Improve the Emotion Regulation of Midwives with Mindfulness
By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.
“Mindfulness is a way of befriending ourselves and our experience.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
Mindfulness practice has been shown to improve emotion regulation. Practitioners demonstrate the ability to fully sense and experience emotions but respond to them in more appropriate and adaptive ways. In other words, mindful people are better able to experience yet control their responses to emotions. This is a very important consequence of mindfulness. Humans are very emotional creatures and these emotions can be very pleasant, providing the spice of life. But when they get extreme, they can produce misery and even mental illness. The ability of mindfulness training to improve emotion regulation is thought to be the basis for a wide variety of benefits that mindfulness provides to mental health and the treatment of mental illness especially depression and anxiety disorders.
In today’s Research News article “.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9103483/ ) Aghamohammadi and colleagues examined the effectiveness of mindfulness training on emotion regulation and perceived stress in Iranian midwives. The participants were randomly assigned either to a wait-list control condition or to receive an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MSBR) program modified for Iranian culture.
They report that mindfulness training significantly improved emotion regulation and self-efficacy and decreased perceived stress and hopelessness in the midwives. The improvements in emotion regulation included increases in acceptance of emotional responses, performance of goal-oriented behaviors in the face of a stressful situation, accessing emotional strategies, and improving emotional clarity.
These findings suggest that mindfulness training improves the ability to appreciate but control emotions producing improvements in mental health.
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies
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Aghamohammadi F, Saed O, Ahmadi R, Kharaghani R. The effectiveness of adapted group mindfulness-based stress management program on perceived stress and emotion regulation in midwives: a randomized clinical trial. BMC Psychol. 2022 May 13;10(1):123. doi: 10.1186/s40359-022-00823-7. PMID: 35562792; PMCID: PMC9103483.
Midwives’ stress can have negative consequences on their emotional state, burnout, and poor quality of midwifery care. This study aimed to determine the effectiveness of an adapted mindfulness-based stress management program on perceived stress and the emotional regulation of midwives.
The study was a parallel randomized clinical trial on the midwives working in general hospitals of Zanjan, Iran. In this study, 121 midwives registered to participate based on the census sampling method were screened using a cut point of ≥ 28 in the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). From the initial sample, 42 subjects had inclusion criteria assigned to two groups of control (n = 21) and intervention (n = 21) using online random allocation. The intervention group received an 8-week adapted mindfulness-based stress management program. This program emanates from the Kabat-Zinn’s MBSR program, which has been adjusted according to the Iranian culture. The ANCOVA and repeated measure analysis of variance test were used to compare groups over time.
The results showed that the group intervention effectively affected perceived stress (P = 0.001) and difficulty in emotion regulation during the post-intervention period (P = 0.001). Moreover, the interventions were effective in emotion regulation (P = 0.003), but it was not effective on perceived stress (P = 0.125) at the 3-month follow-up.
This adapted mindfulness-based program successfully reduced stress and increased emotion regulation strategies in midwives; however, the long-term outcomes of this treatment program need further consideration.