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 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/

 

Mindful Nurses are Better Nurses

Mindful Nurses are Better Nurses

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness practice helps nurses to be more fully present with their patients and themselves. The ability to pay attention to what is happening “right now,” in this room with this patient, and not be distracted by other demands and concerns, creates space to use your wisdom and knowledge effectively and with care for the dignity of each patient. Being more present to your own experience and habitual responses increases your ability to manage stress and enhances decision-making, well-being, and self-efficacy.” – Sandra Bernstein

 

In high stress occupations, like nursing, 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.

 

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 and thereby make them better in their roles as healthcare providers. Mindfulness has 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, dedication, and compassion in nurses.

 

In today’s Research News article “The mediating role of cognitive and affective empathy in the relationship of mindfulness with engagement in nursing.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6947930/), Pérez-Fuentes and colleagues recruited Spanish nurses and had them complete measures of mindfulness, empathy, including measures of cognitive and affective empathy, and work engagement including measures of vitality, dedication and absorption.

 

A correlational analysis revealed that the higher the level of mindfulness the higher the level of work engagement including vitality, dedication and absorption and cognitive empathy, and the lower the level of affective empathy. A mediation analysis of these data revealed that mindfulness had direct associations and also indirect associations via cognitive empathy with higher work engagement including vitality, dedication and absorption. That is that mindfulness was directly associated with work engagement and also indirectly associated as a result of mindfulness being associated with higher cognitive empathy that was, in turn, associated with higher work engagement.

 

These findings are correlational and as such causation cannot be established. Nevertheless, the findings suggest that mindful nurses have greater levels of energy (vigor), feel greater challenge and enthusiasm for their work (dedication), have greater attention to and concentration on their work (absorption), and have a better intellectual understanding of the feelings of others (cognitive empathy). In addition, mindful nurses, because they have higher levels of cognitive empathy, have additionally higher levels of work engagement.

 

These findings suggest that mindfulness is an important contributor to the work engagement, vigor, and absorption of nurses. This suggests that mindful nurses are better nurses. Future research should attempt to determine causation by training the nurses in mindfulness and observing whether work engagement increases and burnout decreases as a result of the training.

 

So, mindful nurses are better nurses.

 

Nursing is a high-stress profession that may be taking a toll on our nurses. Mindfulness-based programs can help nurses develop skills to manage clinical stress and improve their health; increase overall attention, empathy, and presence with patients and families; and experience work satisfaction, serenity, decreased incidental overtime, and reduced job burnout.” – Sue Penque

 

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

 

Pérez-Fuentes, M., Gázquez Linares, J. J., Molero Jurado, M., Simón Márquez, M., & Martos Martínez, Á. (2020). The mediating role of cognitive and affective empathy in the relationship of mindfulness with engagement in nursing. BMC public health, 20(1), 16. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-8129-7

 

Abstract

Background

The work of health professionals is characterized by a high demand for psychological and emotional resources and high levels of stress. Therefore, the promotion of commitment and job well-being through strategies such as increased mindfulness, is important among nursing workers. Although mindfulness has shown positive effects in the health field, few studies have explored the mechanisms and processes underlying these results. We investigated the mediating role of empathy (cognitive/affective) in the effect of mindfulness on the dimensions of engagement in nursing professionals.

Methods

Sample was comprised of 1268 Spanish nurses between 22 and 62 years old, that completed the Utrecht Labor Engagement Scale and the adapted versions of Mindful Attention Awareness Scale and Basic Empathy Scale. The relationship between variables to be included in the regression analyses, bivariate correlations were carried out, and the descriptive statistics of these variables were also found. To estimate the mediation model was used, in this case for multiple mediation effects.

Results

Mindfulness is found to affect the Vigor and Dedication factors of engagement through cognitive empathy. While for the Absorption factor, the affective component of empathy also exerts a mediating role, although weaker than cognitive empathy. Cognitive empathy, as an individual factor, was shown to have a mediating effect between mindfulness and the factors of engagement in healthcare workers.

Conclusions

The level of mindfulness influences engagement of nursing professionals positively, and this result is mediated mainly by cognitive empathy. Both mindfulness and empathy are modifiable individual factors, so their intervention by designing and implementing specific programs, can increase the commitment and wellbeing of professionals generating benefits to workers and to their patients.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6947930/

 

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/

 

Prayer Reduces Catholic Teacher Burnout

Prayer Reduces Catholic Teacher Burnout

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“One of the most important ways we can take care of ourselves, is by maintaining a consistent prayer life. We have to be willing to recognize God’s role in our life and in our teaching.“ – Rachel Gleeson

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. This often produces burnout; fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, and professional inefficacy. Teachers experience burnout at high rates. Roughly a half a million teachers out of a workforce of three million, leave the profession each year and the rate is almost double in poor schools compared to affluent schools. Indeed, nearly half of new teachers leave in their first five years.

 

Burnout frequently results from emotional exhaustion. This exhaustion not only affects the teachers personally, but also the students, as it produces a loss of enthusiasm, empathy, and compassion. Regardless of the reasons for burnout or its immediate presenting consequences, it is a threat to schools and their students. In fact, it is a threat to the entire educational systems as it contributes to the shortage of teachers. Hence, preventing burnout has to be a priority.

 

Mindfulness has been demonstrated to be helpful in treating and preventing burnout.

Prayer can be a mindfulness meditation practice. It is possible that Prayer, like mindfulness, can reduce teacher burnout.

 

In today’s Research News article “Spirituality and Prayer on Teacher Stress and Burnout in an Italian Cohort: A Pilot, Before-After Controlled Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02933/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1232595_69_Psycho_20200204_arts_A), Chirico and colleagues recruited Catholic school teachers and randomly assigned them to a no treatment control condition or to receive training 30-minute, twice a week for 2 months in a combination of prayer and meditative adoration of the divine. They were measured before the treatment and 4 months later for job satisfaction, psychological well-being, and burnout, including emotional exhaustion and depersonalization.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control condition that the group that received training in prayer had significantly higher levels of job satisfaction and psychological well-being, and significantly lower levels of burnout, including both emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. These effects had moderate to large effect sizes.

 

These results are interesting and suggest that prayer, like other mindfulness practices, is effective in promoting well-being and reducing job burnout. The mechanisms by which this occurs were not investigated but mindfulness is known to reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. This may, in turn, make the individual more resilient and better able to withstand the difficulties encountered in the classroom.

 

So, reduces catholic teacher burnout with prayer.

 

spiritual intelligence plays an important role in work environment.” – Ravie Mirshavi

 

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

 

Chirico F, Sharma M, Zaffina S and Magnavita N (2020) Spirituality and Prayer on Teacher Stress and Burnout in an Italian Cohort: A Pilot, Before-After Controlled Study. Front. Psychol. 10:2933. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02933

 

Introduction: Teaching is a stressful profession that exposes workers to the risk of burnout. Techniques involving higher mental functions, such as transcendental meditation and prayer, have been used in stress and burnout prevention programs. In this study, we report the results of an experience conducted in a group of teachers of a religious institute, in which prayer was used as a technique to prevent burnout.

Methods: Fifty teachers and support staff employed at a Catholic school of a Congregation of nuns volunteered for this study. They were randomized into two groups: prayer treatment (n = 25) or control group (n = 25). The treatment protocol was based on the combination of individual Christian prayer and a focus group of prayer-reflection. The participants received two 30 min training sessions a week over 2 months. Job satisfaction, well-being, and burnout symptoms (emotional exhaustion and depersonalization sub-scales) were measured at baseline and at follow-up (4 months) with the Italian versions of the Maslach Burnout Inventory validated for teaching and education sector, the General Health Questionnaire, and the Warr, Cook, and Wall’s Job Satisfaction Scale.

Results: At follow-up, a significant improvement of all outcome measures was observed. Emotional exhaustion (16.80–4.92, p < 0.001), depersonalization (3.72–0.60, p < 0.001) levels, and psychological impairment (10.08–2.04, p < 0.001) were significantly decreased, and job satisfaction (45.96–77.00, p < 0.001) was increased. The effect sizes (Glass’ Δ) of the therapeutic interventions ranged from 0.53 (satisfaction level) to 2.87 (psychological health), suggesting moderate to large effects.

Discussion: Prayer could be effective, no less than meditation and other spiritual or mind-body techniques, in contrasting the negative effects of occupational stress and preventing burnout among teachers and possibly other human service professionals.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02933/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1232595_69_Psycho_20200204_arts_A

 

Improved Work Engagement is Associated with Mindfulness

Improved Work Engagement is Associated with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness exerts its positive effect on work engagement by increasing positive affect, hope, and optimism, which on their own and in combination enhance work engagement.” – Peter Malinowski

 

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 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. 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. It seems reasonable that mindfulness would be associated with greater engagement in work.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Influence of Individual and Team Mindfulness on Work Engagement.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02928/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1232595_69_Psycho_20200204_arts_A), Liu and colleagues recruited employees of service companies and had them complete questionnaires at 3 different occasions. First, they completed measures of mindfulness, recovery, and work engagement. Three months later they completed measures of team mindfulness and recovery level. Three months later they completed a measure of work engagement. Recovery is the degree to which the individual recovers from stress or boredom.

 

They found significant relationships such that the higher the level of individual mindfulness the higher the levels of team mindfulness, recovery, and work engagement, and the higher the levels of recovery the higher the levels of work engagement. A confirmatory factor analysis revealed that mindfulness was directly related to higher levels of work engagement. Mindfulness was also indirectly related with work engagement via recovery such that mindfulness was related to higher levels of recovery which was in turn related to higher levels of work engagement.

 

The study did not manipulate mindfulness or recovery, so causation cannot be absolutely determined. But the results suggest an important role for mindfulness in the workplace. Work engagement is important for employee performance. Hence, the present results suggest that mindfulness is important for this performance. It is so by being directly related and also by being related to recovery which then is related to work engagement.

 

Mindfulness practices have been shown to markedly reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. This would allow for rapid recovery from the stress. Mindfulness appears to promote the ability to bounce back from stress and boredom and that this skill facilitates engagement in work. This suggests that that a mindful employee is a less stressed, better employee.

 

So, improved work engagement is associated with mindfulness.

 

Better employee engagement is only one of the benefits of practicing mindfulness in the workplace. The additional advantages you can expect from it are the following: Better employee retention: Workers are less inclined to look for another job as mindfulness helps lower their emotional exhaustion at work. Better health of employees results in lower incidences of absences and healthcare costs. Better productivity¾because employees are happier and healthier!” –  Cheryl Chandola

 

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 S, Xin H, Shen L, He J and Liu J (2020) The Influence of Individual and Team Mindfulness on Work Engagement. Front. Psychol. 10:2928. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02928

 

Mindfulness metacognitive practice that can be performed in the workplace. Drawing on the theory of conservation of resources, we test a moderated mediating model of how and when employee mindfulness has a positive effect on work engagement. Via analysis of data from 311 employees from 83 teams at different times, this study investigates the relationship between employee mindfulness and work engagement as well as the moderating effect of team mindfulness and the mediating effect of recovery level. The results from this multi-wave field study show that the mindfulness of the individual employee has a positive influence on work engagement and that recovery level plays a mediating role. Team mindfulness positively moderates the relationship between individual mindfulness and work engagement. This conclusion may bridge the relationship between mindfulness and work engagement theory.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02928/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1232595_69_Psycho_20200204_arts_A

 

Decrease Presenteeism at Work with Mindfulness

Decrease Presenteeism at Work with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Up until recently businesses worried about absenteeism – employees calling in sick when they’re not, just to get out of work for the day. Following a push from employers to reduce the level of absenteeism, the pendulum has swung the other way and we’re now more likely than ever to attend work when we’re really not up to the job – this is known as presenteeism. A study in the USA found employees take an average of four days off sick each year. It was also found that these same employees were still in work but underperforming due to their health for as many as 57.5 days a year.” – AXA

 

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 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.

 

One of the consequences of this stress is presenteeism. This involves coming to work even when sick or injured. It results in decreased productivity, increased errors, and potentially spreading illnesses to coworkers. It has been estimated that presenteeism costs employers $250 billion dollars each year. To address these problems, businesses have incorporated 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 burnout. Indeed, Mindfulness practices have been shown to reduce presenteeism.

 

In today’s Research News article “Are mindfulness and self-efficacy related to presenteeism among primary medical staff: A cross-sectional study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6608653/), Tang and colleagues recruited primary medical personnel with at least one year of experience. They were measured for presenteeism, mindfulness, and self-efficacy.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness, the higher the levels of self-efficacy and the lower the levels of presenteeism and the higher the levels of self-efficacy the lower the levels of presenteeism. Performing a mediation analysis, they found that the negative relationship between mindfulness and presenteeism was completely mediated by self-efficacy. In other words, mindfulness did not have a direct relationship with presenteeism but rather mindfulness was associated with higher self-efficacy which was then associated with lower presenteeism.

 

Self-efficacy is the confidence that the individual can exert control over one’s behavior and environment. It is well documented that mindfulness increases self-efficacy. Hence, the results suggest that mindfulness increases this confidence allowing the individual to better deal with the stresses of the environment and act adaptively. Staying home when one is sick is adaptive, improving recovery and preventing spread of disease. People with high self-efficacy appear to be better able to respond in this manner and resist the temptation to respond to pressures and go to work when ill.

 

The study was correlational and restricted to medical personnel in China. It remains for future research to investigate the effectiveness of mindfulness training to reduce presenteeism in more varied populations of individuals.

 

So, decrease presenteeism at work with mindfulness.

 

Greater self-care may alternatively be regarded in light of a more effective use of personal resources which may eventually prevent presenteeism, which is more prevalent in higher-paid staff. – Silke Rupprecht

 

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

 

Tang, N., Han, L., Yang, P., Zhao, Y., & Zhang, H. (2019). Are mindfulness and self-efficacy related to presenteeism among primary medical staff: A cross-sectional study. International journal of nursing sciences, 6(2), 182–186. doi:10.1016/j.ijnss.2019.03.004

 

Abstract

Objectives

In ensuring public welfare with primary medical and health services, the primary medical staff faces new tasks. Increasing workload, and therefore degrees of stress and burnout, can influence job satisfaction and lead to presenteeism, which is defined as the appearance to be on the job but not actually working. The purpose of this study is to investigate the current working situation and the relationship between presenteeism and mindfulness of primary medical staff and determine the mediating effect of self-efficacy on this relationship.

Method

A cross-sectional survey was performed with 580 primary medical staff from 9 hospitals in Shaanxi province, northwest China. Presenteeism, mindfulness, and self-efficacy were measured by using a general information questionnaire, the Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire, the General Self-Efficacy Scale, and the Stanford Presenteeism Scale. Mediating effect was analyzed by a series of hierarchical multiple regressions.

Results

A high level of presenteeism was found among 47.4% of the study participants. Presenteeism was negatively correlated with mindfulness (r = −0.409, P < 0.001) and self-efficacy (r = −0.678, P < 0.001). A positive correlation was found between mindfulness and self-efficacy (r = 0.584, P < 0.001). When controlling for self-efficacy (β = −0.018, P > 0.05), the association was insignificant between presenteeism and mindfulness.

Conclusion

The results identified the effect of mindfulness on presenteeism of primary medical staff is realized through self-efficacy,which also suggested to enhance self-efficacy on center location when developing management strategies for mental health education or training among primary medical staff.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6608653/

 

Have Higher Job Satisfaction with Cancer Survivors with Spirituality

Have Higher Job Satisfaction with Cancer Survivors with Spirituality

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Although addressing spiritual concerns is often considered an end-of-life issue, such concerns may arise at any time after diagnosis. Acknowledging the importance of these concerns and addressing them, even briefly, at diagnosis may facilitate better adjustment throughout the course of treatment and create a context for richer dialogue later in the illness.” – National Cancer Institute

 

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. Cancer survivors are often challenged with a wide range of residual issues including chronic pain, sleep disturbance, sexual problems, loss of appetite, and chronic fatigue. Cancer survivors are also at greater risk for developing second cancers and other health conditions. Hence there is a need to identify safe and effective treatments for the physical, emotional, and financial hardships that can persist for years after diagnosis and treatment.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with cancer recovery and help to alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including fatiguestress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depression. In addition, religion and spirituality become much more important to people when they’re diagnosed with cancer or when living with cancer. It is thought that people take comfort in the spiritual when facing mortality. Hence, spirituality may be a useful tool for the survivors of cancer to cope with their illness. A very important issue for cancer survivors is returning to work. Thus, there is a need to study the relationships of spirituality to cancer survivors’ ability to adjust to their work situations.

 

In today’s Research News article “.” The Mediating Effect of Workplace Spirituality on the Relation between Job Stress and Job Satisfaction of Cancer Survivors Returning to Work. (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6846173/), Jin and Lee recruited cancer survivors who had returned to work for at least 6 months following treatment. They completed measures of job stress, job satisfaction, and workplace spirituality.

 

They found that the higher the levels of spirituality in the cancer survivors, the lower the reported levels of job stress and the higher the reported levels of job satisfaction. They also noted that higher the levels of job stress were associated with lower levels of job satisfaction. In addition, a mediation analysis revealed that the negative relationship of job stress with job satisfaction was in part mediated by spirituality, such that high levels of job stress was directly negatively related to job satisfaction and was also related indirectly by being associated with lower levels of spirituality which were, in turn, related to lower levels of job satisfaction.

 

These findings are correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. But it can be speculated that for cancer survivors stress on the job is detrimental to satisfaction with the job and that being spiritual helps to buffer the influence of stress on satisfaction. Hence, being spiritual may help cancer survivors to better weather stress effects and thus be happier with their work. This may assist the survivors in overcoming some of the residual problems and being better able to return to their occupations.

 

So, have higher job satisfaction with cancer survivors with spirituality/

 

“Spirituality and religion can be important to the well-being of people who have cancer, enabling them to better cope with the disease. Spirituality and religion may help patients and families find deeper meaning and experience a sense of personal growth during cancer treatment, while living with cancer, and as a cancer survivor.” – National Comprehensive Cancer Network

 

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

 

Jin JH, Lee EJ. The Mediating Effect of Workplace Spirituality on the Relation between Job Stress and Job Satisfaction of Cancer Survivors Returning to Work. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Sep 20;16(19):3510. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16193510. PMID: 31547142; PMCID: PMC6801382.

 

Abstract

This study aimed to investigate the mediating effect of workplace spirituality in the relation between job stress and job satisfaction as well as the level of job stress, job satisfaction, and workplace spirituality of cancer survivors returning to work. A total of 126 cancer survivors who returned to work more than six months prior to the research participated in this study. Participants were recruited through snowball sampling; they were visiting the outpatient clinic at two general hospitals located in a metropolitan city and their clinical stage was stage 0 or stage 1. The collected data were analyzed using SPSS 22.0. Job stress, workplace spirituality, and job satisfaction had a negative correlation, whereas workplace spirituality and job satisfaction had a positive correlation. The Sobel test was performed to verify the significance of the mediating effect size of workplace adaptation, the results confirmed a partial mediating effect of workplace spirituality on the relation between job stress and job satisfaction (Z = –4.72, p < 0.001). This study confirmed the mediating effect of workplace spirituality in the relation between job stress and job satisfaction. A systematic program needs to be developed to enhance workplace spirituality, a spiritual approach, to relieve job stress and increase job satisfaction.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6801382/

 

Improve Workplace Wellness with Mindful Meditation

Improve Workplace Wellness with Mindful Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

If your workforce deals with stress, emotional health issues, or low morale, you’ll likely benefit from implementing a meditation program. Meditation programs have a lot of amazing health and wellness benefits that will have a positive impact on your employees.” – Robyn Whalen

 

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 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. 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 burnout. The research has been accumulating. So, it is important to step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness meditation for workplace wellness: An evidence map.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6598008/), Hilton and colleagues reviewed and summarized published systematic reviews of the research on mindfulness training in the workplace and its effects on employee health and well-being. They identified 175 reviews that focused on health care workers, caregivers, educators, and general workplace workers.

 

They report that the reviews demonstrated that mindfulness-based interventions were effective in treating chronic conditions producing relief of psychological distress, anxiety, and depression symptoms. Mindfulness was found to produce small decreases in chronic pain but significant improvements in pain-related quality of life. Mindfulness training was found to reduce substance abuse and help prevent relapse, reduce negative emotions, anxiety, depression, somatization, irritable bowel syndrome, and stress effects. Mindfulness training also was effective in cancer care, including reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and fatigue, and improving sleep and quality of life. for support of caregivers.

 

These findings are remarkable. The wide range of positive benefits on physical and mental health are breathtaking. To this authors knowledge there is no other treatment that has such broad application and effectiveness. This suggests that workplace mindfulness training is safe and highly effective and should be implemented throughout the workplace.

 

So, improve workplace wellness with mindful meditation.

 

The ancient art of meditation has many benefits, especially in the workplace. Studies have shown that meditation practiced in the workplace has a direct impact on increased productivity, creativity, focus, and the overall happiness of employees.” – The Lotus

 

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

 

Hilton, L. G., Marshall, N. J., Motala, A., Taylor, S. L., Miake-Lye, I. M., Baxi, S., … Hempel, S. (2019). Mindfulness meditation for workplace wellness: An evidence map. Work (Reading, Mass.), 63(2), 205–218. doi:10.3233/WOR-192922

 

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Mindfulness interventions aim to foster greater attention and awareness of present moment experiences. Uptake of mindfulness programs in the workplace has grown as organizations look to support employee health, wellbeing, and performance.

OBJECTIVE:

In support of evidence-based decision making in workplace contexts, we created an evidence map summarizing physical and mental health, cognitive, affective, and interpersonal outcomes from systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of mindfulness interventions.

METHODS:

We searched nine electronic databases to July 2017, dually-screened all reviews, and consulted topic experts to identify systematic reviews on mindfulness interventions. The distribution of evidence is presented as an evidence map in a bubble plot.

RESULTS:

In total, 175 systematic reviews met inclusion criteria. Reviews included a variety of mindfulness-based interventions. The largest review included 109 randomized controlled trials. The majority of these addressed general health, psychological conditions, chronic illness, pain, and substance use. Twenty-six systematic reviews assessed studies conducted in workplace settings and with healthcare professionals, educators, and caregivers. The evidence map shows the prevalence of research by the primary area of focus. An outline of promising applications of mindfulness interventions is included.

CONCLUSIONS:

The evidence map provides an overview of existing mindfulness research. It shows the body of available evidence to inform policy and organizational decision-making supporting employee wellbeing in work contexts.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6598008/