Improve Psychological Health with Online Mindfulness Training

Improve Psychological Health with Online Mindfulness Training

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Virtual mindfulness is an increasingly accessible intervention available world-wide that may reduce psychological distress.” – Suzan Farris

 

Mindfulness training has been shown through extensive research to be effective in improving physical and psychological health. But the vast majority of the mindfulness training techniques, however, require a trained therapist. This results in costs that many clients can’t afford. In addition, the participants must be available to attend multiple sessions at particular scheduled times that may or may not be compatible with their busy schedules and at locations that may not be convenient. As an alternative, mindfulness training online has been developed. This has tremendous advantages in decreasing costs, making training schedules much more flexible, and eliminating the need to go repeatedly to specific locations. In addition, research has indicated that mindfulness training online can be effective for improving the health and well-being of the participants. The research has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “New Evidence in the Booming Field of Online Mindfulness: An Updated Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8329762/ ) Sommers-Spijkerman and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published randomized controlled trials of the effectiveness on online mindfulness training to improve psychological health. They identified 97 randomized controlled trials, including a total of 17,464 participants.

 

They report that the published randomized controlled trials found that online mindfulness training produced significant moderate reductions of perceived stress anxiety and depression and increases in mindfulness and well-being. One to 3 months after training there were still significant reductions in anxiety and depression remaining. Although the effects were larger when comparing online mindfulness training to passive control conditions, they were still present in significant when compared to active control conditions.

 

A very large amount of research has accumulated on the effectiveness of online mindfulness training for psychological health. This meta-analysis revealed that this research clearly demonstrates that online mindfulness training has similar effectiveness as face-to-face mindfulness training in improving psychological health. Hence, online training is safe, effective convenient, scalable, and inexpensive, and doesn’t require a trained therapist making it an excellent option for improving psychological health.

 

So, improve psychological health with online mindfulness training.

 

The fear, anxiety and stress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on mental health. But . . . these symptoms may be alleviated through safe and convenient online mindfulness practices.” – Wake Forest Baptist 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

 

Sommers-Spijkerman, M., Austin, J., Bohlmeijer, E., & Pots, W. (2021). New Evidence in the Booming Field of Online Mindfulness: An Updated Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. JMIR mental health, 8(7), e28168. https://doi.org/10.2196/28168

 

Abstract

Background

There is a need to regularly update the evidence base on the effectiveness of online mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs), especially considering how fast this field is growing and developing.

Objective

This study presents an updated meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials assessing the effects of online MBIs on mental health and the potential moderators of these effects.

Methods

We conducted a systematic literature search in PsycINFO, PubMed, and Web of Science up to December 4, 2020, and included 97 trials, totaling 125 comparisons. Pre-to-post and pre-to-follow-up between-group effect sizes (Hedges g) were calculated for depression, anxiety, stress, well-being, and mindfulness using a random effects model.

Results

The findings revealed statistically significant moderate pre-to-post effects on depression (g=0.34, 95% CI 0.18-0.50; P<.001), stress (g=0.44, 95% CI 0.32-0.55; P<.001), and mindfulness (g=0.40, 95% CI 0.30-0.50; P<.001) and small effects on anxiety (g=0.26, 95% CI 0.18-0.33; P<.001). For well-being, a significant small effect was found only when omitting outliers (g=0.22, 95% CI 0.15-0.29; P<.001) or low-quality studies (g=0.26, 95% CI 0.12-0.41; P<.001). Significant but small follow-up effects were found for depression (g=0.25, 95% CI 0.12-0.38) and anxiety (g=0.23, 95% CI 0.13-0.32). Subgroup analyses revealed that online MBIs resulted in higher effect sizes for stress when offered with guidance. In terms of stress and mindfulness, studies that used inactive control conditions yielded larger effects. For anxiety, populations with psychological symptoms had higher effect sizes. Adherence rates for the interventions ranged from 35% to 92%, but most studies lacked clear definitions or cut-offs.

Conclusions

Our findings not only demonstrate that online MBIs are booming but also corroborate previous findings that online MBIs are beneficial for improving mental health outcomes in a broad range of populations. To advance the field of online MBIs, future trials should pay specific attention to methodological quality, adherence, and long-term follow-up measurements.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8329762/

 

Mindfulness Improve Social Media Control While Social Media Control Improves Mindfulness

Mindfulness Improve Social Media Control While Social Media Control Improves Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“social media overuse is increasingly commonplace today, and it may have some serious repercussions to your physical and mental health.” – Kristeen Cherney

 

Over the last few decades, the internet has gone from a rare curiosity to the dominant mode of electronic communications. In fact, it has become a dominant force in daily life, occupying large amounts of time and attention. As useful as the internet may be, it can also produce negative consequences. “Problematic Internet Use” is now considered a behavioral addiction, with almost half of participants in one study considered “Internet addicts”, developing greater levels of “tolerance” and experiencing “withdrawal” and distress when deprived. This phenomenon is so new that there is little understanding of its nature, causes, and consequences and how to treat it.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to be helpful with each of the components of addictions, decreasing cravingsimpulsiveness, and psychological and physiological responses to stress, and increasing emotion regulation.  It is no wonder then that mindfulness training has been found to be effective for the treatment of a variety of addictions. It also has been found to be helpful in overcoming internet and smartphone addictions. But there is a need to further explore the effectiveness of mindfulness training on one form of internet addiction, social media addiction.

 

In today’s Research News article “The reciprocal relationships between social media self-control failure, mindfulness and wellbeing: A longitudinal study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8336798/ ) Du and colleagues recruited participants online between the ages of 16 to 60 years of age and had them complete measures of social media control, mindfulness, well-being, and life satisfaction. They completed the measures three times at four-month intervals.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness at all measurements the higher the levels of social media control, well-being, and life satisfaction at all measurements. They also found evidence that social media control at the first measurement was associated with better mindfulness at the second measurement which was, in turn, associated with better social media control at the third measurement.

 

These results are correlative and as such caution must be exercised in interpreting causation. But mindfulness training has been found in prior research to reduce internet addictions. In addition, the associations found between variables and other variables 4 months later prohibit a reverse causation explanation. So, the associations reported here may well be due to causal connections. Hence, it could be tentatively concluded that being able to control participation in social media improves mindfulness and mindfulness improves the individual’s ability to control their participation in social media.

 

This is potentially important as participation in social media often gets out of control to the point where it interferes in everyday activities to the detriment of the individual. It can even become an addiction. That being mindful can help keep it under control may be very helpful allowing attention to other life activities. Although it was not explored in the present study this suggests that mindfulness training may help make the individual resistant to losing control of participation in social media.

 

So, mindfulness improve social media control while social media control improves mindfulness.

 

Social media addiction is becoming an increasing problem. . . One cure is mindfulness meditation. . . a powerful tool for kicking addictions ranging from drugs, to social media” – Elise Bialylew

 

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

 

Du, J., Kerkhof, P., & van Koningsbruggen, G. M. (2021). The reciprocal relationships between social media self-control failure, mindfulness and wellbeing: A longitudinal study. PloS one, 16(8), e0255648. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0255648

 

Abstract

This paper aims to shed light on the question whether, and how, social media self-control failure is related to mindfulness and wellbeing. Using a 3-wave longitudinal design, the present study among 594 daily social media users examined the reciprocal relationships between social media self-control failure and mindfulness, and between social media self-control failure and wellbeing (as assessed by subjective vitality and life satisfaction). Results of the random-intercept cross-lagged panel model showed that social media self-control failure has a time-invariant negative association with mindfulness and subjective vitality. No full reciprocal influence was found between social media self-control failure and mindfulness, yet part of this trajectory was observed, suggesting that social media self-control failure could impair mindfulness, which, in turn, might increase future social media self-control failure. For wellbeing, life satisfaction was found to predict subsequent drops in social media self-control failure.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8336798/

 

Improve Pain, Sleep, and the Mental Health of Chronic Pain Patients with Internet Mindfulness Training

Improve Pain, Sleep, and the Mental Health of Chronic Pain Patients with Internet Mindfulness Training

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“In the context of chronic pain . . . meditation can help you to stop your mind wandering back to your pain when you are trying to focus on something else, therefore improving your ability to give your entire attention to the task at hand and in turn, improve your level of functioning. It gives you the power to take your mind off your pain and refocus it, therefore aiding you in replacing unhelpful, behaviours with healthy ones which can reduce your pain and allow you to take better care of your health.” – Ann-Marie D’arcy-Sharpe

 

We all have to deal with pain. It’s inevitable, but hopefully it’s mild and short lived. For a wide swath of humanity, however, pain is a constant in their lives. At least 100 million adult Americans have chronic pain conditions. The most common treatment for chronic pain is drugs. These include over-the-counter analgesics and opioids. But opioids are dangerous and highly addictive. Prescription opioid overdoses kill more than 14,000 people annually. So, there is a great need to find safe and effective ways to lower the psychological distress and improve the individual’s ability to cope with the pain.

 

There is an accumulating volume of research findings that demonstrate that mindfulness practices, in general, are effective in treating pain. A therapeutic technique that contains mindfulness training and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). It focuses on the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior and how they interact to impact their psychological and physical well-being. It then works to change thinking to alter the interaction and produce greater life satisfaction. ACT employs mindfulness practices to increase awareness and develop an attitude of acceptance and compassion in the presence of painful thoughts and feelings. ACT teaches individuals to “just notice”, accept and embrace private experiences and focus on behavioral responses that produce more desirable outcomes.

 

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

 

In today’s Research News article “Internet‐delivered acceptance and commitment therapy as microlearning for chronic pain: A randomized controlled trial with 1‐year follow‐up.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejp.1723 ) Rickardsson and colleagues recruited adult chronic pain patients and randomly assigned them to either a wait-list control condition or to receive an 8-week program of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) delivered over the internet. ACT was delivered in daily microlearning short learning interactions. There was a 74% completion rate of the modules. The participants were measured before and after training and at 3-, 6-, and 12-month follow-ups for psychiatric problems, pain interference, pain intensity, anxiety, depression, psychological inflexibility, values, and health-related quality of life.

 

They found that compared to baseline and the wait-list control group, the group that received internet-delivered Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) had significant decreases in pain interference, pain intensity, anxiety, depression, psychological inflexibility, value obstruction, and insomnia. These improvements were long-lasting as they were maintained at the 12-month follow-up.

 

These are impressive improvements in the pain and psychological health of these diverse chronic pain patients. These results correspond with the frequent prior observations that mindfulness training produces reductions in pain, anxiety, depression, psychological inflexibility, and insomnia in a wide range of patient types and normal individuals. These results are particularly impressive as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) was delivered over the internet. in daily microlearning short learning interactions. This was very convenient for the patients and required only 12.4 minutes per week of therapist time per week and was thus very inexpensive to deliver. Yet ACT was highly effective and lasting in relieving the suffering of these chronic pain patients.

 

So, improve pain, sleep, and the mental health of chronic pain patients with internet mindfulness training.

 

What we want to do as best as we can is to engage with the pain just as it is. It’s not about achieving a certain goal – like minimizing pain – but learning to relate to your pain differently.” – Elisha Goldstein

 

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

 

Jenny Rickardsson, Charlotte Gentili, Linda Holmström, Vendela Zetterqvist, Erik Andersson, Jan Persson, Mats Lekander, Brjánn Ljótsson, Rikard K. Wicksell. Internet‐delivered acceptance and commitment therapy as microlearning for chronic pain: A randomized controlled trial with 1‐year follow‐up, European Journal of Pain, 2021;00:1–19, https://doi.org/10.1002/ejp.1723

 

Abstract

Background

Studies of Internet‐delivered acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) for chronic pain have shown small to moderate positive effects for pain interference and pain acceptance. Effects on pain intensity, depression, anxiety and quality of life (QoL) have been less favourable, and improvements for values and sleep are lacking. In this randomized controlled trial iACT – a novel format of Internet‐ACT using daily microlearning exercises – was examined for efficacy compared to a waitlist condition.

Methods

Adult participants (mean age 49.5 years, pain duration 18.1 years) with diverse chronic pain conditions were recruited via self‐referral, and randomized to iACT (n = 57) or waitlist (n = 56). The primary outcome was pain interference. The secondary outcomes were QoL, depression, anxiety, insomnia and pain intensity. The process variables included psychological inflexibility and values. Post‐assessments were completed by 88% (n = 100) of participants. Twelve‐month follow‐up assessments were completed by 65% (iACT only, n = 37). Treatment efficacy was analysed using linear mixed models and an intention‐to‐treat‐approach.

Results

Significant improvements in favour of iACT were seen for pain interference, depression, anxiety, pain intensity and insomnia, as well as process variables psychological inflexibility and values. Between‐group effect sizes were large for pain interference (d = 0.99) and pain intensity (d = 1.2), moderate for anxiety and depressive symptoms and small for QoL and insomnia. For the process variables, the between‐group effect size was large for psychological inflexibility (d = 1.0) and moderate for values. All improvements were maintained at 1‐year follow‐up.

Conclusions

Internet‐ACT as microlearning may improve a broad range of outcomes in chronic pain.

Significance

The study evaluates a novel behavioral treatment with positive results on pain interference, mood as well as pain intensity for longtime chronic pain sufferers. The innovative format of a digital ACT intervention delivered in short and experiential daily learnings may be a promising way forward.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejp.1723

 

Improve Executives’ Attitudes Toward Work with a Mindfulness App

Improve Executives’ Attitudes Toward Work with a Mindfulness App

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindful working means applying focus and awareness to everything you do from the moment you enter the office. Focus on the task at hand and recognize and release internal and external distractions as they arise. In this way, mindfulness helps increase effectiveness, decrease mistakes, and even enhance creativity.” –  Rasmus Hougaard

 

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 work-related stress 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.

 

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 executives in real-world work settings.

 

In today’s Research News article “An App-Based Workplace Mindfulness Intervention, and Its Effects Over Time.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8101632/ ) Lu and colleagues recruited working executives who had signed up for an 8-week mindfulness program on the Awakened Mind® platform. The App contained 8 weekly mindfulness meditation sessions. They were measured before, weekly during, and after training for mindfulness, emotional exhaustion, work engagement, and job satisfaction.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness, the higher the levels of work engagement, and job satisfaction and the lower the levels of emotional exhaustion. They also found that over time mindfulness grew stronger which in turn produced greater levels of work engagement, and job satisfaction and lower levels of emotional exhaustion. These effects grew throughout the 8 weeks of training but the rate of change was greatest early in training slowing later in training. Hence, the app increases mindfulness over time and this in turn improves workplace attitudes.

 

One problem encountered was that participation rates decreased over the 8 weeks of training such that by the end of training only 54% of the original participants were still using the app. This might suggest that experimental mortality could account for the results. But the fact that the effects were present early in the program when participation rates were high suggests that use of the app and not a confounding variable was responsible for the effects.

 

The results suggest that business executives benefit from using a mindfulness meditation app and further suggest that the app increases mindfulness which is responsible for the improved attitudes toward work. Mindfulness has been previously shown to reduce burnout at work. This suggests that this simple, convenient, and inexpensive mindfulness training should be recommended for business executives.

 

So, improve executives’ attitudes toward work with a mindfulness App.

 

a brief two-week mindfulness training app can change a person’s biological response to stress.” – Emily K. Lindsay

 

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

 

Lu, Y., Remond, J., Bunting, M., Ilies, R., Tripathi, N., & Narayanan, J. (2021). An App-Based Workplace Mindfulness Intervention, and Its Effects Over Time. Frontiers in psychology, 12, 615137. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.615137

 

Abstract

We investigated the week-to-week effects of a mindfulness intervention on emotional exhaustion, work engagement, and job satisfaction in a field study involving 218 participants who participated and reported their weekly outcomes during the 8-week program. To examine how mindfulness impacted work outcomes, we used intraindividual modeling of the 8-week data. Mindfulness increased over time, and time also had indirect effects on emotional exhaustion, work engagement, and job satisfaction, through mindfulness. Supplementary growth curve analyses on the improvement of mindfulness over time showed a slight decrease in the positive effect of time on mindfulness.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8101632/

 

Improve Psychological Health at Work with Mindfulness

Improve Psychological Health at Work with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindful working means applying focus and awareness to everything you do from the moment you enter the office. Focus on the task at hand and recognize and release internal and external distractions as they arise. In this way, mindfulness helps increase effectiveness, decrease mistakes, and even enhance creativity.” – Rasmus Hougaard

 

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, how mindfulness and its benefits grow over training

 

In today’s Research News article “An App-Based Workplace Mindfulness Intervention, and Its Effects Over Time.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.615137/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1616048_69_Psycho_20210504_arts_A) Lu and colleagues recruited participants online to an online mindfulness training (Awakened Mind) once a week for 8 weeks. They were measured before and after each weekly session for mindfulness, emotional exhaustion, work engagement, and job satisfaction.

 

They report that over training mindfulness significantly increases and was associated with higher levels of work engagement and job satisfaction and lower levels of emotional exhaustion. Multilevel growth level analysis revealed that amount of time in training significantly increased mindfulness and it, in turn, increased work engagement and job satisfaction and decreased emotional exhaustion. They also report that the rate of growth in mindfulness significantly slowed over the 8 weeks of training.

 

Previous research has demonstrated that mindfulness training improves work engagement and job satisfaction and reduces emotional exhaustion. The contribution of the present study was to document the growth of mindfulness and its impact on work over 8 weeks of online training. Not surprisingly, the growth in mindfulness was relatively rapid at the beginning of training and slower toward the end of the 8 weeks of training. So, further training produces diminishing returns.

 

The mindfulness training was online and thus did not interrupt the participants’ work. This is important as employers are reluctant to take time away from work for mindfulness training. Having it occur online allows the participants to schedule it at their own convenience without disrupting work and also greatly increases its availability to large numbers of workers at low cost. Online training, then, is an almost ideal method of training workers in mindfulness and thereby improve their psychological state at work.

 

So, improve psychological health at work with mindfulness.

 

To be mindful at work means to be consciously present in what you’re doing, while you’re doing it, as well as managing your mental and emotional state.” – Shamash Alidina

 

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

 

Lu Y, Remond J, Bunting M, Ilies R, Tripathi N and Narayanan J (2021) An App-Based Workplace Mindfulness Intervention, and Its Effects Over Time. Front. Psychol. 12:615137. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.615137

 

We investigated the week-to-week effects of a mindfulness intervention on emotional exhaustion, work engagement, and job satisfaction in a field study involving 218 participants who participated and reported their weekly outcomes during the 8-week program. To examine how mindfulness impacted work outcomes, we used intraindividual modeling of the 8-week data. Mindfulness increased over time, and time also had indirect effects on emotional exhaustion, work engagement, and job satisfaction, through mindfulness. Supplementary growth curve analyses on the improvement of mindfulness over time showed a slight decrease in the positive effect of time on mindfulness.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.615137/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1616048_69_Psycho_20210504_arts_A

 

Improve Psychological Well-Being and Emotion Regulation with a Mindfulness Smartphone App

Improve Psychological Well-Being and Emotion Regulation with a Mindfulness Smartphone App

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

We know that the effect of this pandemic on people’s mental health is huge. . . Through the app . . You are led through a multi-sensory process of imagining yourself in a particular situation. . . Those techniques can in fact help people to reduce depression, reduce anxiety, and improve their mood,” – Judith Gordon

 

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

 

In today’s Research News article “A Self-Compassion and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Mobile Intervention (Serene) for Depression, Anxiety, and Stress: Promoting Adaptive Emotional Regulation and Wisdom.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.648087/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1616048_69_Psycho_20210504_arts_A ) Al-Refae and colleagues recruited adults and assigned them to a wait-list control condition or to receive a 4-week program of mindfulness, self-compassion, and cognitive restructuring training delivered by a smartphone app (Serene). They were measured before and after training for depression, stress, anxiety, self-compassion, wisdom, psychological well-being, and subjective well-being.

 

They found that in comparison to the wait-list group, after the 4-weeks of training the participants that received the mindfulness training had significant decreases in depression, anxiety, perceived stress self-judgement, isolation, and overidentification and significant increases in self-compassion, common humanity, mindfulness, and emotion regulation. In other words, the participants had improvements in psychological health and well-being.

 

Previous research has established that mindfulness training decreases depression, anxiety, perceived stress, and self-judgement and increases self-compassion, and emotion regulation. The contribution of the present study was demonstrating that mindfulness training with a smartphone app was also capable of producing these same benefits. This improves the scalability and convenience of training and reduces the cost, expanding the number of people who can benefit from mindfulness training.

 

So, improve psychological well-being and emotion regulation with a mindfulness smartphone app.

 

The Serene app features support videos that introduce users to meditation and other safe activities. . . It offers more than 250 activities and provides link to . . . mental-health support services, including crisis centers. This app is for all ages and is meant to help track your emotions and mood swings.” – Fontaine Glenn

 

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

 

Al-Refae M, Al-Refae A, Munroe M, Sardella NA and Ferrari M (2021) A Self-Compassion and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Mobile Intervention (Serene) for Depression, Anxiety, and Stress: Promoting Adaptive Emotional Regulation and Wisdom. Front. Psychol. 12:648087. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.648087

 

Introduction: Many individuals and families are currently experiencing a high level of COVID-19-related stress and are struggling to find helpful coping mechanisms. Mindfulness-based interventions are becoming an increasingly popular treatment for individuals experiencing depression and chronic levels of stress. The app (Serene) draws from scholarly evidence on the efficacy of mindfulness meditations and builds on the pre-existing apps by incorporating techniques that are used in some therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.

Methods: Participants were randomly assigned to a 4-week mindfulness and self-compassion-based cognitive smartphone intervention (Serene) or a wait-list control group. They were instructed to engage in self-compassion and mindfulness practices and a cognitive restructuring task. They also completed measures that evaluated their levels of depression, stress, anxiety, self-compassion, wisdom, psychological well-being, and subjective well-being. The intervention group was also instructed to track their weekly engagement with the app. Standardized effect sizes for between-group differences were calculated using Cohen’s d for complete case analyses.

Results: Complete case analyses from baseline to the end of this randomized controlled trial demonstrated significant moderate between-group differences for depressive symptoms (d = −0.43) and decisiveness (d = 0.34). Moderate between-group differences were also found for self-compassion (d = 0.6) such that significant improvements in self-kindness, common humanity, mindfulness and decreases in self-judgement, isolation, and overidentification were observed. A small between-group difference was found for emotional regulation (d = 0.28). Moreover, a significant moderate within-group decrease in stress (d = −0.52) and anxiety symptoms (d = −0.47) was also observed in the intervention group.

Conclusions: Serene is an effective intervention that promotes increased levels of self-compassion and emotional regulation. Engaging with Serene may help reduce depressive symptoms through mindfulness, self-compassion, and cognitive restructuring which help reduce overidentification with one’s negative emotions. As individuals rebalance their thinking through cognitive restructuring, they can identify the varying stressors in their life, develop action plans and engage in adaptive coping strategies to address them. Serene may promote greater self-understanding which may provide one with a more balanced perspective on their current upsetting situations to positively transform their challenges during the pandemic.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.648087/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1616048_69_Psycho_20210504_arts_A

 

Relieve Maternal Perinatal Depression with Smartphone-Based Mindfulness Training

Relieve Maternal Perinatal Depression with Smartphone-Based Mindfulness Training

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“the ideal treatment plan for perinatal depression and anxiety often includes mindfulness techniques.” – Edith Gettes

 

The period of pregnancy is a time of intense physiological and psychological change. Anxiety, depression, and fear are quite common during pregnancy. More than 20 percent of pregnant women have an anxiety disorder, depressive symptoms, or both during pregnancy. The psychological health of pregnant women has consequences for fetal development, birthing, and consequently, child outcomes. Depression during pregnancy is associated with premature delivery and low birth weight.

 

In addition, immediately after birth it is common for the mother to experience mood swings including what has been termed “baby blues,” a sadness that may last for as much as a couple of weeks. But some women experience a more intense and long-lasting negative mood called postpartum depression. This occurs usually 4-6 weeks after birth in about 15% of births; about 600,000 women in the U.S. every year. For 50% of the women the depression lasts for about a year while about 30% are still depressed 3 years later.

 

Hence, it is clear that there is a need for methods to treat depression, and anxiety during the perinatal period. Since the fetus can be negatively impacted by drugs, it would be preferable to find a treatment that did not require drugs. Mindfulness training has been shown to improve anxiety and depression normally and to relieve maternal anxiety and depression during pregnancy and to relieve postpartum depression.

 

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 and their ability to relieve depression during the perinatal period.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effectiveness of Smartphone-Based Mindfulness Training on Maternal Perinatal Depression: Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7875700/ ) Sun and colleagues recruited pregnant women who were diagnosed with depression and randomly assigned them to receive 8-weeks of either health consultation or mindfulness training. Mindfulness training occurred in 8 weekly sessions delivered on a smartphone app. The training was Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) modified for pregnant women. Health consultation also occurred via smartphone app. They were measured before during, and after training, 10 weeks later, and 6-months after delivery for depression, anxiety symptoms, perceived stress, positive and negative emotions, sleep-related problems, fatigue, memory, and fear of childbirth. There was a 52% completion rate for the trainings.

 

They found that after training the mindfulness group had significantly lower levels of depression and anxiety and significantly higher levels of positive emotions but these were not maintained 6 months after delivery. The mindfulness group also had a significantly higher rate of depression symptom remission. Hence the smartphone-based mindfulness training improved the psychological health of the pregnant women.

 

These findings replicate previous findings that mindfulness training reduces anxiety and depression in non-pregnant individuals and relieves maternal anxiety and depression during pregnancy. The strength of the current study was that these effects were produced by mindfulness training with a smartphone app. This is important as this training is highly scalable at minimal cost and so can be made available to virtually all pregnant women who want it. Hence, it may be able to reduce the psychological misery that occurs in many women during the perinatal period, making pregnancy a happier time for the women and produce better outcoms for the infant.

 

So, relieve maternal perinatal depression with smartphone-based mindfulness training.

 

the risk of having moderate depressive symptoms was reduced by nearly 90% in participants receiving the MMT [Mindfulness] intervention.” – Ruta Nonacs

 

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

 

Sun, Y., Li, Y., Wang, J., Chen, Q., Bazzano, A. N., & Cao, F. (2021). Effectiveness of Smartphone-Based Mindfulness Training on Maternal Perinatal Depression: Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of medical Internet research, 23(1), e23410. https://doi.org/10.2196/23410

 

Abstract

Background

Despite potential for benefit, mindfulness remains an emergent area in perinatal mental health care, and evidence of smartphone-based mindfulness training for perinatal depression is especially limited.

Objective

The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a smartphone-based mindfulness training intervention during pregnancy on perinatal depression and other mental health problems with a randomized controlled design.

Methods

Pregnant adult women who were potentially at risk of perinatal depression were recruited from an obstetrics clinic and randomized to a self-guided 8-week smartphone-based mindfulness training during pregnancy group or attention control group. Mental health indicators were surveyed over five time points through the postpartum period by online self-assessment. The assessor who collected the follow-up data was blind to the assignment. The primary outcome was depression as measured by symptoms, and secondary outcomes were anxiety, stress, affect, sleep, fatigue, memory, and fear.

Results

A total of 168 participants were randomly allocated to the mindfulness training (n=84) or attention control (n=84) group. The overall dropout rate was 34.5%, and 52.4% of the participants completed the intervention. Mindfulness training participants reported significant improvement of depression (group × time interaction χ24=16.2, P=.003) and secondary outcomes (χ24=13.1, P=.01 for anxiety; χ24=8.4, P=.04 for positive affect) compared to attention control group participants. Medium between-group effect sizes were found on depression and positive affect at postintervention, and on anxiety in late pregnancy (Cohen d=0.47, –0.49, and 0.46, respectively). Mindfulness training participants reported a decreased risk of positive depressive symptom (Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale [EPDS] score>9) compared to attention control participants postintervention (odds ratio [OR] 0.391, 95% CI 0.164-0.930) and significantly higher depression symptom remission with different EPDS reduction scores from preintervention to postintervention (OR 3.471-27.986). Parity did not show a significant moderating effect; however, for nulliparous women, mindfulness training participants had significantly improved depression symptoms compared to nulliparous attention control group participants (group × time interaction χ24=18.1, P=.001).

Conclusions

Smartphone-based mindfulness training is an effective intervention in improving maternal perinatal depression for those who are potentially at risk of perinatal depression in early pregnancy. Nulliparous women are a promising subgroup who may benefit more from mindfulness training.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7875700/

Improve Psychological Well-Being in Cancer Survivors with Online Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

Improve Psychological Well-Being in Cancer Survivors with Online Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“both MBCT and eMBCT interventions reduced fear of cancer recurrence and rumination, and increased mental health–related quality of life, mindfulness skills, and positive mental health.” – Félix Compen

 

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. 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.

 

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 disturbancefear, and anxiety and depressionMindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a well-established therapy that involves mindfulness training and cognitive therapy to change maladaptive thought processes. MBCT has been found to be effective in reducing the residual psychological issues that are common in cancer survivors.

 

But the vast majority of the mindfulness training techniques require a trained therapist. This results in costs that many parents can’t afford. In addition, the participants must be available to attend multiple sessions at particular scheduled times that may or may not be compatible with parents’ busy schedules and at locations that may not be convenient. As an alternative, mindfulness trainings over the internet have been developed. These have tremendous advantages in making training schedules much more flexible, and eliminating the need to go repeatedly to specific locations. So, it makes sense to explore the effectiveness of internet-based Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (iMBCT) in treating the psychological symptoms of cancer survivors.

 

In today’s Research News article “Internet-delivered Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for anxiety and depression in cancer survivors: Predictors of treatment response.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7843453/ )  Nissen and colleagues recruited adult breast and prostrate cancer survivors and randomly assigned them to a wait-list control condition or to receive internet-based Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (iMBCT); consisting of 8 1-week modules. They were measured before and after training and 6 months later for mindfulness, self-compassion, anxiety, depression, and therapy related working reliance.

 

They found that at baseline the higher the levels of self-compassion and the mindfulness facets of describing, non-judging, and acting with awareness, the lower the levels of anxiety and depression. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (iMBCT) resulted in significant decreases in anxiety and depression. The amount of decrease in anxiety was related to the baseline depression level with the most depressed participants having the greatest reductions, while the amount of decrease in depression was related to the baseline self-compassion level with the participants with the highest levels of self-compassion having the greatest reductions. Neither mindfulness, therapy related working reliance, nor were related to the improvements.

 

These are interesting results that replicate previous findings of mindfulness training producing improvements in depression and anxiety in cancer patients, and that mindfulness training over the internet is effective in improving cancer patients. The primary intent of the research, though, was to examine predictors of patient responsiveness to the therapy. The results here were disappointing as only baseline self-compassion was related to depression improvements and only baseline depression was related to improvements in anxiety. Regardless, it is clear that mindfulness training can be successfully implemented over the internet and it is effective in improving the levels of anxiety and depression in cancer survivors.

 

So, improve psychological well-being in cancer survivors with online Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (iMBCT).

 

I love being more mindful. Instead of waiting for the flowers to come out, I go out in the garden and see what is happening now. I am happier. Things still get difficult at times and when they do, I do my practice.” – MBCT Patient

 

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

 

Nissen, E. R., Zachariae, R., O’Connor, M., Kaldo, V., Jørgensen, C. R., Højris, I., Borre, M., & Mehlsen, M. (2021). Internet-delivered Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for anxiety and depression in cancer survivors: Predictors of treatment response. Internet interventions, 23, 100365. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.invent.2021.100365

 

Abstract

Background

The present study investigates possible predictors of treatment response in an Internet-delivered Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (iMBCT) intervention with therapist support. This iMBCT program, a fully online delivered intervention with asynchronous therapist support, has previously been shown to be efficacious in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression in women treated for breast cancer and men treated for prostate cancer.

Methods

Eighty-two breast- and prostate cancer survivors experiencing psychological distress received 8 weeks of therapist-guided iMBCT. Primary outcomes were improvement in anxiety and depression scores from baseline to post-treatment and from baseline to six-months follow-up. Clinical predictors included levels of depression and anxiety at the time of screening and at baseline, as well as time since diagnosis. Demographic predictors included age and educational level. Therapy-related predictors included working alliance, self-compassion, and five facets of mindfulness. Mixed Linear Models were employed to test the prediction effects over time.

Results

Higher levels of baseline depression were associated with increased treatment response in anxiety at post-treatment, and lower levels of self-compassion were associated with increased treatment response in depression at post-treatment. None of the proposed predictors significantly predicted treatment response at six-months follow-up.

Conclusion

The findings suggest that iMBCT can be provided for cancer survivors regardless of their age, educational level, and time since diagnosis (up to five years) and that therapeutic alliance is not crucial for treatment response. We did not identify characteristics predicting treatment response, although many factors were tested. Still, other characteristics may be predictors, and given the relatively small sample size and a large number of statistical tests, the results should be interpreted with caution.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7843453/

 

Improve Forgiveness, Character, and Satisfaction with Life with a Smartphone Mindfulness App

Improve Forgiveness, Character, and Satisfaction with Life with a Smartphone Mindfulness App

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness can promote forgiveness. We have known for many years that mindfulness helps people cope with stress and increases their wellbeing. These studies suggest that mindfulness can also enhance the quality of our relationships with other people by affecting how forgiving we are.” – Johan Karremans

 

Mindfulness training has been shown through extensive research to be effective in improving physical and psychological health and particularly with reducing the physical and psychological reactions to stress and increasing resilience in the face of stress. So, mindfulness training may be particularly effective in promoting well-being even during a stressful time like the lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

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

 

In today’s Research News article “Influence on Forgiveness, Character Strengths and Satisfaction with Life of a Short Mindfulness Intervention via a Spanish Smartphone Application.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7832842/ )  Pizarro-Ruiz and colleagues recruited college students during Covid-19 confinement and randomly assigned them to perform a smartphone app guided practice of either mindfulness (Aire Fresco) or mental exercises (Luminosity) once a day for 14 days. They were measured before and after training for mindfulness, positive and negative emotions, forgiveness, satisfaction with life, and 3 strengths, temperance, intellectual, and interpersonal. A strength of the study was that the control condition was highly similar to the experimental condition. This makes the results and conclusions resistant to confounding.

 

They found that at baseline the higher the levels of mindfulness the higher the levels of positive emotions, forgiveness, satisfaction with life, and temperance, and the lower the levels of negative emotions. In comparison to baseline and the mental exercise control group, after the interventions the mindfulness group had significantly greater decreases in negative emotions and significantly greater increases in forgiveness, intellectual and interpersonal strength and mindfulness, including the observe, describe, act with awareness, and non-judgment facets.

 

The findings are similar to previous findings that mindfulness training improves emotions, satisfaction with life, forgiveness and intellectual and interpersonal strength. This study, however, demonstrates that training mindfulness with a smartphone app is effective in improving the mood and mental health of college students locked down during a pandemic. Since, during a pandemic lockdown access to trained therapists is extremely limited, employing an smartphone app is one of the few available methods to receive mindfulness training. The results suggest that mindfulness smartphone apps should be recommended to help counteract the deleterious effects of a stressful and isolating situation.

 

So, improve forgiveness, character, and satisfaction with life with a smartphone mindfulness app.

 

mindfulness may meet the defining characteristics of character strength, it is really “an attentional stance, or a way of relating to one’s present-moment experience, that probably cultivates a wide range of strengths and virtues” – Karrie Shogren

 

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

 

Pizarro-Ruiz, J. P., Ordóñez-Camblor, N., Del-Líbano, M., & Escolar-LLamazares, M. C. (2021). Influence on Forgiveness, Character Strengths and Satisfaction with Life of a Short Mindfulness Intervention via a Spanish Smartphone Application. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(2), 802. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020802

 

Abstract

Mindfulness-based interventions (MBI) are a recognized effective psychological practice characterized by attention control, awareness, acceptance, non-reactivity, and non-judgmental thinking obtained through the practice of meditation. They have been shown to be useful in reducing stress and enhancing well-being in different contexts. In this research, the effectiveness of an MBI was evaluated on variables that can promote successful job performance such as mindfulness trait, positive and negative affect, forgiveness, personality strengths and satisfaction with life. The intervention was carried out through a smartphone application called “Aire Fresco” (Fresh Air) during 14 days in the middle of the quarantine produced by the Covid-19 pandemic. The study sample was composed of 164 Spanish people who were distributed in two groups: control group and experimental group, which were evaluated before and after the intervention. The MANCOVA performed showed an overall positive effect of the intervention on the variables evaluated. The different ANCOVAs carried out showed that the intervention was beneficial in increasing mindfulness trait, reducing negative affect or increasing life satisfaction, among others. Our study is, as far as we know, the first to demonstrate the effectiveness of a brief intervention in mindfulness conducted using a smartphone application in Spanish.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7832842/

 

Improve Sleep in People with Sleep Disturbance with a Meditation App

Improve Sleep in People with Sleep Disturbance with a Meditation App

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Sufficient sleep heals our bodies and minds, but for many reasons sleep doesn’t always come easily. Mindfulness practices and habits can help us fall asleep and stay asleep.” – Mindful

 

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 stress 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.

 

Mindfulness-based practices have been reported to improve sleep amount and quality and help with insomnia. The vast majority of the mindfulness training techniques, however, require a trained therapist. This results in costs that many patients can’t afford. In addition, the participants must be available to attend multiple sessions at particular scheduled times that may or may not be compatible with their busy schedules and at locations that may not be convenient. As an alternative, 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 improving sleep in patients with sleep disturbance.

 

In today’s Research News article “Testing a mindfulness meditation mobile app for the treatment of sleep-related symptoms in adults with sleep disturbance: A randomized controlled trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7790277/ ) Huberty and colleagues recruited online, adults with moderate sleep disorder, insomnia, and randomly assigned them to a wait-list control condition or to use the “Calm” meditation app for 10 minutes per day for 8 weeks. They were measured before, during, and after for fatigue, daytime sleepiness, pre-sleep arousal, sleep quality, and use of the app.

 

They found that there was high adherence to app use, with an average of 6.36 uses per week that remained steady over the 8-week intervention period. They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control group, the group that used the “Calm” app had greater reductions in fatigue, daytime sleepiness, and cognitive and somatic pre-sleep arousal. In addition, the group that used the “Calm” app had significant improvements in sleep quality, including falling asleep faster and sleeping longer.

 

The results of this study suggest that using the “Calm” app improves the sleep of individuals with insomnia and also reduces daytime fatigue and sleepiness, and pre-sleep arousal. The results of this study suggest that using the “Calm” app improves the sleep of individuals with insomnia and also reduces daytime fatigue and sleepiness, and pre-sleep arousal. The results are not surprising as mindfulness training has been shown repeatedly to improve sleep and reduce fatigue. But demonstrating these improvements with an app that is widely available, inexpensive, and convenient to use, is important as the app makes treatment more readily available for a wider group of patients. Hence, the Calm” app would seem to be an excellent treatment for the moderate sleep disorder of insomnia.

 

So, improve sleep in people with sleep disturbance with a meditation app.

 

The idea is to create a reflex to more easily bring forth a sense of relaxation. That way, it’s easier to evoke the relaxation response at night when you can’t sleep. In fact, the relaxation response is so, well, relaxing that your daytime practice should be done sitting up or moving (as in yoga or tai chi) so as to avoid nodding off.” – Julie Corliss

 

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

 

Huberty, J. L., Green, J., Puzia, M. E., Larkey, L., Laird, B., Vranceanu, A. M., Vlisides-Henry, R., & Irwin, M. R. (2021). Testing a mindfulness meditation mobile app for the treatment of sleep-related symptoms in adults with sleep disturbance: A randomized controlled trial. PloS one, 16(1), e0244717. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0244717

 

Abstract

The objective of this randomized controlled trial was to test whether a commercially available, mindfulness meditation mobile app, (i.e., Calm app), was effective in reducing fatigue (primary outcome), pre-sleep arousal, and daytime sleepiness (secondary outcomes) in adults with sleep disturbance (Insomnia Severity Index Score >10) as compared to a wait-list control group. Associations between the use of the Calm app (i.e., adherence to the intervention) and changes in sleep quality was also explored in the intervention group only. Adults with sleep disturbance were recruited (N = 640). Eligible and consenting participants (N = 263) were randomly assigned to the intervention (n = 124) or a wait-list control (n = 139) group. Intervention participants were asked to meditate using the Calm app ≥10 minutes/day for eight weeks. Fatigue, daytime sleepiness, and pre-sleep arousal were assessed at baseline, mid- (4-weeks) and post-intervention (8-weeks) in both groups, whereas sleep quality was evaluated only in the intervention group. Findings from intent-to-treat analyses suggest the use of the Calm app for eight weeks significantly decreased daytime fatigue (p = .018) as well as daytime sleepiness (p = .003) and cognitive (p = .005) and somatic (p < .001) pre-sleep arousal as compared to the wait-list control group. Within the intervention group, use of the Calm app was associated with improvements in sleep quality (p < .001). This randomized controlled trial demonstrates that the Calm app can be used to treat fatigue, daytime sleepiness, and pre-sleep arousal in adults with sleep disturbance. Given that the Calm app is affordable and widely accessible, these data have implications for community level dissemination of a mobile app to improve sleep-related symptoms associated with sleep disturbance.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7790277/