Improve Counselor Self-Efficacy and Reduce Compassion Fatigue with Mindfulness

Improve Counselor Self-Efficacy and Reduce Compassion Fatigue with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness training may be beneficial as a prophylactic for stress and burnout for psychotherapists, counselors, and other mental health care workers.” – Tasha Felton

 

In occupations, like counseling, burnout is all too prevalent. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. It not only affects the counselors personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion. 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. Mindfulness is also known to improve self-compassion, understanding one’s own suffering and self-efficacy, one’s belief in their ability to make things better. It is possible that this may be a key to understanding mindfulness’ effects on burnout.

 

In today’s Research News article “Self-Oriented Empathy and Compassion Fatigue: The Serial Mediation of Dispositional Mindfulness and Counselor’s Self-Efficacy.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.613908/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1757290_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211021_arts_A ) Zhang and colleagues recruited hotline psychological counselors online and had them complete a questionnaire measuring mindfulness, self-efficacy burnout, secondary traumatic stress, and empathy, including perspective taking, personal distress, fantasy, and empathic concern subscales.

 

They found that the higher the levels of empathy the higher the levels of burnout and secondary traumatic stress and the lower the levels of mindfulness and self-efficacy. The higher the levels of both mindfulness and self-efficacy the lower the levels of burnout and secondary traumatic stress while the higher the levels of mindfulness the higher the levels of self-efficacy. Linear structural modelling revealed that empathy was directly, positively, related to compassion fatigue and also indirectly related by being associated with self-efficacy which was in turn associated with lower compassion fatigue. Finally, empathy was also indirectly related to compassion fatigue by being negatively associated with mindfulness that was positively associated with self-efficacy which was in turn associated with lower compassion fatigue.

 

These findings are correlational. So, causation cannot be definitively established. But the associations are clear. Greater empathy is associated with greater compassion fatigue. In other words, an empathetic counselor is more likely to experience compassion fatigue which leads to burnout and secondary traumatic stress. These effects are mitigated, however, by the counselor’s empathy being associated with greater mindfulness and self-efficacy which work to lower compassion fatigue. This all leads to the suggestion that training in mindfulness may help prevent a counselor losing compassion and burning out. They may help prevent counselor burnout.

 

So, improve counselor self-efficacy and reduce compassion fatigue with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness trains us to think about our thoughts as ‘just thoughts,’” including the thought that tragedies and outrage are part of life or that trying to effect change is hopeless. Part of desensitization and empathy fatigue is that “we become numb and disengaged, lacking in introspection and compassion for others,” Steven Lynn

 

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

 

Zhang L, Ren Z, Jiang G, Hazer-Rau D, Zhao C, Shi C, Lai L and Yan Y (2021) Self-Oriented Empathy and Compassion Fatigue: The Serial Mediation of Dispositional Mindfulness and Counselor’s Self-Efficacy. Front. Psychol. 11:613908. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.613908

 

This study aimed to explore the association between self-oriented empathy and compassion fatigue, and examine the potential mediating roles of dispositional mindfulness and the counselor’s self-efficacy. A total of 712 hotline psychological counselors were recruited from the Mental Health Service Platform at Central China Normal University, Ministry of Education during the outbreak of Corona Virus Disease 2019, then were asked to complete the questionnaires measuring self-oriented empathy, compassion fatigue, dispositional mindfulness, and counselor’s self-efficacy. Structural equation modeling was utilized to analyze the possible associations and explore potential mediations. In addition to reporting confidence intervals (CI), we employed a new method named model-based constrained optimization procedure to test hypotheses of indirect effects. Results showed that self-oriented empathy was positively associated with compassion fatigue. Dispositional mindfulness and counselor’s self-efficacy independently and serially mediated the associations between self-oriented empathy and compassion fatigue. The findings of this study confirmed and complemented the etiological and the multi-factor model of compassion fatigue. Moreover, the results indicate that it is useful and necessary to add some training for increasing counselor’s self-efficacy in mindfulness-based interventions in order to decrease compassion fatigue.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.613908/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1757290_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211021_arts_A

 

Mindfulness is Associated with Better Cognitive Performance in College Students

Mindfulness is Associated with Better Cognitive Performance in College Students

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Effective learning and sustained attention and memory are important requirements for success and well-being in academic contexts. Incorporating a mindfulness meditation course in the curriculum may be a feasible approach to improve learning effectiveness and cognition performance in university students.” – Ho-Hoi Ching

 

In the modern world education is a key for success. There is a lot of pressure on college students to excel. This stress might in fact be counterproductive as the increased pressure can actually lead to stress and anxiety which can impede the student’s physical and mental health, well-being, and school performance. Mindfulness training has been shown through extensive research to be effective in improving physical and psychological health. Indeed, these practices have been found to improve psychological health in college students. Mindfulness has also been shown to improve cognitive abilities. So, it is possible that mindfulness is associated with better performance in college.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness, cognitive functioning, and academic achievement in college students: the mediating role of stress.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8516329/ ) McBride and colleagues recruited college students and had them complete a questionnaire measuring mindfulness, decentering, perceived stress, cognitive abilities, cognitive concerns, and academic performance (GPA).

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness and decentering the lower the levels of perceived stress, and the higher the levels of cognitive abilities and cognitive concerns. Also, the higher the levels of perceived stress the lower the levels of cognitive abilities and cognitive concerns. Further they found that mindfulness was associated with greater cognitive abilities and cognitive concerns directly and indirectly by being associated with lower perceived stress which was in turn associated with greater cognitive abilities and cognitive concerns. The one disappointing result was that mindfulness, although associated with better cognition, was not associated with performance in college.

 

These findings are correlative. So, causation cannot be determined. But previous controlled research has demonstrated that mindfulness causes improvements in cognition and reductions in perceived stress. So, the present results are likely also due to causal effects of mindfulness on stress and cognition. The results also show that the ability of mindfulness to affect cognition is not only by directly improving cognition but also by reducing perceived stress which results in improved cognition. This is not surprising as the high levels of stress endured by college students interferes with cognition.

 

So, mindfulness is associated with better cognitive performance in college students.

 

Among undergraduate students, higher mindfulness was related both to a lower frequency of negative automatic thoughts and to an enhanced ability to let go of those thoughts.” – Praxis

 

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

 

McBride, E. E., & Greeson, J. M. (2021). Mindfulness, cognitive functioning, and academic achievement in college students:the mediating role of stress. Current Psychology (New Brunswick, N.j.), 1–11. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-021-02340-z

 

Abstract

Higher trait mindfulness may be associated with better cognitive functioning and academic achievement in college students. Although mediating mechanisms are unclear, lower stress levels could explain this relationship. Participants: Cross-sectional online survey (n = 534; 33% non-white; Apr 2018 – Sep 2019). Path analysis tested Perceived Stress as a mediator between specific facets of trait mindfulness and three measures of self-reported cognitive functioning and academic achievement: Cognitive Abilities, Cognitive Concerns, and GPA. Perceived Stress fully or partially mediated the relationship between all facets of trait mindfulness and perceived cognitive functioning. Only Decentering, however, was associated with higher GPA as a function of lower stress. Lower stress can explain the link between higher trait mindfulness and better cognitive functioning, but not necessarily academic achievement. Future research is needed to address causality, examine objective measures of cognitive functioning, and extend this explanatory model to mindfulness training.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8516329/

 

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/

 

Improve Health in Unhealthy People with Yoga

Improve Health in Unhealthy People with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Incorporating [yoga] into your routine can help enhance your health, increase strength and flexibility and reduce symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety. Finding the time to practice yoga just a few times per week may be enough to make a noticeable difference when it comes to your health.” – Rachel Link

 

Yoga practice has been shown to have a myriad of benefits for psychological and physical health, social, and spiritual well-being. It is both an exercise and a mind-body practice which stresses both mental attention to present moment movements, breath control, and flexibility, range of motion, and balance. But beginning yoga practice has risks and adverse events are known to occur. These can be particularly problematic for people who are not in the best of health. So, it is important to examine the risks and benefits of beginning yoga practice for people in a variety of health conditions.

 

In today’s Research News article “Health-related benefits and adverse events associated with yoga classes among participants that are healthy, in poor health, or with chronic diseases.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8499562/ ) Oka and colleagues recruited first time participants in 3-month, once a week for 60-90 minutes yoga classes. They were separated into 3 groups: healthy, poor health (some somatic or psychological complaints but no medication), and chronic disease (on medication). Before and after the class they completed measures of mood, perceived stress, quality of life, subjective symptoms, satisfaction with the yoga class, and adverse events defined as “undesirable symptoms or responses that occurred during a yoga class”.

 

They found that from the beginning to the end of both the first and last yoga class there was a significant reduction in fatigue and tension-anxiety and increase in vigor in all groups. Over the 3-months of practice there was a significant reduction in perceived stress, subjective symptoms, and increase in health-related quality of life in the poor health and chronic disease groups. Perceived stress in the unhealthy groups reached the level of the healthy group at the end of training. Relatively mild adverse events were reported in all groups but more so in the unhealthy groups. But the symptoms were mild and did not stop participation inn the class in which they occurred.

 

Previous research with varied groups has shown that yoga training results in reduced fatigue and tension-anxiety and increased vigor. So, these findings were not surprising in the present study. The interesting findings here was that participants in ill health benefited more than healthy participants in reduced perceived stress and subjective symptoms and increased health-related quality of life. This suggests that yoga practice is particularly beneficial for individuals who have current somatic symptoms or who have chronic diseases.

 

Yoga practice appears to be beneficial for the psychological and physical well-being of everyone but is particularly beneficial for those who have current or chronic health issues. Although adverse symptoms produced by participation in yoga classes are common and occur more frequently in people with health problems. they tend to be mild, not stopping participation in the classes in which they occurred. So, for everyone the benefits of yoga practice appear to outweigh the costs.

 

So, improve health in unhealthy people with yoga.

 

there’s also a growing body of science showing that a regular yoga practice may benefit people with a host of chronic health conditions, including asthma, heart disease, and MS.” – Wyatt Meyers

 

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

 

Oka, T., & Lkhagvasuren, B. (2021). Health-related benefits and adverse events associated with yoga classes among participants that are healthy, in poor health, or with chronic diseases.

BioPsychoSocial medicine, 15(1), 17. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13030-021-00216-z

 

Abstract

Background

Our previous study demonstrated that 42% of yoga class participants in Japan had chronic diseases requiring medication. This raises the question as to whether those with chronic diseases would benefit from practicing yoga or if they are at higher risk for specific adverse events compared to healthy individuals receiving the same instruction.

Methods

To address these questions, 328 adults who started practicing yoga for the first time were asked to complete the Profile of Mood States (POMS), Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), and Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 8, standard version (SF-8™) and to record any adverse events on the first day of the yoga class and again three months later. The participants consisted of three groups: a healthy (H) group (n = 70), a poor health (PH) group (n = 117), and a chronic disease (CD) group (n = 141). The degree of subjective symptoms was also compared between the pre- and post-intervention period in the PH and CD groups.

Results

Typically, yoga classes were held once a week for 60–90 min. The programs included asanas, pranayamas, meditation, isometric yoga, and sukshma vyayama. In the PH and CD groups, the POMS tension-anxiety and fatigue scores decreased and the vigor score increased significantly after the first class. Furthermore, PSS scores decreased and the SF-8™ scores increased significantly three months later. The degree of subjective symptoms such as easy fatigability, shoulder stiffness, and insomnia also decreased over three months. Individuals in these groups experienced more frequent adverse events than those in the H group. The PH and CD groups also experienced a greater variety of symptoms, including psychological ones, not reported by the H group. Adverse events were not so serious that participants stopped practicing yoga during the class. About 60% of all participants were highly satisfied with participating in yoga classes.

Conclusions

If yoga classes are conducted with attention to possible adverse events, yoga practice in a yoga studio may have beneficial effects for people with functional somatic symptoms and chronic diseases, as well as healthy participants. These benefits include reductions in perceived stress and uncomfortable symptoms as well as improved mood and quality of life.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8499562/

 

Reduce Adolescent Internalizing Symptoms, and Impulsivity with Mindfulness

Reduce Adolescent Internalizing Symptoms, and Impulsivity with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness appears to be a way of engaging with our internal and external environment and approaching emotion that is an asset for avoiding excessively heightened internalizing symptoms.” – Sarah Clear

 

Adolescence is a time of mental, physical, social, and emotional growth. But it can be a difficult time, fraught with challenges. During this time the child transitions to young adulthood; including the development of intellectual, psychological, physical, and social abilities and characteristics. There are so many changes occurring during this time that the child can feel overwhelmed and unable to cope with all that is required. This can lead to emotional and behavioral problems. Indeed, up to a quarter of adolescents suffer from internalizing symptoms such as depression or anxiety disorders, and an even larger proportion struggle with subclinical symptoms. Mindfulness training has been shown to improve emotion regulation and to benefit the psychological and emotional health of adolescents

 

In today’s Research News article “Longitudinal Associations between Internalizing Symptoms, Dispositional Mindfulness, Rumination and Impulsivity in Adolescents.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8416885/ ) Royuela-Colomer and colleagues recruited healthy adolescents (aged 11 to 17 years) and had them complete measures of mindfulness, rumination, impulsivity, and internalizing symptoms, including anxiety, depression, and perceived stress. The measures were completed again one year later.

 

They found that adolescent boys had significantly lower levels of rumination, impulsivity, and internalizing symptoms and higher levels of mindfulness than girls. They also found that at both measurement periods the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the levels of all dependent variables. They further found that the higher the levels of mindfulness at the first measurement the lower the levels of depression, perceived stress, and impulsivity a year later. This latter finding was true both for boys and girls.

 

These findings are correlational. So, no conclusions about causation can be made. But in previous controlled studies mindfulness has been found to improve the psychological well-being of adolescents and to produce lower levels of depression, perceived stress, and impulsivity. So, the correlations obtained here likely occurred due to causal connections between the variables. These results then suggest that mindfulness may be protective against internalizing symptoms and impulsivity in adolescents. This further suggests that mindfulness training should be made part of the education of adolescents to improve their psychological well-being and reducing their destructive tendencies toward impulsive behavior.

 

So, reduce adolescent internalizing symptoms, and impulsivity with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness not only directly impacted on adolescents’ internalizing problems, but also indirectly improved their anxious and depression emotions via the reduction of rumination and the increase of acceptance.” – Meng Yu

 

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

 

Royuela-Colomer, E., Fernández-González, L., & Orue, I. (2021). Longitudinal Associations between Internalizing Symptoms, Dispositional Mindfulness, Rumination and Impulsivity in Adolescents. Journal of youth and adolescence, 50(10), 2067–2078. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-021-01476-2

 

Abstract

Mindfulness has been associated with fewer negative mental health symptoms during adolescence, but fewer studies have examined longitudinal associations between mindfulness and symptoms in conjunction with two vulnerability factors for psychopathology with mindfulness: rumination and impulsivity. This study examined longitudinal associations between internalizing symptoms (depression, anxiety, stress), mindfulness, rumination, and impulsivity over a one-year period among 352 Spanish adolescents (57.4% girls; M = 14.47, SD = 1.34). Participants completed self-reported measures of symptoms, mindfulness, rumination, and impulsivity at two time points. Mindfulness negatively predicted stress and depressive symptoms, and a bidirectional negative association was found between mindfulness and impulsivity. Impulsivity positively predicted stress, and anxiety positively predicted depressive symptoms, stress, and rumination. This study highlights the importance of mindfulness as a protective factor and impulsivity and anxiety as risk factors for internalizing symptoms throughout adolescence. These findings build on previous studies that examined longitudinal associations between mindfulness and symptoms by including rumination and impulsivity’s roles.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8416885/

 

Improve the Psychological Health of College Students with Mindfulness

Improve the Psychological Health of College Students with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness can help students who might be struggling, in particular medical students, find new ways of relating to the difficulties that arise in their clinical work, studying and wellbeing.” – Alice Malpass

 

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 lead to stress and anxiety which can impede the student’s physical and mental health, well-being, and school performance.

 

It is, for the most part, beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress, so it is important that methods be found to reduce the college students’ responses to stress; to make them more resilient when high levels of stress occur. 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. So, it would seem important to summarize what has been learned about mindfulness-based approaches to improve the psychological well-being of college students studying to become health professionals.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Approaches for Managing Stress, Anxiety and Depression for Health Students in Tertiary Education: a Scoping Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8435111/ ) Parsons and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies investigating the effectiveness of mindfulness-based approaches to improve the psychological well-being of college students studying to become health professionals. They identified 24 published research studies.

 

They report that the published research studies found that mindfulness-based training produced significant reductions in perceived stress, anxiety, and depression in the health students. Hence, these health students had similar responses to mindfulness training as has been observed in a large number of studies with a variety of healthy and ill participants. This suggests that it would be beneficial to incorporate mindfulness training in the curriculum of college students studying to become health professionals. This should improve their ability to learn their professions and become more resilient and effective professionals.

 

So, improve the psychological health of college health students with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness-based interventions decrease stress, anxiety, and depression and improve mindfulness, mood, self-efficacy, and empathy in health profession students.” – Janet McConville

 

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

 

Parsons, D., Gardner, P., Parry, S., & Smart, S. (2021). Mindfulness-Based Approaches for Managing Stress, Anxiety and Depression for Health Students in Tertiary Education: a Scoping Review. Mindfulness, 1–16. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-021-01740-3

 

Abstract

Objectives

High rates of depression, anxiety and stress are reported in tertiary health students. Mindfulness-based programs have been included in the training of health students to help them manage depression, anxiety and stress; however, to date, there has been no review of best practice implementation of mindfulness for health students. The aim of this review was to evaluate the outcomes of mindfulness-based practice for health students to inform best practice with this population.

Methods

A comprehensive search was conducted of three electronic databases (PsychINFO, Medline and Embase) guided by the five-step systematic process for conducting scoping reviews to investigate mindfulness-based intervention programs for students enrolled in a tertiary institution in a health-related course.

Results

Twenty-four papers met the eligibility criteria and were reviewed in detail. Findings suggested that mindfulness-based intervention approaches are useful in decreasing depression, anxiety and stress in health students; however, challenges exist in student engagement and retention. Generalization of results was limited by the heterogeneous population, intervention designs and delivery methods, as well as a lack of standardized outcome measures.

Conclusion

The inclusion of mindfulness-based programs within tertiary curricula can be an effective approach to assist with managing depression, stress and anxiety in health students. Providing academic credit to students, improving translation of skills to working with future clients, and embedding mindfulness-based programs within the curriculum could improve engagement and retention.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8435111/

 

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/

 

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Social Care Workers with Mindfulness

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Social Care Workers with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindfulness also helps social workers with self-care . . . allowing them to notice when they’re getting overwhelmed and recognize signs of burnout earlier. Social workers . . . deal with extremely difficult things, and mindfulness can help them not feel overloaded.” – Kate Jackson

 

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 social work, burnout is all too prevalent. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. Improving the psychological health of individuals involved in social care, then, 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.  It makes sense that intervening early in the training for professional social care workers would help prevent later stress effects and burnout. Hence, it is reasonable to examine the ability of mindfulness training to improve the well-being of students preparing for careers as social care professionals.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on Health and Social Care Education: a Cohort-Controlled Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8190752/ ) Lo and colleagues recruited postgraduate students in social work, family therapy, or counseling and assigned them to either a no-treatment control or to receive 8 weekly, 2.5-hour sessions of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). The MBSR program consists of practice with meditation, yoga, and body scan, along with discussion and home practice. They were measured before and after training for burnout, perceived stress, work engagement, physical stress, empathy, and time in home practice.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the no-treatment control group the group that received Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) had significantly lower levels of perceived stress, physical distress, burnout, emotional exhaustion, and depersonalization of the client, and significantly higher levels of vigor. Hence, they found that participation in the MBSR program resulted in significant improvement in the psychological health of social care postgraduate students.

 

It should be noted that the present study used a weak research design that lacked random assignment of participants to groups, an active control condition, and follow-up measurements. This leave the interpretation open to confounding explanations and does not determine if the effects are lasting. Future studies should employ random assignment, an active control condition, e.g. exercise, and follow-up measurements.

 

But previous better controlled research has demonstrated that mindfulness training increases vigor and reduces perceived stress, distress, burnout, and emotional exhaustion. So, the present results, at least in part, are likely due to the ability of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training to improve psychological health. This suggests that the psychological health and resistance to stress and burnout in students preparing for careers as social care professionals can be strengthened by mindfulness training. This may better prepare them to deal with the stresses of their professional careers and make them more effective professionals.

 

So, improve the psychological well-being of social care workers with mindfulness.

 

mindfulness-based strategies . . .  will not prevent stress completely or take it away when it occurs, but doing them with care and attention on a regular basis can help us manage more effectively.” – Deborah Lisansky Beck

 

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

 

Lo, H., Ngai, S., & Yam, K. (2021). Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on Health and Social Care Education: a Cohort-Controlled Study. Mindfulness, 1–9. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-021-01663-z

 

Abstract

Objectives

Mindfulness practice has been recommended as part of health and social care education and training because of its potential benefits in fostering clinical skills and attitudes, increasing self-care, and reducing the effect of stress in education and occupation. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effects of a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program on stress, physical distress, job burnout, work engagement, and empathy for health and social care education.

Methods

Students (N = 124) from postgraduate programs in social work, counseling, and family therapy were recruited. Sixty-four students participated in an 8-week MBSR program as an elective course. Sixty students were recruited from other elective courses in the same cohort as control group participants. All participants completed self-report assessments.

Results

The results suggested that MBSR was associated with significant improvements in perceived efficacy and vigor and significant reductions in physical distress, total job burnout, emotional exhaustion, and depersonalization of clients compared with the control group.

Conclusions

This study contributes to the growing body of literature highlighting the potential use of mindfulness practice to improve students’ personal well-being and professional growth in health and social care education. Mindfulness practice should be further promoted in health and social care education and training.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8190752/

 

Improve Worker’s Psychological Wellbeing and Work Engagement and Performance with Mindfulness

Improve Worker’s Psychological Wellbeing and Work Engagement and Performance with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness impacts the individual holistically. This impact translates quickly into the workplace and appears as shifts in the approach to work, in changes in mindsets and in being present more, among others, opening the possibility for employees to impact the bottom line through these changes.” – Fabiola Fajardo

 

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 report high levels of stress at work. This stress can result in impaired health and can result in burnout, producing fatigue, cynicism, and professional inefficacy.

 

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.

 

In today’s Research News article “Differential Effects of Mindfulness-Based Intervention Programs at Work on Psychological Wellbeing and Work Engagement.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.715146/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1741394_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210930_arts_A ) Calcagni and colleagues recruited “white collar” workers and randomly assigned them to receive either mindfulness training based upon the Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) program or to a wait-list control condition. The mindfulness training occurred in either 6 weekly 2-hour sessions of 3 weekly 4-hour sessions along with daily home practice. They were measured before and 1-week after training for mindfulness, psychological well-being, work engagement, work performance, and perceived stress.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control group, the mindfulness group had significantly lower levels of perceived stress and significantly higher levels of mindfulness, including the describe, acting with awareness, and no-reactivity subscales. They also had significantly higher levels of psychological well-being, including the positive relations, autonomy, and environmental mastery subscales. For work engagement they found significantly higher levels for the mindfulness group including the vigor and absorption subscales. Finally, after training the mindfulness group had significantly higher levels of work performance including the in-role and extra-role subscales.

 

It appears that mindfulness training of “white collar” workers produces improved psychological well-being, engagement with work and job performance. These results are similar to those observed in previous research in a wide variety of contexts and participants including improves well-being and work engagement and performance. So, mindfulness training is an effective method to improve the work and psychological health of “white collar” workers. These results suggest that mindfulness training would reduce the likelihood of burnout and improve retention of workers. This provides support for mindfulness training in work environments.

 

So, improve worker’s psychological wellbeing and work engagement and performance with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness-based practices can improve workers’ health and reduce employers’ costs by ameliorating the negative effect of stress on workers’ health.” – Diana Kachan

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Calcagni CC, Salanova M, Llorens S, Bellosta-Batalla M, Martínez-Rubio D and Martínez Borrás R (2021) Differential Effects of Mindfulness-Based Intervention Programs at Work on Psychological Wellbeing and Work Engagement. Front. Psychol. 12:715146. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.715146

 

Two different mindfulness-based interventions were deployed in a sample of white-collar workers to explore the differential effects on different facets of mindfulness, dimensions of psychological wellbeing, work engagement, performance, and stress of a participant. A total of 28 participants completed one of the different programs, and their results were compared between groups and against 27 participants randomly allocated to a waiting list control group. Results suggest both mindfulness intervention programs were successful at increasing the levels of psychological wellbeing, work engagement, and performance of the participants, as well as decreasing their levels of stress. Significant differences were found between the two programs in all outcome variables. Results suggest that brief and customized mindfulness interventions at work are as successful as lengthier programs.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.715146/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1741394_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210930_arts_A

 

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/