagues review and summarize the published research on the effectiveness of Tai Chi practice for depression. They report that the published research has demonstrated that Tai Chi practice significantly decreases depression levels in a variety of groups including adults, the elderly, pregnant women, patients taking antidepressant drugs or not, and those with a variety of diseases including fibromyalgia, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, heart failure, mild dementia, and cerebrovascular disorder.

 

They report that the published research indicates that Tai Chi practice may lower depression by producing neuroplastic changes in the nervous system, particularly the brain’s Default Mode Network that’s known to be involved in self-referential thinking which is prevalent in depression. Another possible mechanism is indicated by the research demonstrating that Tai Chi reduces the physiological and psychological responses to stress, that are known to exacerbate depression. Tai Chi is also known to reduce the inflammatory response that is heightened in depression. In addition, Tai Chi is a mild exercise and exercise has been shown to reduce depression. Finally, Tai Chi practice appears to relax the autonomic component of the peripheral nervous system

 

The results of the published research suggests that Tai Chi  practice should be prescribed for depression. In addition, Tai Chi is a gentle and safe mindfulness practice. It is appropriate for all ages including the elderly and for individuals with illnesses that limit their activities or range of motion. It is inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility, and can be quickly learned. In addition, it can be practiced in social groups. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice.

 

So, treat depression with Tai Chi.

 

“A 12-week program of instruction and practice of the Chinese martial art tai chi led to significantly reduced symptoms of depression in Chinese Americans not receiving any other treatments.” – Mayo Clinic

 

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

 

Kong, J., Wilson, G., Park, J., Pereira, K., Walpole, C., & Yeung, A. (2019). Treating Depression With Tai Chi: State of the Art and Future Perspectives. Frontiers in psychiatry, 10, 237. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00237

 

Abstract

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is one of the most prevalent mental illnesses in America. Current treatments for MDD are unsatisfactory given high non-response rates, high relapse rates, and undesirable side effects. Accumulating evidence suggests that Tai Chi, a popular mind–body intervention that originated as a martial art, can significantly regulate emotion and relieve the symptoms of mood disorders. In addition, the availability of instructional videos and the development of more simplified and less structured Tai Chi has made it a promising low-intensity mind-body exercise. In this article, we first examine a number of clinical trials that implemented Tai Chi as a treatment for depression. Then, we explore several mechanisms by which Tai Chi may alleviate depressive symptoms, hypothesizing that the intervention may modulate the activity and connectivity of key brain regions involved in mood regulation, reduce neuro-inflammatory sensitization, modulate the autonomic nervous system, and regulate hippocampal neurogenesis. Finally, we discuss common challenges of the intervention and possible ways to address them. Specifically, we pose developing a simplified and tailored Tai Chi protocol for patients with depression, comparatively investigating Tai Chi with other mind–body interventions such as yoga and Baduanjin, and developing new mind–body interventions that merge the advantages of multiple mind–body exercises.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6474282/