Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Sexual Minorities (LBGQ) with Mindfulness

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Sexual Minorities (LBGQ) with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

It is revolutionary for any trans person to choose to be seen and visible in a world that tells us we should not exist.” —Laverne Cox

 

Around 43,000 people take their own lives each year in the US. The problem is far worse than these statistics suggest as it has been estimated that for every completed suicide there were 12 unsuccessful attempts. In other words, about a half a million people in the U.S. attempt suicide each year. Indeed, suicide is the second leading cause of death in adolescents. Suicidality and self-injury are particularly problematic in sexual minorities (LBGTQ).

 

One of the few treatments that appears to be Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). It is targeted at changing the problem behaviors characteristic including self-injury. Behavior change is accomplished through focusing on changing the thoughts and emotions that precede problem behaviors, as well as by solving the problems faced by individuals that contribute to problematic thoughts, feelings and behaviors. In DBT five core skills are practiced; mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, the middle path, and interpersonal effectiveness. DBT has been found to reduce suicidality. There is thus a need to study the effectiveness of DBT for the mental health of sexual minority adolescents.

 

In today’s Research News article “Dialectical behavior therapy for adolescents (DBT-A): Outcomes among sexual minorities at high risk for suicide.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9233065/ ) Poon and colleagues recruited heterosexual and sexual minority (LGBQ) adolescents (13-18 years of age). They received and 18-week program of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). They completed online measures before and after treatment of emotion regulation, anxiety, depression, coping, and borderline symptoms.

 

They found that after treatment the adolescents had significant decreases in depression, borderline symptoms, and dysfunctional coping and significant increases in emotion regulation and use of coping skills. There were no significant differences between the improvements seen with the sexual minority and heterosexual adolescents.

 

Hence, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Produces significant improvements in the psychological well-being of sexual minority adolescents and is as effective as it is in heterosexual adolescents. Although not measured these improvements would predict a decrease in suicidality.

 

Shame creates lies about how men should think and act, and when men don’t fulfill those roles, they have additional shame.” ― Liz Plank

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Poon J, Galione JN, Grocott LR, Horowitz KJ, Kudinova AY, Kim KL. Dialectical behavior therapy for adolescents (DBT-A): Outcomes among sexual minorities at high risk for suicide. Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2022 Jun;52(3):383-391. doi: 10.1111/sltb.12828. Epub 2022 Jan 12. PMID: 35019159; PMCID: PMC9233065.

 

Abstract

The alarming rates and pervasiveness of suicidal and self-destructive behaviors (e.g., non-suicidal self-injury) among young sexual minorities represent a major public health concern. We set out to examine whether an empirically driven treatment for suicide and self-harm, dialectical behavior therapy for adolescents (DBT-A), provides benefits for adolescents who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or questioning (LGBQ). LGBQ adolescents (n = 16) were compared with non-LGBQ peers (n = 23). Psychological measures were collected before and after participation in a comprehensive DBT-A program. LGBQ participants demonstrated significant improvements in emotion regulation, depression, borderline symptoms, and coping strategies; changes were comparable to their heterosexual peers.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9233065/

 

Socio-Cognitive Mindfulness is Associated with Better Emotions and Their Regulation in Nursing Students

Socio-Cognitive Mindfulness is Associated with Better Emotions and Their Regulation in Nursing Students

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness enables you to become a more cognizant observer of your experience, allowing you to become more “tuned in” to what you are feeling inside.” –  Laura K. Schenck

 

Mindfulness practice has been shown to improve emotion regulation. Practitioners demonstrate the ability to fully sense and experience emotions but respond to them in more appropriate and adaptive ways. In other words, mindful people are better able to experience yet control their responses to emotions. This is a very important consequence of mindfulness. Humans are very emotional creatures, and these emotions can be very pleasant, providing the spice of life. But when they get extreme, they can produce misery and even mental illness. The ability of mindfulness training to improve emotion regulation is thought to be the basis for a wide variety of benefits that mindfulness provides to mental health and the treatment of mental illness especially depression and anxiety disorders.

 

Mindfulness can be divided into two different aspects. Meditation mindfulness emphasizes focusing on what is occurring right now without judgement. On the other hand, socio-cognitive mindfulness emphasizes openness to external stimuli allowing for flexible interactions with the environment.  It would be expected that socio-cognitive mindfulness with its flexibility in interpreting external events in particular would underlie improvements in emotion regulation.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mediating Effects of Emotion Regulation between Socio-Cognitive Mindfulness and Achievement Emotions in Nursing Students.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8464977/ ) Lee and Jang recruited healthy college nursing students and had them complete questionnaires measuring reappraisal and suppression emotion regulation, positive and negative achievement emotions, and socio-cognitive mindfulness, including novelty seeking, novelty producing, flexibility, and engagement.

 

They found that the higher the levels of all components of socio-cognitive mindfulness the higher the levels of emotion reappraisal and positive achievement emotions and the lower the levels of negative achievement emotions. Linear structural modelling revealed that all components of socio-cognitive mindfulness were significantly positively related to positive achievement emotions directly and also indirectly by having a positive relationship with emotion reappraisal that in turn was associated with higher levels of positive achievement emotions. In addition, all components of socio-cognitive mindfulness were significantly negatively related to negative achievement emotions directly while only the engagement component also was associated indirectly by having a negative relationship with emotion suppression that in turn was associated with lower levels of negative achievement emotions.

 

These results are correlational and as such causation cannot be concluded. But previous controlled research has demonstrated that mindfulness training improves emotions and their regulation. So, the present findings likely resulted from mindfulness producing improved achievement emotions.

 

An interesting facet of the current study is that it focused on socio-cognitive mindfulness which promotes a flexible approach to the environment. This flexibility is seen in the reappraisal of emotions to better reflect reality and in turn making emotions less extreme both positively and negatively. This would predict that the students would be better able to cope with the stresses of their education and future nursing careers. This suggests that mindfulness training should be included in nursing education.

 

So, socio-cognitive mindfulness is associated with better emotions and their regulation in nursing students.

 

With [mindfulness meditation] training or practice . . . we become more able to allow disturbing emotions and thoughts to pass through awareness. We develop the ability to NOT act or react to every emotion or thought we have.” – Timothy A Pychy

 

 

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

 

Lee, M., & Jang, K. S. (2021). Mediating Effects of Emotion Regulation between Socio-Cognitive Mindfulness and Achievement Emotions in Nursing Students. Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland), 9(9), 1238. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9091238

Abstract

Background: Mindfulness is known as an effective emotion regulation strategy and is beneficial for improving emotions. While meditative mindfulness has been widely studied, socio-cognitive mindfulness has received little attention in nursing literature, despite its potential benefits to the field. This study investigated relationships between nursing students’ socio-cognitive mindfulness, emotion regulation (reappraisal and suppression), and achievement emotions, and explored the mediating effects of emotion regulation. Methods: A total of 459 nursing students from three universities in Korea completed the questionnaire measuring the study variables. Structural equation modeling and path analysis were conducted to test the hypotheses. Results: Socio-cognitive mindfulness was found to positively influence reappraisal while negatively influencing suppression. Additionally, socio-cognitive mindfulness positively predicted positive achievement emotions but negatively predicted negative emotions. Reappraisal positively influenced positive emotions, whereas suppression positively influenced negative emotions. Furthermore, reappraisal mediated the link between mindfulness and positive emotions, and suppression mediated the link between mindfulness and negative emotions. Conclusions: Socio-cognitive mindfulness may be effective in regulating emotions among nursing students by enhancing reappraisal and reducing suppression. Mediating effects highlight the relevance of students’ emotion regulation in nursing education, suggesting the need to develop emotion regulation education programs.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8464977/

 

Effectiveness of Mindfulness Training on Stress Depends Upon Baseline Levels of Anxiety and Sleep Disruption

Effectiveness of Mindfulness Training on Stress Depends Upon Baseline Levels of Anxiety and Sleep Disruption

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Chronic stress can impair the body’s immune system and make many other health problems worse. By lowering the stress response, mindfulness may have downstream effects throughout the body.” – American Psychological Association

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to improve health and well-being in healthy individuals. It has also been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. One of the primary effects of mindfulness that may be responsible for many of its benefits is that it improves the physiological and psychological responses to stress. But there are large individual differences in the effectiveness of mindfulness training for reduction in stress and its effects. Hence, there is a need to investigate what individual characteristics may predict the positive benefits of mindfulness training.

 

In today’s Research News article “Do gender, anxiety, or sleep quality predict mindfulness-based stress reduction outcomes?.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7814316/ ) Brown and colleagues recruited adult participants in an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. the program consists of weekly training meetings that include meditation, yoga, and body scan along with group discussion and daily home practice. The participants were measured before and after the program for anxiety. depression, sleep quality, stress-related symptoms, and emotion regulation.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline after the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program there was a significant decrease in stress-related symptoms and emotion suppression and a significant increase in cognitive reappraisal. Participants who were high in anxiety and sleep disruptions at baseline had significantly greater reductions in stress-related symptoms and greater increases in cognitive reappraisal after MBSR. In addition, men had significantly greater decreases in emotion suppression after MBSR than women.

 

This study lacked a control (comparison condition). So, caution must be exercised in reaching definitive conclusions. But previous controlled studies have demonstrated that mindfulness training results in significant decreases in the physiological and psychological responses to stress and improvements in emotion regulation. So, the present findings are likely due to the impact of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program.

 

The study demonstrates that the characteristics of the participants at the beginning of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program predict it’s impact. Participants who are highly anxious and have troubled sleep at the start tend to benefit the most. Since anxiety and sleep disruption tend to contribute to stress and mindfulness training has been shown to decrease anxiety and improve sleep, it is not surprising that they would be predictive of greater reduction in stress-related symptoms. Nevertheless, the results suggest that MBSR should be employed particularly for anxious individuals and those with troubled sleep.

 

So, effectiveness of mindfulness training on stress depends upon baseline levels of anxiety and sleep disruption.

 

The benefits of mindfulness training may persist for years, because learning to be mindful is something that can be applied to your daily routine.” – Arielle Silverman

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Brown, M. M., Arigo, D., Wolever, R. Q., Smoski, M. J., Hall, M. H., Brantley, J. G., & Greeson, J. M. (2021). Do gender, anxiety, or sleep quality predict mindfulness-based stress reduction outcomes?. Journal of health psychology, 26(13), 2656–2662. https://doi.org/10.1177/1359105320931186

 

Abstract

Although mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) can improve health and well-being, less is known about factors that predict outcomes. This prospective observational study examined gender and baseline anxiety and sleep quality as predictors of change in emotion regulation and stress symptoms following an 8-week MBSR program. Women and men reported similar improvement in stress symptoms and cognitive reappraisal, whereas men improved more in emotion suppression. Individuals with higher anxiety and worse sleep pre-treatment benefited most in terms of decreased stress. Evaluating pre-treatment characteristics could help determine optimal candidates for MBSR training and could optimize outcomes for both women and men.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7814316/

Improve Empathy with Attention-Related Facets of Mindfulness

Improve Empathy with Attention-Related Facets of Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness increases empathy and compassion for others and for oneself.” – Shauna Shapiro

 

Humans are social animals. This is a great asset for the species as the effort of the individual is amplified by cooperation. In primitive times, this cooperation was essential for survival. But in modern times it is also essential, not for survival but rather for making a living and for the happiness of the individual. This ability to cooperate is so essential to human flourishing that it is built deep into our DNA and is reflected in the structure of the human nervous system. Empathy and compassion are essential for appropriate social engagement and cooperation.

 

Mindfulness has been found to increase prosocial emotions such as compassion, and empathy and prosocial behaviors such as altruism.  It is not clear, however, exactly how mindfulness training improves empathy. Empathy involves the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Thus, the basic attentional processes involved in mindfulness (observing and acting with awareness) could be key in the development of empathy.

 

In today’s Research News article “Exploring the Multidimensional Links Between Trait Mindfulness and Trait Empathy. Frontiers in psychiatry.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8371256/ ) Himichi and colleagues recruited healthy adults and had them complete measures of mindfulness, personal distress, fantasy, empathetic concern, and perspective taking. They found that the higher the level of the observing and acting with awareness facets of mindfulness the higher the level of empathetic concern and perspective taking.

 

In a second study a different sample of healthy adults were recruited, and they completed measures of mindfulness, emotion regulation, effortful control, and alexithymia. They again found that the higher the level of the observing and acting with awareness facets of mindfulness the higher the level of empathetic concern and perspective taking. But they also found that these facets of mindfulness affected the components of empathy both directly and indirectly by the mindfulness facets affecting reappraisal that in turn affected empathy.

 

The results are correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. But previous controlled research by others has found that mindfulness training increases empathy and reappraisal. So, the relationships observed in the present studies likely result from mindfulness causing an increase in empathy and reappraisal. The observing and acting with awareness facets of mindfulness require heightened attention and this attention to the present moment may make it easier to comprehend the situation with others increasing empathy. Reappraisal is a cognitive strategy used in emotion regulation. Reappraisal involves reexamining and reframing interpretations of events. Increasing reappraisal appears to also increase empathy perhaps by allowing for a mindful examination of the situations affecting others.

 

Regardless, it is clear that the attentional facets of mindfulness are related to empathy. This may explain why mindfulness improves social behavior and relationships. It may act by making the individual better able to pay attention to and examine what is going on with others and this understanding would promote better interactions.

 

So, improve empathy with attention-related facets of mindfulness.

 

mindfulness’s most profound benefit may not be the one that’s most often touted—adapting to a stressful, competitive, even unkind 24/7 world. Instead, meditation might fundamentally alter how we treat those around us.” – David DeSteno

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Himichi, T., Osanai, H., Goto, T., Fujita, H., Kawamura, Y., Smith, A., & Nomura, M. (2021). Exploring the Multidimensional Links Between Trait Mindfulness and Trait Empathy. Frontiers in psychiatry, 12, 498614. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.498614

 

Abstract

Empathy and mindfulness are currently major topics of scientific interest. Although it is well-known that mindfulness—typically as an outcome related to meditation—generates empathy at the state level, only a small number of studies have documented the trait (i.e., personality) level association between mindfulness and empathy. Furthermore, the underlying mechanisms (subcomponents and mediator variables) that support this association remain unclear. Thus, here, with a focus on the trait level, we investigated relationships among multiple subcomponents of trait mindfulness and trait empathy (Study 1). Next, we reexamined the aforementioned relationships in an independent sample, with the further aim of investigating relevant mediation factors (Study 2). We found that two attention-related components of trait mindfulness—observing and acting with awareness—reliably and positively related to both affective and cognitive dimensions of trait empathy (i.e., empathic concern and perspective taking). Furthermore, we found that effortful control, reappraisal, and trait alexithymia mediated relationships between the aforementioned attention-related components of trait mindfulness and empathic concern. Taken together, our results suggest that the links between mindfulness and empathy are multidimensional and complex. These findings may ultimately contribute to an understanding of the mechanisms underlying the positive effects of meditation on empathy.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8371256/

 

Reduce Stress and Improve Well-Being in Nursing Students with Mindfulness

Reduce Stress and Improve Well-Being in Nursing Students with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness meditation has a positive impact on nurses’ and nursing students’ stress, anxiety, depression, burnout, sense of well-being and empathy.” – Pamela van der Riet

 

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. It is estimated that over 45% of healthcare workers experience burnout. Burnout not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion. So, preventing burnout has to be a priority.

 

It is important that methods be found to reduce the individual’s responses to stress and to improve their resilience. Contemplative practices have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, and improving sleep. Developing mindfulness early in healthcare careers could work to prevent later burnout. There has been considerable research on this topic. So, it makes sense to summarize what has been learned regarding the effects of mindfulness training for nursing students.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Undergraduate Nursing Students in a University Setting: A Narrative Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8621067/ ) McVeigh and colleagues review and summarize the published research on the effectiveness of mindfulness training on the psychological well-being of nursing students. They identified 15 published research studies.

 

They report that the published research found that mindfulness training for nursing students resulted in significant decreases in anxiety, depression, perceived stress, and negative coping strategies, and significant increases in mindfulness, self-efficacy, emotion regulation, and self-awareness. These benefits accrued regardless of the type and form of mindfulness training from meditation, to Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), to mindful movement practice.

 

These results are very promising. Mindfulness training of nursing students appears to markedly improve their psychological well-being. There was no long-term follow-up reported. So, it is not known whether the training has lasting effects and potentially improve resilience to later career stresses and reduce burnout. Future research needs to follow-up to identify whether the effects of this early intervention might assist the nurses in their later careers.

 

So, reduce stress and improve well-being in nursing students with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness practices have been found beneficial for nurses. The program has been found to increase self-compassion, serenity, and empathetic concern as well as decrease burnout and self-reported distress “ – Sandra Bernstein

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are available at the Contemplative Studies Blog http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/ andon Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

McVeigh, C., Ace, L., Ski, C. F., Carswell, C., Burton, S., Rej, S., & Noble, H. (2021). Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Undergraduate Nursing Students in a University Setting: A Narrative Review. Healthcare, 9(11), 1493. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9111493

 

Abstract

(1) Introduction: Undergraduate (UG) nursing students are vulnerable to stress throughout their education, known to result in burnout, with high attrition rates of up to 33%. There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that mindfulness-based interventions are effective for the management of anxiety, depression and wellbeing, thereby reducing stress in healthcare provider populations. The aim of this narrative review was to synthesize and provide a critical overview of the current evidence in relation to mindfulness-based interventions for UG nursing students in a university setting. (2) Methods: A review of the literature was conducted in March 2020 and updated in May 2021, utilising the databases CINAHL, Medline and PsycINFO. (3) Results: Fifteen studies were included in the review, with three common themes identified: (i) the positive impact of mindfulness on holistic wellbeing, (ii) mindfulness-based techniques as a positive coping mechanism within academic and clinical practice, and (iii) approaches to the delivery of mindfulness-based interventions. (4) Conclusions: Mindfulness-based interventions are effective strategies for the management of stress, development of self-awareness and enhanced academic and clinical performance in undergraduate nursing students. No ideal approach to delivery or duration of these interventions was evident from the literature. Best practice in relation to delivery of mindfulness-based interventions for nursing students is recommended for future studies.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8621067/

 

Improve Coping with Brain Injury with Mindfulness

Improve Coping with Brain Injury with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

For many brain injury survivors, mindfulness is an essential practice that helps to regulate their mental health, mood changes, and memory.” – Headway

 

Brain damage is permanent. The neurons and neural structures that are destroyed when the brain is damaged for the most part do not regrow. Although the brain tissues that are destroyed are permanently lost, we know that people can recover to some extent from brain injury. How is it possible that recovery can occur when there is no replacement of the damaged tissue? There appears to be strategies that are employed by the brain to assist in recovery. Other areas of the brain can take over some of the function, new behavioral strategies can be employed to accomplish the task, and non-injured areas of the brain can adapt and change to compensate for the lost function. Rehabilitation for brain injury patients usually involves strategies to promote these recovery mechanisms. These include mindfulness training which has been found to be helpful in recovery from brain injury.

 

In today’s Research News article “Grieving a disrupted biography: an interpretative phenomenological analysis exploring barriers to the use of mindfulness after neurological injury or impairment.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8386048/ ) Finlay and colleagues recruited adult mindfulness teachers who had a neurological injury including sensory loss. They completed a mindfulness measure and a semi-structured interview exploring their experiences with mindfulness. Transcript of the interviews were assessed for descriptive, linguistic, and conceptual themes.

 

Two overarching themes emerged in the analysis of the interviews, overcoming a disrupted biography and proactive self-management. The first theme involved adjusting to a new identity and the changed health status and sensory loss. This included coping with their grief over the loss. This was facilitated by mindfulness practices of self-compassion, acceptance, and focusing on the present moment. This heled them to overcome the desire to return to their previous selves, accept themselves as the currently are, and manage their emotions. The second theme of proactive self-management involved using mindfulness practice to regain autonomy and take responsibility for the needed adjustments to their lives. This involved not diffusing responsibility to healthcare providers. It also involved using mindfulness to manage the physical and emotional suffering resulting from the injury including pain and emotional agony.

 

It was clear from the participants descriptions of their journeys to adapt to their changed realities that the adaptations were greatly facilitated by mindfulness practice. It allowed them to accept things as they are and take responsibility for their own management of the symptoms. The study involved highly experienced mindfulness practitioners. It is not clear that training in mindfulness after neurological injury in non-practitioners would have the same benefits. But the descriptions revealed that the core skills produced by mindfulness training were essential in accepting and adjusting to their altered selves. So, it would be expected that mindfulness training would be beneficial to everyone after neurological injury.

 

So, improve coping with brain injury with mindfulness.

 

TBI is a complex diagnosis involving many components. One significant component is the stress response after having this type of injury. Mindfulness meditation appears to have a strong relaxing and stress reduction quality for patients, which is tremendously beneficial for overall recovery from injury.”  – Heechin Chae

 

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

 

Finlay, K. A., Hearn, J. H., & Chater, A. (2021). Grieving a disrupted biography: an interpretative phenomenological analysis exploring barriers to the use of mindfulness after neurological injury or impairment. BMC psychology, 9(1), 124. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40359-021-00628-0

 

Abstract

Background

Mindfulness has demonstrated strong utility for enhancing self-management and health outcomes in chronic illness. However, sensation-focused mindfulness techniques may not be appropriate for clinical populations with neurological injury. This study aimed to identify how expert mindfulness teachers with sensory loss/impairment naturalistically adapt and experience mindfulness. We aimed to highlight the rationale for and barriers to mindfulness practice when living with sensory loss.

Methods

A qualitative, semi-structured interview design was used, analysed via Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Eight (5 females, 3 males) mindfulness teachers with neurological injury were recruited via a national registry of Mindfulness for Health teachers. Interviews (range: 50–93 min) were completed, transcribed verbatim and analysed idiographically for descriptive, linguistic and conceptual themes, before a cross-case analysis was completed.

Results

Two superordinate themes were identified: (1) Overcoming a disrupted biography; and (2) Proactive self-management. These themes considered the challenge of reconciling, through grief, a past health status with the present reality of living with sensory loss due to Spinal Cord Injury, Multiple Sclerosis or Functional Neurological Disorder. Mindfulness was experienced as a method by which proactive choices could be made to maintain control and autonomy in health, reducing perceptions of suffering, psychological distress, cognitive reactivity and rumination.

Conclusions

Mindfulness was found to support the self-management of health after neurological injury/impairment. Mindfulness meditation presented an initial challenge as trauma and grief processes were (re-)activated during mindfulness sessions. However, mindfulness was found to support the resolution of these grief processes and encourage adaptive approach-based coping and acceptance of health and neurological impairment/injury.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8386048/

 

Reduce Fatigue and Depression in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis with Mindfulness

Reduce Fatigue and Depression in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

the pragmatic resiliency skills of mindfulness training may be beneficial in helping to mitigate unpleasant and unpredictable mental and physical symptoms that are associated with an MS diagnosis.” – Rachel M. Gilbertson

 

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a progressive demyelinating disease which attacks the coating on the neural axons which send messages throughout the body and nervous system. It affects about 2 million people worldwide and about 400,000 in the U.S. It is most commonly diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 50 years. Unfortunately, there is no cure for multiple sclerosis. There are a number of approved medications that are used to treat MS but are designed to lessen frequency of relapses and slow the progression of the disease, but they don’t address individual symptoms. But MS is not fatal with MS patients having about the same life expectancy as the general population. Hence, most MS sufferers have to live with the disease for many years. Mindfulness practices have been shown to improve the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness training during brief periods of hospitalization in multiple sclerosis (MS): beneficial alterations in fatigue and the mediating role of depression.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8499486/ ) Sauder and colleagues recruited patients diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) who also had symptoms of fatigue and depression during a brief (>5-day) hospital stay. During their hospital stay the patients were administered daily 45-minute mindfulness training based upon Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). They were measured before and after the hospital stay for depression, fatigue, rumination, mindfulness, cognition, and attention.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline after training there were significant increases in mindfulness and distraction techniques to cope with a negative mood and significant decreases in depression, general fatigue, and physical fatigue. Further, they found that the greater the increases in mindfulness the greater the reductions in fatigue and depression. A mediation analysis revealed that mindfulness decreased fatigue indirectly by reducing depression that in turn reduced fatigue.

 

The study lacked a control, comparison, condition and as such caution must be exercised in interpreting the results. But mindfulness has been previously demonstrated in controlled studies to reduce fatigue and depression in a wide variety of people. So, the effects of mindfulness reported here were probably due to mindfulness causing the improvements. What is new here is that mindfulness reduces depression and in turn fatigue in patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The patients also had a significant increase in the coping strategy of using distraction during negative mood states. This suggests that mindfulness training helps them to learn to distract themselves from depression and this may be the mechanism whereby mindfulness reduces depression.

 

Depression and fatigue greatly reduce the patients’ ability to conduct their lives, reducing their quality of life, So, improving depression and fatigue can be very beneficial to these patients. This suggests that mindfulness training should be recommended for patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

 

So, reduce fatigue and depression in patients with multiple sclerosis with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness practice appears to be a safe, drug-free approach to coping with stress and anxiety, which may in turn help reduce your MS symptoms.” – Amit Sood

 

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

 

Sauder, T., Hansen, S., Bauswein, C., Müller, R., Jaruszowic, S., Keune, J., Schenk, T., Oschmann, P., & Keune, P. M. (2021). Mindfulness training during brief periods of hospitalization in multiple sclerosis (MS): beneficial alterations in fatigue and the mediating role of depression. BMC neurology, 21(1), 390. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12883-021-02390-7

 

Abstract

Objectives

Persons with MS (PwMS) are frequently affected by fatigue and depression. Mindfulness-based interventions may reduce these symptoms in PwMS and consequently their application has been extended to various settings. Only few efforts have been made to explore effects of short-term mindfulness training during brief periods of hospitalization. In the current study, the feasibility and potential effects of short-term mindfulness training on depression, fatigue, rumination and cognition were explored in PwMS in an acute-care hospital setting. Based on previous work, it was further examined whether the relation between trait mindfulness and fatigue prior to and following the intervention was mediated by depression and whether a mediation effect was also observable throughout the intervention.

Methods

A short-term mindfulness training protocol was developed, tailored to the requirements of the acute-care setting. Subsequently, 30 PwMS were recruited sequentially and received mindfulness training during the routine clinical process (median duration in hospital: eight days, number of sessions: four). Participants completed relevant self-report measures (depression, fatigue, rumination) and a neuropsychological assessment before and after training.

Results

Participants reported significantly increased trait mindfulness and decreased depression and fatigue following the intervention. Respective change scores were highly correlated so that increased trait mindfulness was associated with decreased symptoms. In the rumination domain, patients reported a tendency for an increased adaptive ability to engage in distractive behavior during arising negative mood. Other measures of trait rumination and cognition remained relatively stable. Results of the mediation analyses indicated that depression mediated the negative relationship between trait mindfulness and fatigue symptoms at pre and post assessments. With regards to the change scores, an association between mindfulness and cognitive fatigue ceased to be significant when depression was controlled, albeit in this case, the mediation effect did not reach significance.

Conclusion

Results of the current study indicate that short-term mindfulness training during brief periods of hospitalization may be beneficial for PwMS. They further complement previous work by identifying depression as a potential mediator of the antagonistic relationship between mindfulness and fatigue. Based on the current exploratory study, future trials are warranted to address this mechanism of mindfulness training in more detail.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8499486/

 

Spirituality is Related to Reduced Depression but Negative Religiosity is Associated with Suicidality

Spirituality is Related to Reduced Depression but Negative Religiosity is Associated with Suicidality

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“The trouble is that just as it is hard to feel connected to other people while depressed, it is difficult to feel connected to God. A leap of trust and faith is frequently needed to be spiritual while depressed.” – Healthtalk.org

 

Depression and other mood disorders are the number-one risk factor for suicide. More than 90% of people who kill themselves have a mental disorder, whether depression, bipolar disorder or some other diagnosis. So, the best way to prevent suicide may be to treat the underlying cause. For many this means treating depression.

 

Spirituality is defined as “one’s personal affirmation of and relationship to a higher power or to the sacred. There have been a number of studies of the influence of spirituality on the physical and psychological well-being of practitioners mostly showing positive benefits, with spirituality encouraging personal growth and mental health. Spirituality may help to provide meaning and prevent suicide. But there is scant research on the relationship of spirituality and religiosity and suicide.

 

In today’s Research News article “Comparison of religiosity and spirituality in patients of depression with and without suicidal attempts.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8221206/ ) Dua and colleagues

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies recruited 2 groups of patients both with depression and suicidal ideation and one with an additional suicide attempt. They also recruited age and gender matched healthy control participants. They completed measures of the depression, impulsivity, hopelessness, anxiety, irritability, mania, suicide severity, centrality of religion and spiritual attitudes.

 

They found that the depressed groups did not differ in purpose, hope, and organized, nonorganized religious activities and intrinsic religiosity. On the other hand, patients with suicidal ideation generally had a family history of suicide. Patients who had attempted suicide were significantly higher in hopelessness and suicide ideation and lower on social support than patients who had nor attempted suicide. They also had significantly higher levels of negative religious coping. Compared to the healthy controls the depressed groups were significantly lower in religiosity. They also found that the lower the levels of religiosity the greater the levels of suicidal ideation and the higher the number of suicide attempts. But, in the suicide attempters higher levels of ideological religiosity was associated with greater severity of suicide ideation.

 

These are interesting but correlative findings and as such causation cannot be determined. Nevertheless, the results suggest that spirituality, although associated with lower depression, is not significantly related to suicide ideation or attempts. On the other hand, negative religious coping, ideological religiosity, and low religiosity were. In other words, being religious, in general is not a problem. But adhering to the ideology or using negative religious coping are associated with suicidality.

 

Negative religious coping involves struggling with religion, questioning, guilt, and perceived distance from and negative views of god. This type of coping does not provide support in times of psychological distress and in fact may exacerbate feelings of hopelessness. Regardless, it appears that non-spiritual uses and ideas about religion and god my be associated with more thoughts about suicide and an increased likelihood of attempting suicide.

 

So, spirituality is related to reduced depression but negative religiosity is associated with suicidality.

 

Whether your depression manifests itself as a loss of appetite, decreased sense of self-worth, lost productivity, feelings of helplessness, prolonged worry or any other symptom, spirituality can absolutely help an individual along their journey toward purpose.” – Pyramid Healthcare

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Dua, D., Padhy, S., & Grover, S. (2021). Comparison of religiosity and spirituality in patients of depression with and without suicidal attempts. Indian journal of psychiatry, 63(3), 258–269. https://doi.org/10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_246_20

 

Abstract

Aim:

This study is aimed to compare the religiosity and spirituality of patients with first-episode depression with suicidal ideation and those with recent suicidal attempts. Additional aim was compare the religiosity and spirituality of patients with first-episode depression with healthy controls.

Methods:

Patients of first episode depression with suicidal ideation and healthy controls were assessed by Centrality of Religiosity Scale (CRS), Duke University Religion Index (DUREL), Brief Religious coping scale (R-COPE), and Spiritual Attitude Inventory (SAI).

Results:

Patients with depression were divided into two groups based on the presence (n = 53) or absence (n = 62) of suicidal attempts in the previous 14 days. Both the patients with and without suicide attempts were matched for depression severity. Both the patient groups did not differ in terms of religiosity and spirituality as assessed using CRS and SAI. Both depression groups had lower scores on religiosity as compared to healthy controls as assessed on CRS. The two groups also had a lower score on the “sense of hope” which is a part of SAI, when compared to healthy controls. Compared to patients without suicide attempts (i.e., ideators group) and healthy controls, subjects with suicide attempts more often used negative religious coping. Total numbers of lifetime suicide attempts in the attempt group were associated with the ideology domain of the CRS.

Conclusion:

Compared with healthy controls, patients with depression have lower levels of religiosity and spirituality. In the presence of comparable severity of depression, higher use of negative religious coping is associated with suicide attempts.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8221206/

Improve Alcohol Treatment Completion with Spirituality

Improve Alcohol Treatment Completion with Spirituality

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“spiritual experiences and spiritual practices, including prayer and mindfulness meditation, may be helpful in reducing hazardous drinking and in the treatment of [Alcohol Use Disorder].” – Katie Witkiewitz

 

Inappropriate use of alcohol is a major societal problem. In fact, about 25% of US adults have engaged in binge drinking in the last month and 7% have what is termed an alcohol use disorder. Alcohol abuse is very dangerous and frequently fatal. Nearly 88,000 people in the US and 3.3 million globally die from alcohol-related causes annually, making it the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Drunk driving accounted for over 10,000 deaths; 31% of all driving fatalities. Excessive alcohol intake has been shown to contribute to over 200 diseases including alcohol dependence, liver cirrhosis, cancers, and injuries. It is estimated that over 5% of the burden of disease and injury worldwide is attributable to alcohol consumption.

 

An effective treatment for this addiction has been elusive. Alcoholics Anonymous has been as effective as any other treatment devised. Why is it somewhat effective when many other programs fail? Why is it effective for some, but not all? One reason could be the emphasis on spirituality present in AA. So, it is important to investigate the role of spirituality in successful treatment for alcohol abuse.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effect of Baseline Patterns of Spiritual Coping, Forgiveness, and Gratitude on the Completion of an Alcohol Addiction Treatment Program.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8137607/ ) Charzyńska and colleagues recruited adults undergoing outpatient treatment for alcohol dependence and had them complete measures of spiritual coping, forgiveness, gratitude, and whether they completed the therapy program.

 

They report that 52.6% of the participants completed the therapy program. They found that the patients who had positive spiritual coping, forgiveness, and gratitude, and a low level of negative spiritual coping were most likely to complete the program. They also found that patients who employed negative spiritual coping had the lowest likelihood of completing the program.

 

Positive spiritual coping involves the search for inner peace and harmony, deep relationships with other people, seeking peace in nature, and seeking support from a higher being. The results suggest that this kind of coping makes it more likely that the patient will complete therapy for alcohol abuse. On the other hand, negative spiritual coping involves questioning life’s meaning, seeing others as hypocritical and egoistic, and questioning god’s love for humans. The results suggest that this kind of coping makes it less likely that the patient will complete therapy.

 

These findings suggest that people who use spirituality to make their lives better, richer, and more meaningful are more likely to be successful in alcohol abuse treatment, while those who use it as an excuse for their behavior, projecting their failures onto god and others, are less likely to be successful. Hence, spirituality is helpful for patients undergoing treatment for alcohol abuse if it used in a positive life affirming way.

 

So, improve alcohol treatment completion with spirituality.

 

Spiritual and faith-based treatments greatly soothe the psyche and emotions and carry little to no risk of adverse impact for patients.” – Krystina Murray

 

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

 

Charzyńska E. (2021). The Effect of Baseline Patterns of Spiritual Coping, Forgiveness, and Gratitude on the Completion of an Alcohol Addiction Treatment Program. Journal of religion and health, 60(3), 1796–1817. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-021-01188-8

 

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify distinct profiles of persons beginning alcohol addiction therapy with similar baseline configurations of spiritual coping, forgiveness, and gratitude. The associations between latent profile membership and the completion of therapy were also examined. The sample was composed of 358 alcohol-dependent persons receiving an outpatient treatment program. The Spiritual Coping Questionnaire, the Forgiveness Scale, and the Gratitude Questionnaire were used to assess the baseline levels of spirituality-related variables. Using latent profile analysis, five profiles were identified: (1) both moderately positive and negative dimensions of spirituality (33.2%), (2) moderately positive dimensions of spirituality (21.0%), (3) predominantly negative dimensions of spirituality (20.2%), (4) mixed dimensions of spirituality with the lowest positive religious coping (14.0%), and (5) highly positive dimensions of spirituality (11.6%). Notably, the latent profiles differed in terms of the treatment completion rates. The results suggest the need to carry out a multidimensional assessment of spiritual functioning of persons beginning alcohol addiction therapy to provide treatment that is adjusted to patients’ spiritual potential and deficits.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8137607/

 

Increase Positive Psychological States with Mindfulness

Increase Positive Psychological States with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

state mindfulness was associated with positive experiences across the three outcomes: higher levels of autonomy, more intense and frequent pleasant affect, and less intense and less frequent unpleasant affect.” – Kirk Warren Brown

 

The primary focus of the majority of research on mindfulness has been on its ability to treat 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. Indeed, it is possible that the effectiveness of mindfulness training in relieving mental and physical illness may result from its ability to improve positive psychological states. There is accumulating research. So, it makes sense to review and summarize what has been learned

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-based positive psychology interventions: a systematic review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8344333/ ) Allen and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies of the effects of mindfulness-based interventions on positive psychological states. They identified 22 published research studies.

 

They report that the published research found that mindfulness-based interventions significantly increased eudaimonia, well-being, of children, adults, and couples. Mindfulness-based interventions were also found to significantly enhance hedonia, positive emotions (amusement, awe, contentment, joy, gratitude, hope, interest, love, and pride, collectively) and quality of life. They also report that mindfulness training produces significant increases in prosocial behavior, social competence, emotion regulation, flexibility, academic performance, delay of gratification, coping behavior, relaxation, self-compassion, and happiness.

 

Hence, the research published to date supports the conclusion that mindfulness-based interventions improve positive psychological states. So, these interventions are not only useful for the relief of negative psychological states in people who are suffering but can also enhance the psychological well-being of everyone.

 

So, increase positive psychological states with mindfulness.

 

 

mindfulness is a fundamental part of a broad program of psycho-spiritual development, aiming to help people reach ‘enlightenment’. . .  it may be conceived of as the superlative state of happiness, equanimity and freedom that a human being is capable of experiencing.” – Itai Ivtzan

 

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

 

Allen, J. G., Romate, J., & Rajkumar, E. (2021). Mindfulness-based positive psychology interventions: a systematic review. BMC psychology, 9(1), 116. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40359-021-00618-2

 

Abstract

Background

There are hundreds of mindfulness-based interventions in the form of structured and unstructured therapies, trainings, and meditation programs, mostly utilized in a clinical rather than a well-being perspective. The number of empirical studies on positive potentials of mindfulness is comparatively less, and their known status in academia is ambiguous. Hence, the current paper aimed to review the studies where mindfulness-based interventions had integrated positive psychology variables, in order to produce positive functioning.

Methods

Data were obtained from the databases of PubMed, Scopus, and PsycNet and manual search in Google Scholar. From the 3831 articles, irrelevant or inaccessible studies were eliminated, reducing the number of final articles chosen for review to 21. Interventions that contribute to enhancement of eudaimonia, hedonia, and other positive variables are discussed.

Results

Findings include the potential positive qualities of MBIs in producing specific positive outcomes within limited circumstances, and ascendancy of hedonia and other positive variables over eudaimonic enhancement.

Conclusion

In conclusion, exigency of modifications in the existing MBIs to bring about exclusively positive outcomes was identified, and observed the necessity of novel interventions for eudaimonic enhancement and elevation of hedonia in a comprehensive manner.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8344333/