Reduce Distress and Increase Pregnancy in Women with Fertility Problems with Mind-Body Practices

Reduce Distress and Increase Pregnancy in Women with Fertility Problems with Mind-Body Practices

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness becomes the perfect antidote for the paradoxical land mines infertility presents. Mindfulness starts from the perspective that you are whole and complete already, regardless of flaws or imperfections. It is based on the concept of original goodness: your essential nature is good and pure. Proceeding from this vantage point gives you freedom from the bondage of inadequacy and insecurity.” – Janetti Marrota

 

Infertility is primarily a medical condition due to physiological problems. It is quite common. It is estimated that in the U.S. 6.7 million women, about 10% of the population of women 15-44, have an impaired ability to get pregnant or carry a baby to term and about 6% are infertile. Infertility can be more than just a medical issue. It can be an emotional crisis for many couples, especially for the women. Couples attending a fertility clinic reported that infertility was the most upsetting experience of their lives.

 

Women with infertility reported feeling as anxious or depressed as those diagnosed with cancer, hypertension, or recovering from a heart attack. In addition, infertility can markedly impact the couple’s relationship, straining their emotional connection and interactions and the prescribed treatments can take the spontaneity and joy from lovemaking making it strained and mechanical. The stress of infertility and engaging in infertility treatments may exacerbate the problem. Since mindfulness training has been shown to reduce depression, anxiety, and stress it is reasonable to believe that mind-body training may be helpful in reducing the distress in women with fertility issues.

 

In today’s Research News article “An internet-based mind/body intervention to mitigate distress in women experiencing infertility: A randomized pilot trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7080396/), Clifton and colleagues recruited childless adult women who were seeking care for infertility. They were randomly assigned to either a wait-list control condition or to receive a 10-week online program of mind/body for fertility including weekly online modules and homework assignments. “The skills and strategies taught included: (a) knowledge regarding the relationship between stress, lifestyle, and fertility; (b) relaxation techniques including diaphragmatic breathing and Hatha Yoga; (c) mindfulness; (d) cognitive restructuring; (e) stress reduction strategies; (f) listening and communication skills; (g) strategies for emotional expression and effective coping with anger; and (h) assertiveness training and goal-setting skills.” They were measured before and after training for anxiety, depression, perceived stress, and fertility problems.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control group, the women who received the training had significantly lower levels of anxiety, depression, perceived stress, and infertility related stress specific to sexual and social concerns. At the end of the study the women who received the training had significantly higher self-reported pregnancy rates. 53% of the trained women reported successful pregnancy while only 20% of the wait-list control women did.

 

The study was a randomized controlled trial but the control condition, wait-list, was passive. It would be important for future research to include an active control condition, such as online health education. In addition, the program included a complex set of practices and it is impossible to tease apart what components or combination of components were necessary for the effects observed. It would be interesting in future research to examine the effectiveness of the individual components.

 

Nevertheless, these are interesting and potentially important findings. The online mind/body for fertility program produced significant reductions in the distress levels of the women and increased the likelihood of becoming pregnant. By reducing the psychological distress produced by infertility the program appeared to markedly improve the likelihood of becoming pregnant. This is very helpful in reducing the suffering produced by infertility and thereby improving pregnancy success..

 

In addition, the fact that the program was implemented online makes it scalable at low cost to large groups of women over wide geographic areas and the women can engage in the program at times and places that were most comfortable and convenient for them. This greatly expands the usefulness of the program.

 

So, reduce distress and increase pregnancy in women with fertility problems with mind-body practices.

 

“Many women fear that becoming mindful and starting to meditate will make them passive in their quest for a child.  This simply isn’t so.  The wish for a child remains vibrant and active – it’s simply that happiness doesn’t depend on the fulfillment of this wish.” – Beth Heller

 

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

 

Clifton, J., Parent, J., Seehuus, M., Worrall, G., Forehand, R., & Domar, A. (2020). An internet-based mind/body intervention to mitigate distress in women experiencing infertility: A randomized pilot trial. PloS one, 15(3), e0229379. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0229379

 

Abstract

Objective

To determine if an internet-based mind/body program would lead to participants experiencing infertility (1) being willing to be recruited and randomized and (2) accepting and being ready to engage in a fertility-specific intervention. Secondary exploratory goals were to examine reduced distress over the course of the intervention and increased likelihood to conceive.

Methods

This was a pilot randomized controlled feasibility trial with a between-groups, repeated measure design. Seventy-one women self-identified as nulliparous and meeting criteria for infertility. Participants were randomized to the internet-based version of the Mind/Body Program for Fertility or wait-list control group and asked to complete pre-, mid- and post-assessments. Primary outcomes include retention rates, number of modules completed, and satisfaction with intervention. Secondary exploratory outcomes sought to provide preliminary data on the impact of the program on distress (anxiety and depression) and self-reported pregnancy rates relative to a quasi-control group.

Results

The retention, adherence, and satisfaction rates were comparable to those reported in other internet-based RCTs. Although time between pre- and post-assessment differed between groups, using intent-to-treat analyses, women in the intervention group (relative to the wait-list group) had significant reduction in distress (anxiety, p = .003; depression, p = .007; stress, p = .041 fertility-social, p = .018; fertility-sexual, p = .006), estimated as medium-to-large effect sizes (ds = 0.45 to 0.86). The odds of becoming pregnant was 4.47 times higher for the intervention group participants as compared to the wait-list group, OR 95% CI [1.56, 12.85], p = .005 and occurred earlier. The findings suggest that the research design and program specific to this population are feasible and acceptable. Replication efforts with an active control group are needed to verify distress reduction and conception promotion findings.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7080396/

 

Reduce Stress and Increase Self-Compassion in Medical Students with Online Mindfulness Training

Reduce Stress and Increase Self-Compassion in Medical Students with Online Mindfulness Training

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

What we found should encourage even the busiest medical students and physicians. There are shorter, sustainable ways to bring meditation into your life, and they can help you reduce stress and depression and improve your medical study and practice.” – Periel Shapiro

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. In high stress occupations, like healthcare, burnout is all too prevalent. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. It is estimated that over 45% of healthcare workers experience burnout. Currently, over a third of healthcare workers report that they are looking for a new job. It not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion. Burnout, in fact, it is a threat to the entire healthcare system as it contributes to the shortage of doctors and nurses.

 

Preventing burnout has to be a priority. Unfortunately, it is beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress and prevent burnout, so it is important that methods be found to reduce the individual’s responses to stress; to make the individual more resilient when high levels of stress occur. 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 would be best to provide techniques to combat burnout early in a medical career. Medical School is extremely stressful and many students show distress and express burnout symptoms. Medical school may be an ideal time to intervene.

 

In today’s Research News article “Determining the feasibility and effectiveness of brief online mindfulness training for rural medical students: a pilot study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7137339/), Moore and colleagues recruited medical students focusing on rural health care who were undergoing training in widespread rural healthcare facilities. They had them complete an 8-week online mindfulness training program. They were measured before and after training and 4 months later for amount of mindfulness practice, perceived stress, self-compassion, and compassion. In addition, they submitted a self-reflective essay on how the mindfulness training program affected them.

 

They found that at the end of training and at the 4-month follow-up there was a significant decrease in perceived stress and increase in self-compassion. The greater the perceived stress and the lower the self-compassion at baseline, the greater the change after training. The essays revealed that although the students found the program valuable, they had difficulty in engaging in the practice amid their busy schedules. The students also commented that the program improved their self-awareness, self-compassion. and performance, and reduced their stress levels.

 

The results are compatible with prior research that mindfulness training decreases perceived stress and increases self-compassion. These benefits would likely contribute to reducing burnout during their education and perhaps later in their careers. Importantly, the study demonstrated that mindfulness training can be successfully delivered to medical students over the internet. This latter point is particularly important as the students were spread out in disparate rural communities and so in-person training was impossible. This underscores that importance of implementing the training over the internet.

 

So, reduce stress and increase self-compassion in medical students with online mindfulness training.

 

mindfulness training positively influences the way students approach and reflect on their well-being and education within the medical education context.” – Alice Malpass

 

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

 

Moore, S., Barbour, R., Ngo, H., Sinclair, C., Chambers, R., Auret, K., Hassed, C., & Playford, D. (2020). Determining the feasibility and effectiveness of brief online mindfulness training for rural medical students: a pilot study. BMC medical education, 20(1), 104. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-020-02015-6

 

Abstract

Background

We sought to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of a mindfulness training program, delivered online to medical students at a Rural Clinical School.

Methods

An 8-week online training program was delivered to penultimate-year medical students at an Australian Rural Clinical School during 2016. Using a mixed methods approach, we measured the frequency and duration of participants’ mindfulness meditation practice, and assessed changes in their perceived stress, self-compassion and compassion levels, as well as personal and professional attitudes and behaviours.

Results

Forty-seven participants were recruited to the study. 50% of participants were practising mindfulness meditation at least weekly by the end of the 8-week program, and 32% reported practising at least weekly 4 months following completion of the intervention. There was a statistically significant reduction in participants’ perceived stress levels and a significant increase in self-compassion at 4-month follow-up. Participants reported insights about the personal and professional impact of mindfulness meditation training as well as barriers to practice.

Conclusions

The results provide preliminary evidence that online training in mindfulness meditation can be associated with reduced stress and increased self-compassion in rural medical students. More rigorous research is required to establish concrete measures of feasibility of a mindfulness meditation program.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7137339/

 

Reduce Stress at Work with Mindfulness

Reduce Stress at Work with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“I think of mindfulness as the ability not to be yanked around by your own emotions. That can have a big impact on how you are in the workplace.” – Dan Harris

 

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

 

To help overcome unhappiness, stress, and burnoutmindfulness practices have been implemented in the workplace. Indeed, mindfulness practices have been shown to markedly reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. As a result, it has become very trendy for business to incorporate meditation into the workday to help improve employee well-being, health, and productivity. These programs attempt to increase the employees’ mindfulness at work and thereby reduce stress. It is not known, however, the amount of mindfulness training that is needed to improve employee well-being or whether the training affects moment-to-moment stress levels and the individual’s ability to cope with the stress in the actual work environment.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness Training Reduces Stress At Work: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6433409/), Chin and colleagues recruited healthy adults at their workplace who had not received training in mindfulness or actively practiced mindfulness. They were provided a 4-hour mindfulness workshop and then randomly assigned to either a low- or high-dose mindfulness training. Low-dose participants received no further training while high-dose participants were provided 6 weekly instructions in mindfulness and also practiced at home for 25-minutes per day for 5 days per week with pre-recorded guided mindfulness instructions.

 

The participants were measured before and after training for perceived stress. They also completed momentary ecological assessments of stress, coping, and emotions. For these assessments they were prompted on their smartphones 4 times throughout the day for 3 days before and 3 days after treatment and were asked to rate on their smartphones their levels of momentary perceived stress, their ability to cope with the momentary stress, and the levels of positive or negative emotions experienced at that moment.

 

They found that after training, the high-dose but nor the low-dose participants had significant reductions in overall perceived stress after training. This was also true for the momentary positive emotions and perceived stress experienced including perceived stress severity, coping efficacy, and coping success, with high-dose participants having significantly greater changes in than low-dose participants after training. In addition, low-dose participants increased in their levels of negative emotions from baseline, while the high-dose participants did not.

 

These results are interesting and demonstrate, as has previous research, that mindfulness training reduces overall perceived stress. It is significant that the comparison condition also contained mindfulness training but at a low dose. This suggests that a small amount of mindfulness training is not sufficient to alter perceived levels of stress.

 

The present study also demonstrated that the effects of mindfulness training are not only on overall levels of perceived stress but also on these levels in momentary real-time work situations. They also show that during actual workplace stress mindfulness training improves the individuals’ ability to cope with the stress and experience more positive emotions and less negative emotions. This all suggests that mindfulness training doesn’t just work overall but moment-to-moment in the work environment to reduce stress levels and their impact on the worker. This should promote the overall psychological and physical health and well-being of the worker.

 

So, reduce stress at work with mindfulness.

 

Work is a very commonplace of stress, but with a few minutes of mindfulness each day, we can improve our feelings regarding these stressors, reduce their impact on our mental health, and improve our mood as well, leaving us ready for anything ahead.” – Paul Jozsef

 

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

 

Chin, B., Slutsky, J., Raye, J., & Creswell, J. D. (2019). Mindfulness Training Reduces Stress At Work: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Mindfulness, 10(4), 627–638. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-018-1022-0

 

Abstract

Mindfulness-based interventions have been suggested as one way to improve employee well-being in the workplace. Despite these purported benefits, there have been few well-controlled randomized controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating mindfulness training in the workplace. Here we conducted a two-arm RCT at work among employees of a digital marketing firm comparing the efficacy of a high dose six-week mindfulness training to a low dose single-day mindfulness training for improving multiple measures of employee well-being assessed using ecological momentary assessment. High dose mindfulness training reduced both perceived and momentary stress, and buffered employees against worsened affect and decreased coping efficacy compared to low dose mindfulness training. These results provide well-controlled evidence that mindfulness training programs can reduce momentary stress at work, suggesting that more intensive mindfulness training doses (i.e., 6-weeks) may be necessary for improving workplace well-being outcomes. This RCT utilizes a novel experience sampling approach to measure the effects of a mindfulness intervention on employee well-being and considers potential dose-response effects of mindfulness training at work.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6433409/

 

Improve Generalized Anxiety Disorder with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Improve Generalized Anxiety Disorder with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a type of psychotherapy gaining popularity in the treatment of anxiety disorders like generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). It is also used to treat other conditions including depression, eating disorders, chronic pain, and substance use disorders.” – Deborah Glasofer

 

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults, or 18% of the population. A characterizing feature of anxiety disorders is that the suffer overly identifies with and personalizes their thoughts. The sufferer has recurring thoughts, such as impending disaster, that they may realize are unreasonable, but are unable to shake. Anxiety disorders have generally been treated with drugs. But there are considerable side effects and these drugs are often abused. There are a number of psychological therapies for anxiety. But, about 45% of the patients treated do not respond to the therapy. So, there is a need to develop alternative treatments. Recently, it has been found that mindfulness training can be effective for anxiety disorders.

 

A therapeutic technique that contains mindfulness training is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). It is a mindfulness-based psychotherapy technique that is employs many of the techniques of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and has also been shown to relieve anxietyACT focuses on the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior and how they interact to impact their psychological and physical well-being. It then works to change thinking to alter the interaction and produce greater life satisfaction. ACT employs mindfulness practices to increase awareness and develop an attitude of acceptance and compassion in the presence of painful thoughts and feelings. ACT teaches individuals to “just notice”, accept and embrace private experiences and focus on behavioral responses that produce more desirable outcomes.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Multiple-Baseline Evaluation of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Focused on Repetitive Negative Thinking for Comorbid Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7082425/), Ruiz and colleagues recruited 6 adults with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and also depression. They received a 3 session Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) protocol of 90, 60, and 60 minutes focused on repetitive negative thinking implemented at different times on a multiple baseline. They were measured weekly over the internet for emotional symptoms (a combination of anxiety, depression and perceived stress), worry, experiential avoidance, cognitive fusion, perseverative thinking, and valuing.

 

They found that all participants demonstrated no significant changes during the 5 or more weeks of the baseline period in emotional symptoms or worry. But once Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) was provided all participants immediately demonstrated a precipitous decline in emotional symptoms, worry, experiential avoidance, cognitive fusion, and perseverative thinking that was maintained for 3 months. Effect sizes were very large and 5 of the 6 participants had clinically significant changes in emotional symptoms and worry.

 

It is well established that mindfulness training reduces anxiety, depression, perceived, stress, and worry. Nevertheless, the results of the present study are striking. Administration of a brief Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)  focused on repetitive negative thinking produced dramatic clinically significant improvements in the core symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and depression. The fact that this was accomplished in 3-sessions is important as it reduces the investment of therapists in treatment, reducing costs and improving the numbers of people being able to be treated. These findings suggest that this brief form of mindfulness-based therapy be implemented for anxiety and deprressive disorders.

 

So, improve Generalized Anxiety Disorder with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

 

ACT helps you take action on your values, instead of letting your anxiety dictate your decisions and your days.” –  Margarita Tartakovsky

 

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

 

Ruiz, F. J., Luciano, C., Flórez, C. L., Suárez-Falcón, J. C., & Cardona-Betancourt, V. (2020). A Multiple-Baseline Evaluation of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Focused on Repetitive Negative Thinking for Comorbid Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression. Frontiers in psychology, 11, 356. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00356

 

Abstract

Repetitive negative thinking (RNT) is a core feature of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and depression. Recently, some studies have shown promising results with brief protocols of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) focused on RNT in the treatment of emotional disorders in adults. The current study analyzes the effect of an individual, 3-session, RNT-focused ACT protocol in the treatment of severe and comorbid GAD and depression. Six adults meeting criteria for both disorders and showing severe symptoms of at least one of them participated in the study. A delayed multiple-baseline design was implemented. All participants completed a 5-week baseline without showing improvement trends in emotional symptoms (Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale – 21; DASS-21) and pathological worry (Penn State Worry Questionnaire; PSWQ). The ACT protocol was then implemented, and a 3-month follow-up was conducted. Five of the six participants showed clinically significant changes in the DASS-21 and the PSWQ. The standardized mean difference effect sizes for single-case experimental design were very large for emotional symptoms (d = 3.34), pathological worry (d = 4.52), experiential avoidance (d = 3.46), cognitive fusion (d = 3.90), repetitive thinking (d = 4.52), and valued living (d = 0.92 and d = 1.98). No adverse events were observed. Brief, RNT-focused ACT protocols for treating comorbid GAD and depression deserve further empirical tests.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7082425/

 

Reduce Anxiety and Depression in Coronary Heart Disease Patients with Tai Chi

Reduce Anxiety and Depression in Coronary Heart Disease Patients with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Tai chi is an interesting, promising exercise option. I think based on what we found, it’s a reasonable and safe step to offer tai chi within cardiac rehab.” – Elena Salmoriago-Blotcher

 

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. There are myriads of treatments that have been developed to treat cardiovascular disease including a variety of surgical procedures and medications. Importantly, lifestyle changes have proved to be quite effective. These include quitting smoking, weight reduction, improved diet, physical activity, and reducing stresses. Contemplative practices, such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga, have also been shown to be helpful for heart health. These practices have also been shown to be helpful for producing the kinds of other lifestyle changes needed such as smoking cessationweight reduction and stress reduction.

 

Cardiac rehabilitation programs for patients recovering from implantation of a stent for coronary heart disease, emphasize lifestyle changes. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, 60% of coronary heart disease patients decline participation, making these patients at high risk for a heart attack.  Tai Chi and Qigong are ancient mindfulness practices involving slow prescribed movements. They are gentle and completely safe, can be used with the elderly and sickly, are inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility or even public park, and can be quickly learned. In addition, they can also be practiced in social groups without professional supervision. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice. Since Tai Chi is both a mindfulness practice and a gentle exercise, it may be an acceptable, safe, and effective treatment for coronary heart disease patients.

 

In today’s Research News article “The 24-Form Tai Chi Improves Anxiety and Depression and Upregulates miR-17-92 in Coronary Heart Disease Patients After Percutaneous Coronary Intervention.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7078346/), Liu and colleagues recruited coronary heart disease patients who had a myocardial infarction and a stent implanted less than 4 days prior. The patients received usual care and were randomly assigned to receive either no further treatment or Tai Chi practice twice a day for 60 minutes for 10 months. They were measured before and after the 10-month practice period for anxiety, depression, perceived stress, and quality of life. In addition, blood was drawn and measured for miR-17-92.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control group, the group that received Tai Chi training had significantly lower levels of anxiety, depression, and perceived stress and significantly higher levels of quality of life and miR-17-92. In addition, they found that the higher the levels of miR-17-92 the lower the levels of anxiety, depression, and perceived stress.

 

It should be noted that the control condition was not active. Future research should have an active control that performed some other activity of comparable duration, perhaps another type of exercise or health education. Nevertheless, the results show that Tai Chi practice can significantly improve the psychological well-being of coronary heart disease patients after surgery to insert a stent.

 

Prior research has demonstrated the RNA segments are associated with anxiety and depression. The current research also detected this relationship. But the study also demonstrated that the improvements in anxiety, depression, and perceived stress were associated with increased levels of miR-17-92. This may indicate a mechanism of action by which Tai Chi practice improves psychological well-being. It remains for future research to further explore this interesting possibility.

 

So, reduce anxiety and depression in coronary heart disease patients with Tai Chi.

 

Tai chi shows promise for patients with existing heart disease. Participants in the intensive tai chi program were significantly more active, lost more weight and reported a higher quality of life.” – CardioSmart

 

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

 

Liu, J., Yu, P., Lv, W., & Wang, X. (2020). The 24-Form Tai Chi Improves Anxiety and Depression and Upregulates miR-17-92 in Coronary Heart Disease Patients After Percutaneous Coronary Intervention. Frontiers in physiology, 11, 149. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2020.00149

 

Abstract

Background

Anxiety and depression are common symptoms in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). The 24-form Tai Chi may exert a protective function for CHD patients after PCI by improving anxiety and depression.

Methods

Patients who received PCI after 1–4 days were randomly assigned to the 24-form Tai Chi group (TG) and the control group (CG). The differences in anxiety and depression, using the Medical Outcomes Study 36−item Short−Form Health Survey (SF-36), before and after an average of 10 months of Tai Chi intervention were compared in both groups to analyze the effects of Tai Chi on the emotion and the life quality of CHD patients. Meanwhile, the relative levels of miR-17-92 were measured by using real-time qPCR. The association between the relative levels of miR-17-92 and the anxiety and the depression of CHD patients after PCI was analyzed. Adjusted Cox models were used to explore the effect of Tai Chi exercise in CHD patients.

Results

After 10 months of intervention, the changes in the anxiety subscale (P = 0.002), in the depression subscale (P = 0.008), and in the stress (P = 0.015) scores were higher in the TG group when compared to those of the CG group. The proportion of anxious (P = 0.045) and depressed subjects (P = 0.042) in the TG group was lower than that in the CG group. On the other hand, the increase in the SF-36 scores and in the relative levels of miR-17-92 was significantly higher in the TG group when compared with that of the CG group (P < 0.05). The serum level of miR-17-92 had a negative correlation with the anxiety, the depression, and the stress scores (P < 0.01).

Conclusion

The 24-form Tai Chi improved the anxiety and the depression symptoms and upregulated the miR-17-92 levels in CHD patients after PCI.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7078346/

 

Improve Psychological Well-Being at Work with a Mindfulness App

 

Improve Psychological Well-Being at Work with a Mindfulness App

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

Mindfulness is not about living life in slow motion. It’s about enhancing focus and awareness both in work and in life. It’s about stripping away distractions and staying on track with individual, as well as organizational, goals.” Jacqueline Carter

 

Work is very important for our health and well-being. We spend approximately 25% of our adult lives at work. Indeed, the work environment has even become an important part of our social lives, with friendships and leisure time activities often attached to the people we work with. But, more than half of employees in the U.S. and nearly 2/3 worldwide are unhappy at work. This is partially due to work-related stress which is epidemic in the western workplace. Almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. This stress can result in impaired health and can result in burnout; producing fatigue, cynicism, and professional inefficacy.

 

To help overcome unhappiness, stress, and burnoutmindfulness practices have been implemented in the workplace. These 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.

 

The vast majority of the mindfulness training techniques, however, require a trained teacher. The participants must be available to attend multiple sessions at particular scheduled times that may or may not be compatible with busy employee schedules and at locations that may not be convenient. As an alternative, apps for smartphones have been developed. These have tremendous advantages in decreasing costs, making training schedules much more flexible, and eliminating the need to go repeatedly to specific locations. But the question arises as to the effectiveness of these apps in inducing mindfulness and reducing stress and improving psychological well-being in employees in real-world work settings.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness on-the-go: Effects of a mindfulness meditation app on work stress and well-being.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6215525/), Bostock and colleagues recruited healthy adults in the workplace and randomly assigned them to either a wait-list control condition or to 45 days of daily mindfulness training with the “Headspace” app for their smartphones. They were measured before and after the intervention and 8 weeks later for blood pressure and daily well-being at 5 different times during the day, psychological well-being, anxiety, depression, job strain, job status, workplace social support, and mindfulness.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list controls the participants who used the mindfulness training app had significantly higher levels of psychological well-being, daily positive emotions, and workplace social support and significantly lower levels of blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and job strain. They found that these benefits only occurred in participants who completed 10 or more practice sessions. Most of these improvements were maintained at the 8-week follow-up.

 

The research design contained a control condition but the condition was not active. This leaves open the possibility of placebo effects, demand characteristics, and experimenter bias. Employees that used the app less than 10 times, however, could be seen as an active control and they did not show improvements. Nevertheless, the results suggest that using a mindfulness training smartphone app can improve the psychological well-being of employees in the workplace. Since they can receive the training at their own convenience and schedule, it is especially applicable to busy real-world work environments. The low cost of this training suggests that it can be used over large numbers of employees, at diverse locations.

 

So, improve psychological well-being at work with a mindfulness app.

 

“mindfulness and mindfulness-based practices improve self-regulation of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, linking them to both performance and employee well-being in the workplace.” Theresa Glomb

 

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

 

Bostock, S., Crosswell, A. D., Prather, A. A., & Steptoe, A. (2019). Mindfulness on-the-go: Effects of a mindfulness meditation app on work stress and well-being. Journal of occupational health psychology, 24(1), 127–138. https://doi.org/10.1037/ocp0000118

 

Abstract

We investigated whether a mindfulness meditation program delivered via a smartphone application (app) could improve psychological well-being, reduce job strain, and reduce ambulatory blood pressure during the workday. Participants were 238 healthy employees from two large UK companies that were randomized to a mindfulness meditation practice app or a wait-list control condition. The app offered 45 pre-recorded 10–20 minute guided audio meditations. Participants were asked to complete one meditation per day. Psychosocial measures, and blood pressure throughout one working day, were measured at baseline and 8 weeks later; a follow-up survey was also emailed to participants 16 weeks after the intervention start. Usage data showed that during the 8-week intervention period, participants randomized to the intervention completed an average of 17 meditation sessions (range 0 to 45 sessions). The intervention group reported significant improvement in well-being, distress, job strain, and perceptions of workplace social support compared to the control group. In addition, the intervention group had a marginally significant decrease in self-measured workday systolic blood pressure from pre to post intervention. Sustained positive effects in the intervention group were found for well-being and job strain at the 16-week follow-up assessment. This trial suggests that short guided mindfulness meditations delivered via smartphone and practiced multiple times per week can improve outcomes related to work stress and well-being, with potentially lasting effects.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6215525/

 

Reduce Burnout in Medical Residents with Mindfulness

Reduce Burnout in Medical Residents with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

while they appreciate the great meaning in their work, clinicians’ ability to disconnect and recharge may be even more critical than it is for others when it comes to how they view work environments and feel as employees.” – David Gregg

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. In high stress occupations, like healthcare, burnout is all too prevalent. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. It is estimated that over 45% of healthcare workers experience burnout. It not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion. Burnout, in fact, it is a threat to the entire healthcare system. Currently, over a third of healthcare workers report that they are looking for a new job. Hence, burnout contributes to the shortage of doctors and nurses.

 

Preventing burnout has to be a priority. Unfortunately, it is beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress and prevent burnout. So, it is important that methods be found to reduce the individual’s responses to stress; to make the individual more resilient when high levels of stress occur. Contemplative practices have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress and improve well-being. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, and improving sleep. Hence, mindfulness may be a means to reduce burnout and improve well-being in hospital residents.

 

In today’s Research News article “Evidence-Based Interventions that Promote Resident Wellness from the Council of Emergency Residency Directors.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7081870/), Parsons and colleagues review and summarize the published research regarding methods to reduce burnout in medical residents. From this research they formed conclusions  and recommendations.

 

They report that the published studies demonstrate that medical resident burnout is mitigated by interventions that emphasize mindfulness, stress management, and resilience training. The evidence is fairly strong from well conducted controlled trials. It should be noted that mindfulness training improves both stress management and resilience. So, mindfulness training may be the key to all of the effective training strategies. They also report that working conditions tend to produce fatigue and stress that contribute to burnout. Reduction in burnout can be accomplished by adjustments to the work environment including shift scheduling.

 

So, reduce burnout in medical residents with mindfulness.

 

Research exploring the effects of mindfulness training suggests it produces broad and significant improvements in attributes applicable to patient care and physician well-being.” – American Medical Association

 

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, M., Bailitz, J., Chung, A. S., Mannix, A., Battaglioli, N., Clinton, M., & Gottlieb, M. (2020). Evidence-Based Interventions that Promote Resident Wellness from the Council of Emergency Residency Directors. The western journal of emergency medicine, 21(2), 412–422. https://doi.org/10.5811/westjem.2019.11.42961

 

Abstract

Initiatives for addressing resident wellness are a recent requirement of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education in response to high rates of resident burnout nationally. We review the literature on wellness and burnout in residency education with a focus on assessment, individual-level interventions, and systemic or organizational interventions.

Best Practice Recommendations for Individual Interventions

  • Mindfulness training should be incorporated into residency training to improve wellness and reduce burnout (Level 1b, Grade B).
  • Consider incorporating behavioral interventions, such as reframing, self-compassion, and empathy into residency training (Level 4, Grade C)
  • Encourage self-care with respect to physical, psychological, and emotional health. This should include an emphasis on sleep, healthy eating, regular exercise, development of social and professional support networks, PCP visits, resources for substance abuse, and counseling or mentoring programs (Level 4, Grade C)
  • Program faculty should meet privately with residents potentially suffering from burnout to identify the unique causes and appropriate interventions. Close follow-up meetings should assess improvement (Level 4, Grade C)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7081870/

 

Improve College Student Well-Being with Online Mindfulness

Improve College Student Well-Being with Online Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Student life can be stressful, but that doesn’t mean students have to let stress take over their lives. By incorporating mindfulness and meditation into daily routines, students can not only relieve the pressure, but also improve their memory, focus and ultimately their grades.” – Kenya McCullum

 

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

 

Mindfulness training has been shown through extensive research to be effective in improving physical and psychological health and particularly with reducing the physical and psychological reactions to stress and increasing resilience in the face of stress. Indeed, these practices have been found to reduce stress and improve psychological health in college students.

 

The vast majority of the mindfulness training techniques, however, require a trained therapist. This results in costs that many clients can’t afford. In addition, the participants must be available to attend multiple sessions at particular scheduled times that may or may not be compatible with their busy schedules and at locations that may not be convenient. As an alternative, mindfulness training over the internet have been developed. These have tremendous advantages in decreasing costs, making training schedules much more flexible, and eliminating the need to go repeatedly to specific locations. In addition, research has indicated that mindfulness training online can be effective for improving the health and well-being of the participants.

 

In today’s Research News article “An Eight-Week, Web-Based Mindfulness Virtual Community Intervention for Students’ Mental Health: Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7055779/) Ahmad and colleagues examine the effectiveness of an online mindfulness virtual community to improve well-being in college students. They recruited college students and randomly assigned them to a wait list control condition or to receive an 8-week web-based program called Mindfulness Virtual Community that was developed to specifically address the students’ needs. It was implemented in either a full or partial version. The full Mindfulness Virtual Community included 12 modules of mindfulness practice and psychoeducation for student-specific stresses, discussion forums, and group live videoconferences. The partial version contained only the 12 modules. They were measured at baseline and in the middle and end of the 8-week program for anxiety, depression, stress, quality of life, life satisfaction, and mindfulness. They also self-reported their perceived academic performance and class absences.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait list control condition, both the full and partial Mindfulness Virtual Community interventions produced significant reductions in depression, perceived stress, and self-reported absences and significant increases in mindfulness, quality of life, and self-reported academic performance. Only the partial Mindfulness Virtual Community produced a significant reduction in anxiety.

 

These are encouraging results that suggest that a student-centered mindfulness training over the internet can be effective in improving the mental health of college students and perhaps their performance in school. College life can be difficult and stressful for the students with difficult adjustments and pressure to perform. The fact that mindfulness training can be of help in reducing the perceived levels of stress and improve the psychological health of the students may be very important for their eventual success. Indeed, their self-reported academic performance improved and they self-reported fewer absences, suggesting just such an improvement in success occurred.

 

The facts that this program was web-based and that the presentation of the video modules alone was effective indicates that this program can be implemented inexpensively to large numbers of students even in different colleges over wide geographical regions. Since it is web based the students can conveniently schedule this participation within their busy schedules. In addition, the training can occur anywhere. Hence, web-based mindfulness training may be an almost ideal solution to the psychological health problems encountered by college students.

 

So, improve college student well-being with online mindfulness.

 

“Learning how to meditate and be more mindful was one of the best things I’ve done as a student here. I’ve struggled with anxiety for many years, and became really overwhelmed by everything by my sophomore year. My grades started to fall as I slept less and tried to take on more and more. I’m so thankful for the skills I learned in this class. It’s not only made me a better student, but it’s also made me a happier person!”

 

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

 

Ahmad, F., El Morr, C., Ritvo, P., Othman, N., Moineddin, R., & MVC Team (2020). An Eight-Week, Web-Based Mindfulness Virtual Community Intervention for Students’ Mental Health: Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR mental health, 7(2), e15520. https://doi.org/10.2196/15520

 

Abstract

Background

Innovative interventions are needed to address the increasing mental health needs of university students. Given the demonstrated anxiolytic and antidepressant benefits of mindfulness training, we developed an 8-week, Web-based Mindfulness Virtual Community (MVC) intervention informed by cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) constructs.

Objective

This study investigated the efficacy of the MVC intervention in reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress among undergraduate students in Toronto, Canada. The secondary outcomes included quality of life, life satisfaction, and mindfulness.

Methods

The first 4 weeks of the full MVC intervention (F-MVC) comprised: (1) 12 video-based modules with psycho-education on students’ preidentified stressful topics and topically applied mindfulness practice; (2) anonymous peer-to-peer discussion forums; and (3) anonymous, group-based, professionally guided, 20-min live videoconferences. The second 4 weeks of F-MVC involved access only to video-based modules. The 8-week partial MVC (P-MVC) comprised 12 video-based modules. A randomized controlled trial was conducted with 4 parallel arms: F-MVC, P-MVC, waitlist control (WLC), and group-based face-to-face CBT; results for the latter group are presented elsewhere. Students recruited through multiple strategies consented and were randomized: WLC=40; F-MVC=40, P-MVC=39; all learned about allocation after consenting. The online surveys at baseline (T1), 4 weeks (T2), and 8 weeks (T3) included the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 item, Beck Anxiety Inventory, Perceived Stress Scale, Quality of Life Scale, Brief Multi-Dimensional Students Life Satisfaction Scale, and Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire. Analyses employed generalized estimation equation methods with AR(1) covariance structures and were adjusted for possible confounders (gender, age, birth country, paid work, unpaid work, physical activities, self-rated health, and mental health counseling access).

Results

Of the 113 students who provided T1 data, 28 were males and 85 were females with a mean age of 24.8 years. Participants in F-MVC (n=39), P-MVC (n=35), and WLC (n=39) groups were similar in sociodemographic characteristics at T1. At T3 follow-up, per adjusted comparisons, there were statistically significant reductions in depression scores for F-MVC (score change −4.03; P<.001) and P-MVC (score change −4.82; P<.001) when compared with WLC. At T3, there was a statistically significant reduction in anxiety scores only for P-MVC (score change −7.35; P=.01) when compared with WLC. There was a statistically significant reduction in scores for perceived stress for both F-MVC (score change −5.32; P<.001) and P-MVC (score change −5.61; P=.005) compared with WLC. There were statistically significant changes at T3 for quality of life and mindfulness for F-MVC and P-MVC vs WLC but not for life satisfaction.

Conclusions

Internet-based mindfulness CBT–based interventions, such as F-MVC and P-MVC, can result in significant reductions in symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress in a student population. Future research with a larger sample from multiple universities would more precisely test generalizability.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7055779/

 

Improve Well-Being and Workplace Performance with Online Mindfulness Training

Improve Well-Being and Workplace Performance with Online Mindfulness Training

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

online mindfulness intervention seems to be both practical and effective in decreasing employee stress, while improving resiliency, vigor, and work engagement, thereby enhancing overall employee well-being.” – Kimberly Aikens

 

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

 

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 and burnoutOnline mindfulness training has the advantage of being convenient and easily integrated into a busy schedule. It is important, though, to verify its effectiveness for improving psychological health and workplace performance.

 

In today’s Research News article “Online Mindfulness Training Increases Well-Being, Trait Emotional Intelligence, and Workplace Competency Ratings: A Randomized Waitlist-Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00255/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1254058_69_Psycho_20200225_arts_A), Nadler and colleagues recruited healthy adults in their workplace and randomly assigned them to either a wait-list control condition or to receive an 8-week online workplace-based mindfulness training. The training was based upon the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) programs. Mindfulness training was practiced 6 or 7 days per week. The workers were measured before and after training for mindfulness, perceived stress, resilience, positive and negative emotions, emotional intelligence, and workplace competence.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control condition, mindfulness training produced significant increases in mindfulness, resilience, and positive emotions and significant decreases in perceived stress and negative emotions. Also, there were significant increase in emotional intelligence, including recognition of emotion in self and recognition of emotion in others, regulation of emotion in self, and regulation of emotion in others. In addition, they found that the greater the change in mindfulness, particularly in the acting with awareness and non-reactivity to inner experience facets of mindfulness, in the intervention group, the greater the increases in resilience, positive emotions, and emotional intelligence and the greater the decreases in negative emotions and perceived stress.  Finally, mindfulness training produced an increase in job performance, including decisiveness, making tough calls, assuming responsibility, interpersonal relationships, and creativity.

 

The present study results suggest the online mindfulness training is effective in improving psychological health, emotional intelligence, and job performance. Mindfulness training has been previously shown to improve resilience, emotions and emotional intelligence, perceived stress, and job performance. It appears that mindfulness training improves the employees ability to act mindfully with awareness and not react to their inner feelings. This means that they pay better attention to their jobs and are less reactive to their emotions during work. This make them better employees and improves their well-being.

 

The contribution of the present work is to demonstrate that these benefits can be produce by online training. This improves the usefulness of mindfulness training for workers as it can be accomplished inexpensively and conveniently with minimal disruption of work. This can make them better at their jobs and mentally and emotionally healthier. It was not studied here but this would predice not only better performance but also less burnout and better employee retention.

 

So, improve well-being and workplace performance with online mindfulness training.

 

Mindfulness can encourage divergent thinking, enabling you to generate more innovative solutions to business problems.” – Mind Tools

 

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

 

Nadler R, Carswell JJ and Minda JP (2020) Online Mindfulness Training Increases Well-Being, Trait Emotional Intelligence, and Workplace Competency Ratings: A Randomized Waitlist-Controlled Trial. Front. Psychol. 11:255. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00255

 

A randomized waitlist-controlled trial was conducted to assess the effectiveness of an online 8-week mindfulness-based training program in a sample of adults employed fulltime at a Fortune 100 company in the United States. Baseline measures were collected in both intervention and control groups. Following training, the intervention group (N = 37) showed statistically significant increases in resilience and positive mood, and significant decreases in stress and negative mood. There were no reported improvements in the wait-list control group (N = 65). Trait mindfulness and emotional intelligence (EI) were also assessed. Following the intervention mindfulness intervention participants reported increases in trait mindfulness and increases on all trait EI facets with the exception of empathy. The control group did not report any positive changes in these variables, and reported reductions in resilience and increases in negative mood. Finally, both self and colleague ratings of workplace competencies were collected in the intervention group only and provided preliminary evidence that mindfulness training enhanced performance on key leadership competencies including competencies related to decisiveness and creativity. The present study demonstrates the effectiveness of an online-based mindfulness training program for enhancing well-being, self-perceptions of emotional intelligence, and workplace performance.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00255/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1254058_69_Psycho_20200225_arts_A

 

Improve Healthcare Workers Wellness with Tai Chi

Improve Healthcare Workers Wellness with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Tai chi is often described as “meditation in motion,” but it might well be called “medication in motion.” There is growing evidence that this mind-body practice . . . has value in treating or preventing many health problems.” – Harvard Womens Health

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. In high stress occupations, like healthcare, burnout is all too prevalent. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. Improving the psychological health of health care professionals has to be a priority.

 

Contemplative practices have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, and improving sleep. Tai Chi and Qigong are mindfulness practices that have been shown to improve physical and psychological health. Hence, it is reasonable to examine the ability of Tai Chi practice as a means to improve the well-being of medical professionals.

 

In today’s Research News article “Tai Chi and Workplace Wellness for Health Care Workers: A Systematic Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6982315/), Cocchiara and colleagues reviewed and summarized the published research studies on the effectiveness of Tai Chi practice on the psychological health of medical professionals. They report on the findings from 6 published research studies.

 

They report that the published studies found were not of high methodological quality and as such caution must be exercised in interpreting the findings. But the published reports suggest that Tai Chi practice improves the physical and psychological well-being of healthcare workers. It appears to work by reducing the physiological and psychological responses to stress in the workplace and this in turn results in improved well-being. Hence, although higher quality research is needed the published research suggests that Tai Chi practice is a safe and effective method of improving the well-being of healthcare workers.

 

So, improve healthcare workers wellness with Tai Chi.

 

you lose flexibility and balance as you get older, and tai chi is a way to get moving again without pounding on your joints.” – Christina Heiser

 

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

 

Cocchiara, R. A., Dorelli, B., Gholamalishahi, S., Longo, W., Musumeci, E., Mannocci, A., & La Torre, G. (2020). Tai Chi and Workplace Wellness for Health Care Workers: A Systematic Review. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(1), 343. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17010343

 

Abstract

Several studies show the positive effects of new non-medical therapies known as complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs). In this context, the discipline of tai chi is obtaining a wider consensus because of its many beneficial effects both on the human body and mind. The aim of this study was to perform a systematic review of the scientific literature concerning the relationship between tai chi practice and wellness of health care workers (HCW) in their professional setting. The research was performed in September 2019, investigating the databases Cinahl, Scopus, Web of Science, and PubMed. Full-text articles, written in English language and published after 1995, were taken into account. No restrictions regarding the study design were applied. A quality assessment was developed using AMSTAR, Jadad, Newcastle–Ottawa Scale, INSA, and CASE REPORT scale. Six papers were finally included: Three clinical trials, one observational study, one systematic review, and one case report. The methodological quality of the included studies was judged as medium level. In conclusion, this systematic review suggests the potential impact of interventions such as tai chi as tools for reducing work-related stress among healthcare professionals. Further research will be needed in order to gain robust evidence of its efficacy.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6982315/