Reduce Teacher Stress with Mindfulness

Reduce Teacher Stress with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Daily mindfulness practice has been scientifically proven to reduce teacher stress and burnout, in turn improving their effectiveness and engagement with their students.” – InnerExplorer

 

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.

 

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.

 

In today’s Research News article “The effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction for school teachers: a cluster-randomized controlled trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8975540/ ) Bonde and colleagues recruited school teachers and randomly assigned them to either a wait-list control condition or to receive 8 weekly 2.5 hour sessions of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) consisting of training in meditation, yoga, and body scan, with group discussion, and homework. They were measured before and after training and 3 months later for perceived stress, anxiety, depression, well-being, resilience, mindfulness, and resting state.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control group, the teachers who received Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) had significantly lower levels of perceived stress, discontinuity of mind, and bodily awareness that were maintained 3 months later. Although there were no direct measures of burnout, the reductions in stress produced by MBSR would suggest that the training reduced the likelihood of burnout in school teachers.

 

Mindfulness training reduces stress in school teachers.

 

Research shows that teachers experience stress as a result of multiple factors. One thing that can help educators work through this stress, reduce teacher burnout, improve self-efficacy, and increase job satisfaction is meditation and mindfulness.” – April Netz

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Bonde, E. H., Fjorback, L. O., Frydenberg, M., & Juul, L. (2022). The effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction for school teachers: a cluster-randomized controlled trial. European journal of public health, 32(2), 246–253. https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckab223

 

Abstract

Background

Teaching has been found to be one of the most stressful occupations. Hence, current interest in reducing stress and enhancing the well-being of teachers is strong. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is documented to be effective in reducing stress and increasing well-being. This study investigated the effectiveness of delivering MBSR to lower secondary school teachers as a part of a teacher-training programme.

Methods

This study was a nested trial within the parallel cluster-randomized controlled trial, Stress-free Everyday LiFe for Children and Adolescents REsearch (SELFCARE). Schools were recruited from all five geographical regions in Denmark between May 2018 and May 2019. One to three teachers from each school were allowed to participate. At baseline, 110 schools, representing 191 lower secondary school teachers, were cluster-randomized to intervention or a wait-list control group. The intervention group received MBSR during 2019 and the wait-list control group during 2020. Data were collected at baseline and after 3  and 6 months. The primary outcome was measured by Cohen’s Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). Data were analyzed using a mixed-effect linear regression model and bootstrapped for cluster effects.

Results

At 3 months, the intervention group statistically significantly reduced their PSS score 1.7 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.04–3.3] points more than did the wait-list control group. At 6 months, the intervention group had statistically significantly reduced their mean PSS score 2.1 (95% CI: 0.5–3.8) points more than the wait-list control group.

Conclusion

It is possible to reduce perceived stress among lower secondary school teachers by delivering MBSR as part of a teacher-training programme.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8975540/

 

Mindfulness Taught in Person or Online Improves Psychological Well-Being

Mindfulness Taught in Person or Online Improves Psychological Well-Being

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

The practice of a face-to-face or an online MBSR course reduces general psychological distress regardless of the course modality.” – Tomás Esteban Sard-Peck

 

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

 

As an alternative, training over the internet has been developed. This has tremendous advantages in decreasing costs, making training schedules much more flexible, and eliminating the need to go repeatedly to specific locations. But the question arises as to the effectiveness of internet training versus live instruction in reducing stress and improving psychological well-being.

 

In today’s Research News article “Comparing the Effectiveness of Virtual and In-Person Delivery of Mindfulness-Based Skills Within Healthcare Curriculums.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9043883/ ) Hoover and colleagues recruited students studying to become physicians assistants. They received either no treatment or a 5 session mindfulness training delivered either in person or virtually. They were measured before and after training for mindfulness, decentering, flexibility, perceived stress, and satisfaction with life.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the not-treatment group both groups that received mindfulness training had significant increases in mindfulness, psychological flexibility, and satisfaction with life and significant decreases in perceived stress. Hence, mindfulness training, regardless of whether it is delivered in person or virtually, improves the psychological well-being of students. This is important as virtual delivery of mindfulness training is much more convenient for busy, stressed students.

 

In person and virtual mindfulness training produces equivalent improvement in psychological health.

 

Mindfulness training programs were proven to be effective in improving well-being and reducing perceived stress in several populations (especially those prone to burnout) and conditions. These effects were also found in online training.” – Francesco Bossi

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Hoover, E. B., Butaney, B., Bernard, K., Coplan, B., LeLacheur, S., Straker, H., Carr, C., Blesse-Hampton, L., Naidu, A., & LaRue, A. (2022). Comparing the Effectiveness of Virtual and In-Person Delivery of Mindfulness-Based Skills Within Healthcare Curriculums. Medical science educator, 1–14. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40670-022-01554-5

 

Abstract

Purpose

To promote well-being, healthcare education programs have incorporated mindfulness-based skills and principles into existing curriculums. Pandemic-related restrictions have compelled programs to deliver content virtually. Study objectives were to determine (1) whether teaching mindfulness-based skills within physician assistant (PA) programs can promote well-being and (2) whether delivery type (virtual vs. in-person) can impact the effectiveness.

Methods

During this 2-year study, a brief mindfulness-based curriculum was delivered to incoming first-year students at six PA programs, while students at two programs served as controls. The curriculum was delivered in-person in year one and virtually in year two. Validated pre- and post-test survey items assessed mindfulness (decentering ability, present moment attention and awareness, and psychological flexibility) and well-being (perceived stress and life satisfaction).

Results

As expected, coping abilities and well-being were adversely impacted by educational demands. The mindfulness-based curriculum intervention was effective in increasing mindfulness and life satisfaction, while decreasing perceived stress when delivered in-person. Virtual curricular delivery was effective in decreasing perceived stress but not improving life satisfaction. Over half of the participants receiving the curriculum reported positive changes on mindfulness measures with approximately 14–38% reporting a change of greater than one standard deviation. Changes on mindfulness measures explained 30–38% of the reported changes in perceived stress and 22–26% of the changes in life satisfaction. Therefore, the mindfulness curriculum demonstrated statistically significant improvements in measures of mindfulness and mitigated declines in life satisfaction and perceived stress.

Conclusion

Mindfulness-based skills effectively taught in-person or virtually within PA programs successfully promote well-being.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9043883/

 

Different Mindfulness Facets Have Differing Associations with Depersonalization Symptoms

Different Mindfulness Facets Have Differing Associations with Depersonalization Symptoms

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Depersonalization symptoms can be tough to deal with, especially when you’re experiencing them 24/7. But just remember they’re caused by anxiety, and they’re part of your body’s defense mechanism to protect you from a traumatic experience.” – Shaun O’Conner

 

Depersonalization is defined as “Depersonalization/derealization disorder involves a persistent or recurring feeling of being detached from one’s body or mental processes, like an outside observer of one’s life (depersonalization), and/or a feeling of being detached from one’s surroundings (derealization).” – Merck Manuals. It is not known what the relationship is between mindfulness and depersonalization. In some ways it would be expected that mindfulness would be the antithesis of depersonalization. But in others it may actually exacerbate it as there are similarities with spiritual awakening.

 

In today’s Research News article Mindfulness and Depersonalization: a Nuanced Relationship.(See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9043097/ ) Levin and colleagues recruited healthy adults online and had them complete measures of depersonalization symptoms, anxiety, depression, perceived stress, and the five facets of mindfulness.

 

They found that the higher the levels of depersonalization symptoms the higher the levels of psychological distress and the observing and nonreactivity facets of mindfulness and the lower the levels of the acting with awareness and nonjudging facets. The relationships of depersonalization with the mindfulness facets were still significant even after controlling for the levels of psychological distress.

 

The reported relationships of depersonalization with the acting with awareness and nonjudging facets of mindfulness makes sense that they are clearly indicative of attachment with the outside environment. On the other hand, the positive relationships with observing internal experience and nonreactivity makes sense as they have internal focus and depersonalization involves detachment from the internal experiences. So, using mindfulness training as a treatment for depersonalization is probably not a good idea.

 

So, mindfulness has a complex relationship with depersonalization.

 

Sufferers of depersonalization and long-term meditators make surprisingly similar reports about reductions in their experience of being agents of their actions and as owners of their thoughts and behaviors.” – George Deane

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Levin, K. K., Gornish, A., & Quigley, L. (2022). Mindfulness and Depersonalization: a Nuanced Relationship. Mindfulness, 1–11. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-022-01890-y

 

Abstract

Objectives

Although depersonalization has been described as the antithesis of mindfulness, few studies have empirically examined this relationship, and none have considered how it may differ across various facets of mindfulness, either alone or in interaction. The present study examined the relationship between symptoms of depersonalization and facets of dispositional mindfulness in a general population sample.

Methods

A total of 296 adult participants (139 male, 155 female, 2 other) were recruited online via Qualtrics and completed the Cambridge Depersonalisation Scale; Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale; and Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire.

Results

Controlling for general distress, depersonalization symptoms were positively associated with Observe, Describe, and Nonreactivity facets and negatively associated with Acting with Awareness and Nonjudgment facets. After controlling for intercorrelations among the facets, depersonalization symptoms remained significantly associated with higher Nonreactivity and lower Acting with Awareness. The overall positive relationship between depersonalization symptoms and the Observe facet was moderated by both Nonjudgment and Nonreactivity. Specifically, higher Observing was related to increased depersonalization symptoms at low levels of Nonjudgment and to decreased symptoms at low levels of Nonreactivity.

Conclusions

The current study provides novel insight into the relationship between depersonalization symptoms and various aspects of mindfulness. Experiences of depersonalization demonstrated divergent relationships with mindfulness facets, alone and in interaction. The results may inform theoretical models of depersonalization and mindfulness-based interventions for depersonalization.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9043097/

 

Improve Autoimmune Hepatitis with Mindfulness

Improve Autoimmune Hepatitis with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Conventional medicine is great at taking test results and making recommendations based on those results, but it doesn’t really show you how to go about your day-to-day life with a chronic disease. Mindfulness is a practical coping tool and it’s always there when all else seems to fail.” – Shannon Harvey

 

The immune system is designed to protect the body from threats like stress, infection, injury, and toxic chemicals. One of its tools is the Inflammatory response. This response works quite well for short-term infections and injuries. But when inflammation is protracted and becomes chronic, it can itself become a threat to health. It can produce autoimmune diseases such as colitis, Chron’s disease, arthritis, heart disease, increased cancer risk, lung disease, sleep disruption, gum disease, decreased bone health, psoriasis, and depression.

 

When the immune system attacks the liver, it produces autoimmune hepatitis which damages the liver. It is rare but affects women four times more often than men. Mind-body techniques such as yoga, Tai Chi and meditation have been shown to adaptively reduce the inflammatory response. So, it would seem reasonable that mindfulness training may be effective in treating autoimmune hepatitis.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-based stress reduction may decrease stress, disease activity, and inflammatory cytokine levels in patients with autoimmune hepatitis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9011026/ ) Alrabadi and colleagues recruited adult patients with autoimmune hepatitis and treated them with 8 weekly 2 hour sessions of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). It involves meditation, yoga, body scan, group discussion, and homework. The patients were measured before and after training and 8 and 12 months later for perceived stress, emotion regulation, and self-control. In addition, blood was drawn and assayed for inflammatory cytokines.

 

They found that after Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) there was a significant reduction in perceived stress and the doses of the steroid prednisone that persisted 12 months later. In addition, plasma cytokine levels were significantly improved after treatment. This is an uncontrolled pilot study whose findings suggest that mindfulness training may be an effective treatment for patients with autoimmune hepatitis, reducing inflammation and stress levels.

 

Mindfulness training appears to be and effective treatment for autoimmune diseases in general including autoimmune hepatitis.

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Alrabadi, L. S., Dutton, A., Rabiee, A., Roberts, S. J., Deng, Y., Cusack, L., Silveira, M. G., Ciarleglio, M., Bucala, R., Sinha, R., Boyer, J. L., & Assis, D. N. (2022). Mindfulness-based stress reduction may decrease stress, disease activity, and inflammatory cytokine levels in patients with autoimmune hepatitis. JHEP reports : innovation in hepatology, 4(5), 100450. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhepr.2022.100450

 

Abstract

Background & Aims

Psychological and life stressors may impact autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) disease activity and increase relapse risk. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a validated course that reduces stress reactivity, and improves stress and emotion regulation. This single-arm exploratory pilot study of adult patients with AIH aimed to define the impact of an 8-week MBSR program on quality of life, disease activity, and cytokine mediators.

Methods

The perceived stress survey-10 (PSS) and the brief self-control scale (BSCS) measured subjective distress and self-control. Serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and cytokine levels were measured, and immunosuppressant doses recorded.

Results

Seventeen patients completed the MBSR program. Post-MBSR, 71% (n = 12) showed PSS score improvement at 8 weeks vs. baseline (median 15 vs. 21, p = 0.02). At 12 months, PSS improvement persisted vs. baseline (median 15 vs. 21, p = 0.02). Post-MBSR, 71% (n = 12) showed BSCS score improvement at 8 weeks vs. baseline (median 4.1 vs. 3.8, p = 0.03). At 12 months, the median BSCS score remained significant (3.9 vs. 3.8, p = 0.03). After the 8-week MBSR, the 35% of patients with ALT >34 U/L had a median ALT reduction (44.5 vs. 71.5 U/L, p = 0.06), whereas the 71% of patients on prednisone had significant dose reductions (5.75 vs. 10 mg, p = 0.02) which persisted at 12 months vs. baseline (3.75 vs. 10 mg, p = 0.02) without a compensatory increase in steroid-sparing dosing. Significant improvement was noted in peripheral blood cytokine levels (IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-17, IL-23, and sCD74/MIF ratio) from baseline to 8 weeks.

Conclusions

MBSR significantly improved perceived stress and self-control scores while decreasing ALT levels, steroid requirements, and inflammatory cytokine levels in this pilot study in adult AIH. Stress modification may impact quality of life and disease activity, and should be further evaluated as an intervention in AIH.

Lay summary

Autoimmune hepatitis can reduce quality of life and mental health, while stress may impact autoimmune hepatitis itself. We piloted mindfulness-based stress reduction as a strategy to reduce stress in adult patients with autoimmune hepatitis and found that the intervention reduced perceived stress and may have also impacted the disease by improving inflammation and medication needs. Stress reduction should be further studied to improve quality of life and possibly to impact disease activity in autoimmune hepatitis.

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9011026/

Improve Mental Health with Mantra-Based Meditation

Improve Mental Health with Mantra-Based Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Many people find that using a mantra can boost awareness and improve concentration. Since it helps you stay focused, it could lead to improved results from meditation.” – Timothy Legg

 

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. But many people have difficulty quieting the mind and maintaining concentration during meditation. Repeating a mantra during meditation has been thought to help prevent intrusive thoughts and improve concentration and focus during meditation. There have been a number of studies of the psychological benefits of mantra-based meditations. It makes sense then to summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effectiveness of Mantra-Based Meditation on Mental Health: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8949812/ ) Álvarez-Pérez and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the effects of mantra-based meditations on mental health. They found 51 published research studies.

 

They report that the published research studies found that mantra-based meditations produced significant reduction in anxiety, depression, perceived stress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and psychopathology, and significant increases in health-related quality of life. All of these effects had small to moderate effect sizes.

 

So, the published research demonstrate that mantra-based meditations produce significant improvements in mental health.

 

Mantra meditation is not magic, but the results can be magical.”— Thomas Ashley-Farrand”

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Álvarez-Pérez, Y., Rivero-Santana, A., Perestelo-Pérez, L., Duarte-Díaz, A., Ramos-García, V., Toledo-Chávarri, A., Torres-Castaño, A., León-Salas, B., Infante-Ventura, D., González-Hernández, N., Rodríguez-Rodríguez, L., & Serrano-Aguilar, P. (2022). Effectiveness of Mantra-Based Meditation on Mental Health: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International journal of environmental research and public health, 19(6), 3380. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19063380

 

Abstract

Background: Meditation is defined as a form of cognitive training that aims to improve attentional and emotional self-regulation. This systematic review aims to evaluate the available scientific evidence on the effectiveness and safety of mantra-based meditation techniques (MBM), in comparison to passive or active controls, or other active treatment, for the management of mental health symptoms. Methods: MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, and PsycINFO databases were consulted up to April 2021. Randomised controlled trials regarding meditation techniques mainly based on the repetition of mantras, such as transcendental meditation or others, were included. Results: MBM, compared to control conditions, was found to produce significant small-to-moderate effect sizes in the reduction of anxiety (g = −0.46, IC95%: −0.60, −0.32; I2 = 33%), depression (g = −0.33, 95% CI: −0.48, −0.19; I2 = 12%), stress (g = −0.45, 95% CI: −0.65, −0.24; I2 = 46%), post-traumatic stress (g = −0.59, 95% CI: −0.79, −0.38; I2 = 0%), and mental health-related quality of life (g = 0.32, 95% CI: 0.15, 0.49; I2 = 0%). Conclusions: MBM appears to produce small-to-moderate significant reductions in mental health; however, this evidence is weakened by the risk of study bias and the paucity of studies with psychiatric samples and long-term follow-up.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8949812/

Improve Sexual Function in Women with Breast Cancer with Mindfulness

Improve Sexual Function in Women with Breast Cancer with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindfulness is extraordinary; it is as if they replace you with someone else. Positive thinking increased my willingness to return to life.” – International Society for Sexual Medicine

 

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

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with general cancer recovery. Mindfulness practices have been shown to improve the residual symptoms in cancer survivors. The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program is a mindfulness training program that includes meditation practice, body scan, yoga, and discussion along with daily home practice. MBSR has been shown to be beneficial for cancer patients in general and also specifically for the symptoms of breast cancer survivors. So, it makes sense to further explore the effectiveness of MBSR training for the treatment of sexual function in breast cancer survivors.

 

In today’s Research News article “Impact of mindfulness-based stress reduction on female sexual function and mental health in patients with breast cancer.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8799961/ ) Chang and colleagues recruited breast cancer survivors and provided them with either a 6-weeks of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program or treatment as usual. They were measured before and after for sexual function, anxiety, depression, perceived stress, and quality of life.

 

They found that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) produce significant increases in sexual arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and satisfaction and significant reductions in anxiety and perceived stress.

 

Because of the nature of the treatments for breast cancer, sexual confidence and performance may be challenged. It is very important to these women’s well-being that they return to normal engagement in sex. It is very encouraging that mindfulness training appears to improve sexual satisfaction in these women after treatment. This, in turn, markedly improves their mental health.

 

Mindfulness-based stress reduction interventions are highly beneficial for reducing depression, fatigue, and stress in the short term. . . Breast cancer survivors are recommended to practice MBSR as part of their daily care routine.” – Yun-Chen Chang

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Chang, Y. C., Lin, G. M., Yeh, T. L., Chang, Y. M., Yang, C. H., Lo, C., Yeh, C. Y., & Hu, W. Y. (2022). Impact of mindfulness-based stress reduction on female sexual function and mental health in patients with breast cancer. Supportive care in cancer : official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer, 30(5), 4315–4325. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-021-06540-y

 

Abstract

Purpose

There have been few studies using mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) to improve sexual function in Asian women with breast cancer. This study aimed to evaluate the impact of mindfulness intervention on female sexual function, mental health, and quality of life in patients with breast cancer.

Methods

Fifty-one women with breast cancer were allocated into 6-week MBSR (n=26) sessions or usual care (n=25), without differences in group characteristics. The research tools included the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI), the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales-21 (DASS-21), and the EuroQol instrument (EQ-5D). The Greene Climacteric Scale (GCS) was used to verify the foregoing scale. The effects of MBSR were evaluated by the differences between the post- and pre-intervention scores in each scale. Statistical analyses consisted of the descriptive dataset and Mann-Whitney ranked-pairs test.

Results

Although MBSR did not significantly improve sexual desire and depression in patients with breast cancer, MBSR could improve parts of female sexual function [i.e., Δarousal: 5.73 vs. -5.96, Δlubrication: 3.35 vs. -3.48, and Δsatisfaction: 8.48 vs. 1.76; all p <.005], with a range from small to medium effect sizes. A significantly benefits were found on mental health [Δanxiety: -10.92 vs.11.36 and Δstress: -10.96 vs.11.40; both p <.001], with large effect sizes, ranging from 0.75 to 0.87.

Conclusion

Our study revealed that MBSR can improve female sexual function and mental health except for sexual desire and depression in women with breast cancer. Medical staff can incorporate MBSR into clinical health education for patients with breast cancer to promote their overall quality of life.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8799961/

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Patients with Cardiovascular Disease with Tai Chi

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Patients with Cardiovascular Disease with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Tai Chi involves a series of graceful, gentle movements that can get your heart rate up while also relaxing your mind. It’s been called meditation in motion.” – Cleveland Heart Lab

 

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer. A myriad of treatments has been developed including a variety of surgical procedures and medications. In addition, lifestyle changes have proved to be effective including quitting smoking, weight reduction, improved diet, physical activity, and reducing stresses. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, 60% of cardiovascular disease patients decline engaging in these lifestyle changes, making these patients at high risk for another attack.

 

Contemplative practices have been shown to be safe and effective alternative treatments for cardiovascular disease. Practices such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga, have been shown to be helpful for heart health and to reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. They have also been shown to be effective in maintaining cardiovascular health and the treatment of cardiovascular disease. The research has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to pause and take a look at what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Does tai chi improve psychological well-being and quality of life in patients with cardiovascular disease and/or cardiovascular risk factors? A systematic review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8725570/ ) Yang and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published randomized controlled trials of the effectiveness of Tai Chi practice for patients with cardiovascular disease. They identified 37 published trials.

 

They report that the published research found that Tai Chi practiced improved the psychological well-being of the patients including decreases in perceived stress, anxiety, depression, bodily pain and increases in mental health, self-efficacy, and mood.

 

Hence practicing Tai Chi improves the mental health and quality of life of patients with cardiovascular disease.

 

practicing tai chi may help to modestly lower blood pressure. It’s also proved helpful for people with heart failure, who tend to be tired and weak as a result of the heart’s diminished pumping ability. The slow movements involve both the upper and lower body, which safely strengthens the heart and major muscle groups without undue strain.” – Harvard Health

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Yang, G., Li, W., Klupp, N., Cao, H., Liu, J., Bensoussan, A., Kiat, H., Karamacoska, D., & Chang, D. (2022). Does tai chi improve psychological well-being and quality of life in patients with cardiovascular disease and/or cardiovascular risk factors? A systematic review. BMC complementary medicine and therapies, 22(1), 3. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-021-03482-0

 

Abstract

Background

Psychological risk factors have been recognised as potential, modifiable risk factors in the development and progression of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Tai Chi, a mind-body exercise, has the potential to improve psychological well-being and quality of life. We aim to assess the effects and safety of Tai Chi on psychological well-being and quality of life in people with CVD and/or cardiovascular risk factors.

Methods

We searched for randomised controlled trials evaluating Tai Chi for psychological well-being and quality of life in people with CVD and cardiovascular risk factors, from major English and Chinese databases until 30 July 2021. Two authors independently conducted study selection and data extraction. Methodological quality was evaluated using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool. Review Manager software was used for meta-analysis.

Results

We included 37 studies (38 reports) involving 3525 participants in this review. The methodological quality of the included studies was generally poor. Positive effects of Tai Chi on stress, self-efficacy, and mood were found in several individual studies. Meta-analyses demonstrated favourable effects of Tai Chi plus usual care in reducing anxiety (SMD − 2.13, 95% confidence interval (CI): − 2.55, − 1.70, 3 studies, I2 = 60%) and depression (SMD -0.86, 95% CI: − 1.35, − 0.37, 6 studies, I2 = 88%), and improving mental health (MD 7.86, 95% CI: 5.20, 10.52, 11 studies, I2 = 71%) and bodily pain (MD 6.76, 95% CI: 4.13, 9.39, 11 studies, I2 = 75%) domains of the 36-Item Short Form Survey (scale from 0 to 100), compared with usual care alone. Tai Chi did not increase adverse events (RR 0.50, 95% CI: 0.21, 1.20, 5 RCTs, I2 = 0%), compared with control group. However, less than 30% of included studies reported safety information.

Conclusions

Tai Chi seems to be beneficial in the management of anxiety, depression, and quality of life, and safe to practice in people with CVD and/or cardiovascular risk factors. Monitoring and reporting of safety information are highly recommended for future research. More well-designed studies are warranted to determine the effects and safety of Tai Chi on psychological well-being and quality of life in this population.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8725570/

Improve Parent Well-Being and Child Behavior with Mindfulness

Improve Parent Well-Being and Child Behavior with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindful parenting means that you bring your conscious attention to what’s happening, instead of getting hijacked by your emotions.” – Jill Ceder

 

Raising children, parenting, is very rewarding. But it can also be challenging. Children test parents frequently. They test the boundaries of their freedom and the depth of parental love. They demand attention and seem to especially when parental attention is needed elsewhere. They don’t always conform to parental dictates or aspirations for their behavior. The challenges of parenting require that the parents be able to deal with stress, to regulate their own emotions, and to be sensitive and attentive their child. These skills are exactly those that are developed in mindfulness training. It improves the psychological and physiological responses to stress. It improves emotion regulation. It improves the ability to maintain attention and focus in the face of high levels of distraction.

 

Mindful parenting involves the parents having emotional awareness of themselves and compassion for the child and having the skills to pay full attention to the child in the present moment, to accept parenting non-judgmentally and be emotionally non-reactive to the child. Mindful parenting has been shown to have positive benefits for both the parents and the children. The research has been accumulating. So, it’s important to summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindful Parent Training for Parents of Children Aged 3-12 Years with Behavioral Problems: a Scoping Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8741537/ ) Donovan and colleagues review and summarize the published research findings of the effects of mindful parenting training on the parents and their children. They identified 16 published studies.

 

They report that in general mindful parenting programs produce small but significant improvements in the parenting style and parent’s levels of mindfulness and perceived stress and improvements in their children’s externalizing behavior. Hence, mindful parenting training improves family life including the parent’s well being and the children’s problem behaviors.

 

Parenting kids with special needs can be even more stressful, and it can cause anxiety, depression and marital problems. A mindfulness practice can help alleviate stress and prevent these problems. And it can make you a better parent.” – Juliann Garey

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Donovan, M. O., Pickard, J. A., Herbert, J. S., & Barkus, E. (2022). Mindful Parent Training for Parents of Children Aged 3-12 Years with Behavioral Problems: a Scoping Review. Mindfulness, 1–20. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-021-01799-y

 

Abstract

Objectives

While mindfulness-based parenting programs (MPPs) are increasingly popular for reducing child behavior problems, the evidence for the advantages of MPP over existing behavioral parent training is unclear. Existing systematic reviews have largely excluded the breadth of MPP protocols, including those that integrate behavioral skills components. Therefore, a scoping review was conducted to map the nature and extent of research on MPPs for parents of children aged 3 to 12 years with behavioral problems.

Methods

PRISMA-ScR guidelines were used to conduct an encompassing peer literature review of cross-disciplinary databases. Studies were included if they reported mindfulness interventions for parents of children aged between 3 and 12 years with externalizing behavior problems and had an outcome measure of child behavioral problems that could be represented as an effect size. Randomized controlled trials as well as quasi-experimental, pre-post studies and unpublished dissertations were included.

Results

Sixteen studies met the inclusion criteria (N = 1362). The majority of MPPs delivered mindfulness adapted to parenting based on the Bögels’ protocol within clinical settings. There was a dearth of fully integrated mindfulness and behavioral programs. MPPs generally produced pre-to-post-intervention improvements with small effect sizes across child behavior and parent style, stress, and mindfulness measures. Examining longer follow-up periods compared to pre-intervention, effects reached a moderate size across most outcome measures.

Conclusions

MPPs continue to show promise in improving child behavior and parental mindfulness, well-being, and style. Further research is needed to determine how to best leverage the advantages of mindfulness in augmenting the well-established effectiveness of behavioral programs.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8741537/

 

Live Mindfulness Training is More Effective than Recorded Training in Reducing Stress.

Live Mindfulness Training is More Effective than Recorded Training in Reducing Stress.

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“You get to a point in your meditation practice, when guided meditation just isn’t helpful or necessary. But until you reach that point, it can be incredibly useful to have someone giving you instructions as you meditate.” – Hannah Knapp

 

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

 

The vast majority of the mindfulness training techniques, however, require a trained teacher. The participants must be available to attend multiple sessions at scheduled times that may or may not be compatible with their schedules and at locations that may not be convenient. As an alternative, training over the internet has been developed. This has tremendous advantages in decreasing costs, making training schedules much more flexible, and eliminating the need to go repeatedly to specific locations. But the question arises as to the effectiveness of internet training versus live instruction in reducing stress and improving psychological well-being.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Relative Contributions of Live and Recorded Online Mindfulness Training Programs to Lower Stress in the Workplace: Longitudinal Observational Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8817217/ ) Wolever and colleagues examined the perceived stress scores of participants of a 30-day online mindfulness program the contained live instruction and recordings of the live trainings.

 

They found that the greater the practice over the month the greater the reduction in perceived stress. But this was true for live trainings and not for recorded trainings. Participants who engaged in live trainings had significant reductions in stress while those who viewed recorded teachings did not.

 

These results suggest that live trainings, even when presented over the internet, have greater impact on stress than the same trainings presented as recordings. It is possible that highly stressed participants don’t have the flexibility in their schedules to attend trainings at scheduled times (live trainings) but can attend trainings at times conducive to their own schedules.

 

online mindfulness-based treatment was considered as an innovative and effective approach in terms of the reduction of . . . stress among the general population.” – Yun Zhang

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Wolever, R. Q., Finn, M., & Shields, D. (2022). The Relative Contributions of Live and Recorded Online Mindfulness Training Programs to Lower Stress in the Workplace: Longitudinal Observational Study. Journal of medical Internet research, 24(1), e31935. https://doi.org/10.2196/31935

 

Abstract

Background

Despite numerous gaps in the literature, mindfulness training in the workplace is rapidly proliferating. Many “online” or “digital mindfulness” programs do not distinguish between live teaching and recorded or asynchronous sessions, yet differences in delivery mode (eg, face-to-face, online live, online self-guided, other) may explain outcomes.

Objective

The aim of this study was to use existing data from an online mindfulness solutions company to assess the relative contribution of live and recorded mindfulness training to lower perceived stress in employees.

Methods

Perceived stress and the amount of live and recorded online mindfulness training accessed by employees were assessed during eMindful’s One-Percent Challenge (OPC). The OPC is a 30-day program wherein participants are encouraged to spend 1% of their day (14 minutes) practicing mindfulness meditation on the platform. We used linear mixed-effects models to assess the relationship between stress reduction and usage of components of the eMindful platform (live teaching and recorded options) while controlling for potential reporting bias (completion) and sampling bias.

Results

A total of 8341 participants from 44 companies registered for the OPC, with 7757 (93.00%) completing stress assessments prior to the OPC and 2360 (28.29%) completing the postassessment. Approximately one-quarter of the participants (28.86%, 2407/8341) completed both assessments. Most of the completers (2161/2407, 89.78%) engaged in the platform at least once. Among all participants (N=8341), 8.78% (n=707) accessed only recorded sessions and 33.78% (n=2818) participated only in the live programs. Most participants engaged in both live and recorded options, with those who used any recordings (2686/8341, 32.20%) tending to use them 3-4 times. Controlling for completer status, any participation with the eMindful OPC reduced stress (B=–0.32, 95% CI –0.35 to –0.30, SE=0.01, t2393.25=–24.99, P<.001, Cohen d=–1.02). Participation in live programs drove the decrease in stress (B=–0.03, SE=0.01, t3258.61=–3.03, P=.002, d=–0.11), whereas participation in recorded classes alone did not. Regular practice across the month led to a greater reduction in stress.

Conclusions

Our findings are in stark contrast to the rapid evolution of online mindfulness training for the workplace. While the market is reproducing apps and recorded teaching at an unprecedented pace, our results demonstrate that live mindfulness programs with recorded or on-demand programs used to supplement live practices confer the strongest likelihood of achieving a significant decrease in stress levels.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8817217/

Improve Teacher Well-Being and Immune Function with Mindfulness

Improve Teacher Well-Being and Immune Function with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

learning and cultivating skills of mindfulness . . .can help us to promote the calm, relaxed, but enlivened classroom environment that children need to learn. Mindfulness can also help us to be more effective at reducing conflict and developing more positive ways of relating in the classroom, which can help us feel more job satisfaction.” – Patricia Jennings

 

Stress is epidemic in the 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. In a school setting, this burnout and exhaustion not only affects teachers personally, but also the students and schools, as it produces a loss of enthusiasm, empathy, and compassion. Hence, there is a need to identify methods of reducing stress and improving teachers’ psychological health. Mindfulness has been demonstrated to be helpful in reducing the psychological and physiological responses to stress and for treating and preventing burnout. This suggests that mindfulness would improve the psychological and physiological well-being of teachers,

 

In today’s Research News article “Fostering emotional self-regulation in female teachers at the public teaching network: A mindfulness-based intervention improving psychological measures and inflammatory biomarkers.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8881415/ ) Wilson and colleagues recruited public school teachers and provided them with either 8 weeks of mindfulness training or neuroscience education. Measurements were taken before and after training of reactivity, emotions, stress, resilience, and psychological well-being as well as blood inflammatory markers.

 

Compared to controls, the teachers who received mindfulness training had significant decreases in stress levels and negative emotions and significant increases in resilience, positive emotions and psychological well-being. Blood inflammatory markers also showed significant improvements. These results suggest that mindfulness training improves immune function, reduces stress, and increases psychological well-being in teachers.

 

This suggests that teachers should receive mindfulness training to make them better able to withstand the stresses of the job.

 

In the last decade, many professional development programs have sprung up that use mindfulness as a key tool to alleviate teacher stress.” – Catherine Gewertz

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Wilson, D., Rodrigues de Oliveira, D., Palace-Berl, F., de Mello Ponteciano, B., Fungaro Rissatti, L., Piassa Pollizi, V., Sardela de Miranda, F., D’Almeida, V., & Demarzo, M. (2022). Fostering emotional self-regulation in female teachers at the public teaching network: A mindfulness-based intervention improving psychological measures and inflammatory biomarkers. Brain, behavior, & immunity – health, 21, 100427. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbih.2022.100427

 

Abstract

Objective

To examine the effect of a mindfulness-based program specifically designed for teachers in reducing perceived stress and improving the quality of experienced emotion in female active working teachers. A second outcome evaluated is the associated change in cellular inflammatory activity, measured by peripheral blood levels of cytokines.

Method

Eighty-eight female active teachers from public schools from São Paulo Municipality were recruited, and randomly allocated to an eight-week Mindfulness-Based Health Program for Educators (MBHP-Educa) or to Neuroscience for Education Program (Neuro-Educa: active control group). The venue of both programs were several public school facilities, where many of the teachers actually worked. Both groups received activities during eight weeks in a 2 ​h/week regimen, totalizing 16 ​h. Sixty-five participants completed the program and pre- and post-interventions measures were taken from the following scales: Interpersonal Multidimensional Reactivity Scale (IRI), Positive-and-Negative Affects Scale (PANAS), Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC), and a primary outcome in Ryff’s Psychological Well-Being Scale (PBWS). At pre-and post-intervention, blood samples were collected for the measurement of several important inflammatory biomarkers, Tumor Necrosis Factor – α (TNF-α), Interleukin 1β (IL-1β), Interleukin 6 (IL-6), Interleukin 8 (IL-8), Interleukin 10 (IL-10) and Interleukin 12p70 (IL-12P70) through flow cytometry assay. Intervention effects were analyzed via Generalized mixed models (GLMM).

Results

According to the GLMM, MBHP-Educa significantly reduced the scores of perceived stress (p ​< ​0.0001), and negative affect (p ​< ​0.0001) compared to active control group (Neuro-Educa). Conversely, an increase was observed on Psychological Well Being Scale in dimensions of Self-acceptance (p ​< ​0.0001), and Autonomy (p ​= ​0.001), as well as improvements in Resilience (p ​< ​0.0001), and Positive Affect (p ​< ​0.0001). MBHP-Educa also promoted a reduction in the levels of IL-6 (p ​= ​0.003), IL-8 (p ​= ​0.036), and increase in the levels of IL-10 (p ​< ​0.0001) and IL-12p70 (p ​< ​0.044). TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-10p70 showed results below theoretical limit of detection accepted for CBA kit.

Conclusions

Our data suggest that mindfulness-based interventions introduced as a strategy for reducing stress, promoting well-being and improve immune function can be a useful asset in promoting psychological health among teachers in Basic Education.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8881415/