Improve Athletes’ Psychological Well-Being and Flow with Mindfulness

Improve Athletes’ Psychological Well-Being and Flow with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“You have to be able to center yourself, to let all of your emotions go. Don’t forget that you play with your soul as well as your body.” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

 

Athletic performance requires the harmony of mind and body. Excellence is in part physical and in part psychological. That is why an entire profession of sports psychology has developed. “In sport psychology, competitive athletes are taught psychological strategies to better cope with a number of demanding challenges related to psychological functioning.” They use a number of techniques to enhance performance including mindfulness training. It has been shown to improve attention and concentration and emotion regulation and reduces anxiety and worry and rumination, and the physiological and psychological responses to stress. As a result, mindfulness training has been employed by athletes and even by entire teams to enhance their performance.

 

Flow refers to a state of mind that is characterized by a complete absorption with the task at hand, often resulting in enhanced skilled performance. The flow state underlies the athletes’ feelings and thoughts when they recall the best performances of their careers. It is obvious that the notion of flow and mindfulness have great similarity. There is little known, however, about the relationship between mindfulness and flow in athletes.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of “Mindfulness Acceptance Insight Commitment” Training on Flow State and Mental Health of College Swimmers: A Randomized Controlled Experimental Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.799103/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1896364_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20220705_arts_A&id_mc=312338674&utm_source=sfmc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Article+Alerts+V4.1-Frontiers&utm_term=%%%3d+++++++REDIRECTTO(+++++CONCAT(%27http%3a%2f%2fjournal.frontiersin.org%2farticle%2f%27%2c+TreatAsContent(field(%40article%2c+%27DOI__c%27))%2c+%27%2ffull%3futm_source%3dF-AAE%26utm_medium%3dEMLF%26utm_campaign%3dMRK_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(JobID)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(%40FieldId)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(Substring(Replace(Field(%40field%2c+%27Name%27)%2c+%27+%27% ) Ning and colleagues recruited college swimming athletes and randomly assigned them to either no-treatment or to receive 7 weekly 90 minute mindfulness acceptance insight commitment training sessions, They were measured before and after training and 10 weeks late for mindfulness, flow, competitive anxiety, mood, and training and competition satisfaction.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the no-treatment control, the swimmers who received mindfulness training had significant increases in mindfulness and flow and significantly lower levels of anxiety and depression that were maintained 10 weeks later. Increased levels of flow have been associated with better athletic performance. This suggests that the mindfulness training may produce better swimming performance.

 

So, mindfulness improves athletes’ psychological well-being and flow.

 

“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside of them; a desire, a dream, a vision.” Muhammad Ali

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Ning J-h, Hao Q-w and Huang D-c (2022) Effects of “Mindfulness Acceptance Insight Commitment” Training on Flow State and Mental Health of College Swimmers: A Randomized Controlled Experimental Study. Front. Psychol. 13:799103. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.799103

 

This research explores the intervention effect of the mindfulness acceptance insight commitment (MAIC) training program on the mindfulness level, flow state, and mental health of college swimmers. A sample of 47 college swimmers from a regular university was recruited and randomly divided into two groups before the intervention. Independent variables between groups are psychological training mode (MAIC training/no training), and the independent variable within group was time (pre-test, post-test, and continuity test). The dependent variables are mindfulness level, flow state, and mental health (anxiety, depression, training, and competition satisfaction). Results show that after the intervention of MAIC training, the mindfulness level of athletes’ flow state has been significantly improved, whereas anxiety and depression significantly decreased. In addition, the satisfaction with training and competition significantly improved. In the continuous stage after the intervention, the mindfulness level, flow state, and mental health of athletes are still significantly higher than those in the pre-test. The comparison of the post-test and continuity test show no significant differences in the mindfulness level, flow state, depression, and training and competition satisfaction of athletes. Still, the anxiety level shows an upward trend with a significant difference. This study demonstrates that the MAIC mindfulness training program can significantly improve the mindfulness level, flow state, anxiety, depression, and training and competition satisfaction of college swimmers with a good continuity effect. Thus, the athletes’ sports experience can be improved, and good psychological benefits can be attained.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.799103/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1896364_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20220705_arts_A&id_mc=312338674&utm_source=sfmc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Article+Alerts+V4.1-Frontiers&utm_term=%%%3d+++++++REDIRECTTO(+++++CONCAT(%27http%3a%2f%2fjournal.frontiersin.org%2farticle%2f%27%2c+TreatAsContent(field(%40article%2c+%27DOI__c%27))%2c+%27%2ffull%3futm_source%3dF-AAE%26utm_medium%3dEMLF%26utm_campaign%3dMRK_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(JobID)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(%40FieldId)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(Substring(Replace(Field(%40field%2c+%27Name%27)%2c+%27+%27%

 

Improve Satisfaction with Life with Mindfulness

Improve Satisfaction with Life with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” – Thích Nhat Hanh.

 

The primary focus of the majority of research on mindfulness has been on its ability to treat mental illness and negative emotional states such as anxiety, depression, and perceived stress. As such, it has been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. But mindfulness training has also been shown to improve health and well-being in healthy individuals. So, it makes sense to study the contribution of mindfulness to satisfaction wit life.

 

In today’s Research News article “How Mindfulness Affects Life Satisfaction: Based on the Mindfulness-to-Meaning Theory.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.887940/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1896364_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20220705_arts_A&id_mc=312338674&utm_source=sfmc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Article+Alerts+V4.1-Frontiers&utm_term=%%%3d++++++REDIRECTTO(+++++CONCAT(%27http%3a%2f%2fjournal.frontiersin.org%2farticle%2f%27%2c+TreatAsContent(field(%40article%2c+%27DOI__c%27))%2c+%27%2ffull%3futm_source%3dF-AAE%26utm_medium%3dEMLF%26utm_campaign%3dMRK_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(JobID)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(%40FieldId)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(Substring(Replace(Field(%40field%2c+%27Name%27)%2c+%27+%27%2c ) Li and colleagues recruited college students and had the complete measures of mindfulness, satisfaction with life, positive and negative emotions, and self-evaluation.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the higher the levels of satisfaction with life, positive emotions, and self-evaluation and the lower the levels of negative emotions. They also found that life satisfaction was positively related to positive emotions, and self-evaluation and the negatively associated with negative emotions. Structural modelling revealed that mindfulness was related to satisfaction with life by being related to higher core self-evaluations and lower negative emotions that were in turn related to higher satisfaction with life.

 

These findings are correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. But it is clear that college student satisfaction with life is positively related to their degree of mindfulness in part through mindfulness’ associations with their valuations of their selves and abilities and their emotions.

 

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” – The Buddha

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Li X, Ma L and Li Q (2022) How Mindfulness Affects Life Satisfaction: Based on the Mindfulness-to-Meaning Theory. Front. Psychol. 13:887940. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.887940

 

Life satisfaction is the general evaluation of the individual’s life, which is of great significance to achieving a better life. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the mediating effect of core self-evaluation, positive affect, and negative affect in the relationship between trait mindfulness and life satisfaction based on the Mindfulness-to-Meaning theory. 991 Chinese undergraduates (692 females, 299 males) completed the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale, the Core Self-Evaluations Scale, the Positive Affect and Negative Affect Scale, and the Satisfaction with Life Scale. The results indicated that core self-evaluation and negative affect mediated the effect of trait mindfulness on life satisfaction, consistent with the Mindfulness-to-Meaning theory. Furthermore, trait mindfulness affected life satisfaction by the mediation paths of “core self-evaluation→positive affect” and “core self-evaluation→negative affect,” which uncovered the underlying mechanism of promoting life satisfaction by combining the point of view of cognition (core self-evaluation) and emotion (positive and negative affect). The present study not only contributes to a better theoretical understanding of how trait mindfulness links to life satisfaction but also provides valuable guidance for enhancing life satisfaction.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.887940/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1896364_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20220705_arts_A&id_mc=312338674&utm_source=sfmc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Article+Alerts+V4.1-Frontiers&utm_term=%%%3d++++++REDIRECTTO(+++++CONCAT(%27http%3a%2f%2fjournal.frontiersin.org%2farticle%2f%27%2c+TreatAsContent(field(%40article%2c+%27DOI__c%27))%2c+%27%2ffull%3futm_source%3dF-AAE%26utm_medium%3dEMLF%26utm_campaign%3dMRK_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(JobID)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(%40FieldId)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(Substring(Replace(Field(%40field%2c+%27Name%27)%2c+%27+%27%2c

 

Mindfulness Improves the Psychological Well-Being of Lung Cancer Patients

Mindfulness Improves the Psychological Well-Being of Lung Cancer Patients

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

You can be a victim of cancer, or a survivor of cancer. It’s a mindset.” — Dave Pelzer

 

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. But cancer diagnosis is not necessarily a death sentence. Over half of the people diagnosed with cancer are still alive 10 years later and this number is rapidly increasing. But surviving cancer carries with it a number of problems. Anxiety, depression, fatigue and insomnia are common symptoms in the aftermath of surviving breast cancer. These symptoms markedly reduce the quality of life of the patients.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with general cancer recovery. Mindfulness practices have been shown to improve the residual symptoms in cancer survivors. Yoga is both an exercise and a mindfulness practice that has also been shown to be helpful with the residual symptoms in cancer survivors, the psychological and physical ability to deal with cancer treatment and improves sleep. The research findings have been accumulating. So, it makes sense to take a look at what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Impact of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on Psychological Outcomes and Quality of Life in Patients With Lung Cancer: A Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.901247/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1896364_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20220705_arts_A&id_mc=312338674&utm_source=sfmc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Article+Alerts+V4.1-Frontiers&utm_term=%%%3d++++++REDIRECTTO(+++++CONCAT(%27http%3a%2f%2fjournal.frontiersin.org%2farticle%2f%27%2c+TreatAsContent(field(%40article%2c+%27DOI__c%27))%2c+%27%2ffull%3futm_source%3dF-AAE%26utm_medium%3dEMLF%26utm_campaign%3dMRK_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(JobID)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(%40FieldId)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(Substring(Replace(Field(%40field%2c+%27Name%27)%2c+%27+%27%2c ) Tian and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the of the published research studies of the effectiveness of a mindfulness practice, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on the psychological well-being of lung cancer survivors. MBSR consists of meditation, yoga, body scan, and group discussion.

 

They identified 17 published research studies that included a total of 1680 participants. They report that the published research found that the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) produced a significant reduction in cancer related fatigue, anxiety, depression, and psychological distress, and significantly increased mindfulness, self-efficacy, and sleep quality.

 

Hence, the research to date supports the use of mindfulness training to improve the psychological well-being of lung cancer survivors.

 

Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” – Unknown

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Tian X, Yi L-J, Liang C-S-S, Gu L, Peng C, Chen G-H and Jiménez-Herrera MF (2022) The Impact of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on Psychological Outcomes and Quality of Life in Patients With Lung Cancer: A Meta-Analysis. Front. Psychol. 13:901247. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.901247

 

Objective: The impact of the mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program on psychological outcomes and quality of life (QoL) in lung cancer patients remains unclear. This meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of the MBSR program on psychological states and QoL in lung cancer patients.

Methods: Eligible studies published before November 2021 were systematically searched from PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, PsycINFO, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), and Wanfang databases. The risk of bias in eligible studies was assessed using the Cochrane tool. Psychological variables and QoL were evaluated as outcomes. We used the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) system to grade the levels of evidence. Statistical analysis was conducted using RevMan 5.4 and STATA 14.0.

Results: A total of 17 studies involving 1,680 patients were included for meta-analysis eventually. MBSR program significantly relieved cancer-related fatigue (standard mean difference [SMD], −1.26; 95% confidence interval [CI], −1.69 to −0.82; moderate evidence) and negative psychological states (SMD, −1.35; 95% CI, −1.69 to −1.02; low evidence), enhanced positive psychological states (SMD, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.56–1.27; moderate evidence), and improved quality of sleep (MD, −2.79; 95% CI, −3.03 to −2.56; high evidence). Evidence on MBSR programs’ overall treatment effect for QoL revealed a trend toward statistical significance (p = 0.06, low evidence).

Conclusion: Based on our findings, the MBSR program shows positive effects on psychological states in lung cancer patients. This approach should be recommended as a part of the rehabilitation program for lung cancer patients.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.901247/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1896364_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20220705_arts_A&id_mc=312338674&utm_source=sfmc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Article+Alerts+V4.1-Frontiers&utm_term=%%%3d++++++REDIRECTTO(+++++CONCAT(%27http%3a%2f%2fjournal.frontiersin.org%2farticle%2f%27%2c+TreatAsContent(field(%40article%2c+%27DOI__c%27))%2c+%27%2ffull%3futm_source%3dF-AAE%26utm_medium%3dEMLF%26utm_campaign%3dMRK_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(JobID)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(%40FieldId)%2c+%27_%27%2c+TreatAsContent(Substring(Replace(Field(%40field%2c+%27Name%27)%2c+%27+%27%2c

 

Improve Female Sexual Dysfunction with Mindfulness

Improve Female Sexual Dysfunction with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

No amount of talking about sex is going to diminish the mystery of the experience of it. Sex is Sacred, Not Secret.” ― Christine Laplante

 

Sex is a very important aspect of life. Problems with sex are very common and have negative consequences for relationships. While research suggests that sexual dysfunction is common, it is a topic that many people are hesitant or embarrassed to discuss. Women suffer from sexual dysfunction more than men with 43% of women and 31% of men reporting some degree of difficulty. Hence, sex has major impacts on people’s lives and relationships. Greater research attention to sexual activity and sexual satisfaction and the well-being of the individual is warranted.

 

Mindfulness trainings have been found to improve relationships and to be useful in treating sexual problems.  In today’s Research News article “Behavioral Therapies for Treating Female Sexual Dysfunctions: A State-of-the-Art Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9144766/ ) Mestre-Bach and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies on the effectiveness of psychotherapeutic for the treatment of female sexual dysfunction disorders including female orgasmic disorder, female sexual interest/arousal disorder, and genito-pelvic pain/penetration disorder.

 

They report that the published research demonstrate that psychotherapeutic treatments are effective for female sexual dysfunctions. But Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) have been shown to be especially effective. Women with these disorders appear to helped by mindfulness and cognitive therapy allowing for more satisfying sexual relations.

 

We are the embodiment of the Love behind and beyond lovemaking.” – Michael Mirdad

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Mestre-Bach G, Blycker GR, Potenza MN. Behavioral Therapies for Treating Female Sexual Dysfunctions: A State-of-the-Art Review. J Clin Med. 2022 May 16;11(10):2794. doi: 10.3390/jcm11102794. PMID: 35628920; PMCID: PMC9144766.

 

Abstract

Many possible factors impact sexual wellbeing for women across the lifespan, and holistic approaches are being utilized to promote health and to address sexual concerns. Female sexual dysfunction disorders, including female orgasmic disorder, female sexual interest/arousal disorder and genito-pelvic pain/penetration disorder, negatively impact quality of life for many women. To reduce distress and improve sexual functioning, numerous behavioral therapies have been tested to date. Here, we present a state-of-the-art review of behavioral therapies for female sexual dysfunction disorders, focusing on empirically validated approaches. Multiple psychotherapies have varying degrees of support, with cognitive-behavioral and mindfulness-based therapies arguably having the most empirical support. Nonetheless, several limitations exist of the studies conducted to date, including the frequent grouping together of multiple types of sexual dysfunctions in randomized clinical trials. Thus, additional research is needed to advance treatment development for female sexual dysfunctions and to promote female sexual health.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9144766/

 

Reduce Psychological Distress by Increasing Emotion Regulation with Mindfulness

 

Reduce Psychological Distress by Increasing Emotion Regulation with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

When the chest is opening, the mind is opening, and we feel emotionally shiny and stability comes.” – Vanda Scaravelli

 

Mindfulness practice has been shown to improve emotion regulation. Practitioners demonstrate the ability to fully sense and experience emotions but respond to them in more appropriate and adaptive ways. The ability of mindfulness training to improve emotion regulation is thought to be the basis for a wide variety of benefits that mindfulness provides to mental health and the treatment of mental illness especially depression and anxiety disorders. It appears to be able to prevent or relieve psychological distress. So, it is important to examine the mechanisms by which mindfulness improves emotion regulation and psychological well-being.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness as a Protective Factor Against Depression, Anxiety and Psychological Distress During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Emotion Regulation and Insomnia Symptoms as Mediators.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9010863/ ) Mamede and colleagues had adult from the general population answer an online questionnaire regarding their mindfulness, emotion regulation, and psychological states.

 

They report that the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the levels of psychological distress, including anxiety and depression. These were direct effects of mindfulness. But, in addition, mindfulness had indirect effects by improving emotion regulation which in turn decreased psychological distress. Also, the higher the levels of mindfulness, the lower the levels of insomnia which were in turn associated with lower levels of psychological distress.

 

The findings suggest that mindfulness works directly to improve psychological well-being but also indirectly by improving the emotion regulation and reducing insomnia. This clearly suggests that improving mindfulness levels is a good method to improve psychological health.

 

Mindfulness isn’t about escaping negative emotions or painful experiences but learning how to feel peace amidst them.” – Charlotte Hilton Anderson

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Mamede A, Merkelbach I, Noordzij G, Denktas S. Mindfulness as a Protective Factor Against Depression, Anxiety and Psychological Distress During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Emotion Regulation and Insomnia Symptoms as Mediators. Front Psychol. 2022 Apr 1;13:820959. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.820959. PMID: 35432084; PMCID: PMC9010863.

 

Abstract

Objectives

Research has linked mindfulness to improved mental health, yet the mechanisms underlying this relationship are not well understood. This study explored the mediating role of emotion regulation strategies and sleep in the relationship between mindfulness and symptoms of depression, anxiety and psychological distress during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods

As detailed in this study’s pre-registration (osf.io/k9qtw), a cross-sectional research design was used to investigate the impact of mindfulness on mental health and the mediating role of emotion regulation strategies (i.e., cognitive reappraisal, rumination and suppression) and insomnia. A total of 493 participants from the general population answered an online survey and were included in the final analysis. The online survey consisted of the short form of the Five-Facets Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ-SF), the Impact of Event Scale-revised (IES-R), the Generalised Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD-7), the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-8), the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ), the short form of the Rumination Response Scale (RSS-SF), and the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI).

Results

Structural equation modelling revealed that mindfulness was related to lower symptoms of depression, anxiety and psychological distress, both directly and indirectly. Mindfulness was negatively associated with rumination and insomnia. As hypothesised, models revealed that the associations between mindfulness and depression, anxiety and psychological distress were significantly mediated by its negative associations with rumination and insomnia. Our findings also demonstrated that rumination was related to increased insomnia symptoms, which in turn was associated with increased mental health problems, indicating a mediated mediation. Mindfulness was also positively associated with cognitive reappraisal and negatively associated with suppression, which were, respectively, negatively and positively associated with depressive symptoms, and thus functioned as specific mediators of the association between mindfulness and depression.

Conclusion

Our findings suggest that rumination and insomnia operate transdiagnostically as interrelated mediators of the effects of mindfulness on mental health, whereas cognitive reappraisal and suppression function as specific mediators for depression. These insights emphasise the importance of targeting emotion regulation and sleep in mindfulness interventions for improving mental health. Limitations and implications for practice are discussed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9010863/

Reduce Dysfunctional Eating with Mindfulness

Reduce Dysfunctional Eating with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

The more you eat, the less flavor; the less you eat, the more flavor.” ~Chinese Proverb

 

Around 30 million people in the United States of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder: either anorexia nervosa, bulimia, or binge eating disorder. 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 26. Eating disorders are not just troubling psychological problems, they can be deadly, having the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Two example of eating disorders are binge eating disorder (BED) and bulimia nervosa (BN). BED involves eating a large amount of food within a short time-period while experiencing a sense of loss of control over eating. BN involves binge-eating and purging (e.g., self-induced vomiting, compensatory exercise).

 

Eating disorders can be difficult to treat because eating is necessary and cannot be simply stopped as in smoking cessation or abstaining from drugs or alcohol. One must learn to eat appropriately not stop. So, it is important to find methods that can help prevent and treat eating disorders. Contemplative practices, mindfulness, and mindful eating have shown promise for treating eating disorders. It is not known however, if mindfulness training can improve dysregulated eating and in turn reduce the likelihood of eating disorders.

 

In today’s Research News article “Delivering Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Insomnia, Pain, and Dysfunctional Eating Through a Text Messaging App: Three Randomized Controlled Trials Investigating the Effectiveness and Mediating Mechanisms.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9115660/ ) Li and colleagues recruited adults over the internet and provided mindfulness training through text messaging. They measured insomnia, pain, and dysregulated eating.

 

They found that mindfulness training compared to a wait-list control condition resulted in resulted in significant decreases in anxiety, depression, insomnia, pain, and dysregulated eating and these improvements were sustained 3 months after the end of training. They found a wide array of improvements from mindfulness training. Particularly important from the perspective of eating disorders were the findings of reductions in depression and dysregulated eating. This suggests that mindfulness training reduces the likelihood of the development of an eating disorder.

 

When walking, walk. When eating, eat.” rashaski · Zen Proverb

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Li AC, Wong KK, Chio FH, Mak WW, Poon LW. Delivering Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Insomnia, Pain, and Dysfunctional Eating Through a Text Messaging App: Three Randomized Controlled Trials Investigating the Effectiveness and Mediating Mechanisms. J Med Internet Res. 2022 May 3;24(5):e30073. doi: 10.2196/30073. PMID: 35503653; PMCID: PMC9115660.

 

Abstract

Background

Although text messaging has the potential to be the core intervention modality, it is often used as an adjunct only. To improve health and alleviate the distress related to insomnia, pain, and dysregulated eating of people living in urban areas, text messaging–based mindfulness-based interventions were designed and evaluated in 3 randomized controlled trials.

Objective

This study investigated the effectiveness and mediating mechanisms of text messaging–based mindfulness-based interventions for people with distress related to insomnia, pain, or dysregulated eating.

Methods

In these trials, 333, 235, and 351 participants were recruited online and randomized to intervention and wait-list control conditions for insomnia, pain, and dysregulated eating, respectively. Participants experienced 21 days of intervention through WhatsApp Messenger. Participants completed pre-, post-, 1-month follow-up, and 3-month follow-up self-report questionnaires online. The retention rates at postmeasurements were 83.2% (139/167), 77.1% (91/118), and 72.9% (129/177) for intervention groups of insomnia, pain, and dysregulated eating, respectively. Participants’ queries were answered by a study technician. Primary outcomes included insomnia severity, presleep arousal, pain intensity, pain acceptance, and eating behaviors. Secondary outcomes included mindfulness, depression, anxiety, mental well-being, and functional impairments. Mindfulness, dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes about sleep, pain catastrophizing, and reactivity to food cues were hypothesized to mediate the relationship between the intervention and outcomes.

Results

For all 3 studies, the intervention groups showed significant improvement on most outcomes at 1-month follow-up compared to their respective wait-list control groups; some primary outcomes (eg, insomnia, pain, dysregulated eating indicators) and secondary outcomes (eg, depression, anxiety symptoms) were sustained at 3-month follow-up. Medium-to-large effect sizes were found at postassessments in most outcomes in all studies. In the intervention for insomnia, mediation analyses showed that dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes about sleep mediated the effect of the intervention on all primary outcomes and most secondary outcomes at both 1-month and 3-month follow-ups, whereas mindfulness mediated the intervention effect on presleep arousal at 1-month and 3-month follow-ups. In the intervention for pain, pain catastrophizing mediated the effect of intervention on pain intensity and functioning at both 1-month and 3-month follow-ups, whereas mindfulness only mediated the effect of intervention on anxiety and depressive symptoms. In the intervention for dysregulated eating, power of food mediated the effect of intervention on both uncontrolled and emotional eating at both 1-month and 3-month follow-ups and mindfulness was found to mediate the effect on depressive symptoms at both 1-month and 3-month follow-ups.

Conclusions

These 3 studies converged and provided empirical evidence that mindfulness-based interventions delivered through text messaging are effective in improving distress related to sleep, pain, and dysregulated eating. Text messaging has the potential to be a core intervention modality to improve various common health outcomes for people living a fast-paced lifestyle.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9115660/

 

Improve Flow, Communication Skills, and Safety Attitudes of Surgeons with Mindfulness

Improve Flow, Communication Skills, and Safety Attitudes of Surgeons with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Once you can communicate with yourself, you’ll be able to communicate outwardly with more clarity. The way in is the way out.”― Thích Nhất Hạnh

 

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. Preventing burnout has to be a priority. Contemplative practices have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress and improve well-being. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, and improving sleep. Mindfulness has also been shown to improve flow, a state of mind that is characterized by a complete absorption with the task at hand, often resulting in enhanced skilled performance. Thus, there is a need to investigate how mindfulness effects doctors’ well-being, performance, and flow.

 

In today’s Research News article “Focused-Attention Meditation Improves Flow, Communication Skills, and Safety Attitudes of Surgeons.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9099589/ ) Chen and colleagues recruited surgeons and randomly assigned them to either a wait-list control condition or to receive 50 minutes of focused meditation practice 3 times per week for 8 weeks. They were measured before and after training for work-related flow, communications skills, safety attitudes, and clinical adverse events.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control group the surgeons who received mindfulness training had significantly increased levels of work-related flow, communications skills, and safety attitudes. Eight weeks after the training the mindfulness trained surgeons had significantly lower levels of clinical adverse events.

 

Hence, mindfulness training significantly improved surgeons’ flow and medical performance. This further suggests that mindfulness training should be recommended for physicians.

 

physicians could use mindfulness as a stand-alone technique prior to engaging in bad news delivery to patients.” – AMRA

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Chen H, Liu C, Zhou F, Cao XY, Wu K, Chen YL, Liu CY, Huang DH, Chiou WK. Focused-Attention Meditation Improves Flow, Communication Skills, and Safety Attitudes of Surgeons. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Apr 27;19(9):5292. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19095292. PMID: 35564687; PMCID: PMC9099589.

 

Abstract

Objective: Patient safety is a worldwide problem and a focus of academic research. Human factors and ergonomics (HFE) is an approach to improving healthcare work systems and processes. From the perspective of the cognitive ergonomics of HFE, the aim of this study is to improve the flow level, communication skills, and safety attitudes of surgeons through focused-attention meditation (FAM) training, thus helping to reduce adverse clinical events. Methods: In total, 140 surgeons were recruited from three hospitals in China and randomly divided into two groups (FAM group and control group). The FAM group received 8 weeks of FAM training, while the control group was on the waiting list and did not receive any interventions. Three scales (WOLF, LCSAS, and SAQ-C) were used to measure the data of three variables (flow, communication skills, and safety attitude), respectively, at two times, before and after the intervention (pre-test and post-test). The incidence of adverse events during the intervention was also collected for both groups. Results: The ANOVA results showed that all three variables had a significant main effect of time and significant interactions between time and group. The independent-sample T-test results showed that the incidence of adverse events during the intervention was significantly lower in the FAM group than in the control group. Conclusions: The intervention of FAM could significantly improve surgeons’ flow levels, communication skills, and safety attitudes, potentially helping to reduce adverse clinical events.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9099589/

 

Reduce Distress with Diabetes with Mindfulness

Reduce Distress with Diabetes with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“I fight a battle against my body every day. One that doesn’t end, with no breaks, and no finish line. I keep fighting even when I’m tired, weak, or when I feel I’ve had enough. I fight for my health in more ways than others understand. Until there is a cure.” – The Diabetic Journal

 

Diabetes is a major health issue. It is estimated that 30 million people in the United States and nearly 600 million people worldwide have diabetes, and the numbers are growing. Diabetes is heavily associated with other diseases such as cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and circulatory problems leading to amputations. As a result, diabetes doubles the risk of death of any cause compared to individuals of the same age without diabetes.

 

Dealing with diabetes causes considerable distress in the patient. Mindfulness practices have been shown to be helpful in managing diabetes. This predicts that mindfulness training should reduce diabetes distress.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of an integrated mindfulness intervention for veterans with diabetes distress: a randomized controlled trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8961140/ ) DiNardo and colleagues studied the effectiveness of online mindfulness raining in reducing diabetes distress in military veterans who were receiving education and support with diabetes self-management.

 

They found that the education and support program produced significant improvements in both the psychological and physical symptoms of diabetes. But the additional mindfulness training produced a greater reduction in diabetes distress and improvements in dietary behaviors. This suggests that mindfulness training should be incorporated into diabetes management programs.

 

Diabetes is like a roller coaster. It has its ups and downs, but it’s your choice to scream or enjoy the ride.” – Melissa Skrocki

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

DiNardo MM, Greco C, Phares AD, Beyer NM, Youk AO, Obrosky DS, Morone NE, Owen JE, Saba SK, Suss SJ, Siminerio L. Effects of an integrated mindfulness intervention for veterans with diabetes distress: a randomized controlled trial. BMJ Open Diabetes Res Care. 2022 Mar;10(2):e002631. doi: 10.1136/bmjdrc-2021-002631. PMID: 35346971; PMCID: PMC8961140.

 

Abstract

Introduction

US military veterans have disproportionately high rates of diabetes and diabetes-related morbidity in addition to being at risk of comorbid stress-related conditions. This study aimed to examine the effects of a technology-supported mindfulness intervention integrated into usual diabetes care and education on psychological and biobehavioral outcomes.

Research design and methods

Veterans (N=132) with type 1 or 2 diabetes participated in this two-arm randomized controlled efficacy trial. The intervention arm received a one-session mindfulness intervention integrated into a pre-existing program of diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES) plus one booster session and 24 weeks of home practice supported by a mobile application. The control arm received one 3-hour comprehensive DSMES group session. The primary outcome was change in diabetes distress (DD). The secondary outcomes were diabetes self-care behaviors, diabetes self-efficacy, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, mindfulness, hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C), body weight, and blood pressure. Assessments were conducted at baseline, 12 weeks, and 24 weeks. Participant satisfaction and engagement in home practice were assessed in the intervention group at 12 and 24 weeks.

Results

Intention-to-treat group by time analyses showed a statistically significant improvement in DD in both arms without significant intervention effect from baseline to 24 weeks. Examination of distal effects on DD between weeks 12 and 24 showed significantly greater improvement in the intervention arm. Improvement in DD was greater when baseline HbA1C was <8.5%. A significant intervention effect was also shown for general dietary behaviors. The secondary outcomes diabetes self-efficacy, PTSD, depression, and HbA1C significantly improved in both arms without significant intervention effects. Mindfulness and body weight were unchanged in either group.

Conclusions

A technology-supported mindfulness intervention integrated with DSMES showed stronger distal effects on DD compared with DSMES control. Examination of longer-term outcomes, underlying mechanisms, and the feasibility of virtual delivery is warranted.

Significance of this study

What is already known about this subject?

Diabetes distress related to the burden of diabetes self-care is an independent predictor of diabetes outcomes.

Emerging studies of mindfulness-based interventions have shown efficacy in reducing diabetes distress, but research is limited in populations at risk, including US military veterans.

What are the new findings?

A targeted mindfulness intervention integrated into conventional diabetes care is feasible, acceptable, and more efficacious for improving general dietary behaviors and for reducing diabetes distress after 12 weeks compared with conventional care.

Reductions in diabetes distress were greater with baseline hemoglobin A1C <8.5% (69 mol/mol), which may be relevant in selecting appropriate patients for mindfulness-based diabetes interventions.

Use of mobile technologies may help persons remain engaged in mindfulness practice and contribute to longer-term positive diabetes outcomes.

How might these results change the focus of research or clinical practice?

These results might influence standards of diabetes care to include mindfulness training as an adjunct to diabetes self-management education and support for suitable candidates.

Replication of these results with virtual delivery might help expand access to mindfulness-based educational programs for veterans and other persons at risk of diabetes and diabetes distress.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8961140/

 

Mindfulness is Associated with Less Relapse and Recurrence of Major Depressive Disorder

Mindfulness is Associated with Less Relapse and Recurrence of Major Depressive Disorder

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Fall seven times, stand up eight.” – Japanese Proverb

 

Clinically diagnosed depression is the most common mental illness, affecting over 6% of the population. Major depression can be quite debilitating. Depression can be difficult to treat and is usually treated with anti-depressive medication. But, of patients treated initially with drugs only about a third attained remission of the depression. After repeated and varied treatments including drugs, therapy, exercise etc. only about two thirds of patients attained remission. But drugs often have troubling side effects and can lose effectiveness over time. In addition, many patients who achieve remission have relapses and recurrences of the depression.

 

Relapsing into depression is a terribly difficult situation. The patients are suffering, and nothing appears to work to relieve their intense depression. Suicide becomes a real possibility. So, it is imperative to study the factors that lead to relapse and recurrence. Mindfulness training is an alternative treatment for depression. It has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression and its recurrence and even in the cases where drugs fail. So, it makes sense to study the relationship of mindfulness with relapse and recurrence of Major Depressive Disorder.

 

In today’s Research News article “Factors associated with relapse and recurrence of major depressive disorder in patients starting mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9298927/ ) de Klerk-Sluis and colleagues studied patients who were in remission for Major Depressive Disorder and the factors that predicted relapse and recurrence.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the risk of relapse and recurrence. They also found that the greater the ability of mild emotions to reactivate negative thinking patterns (cognitive reactivity) the greater the likelihood of relapse and recurrence. Finally, they found that rumination was associated with relapse and recurrence in patients who were not taking antidepressant drugs but not in patients on the drugs.

 

It appears that thought processes have large effects on relapse and recurrence of Major Depressive Disorder. But mindful thinking is helpful in preventing relapse. This suggests that mindfulness training should be recommended for patients in remission from Major Depressive Disorder. Indeed, mindfulness training has been shown to reduce the likelihood of relapse.

 

But if you’ve fought depression or know somebody who has, you know that no amount of money can fix it. No amount of fame. No logic. The continuing stigma around suicide and mental illness tells me that not enough people truly understand it. I don’t really blame them—its impossible unless you’ve lived it.”-  David Chang

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

de Klerk-Sluis JM, Huijbers MJ, Löcke S, Spijker J, Spinhoven P, Speckens AEM, Ruhe HG. Factors associated with relapse and recurrence of major depressive disorder in patients starting mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. Depress Anxiety. 2022 Feb;39(2):113-122. doi: 10.1002/da.23220. Epub 2021 Nov 9. PMID: 34752681; PMCID: PMC9298927.

 

Abstract

Background

Mindfulness‐based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is effective for relapse prevention in major depressive disorder (MDD). It reduces cognitive reactivity (CR) and rumination, and enhances self‐compassion and mindfulness. Although rumination and mindfulness after MBCT are associated with relapse, the association of CR, rumination, self‐compassion, and mindfulness with relapse before initiation of MBCT has never been investigated.

Methods

Data were drawn from two randomized controlled trials, including a total of 282 remitted MDD participants (≥3 depressive episodes) who had been using maintenance antidepressant medication (mADM) for at least 6 months before baseline. All participants were offered MBCT while either their mADM was maintained or discontinued after MBCT. CR, rumination, self‐compassion, and mindfulness were assessed at baseline by self‐rated questionnaires and were used in Cox proportional hazards regression models to investigate their association with relapse.

Results

CR and mindfulness were associated with relapse, independent of residual symptoms, previous depressive episodes, and mADM‐use. Higher CR and lower mindfulness increased the risk of relapse. Self‐compassion was not associated with relapse. For rumination, a significant interaction with mADM‐use was found. Rumination was associated with relapse in patients who discontinued their mADM, while this effect was absent if patients continued mADM.

Conclusions

These results show that CR, rumination, and mindfulness are associated with relapse in remitted MDD‐patients before initiation of MBCT, independent of residual symptoms and previous depressive episodes. This information could improve decisions in treatment planning in remitted individuals with a history of depression.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9298927/

 

Mindfulness Improves the Well-Being of The Caregivers of Children with Developmental Disabilities

Mindfulness Improves the Well-Being of The Caregivers of Children with Developmental Disabilities

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.” — Rosalyn Carter

 

Intellectual disabilities involve below average intelligence and relatively slow learning. They are quite common, affecting an estimated 10% of individuals worldwide. These disabilities present problems for the individual in learning mathematics, reading and writing. Individuals with intellectual disorders often have challenging behaviors including aggression, disruptive and socially inappropriate behaviors, self‐injury and withdrawal behaviors. The challenging behaviors not only reduce the quality of life of the individual but also puts them at higher risk of abuse, neglect, deprivation, institutionalization, and restraints.  In addition, caregivers may have to deal with verbal and physical abuse. Obviously, there is a need for therapies that can reduce these behaviors. Mindfulness training may be useful. It has been shown to improve the behavior of individuals with intellectual disabilities and the well-being or their caregivers. So, there is a need to summarize what has been learned regarding the influence of mindfulness on the caregivers of children with developmental disabilities.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effect of Mindfulness-Based and Acceptance Commitment Therapy-Based Interventions to Improve the Mental Well-Being Among Parents of Children with Developmental Disabilities: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8237545/ ) Chua and Shorey review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research on the influence of mindfulness on the caregivers of children with developmental disabilities.

 

They identified 10 published research studies that clearly demonstrate that mindfulness improves the well-being of the caregivers including improvements in anxiety, depression, and perceived stress. Importantly, these improvements would predict that the caregivers would be less likely to burnout and would provide better care for the children.

 

My caregiver mantra is to remember: the only control you have is over the changes you choose to make.” — Nancy L. Kriseman

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Chua JYX, Shorey S. The Effect of Mindfulness-Based and Acceptance Commitment Therapy-Based Interventions to Improve the Mental Well-Being Among Parents of Children with Developmental Disabilities: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. J Autism Dev Disord. 2022 Jun;52(6):2770-2783. doi: 10.1007/s10803-021-04893-1. Epub 2021 Jun 28. PMID: 34181139; PMCID: PMC8237545.

 

Abstract

Parents of children with developmental disabilities are susceptible to mental health problems. Mindfulness-based and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)-based interventions can improve their mental well-being. This review examined the effectiveness of mindfulness-based and ACT-based interventions in improving mental well-being and mindfulness among parents of children with developmental disabilities. Six electronic databases were searched, resulting in the inclusion of ten studies published between 2014 and 2020. Meta-analysis was conducted using the random-effect model. The results suggest that mindfulness-based and ACT-based interventions were effective in decreasing parental stress, anxiety and depression, however, the effectiveness of these interventions in increasing parental mindfulness was inconclusive. Based on these findings, we discussed considerations for implementing interventions and identified areas which warrant further research.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8237545/