Mindfulness Improves Psychological and Physical Health in South Africans

Mindfulness Improves Psychological and Physical Health in South Africans

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) can be seen as a public health intervention, designed to over time move the bell curve of society as a whole toward greater health.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to be effective in improving physical and psychological health and particularly with the physical and psychological reactions to stress. Techniques such as Mindfulness Training, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) as well as Yoga practice and Tai Chi or Qigong practice have been demonstrated to be effective. This has led to an increasing adoption of these mindfulness techniques for the health and well-being of both healthy and ill individuals. Although these benefits have been well established in western populations, there is a need to demonstrate that these same benefits accrue across cultures.

 

In today’s Research News article “Examining the impact of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction intervention on the health of urban South Africans.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6018653/ ), Whitesman and colleagues performed a retrospective analysis of South African participants in an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. MBSR was delivered in weekly 2.5-hour sessions accompanied with home practice. It consisted of meditation, yoga, and body scan practices and group discussion. The participants were measured before and after treatment for mindfulness, perceived stress, positive and negative emotions, and medical and psychological symptoms.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline, after the MBSR program there were significant increases in mindfulness and positive emotions, and significant decreases in perceived stress, negative emotions, medical symptoms, and psychological symptoms. They also found that the greater the increase in mindfulness scores after the MBSR program the higher the scores for positive emotions and the lower the levels of perceived stress, negative emotions, medical symptoms, and psychological symptoms. So, mindfulness training improved mental and physical health in participants from South Africa and the great the improvement in mindfulness the greater the benefits.

 

This study did not contain a control condition and was thus subject to contamination and potential confounding. But, similar results have been repeated found with randomized clinical trials employing MBSR. So, it is unlikely that bias and confounding are responsible. In addition, the current study simply demonstrated that training is similarly effective in people from a different culture. This suggests that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a safe and effective program for the enhancement of mental and physical well-being in diverse populations of participants.

 

So, it appears that mindfulness improves psychological and physical health in South Africans.

 

mindfulness practices may help people manage stress, cope better with serious illness and reduce anxiety and depression. Many people who practice mindfulness report an increased ability to relax, a greater enthusiasm for life and improved self-esteem.” – NIH News

 

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

 

Whitesman, S. L., Hoogenhout, M., Kantor, L., Leinberger, K. J., & Gevers, A. (2018). Examining the impact of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction intervention on the health of urban South Africans. African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine, 10(1), 1614. http://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v10i1.1614

 

Abstract

Background

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has been found to have significant health benefits in studies conducted in the global North.

Aim

This study examined the effects of MBSR on stress, mood states and medical symptoms among urban South Africans to inform future research and clinical directions of MBSR in local settings.

Setting

Participants completed an 8-week MBSR programme based in central Cape Town.

Method

A retrospective analysis of 276 clinical records was conducted. Mindfulness, stress, negative and positive mood, medical symptoms and psychological symptoms were assessed before and after the intervention using self-report questionnaires. We compared pre and post-intervention scores and examined the relationship between changes in mindfulness and changes in stress, mood and medical symptoms.

Results

Mindfulness scores were significantly higher after intervention, both on the Kentucky Inventory of Mindfulness Skills (KIMS) and the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS). Changes on the KIMS were associated with reductions in stress, negative mood, psychological symptoms and total medical symptoms, and improvement in positive mood. Changes in mindfulness, as measured by the MAAS, were significantly correlated only with reduced total number of medical symptoms.

Conclusion

This study provides preliminary evidence for the positive health impact of MBSR on urban South Africans, and in turn acceptability and feasibility evidence for MBSR in South Africa and supports the case for larger trials in different local settings.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6018653/

 

Relaxation and Mindfulness Training Have Differing Psychological and Neural Effects

Relaxation and Mindfulness Training Have Differing Psychological and Neural Effects

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“this practice of nonjudgmental self-awareness is one of the most effective ways to improve mood and anxiety.” – Neda Gould

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to improve health and well-being. It has also been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. As a result, mindfulness training has been called the third wave of therapies. One problem with understanding mindfulness training effects is that there are, a wide variety of mindfulness techniques and it is not known which work best for improving different conditions.

 

There are a number of different types of meditation. Many can be characterized on a continuum with the degree and type of attentional focus. In focused attention meditation, the individual practices paying attention to a single meditation object, learns to filter out distracting stimuli, including thoughts, and learns to stay focused on the present moment, filtering out thoughts centered around the past or future. In open monitoring meditation, the individual opens up awareness to everything that’s being experienced regardless of its origin. These include bodily sensations, external stimuli, and even thoughts.

 

These techniques have common properties of restful attention on the present moment, but there are large differences. These differences are likely to produce different effects on the practitioner. One way to distinguish between the effects of these different meditation techniques is to observe the effects of each technique on the brain.  In today’s Research News article “Common and Dissociable Neural Activity After Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Relaxation Response Programs.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5976535/ ), Sevinc and colleagues recruited adults and randomly assigned them to receive 8 weekly 2-hour group sessions with 20 minutes of daily home practice with guided recordings of either a Relaxation Response program or a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program.

 

In the Relaxation Response program, the participants practiced a body scan with emphasis on relaxation and focused meditation on the breath in a 20-minute session. In the MBSR program the participants practiced body scan with focus on awareness of the sensations from the body for 2 weeks, yoga for 2 weeks, and open monitoring meditation for 2 weeks. The last 2 weeks the participants could chose whichever of the practices they wanted to perform. They were measured before and after training for perceived stress, mindfulness, self-compassion, rumination, and life stressors. They also underwent Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) while they listened to a guided recording for the body scan from their home practices.

 

They found that both practices equivalently reduced perceived stress and increased mindfulness. But the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program also significantly increased self-compassion and decreased rumination. Interestingly, although both practices produced increases functional connectivity between the prefrontal cortex and motor cortex, the two practices also produced different connectivities. When the body scan was practiced with emphasis on relaxation there was increased functional connectivity was with the right inferior frontal gyrus. This is an area that’s involved in behavioral inhibition. On the other hand, when the body scan was practiced with emphasis on awareness of sensations there was increased functional connectivity between the Insula and Cingulate Cortex, areas associated with sensory awareness.

 

Hence, although both practices were beneficial, the MBSR program appears to create better psychological well-being. In addition, the body scan technique used in the MBSR program, emphasizing sensory awareness, appears to increase the connectivity between brain areas that are involved in sensory awareness. On the other hand, a relaxation instruction with the body scan appears to produce increased brain systems devoted to restraining responses. Different mindfulness techniques produced different psychological and neural outcomes. Both appear to improve stress responding and mindfulness, but the MBSR program also produces better compassion for the self and less repetitive negative thinking, rumination.

 

So, there may be a place for the relaxation response program, but with these otherwise healthy adults, the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program appears to produce superior results.

 

 “If you have unproductive worries,” you can train yourself to experience those thoughts completely differently. “You might think ‘I’m late, I might lose my job if I don’t get there on time, and it will be a disaster!’ Mindfulness teaches you to recognize, ‘Oh, there’s that thought again. I’ve been here before. But it’s just that—a thought, and not a part of my core self,’” – Elizabeth Hoge

 

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

 

Sevinc, G., Hölzel, B. K., Hashmi, J., Greenberg, J., McCallister, A., Treadway, M., … Lazar, S. W. (2018). Common and Dissociable Neural Activity After Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Relaxation Response Programs. Psychosomatic Medicine, 80(5), 439–451. http://doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0000000000000590

 

ABSTRACT

Objective

We investigated common and dissociable neural and psychological correlates of two widely used meditation-based stress reduction programs.

Methods

Participants were randomized to the Relaxation Response (RR; n = 18; 56% female) or the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR; n = 16; 56% female) programs. Both programs use a “bodyscan” meditation; however, the RR program explicitly emphasizes physical relaxation during this practice, whereas the MBSR program emphasizes mindful awareness with no explicit relaxation instructions. After the programs, neural activity during the respective meditation was investigated using functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Results

Both programs were associated with reduced stress (for RR, from 14.1 ± 6.6 to 11.3 ± 5.5 [Cohen’s d = 0.50; for MBSR, from 17.7 ± 5.7 to 11.9 ± 5.0 [Cohen’s d = 1.02]). Conjunction analyses revealed functional coupling between ventromedial prefrontal regions and supplementary motor areas (p < .001). The disjunction analysis indicated that the RR bodyscan was associated with stronger functional connectivity of the right inferior frontal gyrus—an important hub of intentional inhibition and control—with supplementary motor areas (p < .001, family-wise error [FWE] rate corrected). The MBSR program was uniquely associated with improvements in self-compassion and rumination, and the within-group analysis of MBSR bodyscan revealed significant functional connectivity of the right anterior insula—an important hub of sensory awareness and salience—with pregenual anterior cingulate during bodyscan meditation compared with rest (p = .03, FWE corrected).

Conclusions

The bodyscan exercises in each program were associated with both overlapping and differential functional coupling patterns, which were consistent with each program’s theoretical foundation. These results may have implications for the differential effects of these programs for the treatment of diverse conditions.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5976535/

 

Improve the Psychological Health of Women with Uterine Bleeding with Yoga

Improve the Psychological Health of Women with Uterine Bleeding with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Overall, exercise has positive effects on your period. It is interesting to note that women who are sedentary and do not get regular exercise typically have heavier and more painful periods. Get moving. After all, who wouldn’t want a lighter period with less cramping? “ – Andrea Chisholm

 

Dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB, also called menorrhagia) is a condition that affects nearly every woman at some point in her life, particularly between the ages of 30 to 49 years. It involves vaginal bleeding occurring outside of the regular menstrual cycle. The main cause of dysfunctional uterine bleeding is an imbalance in the sex hormones. Certain medical conditions, hormonal conditions, and medications may also trigger DUB. Stress may also evoke or exacerbate DUB. It is generally temporary and subsides as hormones become normalized, sometimes with the use of oral contraceptives.

 

Yoga practice has been shown to help regularize and menstrual cycle, help to improve menstrual disorders, and to reduce stress responses. So, it would seem reasonable to investigate the application of yoga practice for Dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB). In today’s Research News article “Yoga as a Therapeutic Intervention in the Management of Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding: A Controlled Pilot Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5879852/ ), Nalgirkar and colleagues recruited adult women aged 20 to 40 years who were diagnosed with Dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB) and randomly assigned them to either no-treatment or 3 months of Integrated Approach of Yoga Therapy (IAYT) . They practiced meditation, postures, and breathing exercises for 60 minutes 3 days per week. They were measured before and after training for blood loss–comprising hemoglobin, pictorial blood loss assessment chart, endometrial thickness, and psychological assessments of anxiety, perceived stress, and sleep quality.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the no-treatment group, after treatment, the yoga group had significantly lower levels of anxiety and perceived stress, and improved sleep quality. But, there were no significant differences in blood loss. Hence, yoga did not improve the primary symptoms of Dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB), but, did significantly improve the psychological well-being of the women. This should improve the quality of life of women suffering from DUB.

 

So, improve the psychological health of women with uterine bleeding with yoga.

 

“Excessive bleeding is another problem which many women have to face during the menstrual cycle. This leads to discomfort in the women. The pain accompanied with the heavy bleeding can disturb the normal work of the woman. Yoga asanas can be very helpful in dealing with this problem. The various asanas help the women in concentrating on the emotional disturbances that are accompanied with the menstrual cycle. It also helps in gaining inner strength.” – DIY Health

 

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

 

Nalgirkar, S. P., Vinchurkar, S. A., Saoji, A. A., & Mohanty, S. (2018). Yoga as a Therapeutic Intervention in the Management of Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding: A Controlled Pilot Study. Journal of Mid-Life Health, 9(1), 8–13. http://doi.org/10.4103/jmh.JMH_76_17

 

Abstract

Background:

Dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB) is one of the most common gynecological disorders encountered in women during the reproductive age. Yoga therapy has shown promising benefits in several gynecological disorders.

Methods:

Thirty women between the ages of 20 and 40 years with primary DUB were randomly assigned to a yoga (n = 15) and a waitlist control group (n = 15). Participants in the yoga group received a 3-month yoga module and were assessed for hemoglobin values, endometrial thickness (ET), pictorial blood loss assessment chart (PBAC), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, perceived stress scale, and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) before and after a 3-month follow-up period.

Results:

At the end of 3 months of intervention, the yoga group, unlike the control group, reported a significant reduction in the anxiety scores (P < 0.05) and perceived stress (P < 0.05). The PSQI scores indicated a reduction in sleep disturbances (P < 0.001) and the need for sleep medications (P < 0.01) and higher global scores (P < 0.001). However, there were no changes in PBAC and ET in both the groups.

Conclusion:

The results indicate that yoga therapy positively impacts the outcome of DUB by reducing the perceived stress and state anxiety and improving the quality of sleep. This warrants larger clinical trials to validate the findings of this pilot study.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5879852/

 

Reduce Anxiety and Depression in Stressed College Students with Mindfulness

Reduce Anxiety and Depression in Stressed College Students with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness is so vital. It’s being right there in the moment. It helps you be successful in everything you do. College students are under a lot of stress — that’s been a given forever. Now, they have the tools in their pocket.” – Cathleen Hardy Hansen

 

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 students to excel so that they can be admitted to the best universities and there is a lot of pressure on university students to excel so that they can get the best jobs after graduation. As a result, parents and students are constantly looking for ways to improve student performance in school. The primary tactic has been to pressure the student and clear away routine tasks and chores so that the student can focus on their studies. But, this might in fact be counterproductive as the increased pressure can actually lead to stress and anxiety which can impede the student’s mental health, well-being, and school performance.

 

It is, for the most part, beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress, so it is important that methods be found to reduce the college students’ responses to stress; to make them more resilient when high levels of stress occur. Contemplative practices including meditationmindfulness training, and yoga practice have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. So, it would seem important to examine various techniques to relieve the stress and its consequent symptoms in college students.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing the Attention Training Technique and Mindful Self-Compassion for Students with Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00827/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_662896_69_Psycho_20180605_arts_A ), Haukaas and colleagues explore the ability of attention training and mindfulness training to help relieve the anxiety and depression in college students resulting from stress.

 

They recruited undergraduate and graduate students who self-reported depression, anxiety, and stress. They were randomly assigned to receive 3 group sessions for 45 minutes for three consecutive weeks of either Attention Training or Mindfulness and Self-Compassion training. Each training included daily home practice with pre-recorded audio recordings. Attention training was designed “to strengthen attentional control and promote external focus of attention, to interrupt and break free of the cognitive attentional syndrome, consisting of prolonged worry or rumination, threat monitoring, and different unhelpful coping styles accompanied by a heightened self-focused attention.” Mindfulness and Self-Compassion training consisted of training to pay attention to the present moment and “to relate to oneself in a kinder and more accepting manner.” Training including Loving Kindness Meditation practice. Participants were measured before and after training for depression, anxiety, self-compassion, responses to thoughts, and mindfulness.

 

They found that both Attention Training and Mindfulness and Self-Compassion training produced significant reductions in general and test anxiety and depression and significant increases in mindfulness, self-compassion, attention flexibility, and self-esteem. The effects were moderate to large indicating fairly powerful effects of the treatments. It should be noted that there wasn’t a control condition and both treatments were associated with significant changes. It is thus possible that confound or bias was present that could account for some or all of the changes. But, the effects were strong and commensurate with previous findings that mindfulness training reduces anxiety and depression and increases self-compassion. Thus, it would appear that the two treatments are effective for improving the psychological health of stressed university students.

 

So, reduce anxiety and depression in stressed college students with mindfulness and attention training.

 

“taking time to catch your breath and meditate can help increase students’ overall life satisfaction. We found that underneath the stress that students are experiencing is a deep desire to appreciate life and feel meaningful connections with other people.” – Kamila Dvorakova

 

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

 

Haukaas RB, Gjerde IB, Varting G, Hallan HE and Solem S (2018) A Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing the Attention Training Technique and Mindful Self-Compassion for Students With Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety. Front. Psychol. 9:827. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00827

 

The Attention Training Technique (ATT) and Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) are two promising psychological interventions. ATT is a 12-min auditory exercise designed to strengthen attentional control and promote external focus of attention, while MSC uses guided meditation and exercises designed to promote self-compassion. In this randomized controlled trial (RCT), a three-session intervention trial was conducted in which university students were randomly assigned to either an ATT-group (n = 40) or a MSC-group (n = 41). The students were not assessed with diagnostic interviews but had self-reported symptoms of depression, anxiety, or stress. Participants listened to audiotapes of ATT or MSC before discussing in groups how to apply these principles for their everyday struggles. Participants also listened to audiotapes of ATT and MSC as homework between sessions. Participants in both groups showed significant reductions in symptoms of anxiety and depression accompanied by significant increases in mindfulness, self-compassion, and attention flexibility post-intervention. These results were maintained at 6-month follow-up. Improvement in attention flexibility was the only significant unique predictor of treatment response. The study supports the use of both ATT and MSC for students with symptoms of depression and anxiety. Further, it suggests that symptom improvement is related to changes in attention flexibility across both theoretical frameworks. Future studies should focus on how to strengthen the ability for attention flexibility to optimize treatment for emotional disorder.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00827/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_662896_69_Psycho_20180605_arts_A

 

Improve the Physical and Sleep Symptoms of Stress with Mindfulness

Improve the Physical and Sleep Symptoms of Stress with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness not only reduces stress but also gently builds an inner strength so that future stressors have less impact on our happiness and physical well-being.” – Shamash Alidina

 

Stress is an integral part of life. People often think of stress as a bad thing. But, it is actually essential to the health of the body. In fact, we invest time and resources in stressing ourselves, e.g ridding rollercoasters, sky diving, competing in sports, etc. We say we love a challenge, but, challenges are all stressful. So, we actually love to stress ourselves. In moderation, it is healthful and provides interest and fun to life. If stress, is high or is prolonged, however, it can be problematic. It can significantly damage our physical and mental health and even reduce our longevity, leading to premature deaths. So, it is important that we develop methods to either reduce or control high or prolonged stress or reduce our responses to it.

 

Mindfulness practices have been found routinely to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. But, it is not known exactly how mindfulness produces these benefits. In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness Meditation Targets Transdiagnostic Symptoms Implicated in Stress-Related Disorders: Understanding Relationships between Changes in Mindfulness, Sleep Quality, and Physical Symptoms.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5971306/ ), Greeson and colleagues investigated some potential intermediaries between improved mindfulness produced by mindfulness training and improved responses to the physical and sleep problems produced by stress.

 

They recruited participants in a community based 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. The participants were primarily well-educated, white women averaging 45 years of age. The MBSR program consisted of meditation, yoga, and body scans. It met once a week for 2.5 hours and included home practice of 20 to 45 minutes per day for 6 days a week They had the participants complete measures online before and after the MBSR program of mindfulness, physical symptoms, sleep quality, ruminative responses, thought suppression, experiential avoidance, and emotion regulation.

 

They found that compared to baseline, following MBSR training there were statistically significant improvements in all measures, including reductions in physical symptoms and increases in sleep quality. In addition, they found that the greater the increase in mindfulness produced by MBSR training, the greater the reduction in physical symptoms, rumination, unwanted intrusive thoughts, thought suppression, experiential avoidance, and expressive suppression and the greater the improvement in sleep quality, emotion regulation and cognitive reappraisal. Using a partial correlation strategy, they found that the improvements in physical symptoms and sleep quality produced by increased mindfulness were, in part, mediated by the improvements in rumination, unwanted intrusive thoughts, thought suppression, experiential avoidance, emotion suppression, and cognitive reappraisal.

 

These results clearly replicate prior findings that improved mindfulness is a consequence of  MBSR training that produces improvements in physical symptoms and sleep quality. They further demonstrate that this is, in part, produced by the ability of mindfulness training to improve the cognitive and emotional issues that lead to physical symptoms and poor sleep quality. This clearly demonstrates how beneficial mindfulness training is for the physical and psychological health of the participants. It also suggests that there is, to some extent, a causal chain of effects that produce the improvements with some of the benefits of mindfulness training being responsible for other benefits.

 

So, improve the physical and sleep symptoms of stress with mindfulness.

 

“If you believe being overly busy and overextended is evidence of productivity, then you probably believe that creating space to explore, think, and reflect should be kept to a minimum. Yet these very activities are the antidote to the nonessential busyness that infects so many of us.” — Greg Mckeown

 

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

 

Jeffrey M. Greeson, Haley Zarrin, Moria J. Smoski, Jeffrey G. Brantley, Thomas R. Lynch, Daniel M. Webber, Martica H. Hall, Edward C. Suarez, Ruth Q. Wolever. Mindfulness Meditation Targets Transdiagnostic Symptoms Implicated in Stress-Related Disorders: Understanding Relationships between Changes in Mindfulness, Sleep Quality, and Physical Symptoms. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018; 2018: 4505191. Published online 2018 May 13. doi: 10.1155/2018/4505191

 

Abstract

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an 8-week meditation program known to improve anxiety, depression, and psychological well-being. Other health-related effects, such as sleep quality, are less well established, as are the psychological processes associated with therapeutic change. This prospective, observational study (n = 213) aimed to determine whether perseverative cognition, indicated by rumination and intrusive thoughts, and emotion regulation, measured by avoidance, thought suppression, emotion suppression, and cognitive reappraisal, partly accounted for the hypothesized relationship between changes in mindfulness and two health-related outcomes: sleep quality and stress-related physical symptoms. As expected, increased mindfulness following the MBSR program was directly correlated with decreased sleep disturbance (r = −0.21, p = 0.004) and decreased stress-related physical symptoms (r = −0.38, p < 0.001). Partial correlations revealed that pre-post changes in rumination, unwanted intrusive thoughts, thought suppression, experiential avoidance, emotion suppression, and cognitive reappraisal each uniquely accounted for up to 32% of the correlation between the change in mindfulness and change in sleep disturbance and up to 30% of the correlation between the change in mindfulness and change in stress-related physical symptoms. Results suggest that the stress-reducing effects of MBSR are due, in part, to improvements in perseverative cognition and emotion regulation, two “transdiagnostic” mental processes that cut across stress-related disorders.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5971306/

 

Improve Psychological Well-Being with EcoMeditation

Improve Psychological Well-Being with EcoMeditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Eco Meditation ,. . .is a powerful meditation, a synergy of multiple techniques, doing certain physiological moves to help you get into a deep delta meditative state, the same as a meditative master, and in only 90 seconds. You can do this meditation any time of the day, and cumulative benefits accrue with long-term use.” – Inspire Nation

 

Meditation training has been shown to improve health and well-being. It has also been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. As a result, meditation training has been called the third wave of therapies. One problem with understanding meditation effects is that meditation is not a specific practice but rather a category encompassing a wide array of practices. It is not known which work best for the health and well-being of the practitioners and for improving different conditions.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Interrelated Physiological and Psychological Effects of EcoMeditation.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871048/ ), Groesbeck and colleagues study the effects of a relatively new, less commonly practiced, technique called Eco-Meditation. As described by the authors, EcoMeditation “focuses on physiological cues. . . it has participants mimic the physiological state of an experienced practitioner. Participants mechanically assume breathing patterns and body postures that are characteristic of long-time meditators. EcoMeditation combines elements of 4 evidence-based techniques: the Quick Coherence Technique, Clinical Emotional Freedom Techniques, mindfulness meditation, and neurofeedback.

 

In an uncontrolled pilot study, they recruited participants who were attending a weekend meditation workshop at a residential conference center where they practiced EcoMeditation. Before and after the workshop and 2 months later, the participants were measured for anxiety, depression, happiness, pain, Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), resting blood pressure, heart rate, heart rate variability, heart coherence, and Salivary immunoglobulin A and cortisol levels as physiological markers of stress.

 

They found that in comparison to the levels prior to the workshop, afterward there were significant decreases in anxiety, depression, pain, resting heart rate, salivary cortisol levels, and a significantly increase in happiness. Unfortunately, none of these effects were still present 2 months later. Hence, after participating in the workshop but not 2 months later the participants reported improved psychological well-being and less stress.

 

This is an uncontrolled pilot study and no firm conclusions can be made. Without a control group there are many sources of confounding present and many alternative explanations for the results. But, the results were interesting and provide support for a more controlled study.

 

So, improve psychological well-being with EcoMeditation.

 

“In meditation, you’re seeking a state, like peace of mind, not an outcome. The rest of your life is about doing; meditation is about being.” – Anne Siret

 

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

 

Groesbeck, G., Bach, D., Stapleton, P., Blickheuser, K., Church, D., & Sims, R. (2018). The Interrelated Physiological and Psychological Effects of EcoMeditation. Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine, 23, 2515690X18759626. http://doi.org/10.1177/2515690X18759626

 

Abstract

This study investigated changes in psychological and physiological markers during a weekend meditation workshop (N = 34). Psychological symptoms of anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and happiness were assessed. Physiological markers included cortisol, salivary immunoglobulin A (SigA), heart rate variability (HRV), blood pressure (BP), and resting heart rate (RHR). On posttest, significant reductions were found in cortisol (−29%, P < .0001), RHR (−5%, P = .0281), and pain (−43%, P = .0022). Happiness increased significantly (+11%, P = .0159) while the increase in SigA was nonsignificant (+27%, P = .6964). Anxiety, depression, and PTSD all declined (−26%, P = .0159; −32%, P = .0197; −18%, P = .1533), though changes in PTSD did not reach statistical significance. No changes were found in BP, HRV, and heart coherence. Participants were assessed for psychological symptoms at 3-month follow-up, but the results were nonsignificant due to inadequate sample size (n = 17). EcoMeditation shows promise as a stress-reduction method.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871048/

Manage Stress in Cancer Patients with Mindfulness

Manage Stress in Cancer Patients with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“For many people who have been diagnosed with cancer — or have been diagnosed with advanced cancer and are facing end-of-life issues — their mind is so full of worries about the future… that they can’t fully be aware and enjoy the time they have now. Emotional distress, in turn, can have a significant impact on the course of the illness. Depression has been shown to hasten decline in cancer patients, and also to increase the risk of death. By reducing stress and negative emotions, mindfulness programs could potentially play an important role in the treatment process. [Cancer] is very demanding on the body and the mind, so the aim of this program is to help people learn ways to focus and calm their mind, and live more fully in the present moment so they can better manage difficult thoughts and difficult feelings,” – Joanna Bell

 

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer has a huge impact on most people. Feelings of depression, anxiety, and fear are very common and are normal responses to this life-changing and potentially life-ending experience. These feeling can result from changes in body image, changes to family and work roles, feelings of grief at these losses, and physical symptoms such as pain, nausea, or fatigue and insomnia. People might also fear death, suffering, pain, or all the unknown things that lie ahead. So, coping with the emotions and stress of a cancer diagnosis is a challenge and there are no simple treatments for these psychological sequelae of cancer diagnosis.

 

But cancer diagnosis is not necessarily a death sentence. Over half of the people diagnosed with cancer are still alive 10 years later and this number is rapidly increasing. It is estimated that 15 million adults and children with a history of cancer are alive in the United States today. But, surviving cancer carries with it a number of problems. “Physical, emotional, and financial hardships often persist for years after diagnosis and treatment. Cancer survivors are also at greater risk for developing second cancers and other health conditions.” National Cancer Survivors Day. It is estimated that nearly a third of breast cancer survivors have major disturbances of sleep that adds to the stress and damages recovery.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with cancer recovery and help to alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depression. In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction as a Stress Management Intervention for Cancer Care: A Systematic Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871193/ ), Rush and Sharma review and summarize the findings of the published research on the effectiveness of one particular frequently used mindfulness training technique,  Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in reducing stress in cancer patients. MBSR is generally a 8-week program including meditation, yoga, and body scan, combined with home practice.

 

They identified 13 published research studies, 8 of which involved breast cancer. They found that the studies indicate that MBSR is effective in reducing the psychological and physiological responses to the stress of cancer and its treatment. Since, this stress produced can interfere with the patients ability of withstand treatment and its’ psychological consequences, reducing stress responding may be greatly beneficial to the patients’ health and well-being. Hence, the published literature supports the use of MBSR training for patients diagnosed with cancer, improving their physiological and psychological responses to the diagnosis and treatment of the disease. This can improve quality of life with cancer and hopefully lead to improved health and survival.

 

So, manage stress in cancer patients with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).

 

“Women who had the most stress before the study started benefited the most from the Mindfulness-Based Stress-Reduction for Breast Cancer program. The results of this study echo results from other small studies showing that mindfulness-based meditation can help ease the stress, anxiety, fear, and depression that often come along with a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.” – BreastCancer.org

 

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

 

Rush, S. E., & Sharma, M. (2017). Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction as a Stress Management Intervention for Cancer Care: A Systematic Review. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 22(2), 348–360. http://doi.org/10.1177/2156587216661467

 

Abstract

Cancer is acknowledged as a source of stress for many individuals, often leading to suffering, which can be long-lasting. Mindfulness-based stress reduction offers an effective way of reducing stress among cancer patients by combining mindfulness meditation and yoga in an 8-week training program. The purpose of this study was to inspect studies from October 2009 to November 2015 and examine whether mindfulness-based stress reduction can be utilized as a viable method for managing stress among cancer patients. A systematic search from Medline, CINAHL, and Alt HealthWatch databases was conducted for quantitative articles involving mindfulness-based stress reduction interventions targeting cancer patients. A total of 13 articles met the inclusion criteria. Of these 13 studies, 9 demonstrated positive changes in either psychological or physiological outcomes related to anxiety and/or stress, with 4 describing mixed results. Despite the limitations, mindfulness-based stress reduction appears to be promising for stress management among cancer patients.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871193/

Improve Stress, Sleep, and Memory with Mindfulness

Improve Stress, Sleep, and Memory with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Meditation trains you to be mindful of your incoming thoughts, weakening both the physiological link and strength that each thought has on you, as well as decreasing the frequency of incoming sleep-preventing thoughts. Meditation forces the worrywart, insomnia causing mind to shift into the present moment, while realizing that the day is now over, and tomorrow is not yet here.” – EOC Institute

 

It is estimated that over half of Americans sleep too little due to stress. As a result, people today sleep 20% less than they did 100 years ago. Over 70 million Americans suffer from disorders of sleep and about half of these have a chronic disorder. It has been estimated that about 4% of Americans revert to sleeping pills. But, these do not always produce high quality sleep and can have problematic side effects. Not having a good night’s sleep has adverse effects upon the individual’s health, well-being, and happiness and can even lead to memory problems. So, there is a need to find better methods to improve sleep. Mindfulness-based practices have been reported to improve sleep amount and quality, reduce stress and improve memory. It is not known, however, how these effects of mindfulness are related.

 

In today’s Research News article “Dispositional Mindfulness and Memory Problems: The Role of Perceived Stress and Sleep Quality.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5363402/ ), Brisbon and Lachman measured adult participants in the Boston Longitudinal Study for mindfulness, perceived stress, sleep quality, memory problems, physical health, openness, and neuroticism. The relationships between these measured were then explored with a regression analysis.

 

They found that stress was a key, with higher levels of perceived stress associated with poorer sleep quality and greater memory problems and neuroticism. Mindfulness was only slightly associated with lower perceived stress and neuroticism and greater openness and no significant relationship with sleep quality. A mediation analysis revealed that mindfulness was associated with lower memory problems indirectly by being associated with lower perceived stress which was associated with memory problems. Hence, high mindfulness was related to lower perceived stress which was, in turn, related to memory problems.

 

It should be kept in mind that the preset study was correlational and no conclusions about causation can be reached. But, these results suggest that stress is a key factor in sleep and memory problems and that mindfulness, by being associated with lower stress, is related to improved memory. It remains for future research to manipulate mindfulness and thereby determine if there are causal connections. But, given the increased memory problems associated with aging, it would be important to establish whether mindfulness may be helpful in delaying or reversing the deterioration of memory.

 

So, improve stress, sleep, and memory with mindfulness.

 

“We were surprised to find that the effect of mindfulness meditation on sleep quality was large and above and beyond the effect of the sleep hygiene education program, Not only did the researchers find that mindfulness could help reduce sleep problems in older adults, but that “this effect on sleep appears to carry over into reducing daytime fatigue and depression symptoms.” – David S. Black

 

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

 

Brisbon, N. M., & Lachman, M. E. (2017). Dispositional Mindfulness and Memory Problems: The Role of Perceived Stress and Sleep Quality. Mindfulness, 8(2), 379–386. http://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-016-0607-8

 

Abstract

There is a growing body of evidence exploring the beneficial effects of mindfulness on stress, sleep quality, and memory, though the mechanisms involved are less certain. The present study explored the roles of perceived stress and sleep quality as potential mediators between dispositional mindfulness and subjective memory problems. Data were from a Boston area subsample of the Midlife in the United States study (MIDUS-II) assessed in 2004–2006, and again approximately one year later (N=299). As expected, higher dispositional mindfulness was associated with lower perceived stress and better sleep quality. There was no direct association found between mindfulness and subjective memory problems, however, there was a significant indirect effect through perceived stress, although not with sleep quality. The present findings suggest that perceived stress may play a mediating role between dispositional mindfulness and subjective memory problems, in that those with higher mindfulness generally report experiencing less stress than those with lower mindfulness, which may be protective of memory problems in everyday life.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5363402/

 

Improve Sleep with Mindfulness

Improve Sleep with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“When we lose awareness of the present moment, our minds get stuck in maladaptive ways of thinking. For example, you might be trying to go to sleep but your mind gets lost thinking about all the groceries you need to buy. Deep, relaxed breathing is forgotten. And once you realize sleep isn’t happening, your muscles tense and your thought process quickly shifts to “I’m not falling asleep! I have XYZ to do this week and I won’t be able to function tomorrow.” The body seizes up, breathing and heart rate can both quicken, and falling sleep becomes more difficult.” – Shelby Freedman Harris

 

Modern society has become more around-the-clock and more complex producing considerable pressure and stress on the individual. The advent of the internet and smart phones has exacerbated the problem. The resultant psychological distress can impair sleep. Indeed, it is estimated that over half of Americans sleep too little due to stress. As a result, people today sleep 20% less than they did 100 years ago. Not having a good night’s sleep has adverse effects upon the individual’s health, well-being, and happiness. So, non-drug methods to improve sleep are needed. Contemplative practices have been reported to improve mindfulness and, in turn, improve sleep amount and quality and help with insomnia. But, how mindfulness improves sleep has not been explored.

 

In today’s Research News article “Potential Mechanisms of Mindfulness in Improving Sleep and Distress.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5866834/ ), Lau and colleagues examine possible intermediaries that are effected by mindfulness and which, in turn, influence sleep. They recruited a large sample of meditation naïve, Chinese, adults and measured them over the internet for mindfulness, sleep quality, depression, anxiety, and stress. They then performed regression analysis of the associations among these variables.

 

Replicating previous findings, they found that the higher the levels mindfulness, especially acceptance (non-react facet of mindfulness), the greater the sleep quality and the lower the levels of anxiety, depression, and stress. They also found that the higher the levels of psychological distress, the higher the levels of anxiety, depression, and stress and the lower the levels of mindfulness and sleep quality. So, mindfulness, especially acceptance, was associated with better psychological health and sleep, while psychological distress acted in the opposite direction.

 

They then tested models that asserted various pathways whereby mindfulness affected sleep quality. They found that the higher the level of acceptance (non-react facet of mindfulness), the greater the impact of awareness (observe facet of mindfulness) on lower general psychological distress and higher the sleep quality. This suggests that acceptance associations with higher sleep quality may be in part mediated by the association of acceptance with lower levels of psychological distress and in turn improved sleep quality.

 

These findings begin the unravel the mechanisms by which mindfulness improves sleep. It suggests that acceptance (non-react facet of mindfulness) is a very important component of the associations with better sleep and that it, in part, works through associations with lower levels of psychological distress.

 

So, improve sleep with mindfulness.

 

“When I first started using mindfulness to get sleep, I believed I needed to be meditating at bedtime if I wanted to cure my insomnia. I was completely wrong! I learned that my worries about sleep were happening all day long. I started using mindfulness during the day to notice those worries and learn to accept that I may not get as much sleep as I hope for each night. . . . worrying about sleep works against the process of falling asleep. All of those concerns about your insomnia just might be making it harder to let go at the end of the day, to relax and let your body rest.” – Mary Sauer

 

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

Lau, W. K. W., Leung, M.-K., Wing, Y.-K., & Lee, T. M. C. (2018). Potential Mechanisms of Mindfulness in Improving Sleep and Distress. Mindfulness, 9(2), 547–555. http://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-017-0796-9

 

Abstract

The mechanisms of mindfulness-improved sleep quality are not extensively studied. Recently, attention monitoring/awareness and acceptance in mindfulness have been proposed to be the underlying mechanisms that tackle distress and related disorders. The current study tested if acceptance moderated the relationship of awareness with psychological distress and sleep quality, and verified that psychological distress mediated the relationship between mindfulness and sleep quality in a group of community-dwelling healthy adults. Three hundred and sixty-four healthy Chinese non-meditators (age 18–65, 59% female) completed a set of online self-reported questionnaires in Chinese via SurveyMonkey. Awareness and acceptance were measured by Observe and Nonreact facets in the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), respectively. General psychological distress levels and sleep quality were reflected in the global score of the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scales (DASS) and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), respectively. Model 1 and model 8 in the PROCESS macro for SPSS were used to assess the moderation and moderated mediation effects. Increased level of acceptance (Nonreact) weakened the positive relationship between awareness (Observe) and poor sleep quality (β = −0.0154, p = 0.0123), which was partially mediated through perceived psychological distress (β = −0.0065, 95% bias-corrected bootstrap CI = −0.0128, −0.0004) in a group of community-dwelling healthy adults. Our findings suggested that awareness and acceptance could be the mechanisms of mindfulness interventions in improving sleep quality, partly via reducing psychological stress.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5866834/

 

Improve Psychological Well-Being and Productivity with Work-Place Mindfulness

Improve Psychological Well-Being and Productivity with Work-Place Mindfulness

 

“Toxic emotions disrupt the workplace, and mindfulness increases your awareness of these destructive patterns, helping you recognize them before they run rampant. It’s a way of reprogramming your mind to think in healthier, less stressful, ways.” – Drew Hansen

 

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 and physical health. Indeed, the work environment has even become an important part of our social lives, with friendships and leisure time activities often attached to the work environment. 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 physical and mental 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. There is a need, however, to better document the benefits of these programs.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Workplace Mindfulness Intervention May Be Associated With Improved Psychological Well-Being and Productivity. A Preliminary Field Study in a Company Setting.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00195/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_568639_69_Psycho_20180313_arts_A ), Kersemaekers and colleagues recruited employees in major European corporations and provided them with a workplace mindfulness program that consisted of 2 day-long training days plus eight 2.5 h-long sessions implemented in a group setting and included trainings in mindfulness meditation, walking meditation, pausing meditation, body scan and compassion meditation. They were also encouraged to practice at home. Participants were measured one month before, just before, and after the program for burnout, perceived stress, mindfulness, well-being, team environment; including organizational climate, team climate and personal performance, and program feasibility and satisfaction.

 

They compared the changes during the one-month baseline period to those occurring during the mindfulness training period and found that after training there were significantly greater reductions in burnout, perceived stress, particularly tension and worry, and organizational stress, and significantly greater improvements in psychological well-being and mindfulness, including presence and acceptance. There were also significant improvements in the participants perceptions of the organizational culture, including team decision making and cooperation, of the organizational climate, including atmosphere and respect, and of personal performance and productivity. There were high compliance and participation rates in the program. Hence, the workplace mindfulness program appeared to be feasible, safe, and effective.

 

The results have to be interpreted with caution as there wasn’t a control group. But, the fact that there was a one-month baseline where reactivity, bias, and time-based changes could be assessed, the conclusion would appear to be guardedly valid. Workplace mindfulness training improved the psychological well-being and mindfulness of the workers, the organizational climate, and the workers productivity. This suggests that workplace mindfulness programs can be of substantial benefit to the workers and the organization.

 

So, Improve Psychological Well-Being and Productivity with work-Place mindfulness.

 

“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try, the world is beyond winning.” – Lao Tzu

 

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

 

Kersemaekers W, Rupprecht S, Wittmann M, Tamdjidi C, Falke P, Donders R, Speckens A and Kohls N (2018) A Workplace Mindfulness Intervention May Be Associated With Improved Psychological Well-Being and Productivity. A Preliminary Field Study in a Company Setting. Front. Psychol. 9:195. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00195

 

Background: Mindfulness trainings are increasingly offered in workplace environments in order to improve health and productivity. Whilst promising, there is limited research on the effectiveness of mindfulness interventions in workplace settings.

Objective: To examine the feasibility and effectiveness of a Workplace Mindfulness Training (WMT) in terms of burnout, psychological well-being, organizational and team climate, and performance.

Methods: This is a preliminary field study in four companies. Self-report questionnaires were administered up to a month before, at start of, and right at the end of the WMT, resulting in a pre-intervention and an intervention period. There was no separate control group. A total of 425 participants completed the surveys on the different time points. Linear mixed model analyses were used to analyze the data.

Results: When comparing the intervention period with the pre-intervention period, significantly greater improvements were found in measures of burnout (mean difference = 0.3, p < 0.001), perceived stress (mean difference = -0.2, p < 0.001), mindfulness [mean difference = 1.0 for the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory (FMI) and 0.8 for the Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS), both p < 0.001], and well-being (mean difference = 0.4, p < 0.001). Additionally, greater increases in team climate, organizational climate and personal performance were reported during the intervention compared to the pre-intervention period with largest improvements in team cooperation (mean difference = 0.3, p < 0.001), productivity (mean difference = 0.5, p < 0.001), and stress (mean difference = -0.4, p < 0.001). Effect sizes were large for mindfulness (d > 0.8), moderate for well-being, burnout and perceived stress (d = 0.5–0.8), and ranged from low to moderate for organizational and team climate and personal performance (d = 0.2–0.8).

Conclusion: These preliminary data suggest that compared to the pre-intervention period, the intervention period was associated with greater reductions in burnout and perceived stress, improvements in mindfulness, well-being, and increases in team and organizational climate and personal performance. Due to design limitations, no conclusions can be drawn on the extent to which the WMT or non-specific factors such as time have contributed to the findings. Further studies, preferably using randomized controlled designs with longer follow up periods are needed to evaluate whether the associations found can be attributed to the WMT and whether these sustain after the training.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00195/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_568639_69_Psycho_20180313_arts_A