Improve Mental Health with Mindfulness

Improve Mental Health with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindfulness is recommended as a treatment for people with mental ill-health as well as those who want to improve their mental health and wellbeing.” – Mental Health Foundation

 

Over the last several decades, research and anecdotal experiences have accumulated an impressive evidential case that the development of mindfulness has positive benefits for the individual’s mental, physical, and spiritual life. Mindfulness appears to be beneficial both for healthy people and for people suffering from a myriad of mental and physical illnesses. It appears to be beneficial across ages, from children to the elderly. And it appears to be beneficial across genders, personalities, race, and ethnicity.

 

The breadth and depth of benefits is unprecedented. There is no other treatment or practice that has been shown to come anyway near the range of mindfulness’ positive benefits. Mindfulness appears to work well in clinical settings. But does it work well when mindfulness is trained in groups in community settings. It makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-based programmes for mental health promotion in adults in nonclinical settings: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7799763/ ) Galante and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published randomized controlled trials of the effectiveness of mindfulness-based programs to improve mental health. They identified 136 trials including a total of 11,605 participants of the effectiveness of community-based group mindfulness programs.

 

They report that in comparison to no treatment controls, mindfulness-based programs produced significant improvements in anxiety, depression, psychological distress, and mental well-being. In comparison to non-therapeutic active controls mindfulness-based programs produced significant improvements in depression, and mental well-being. Finally, mindfulness-based programs did not appear to improve mental health to a greater extent that other therapeutic treatments. They further found that mindfulness-based programs appeared to work best for high-risk participants or those with subclinical levels of mental disorders.

 

There appears to be extensive research findings that suggest that group mindfulness-based programs in non-clinical, community, are as effective in improving mental health as other therapies. In particular they appear to decrease symptoms of anxiety, depression, and psychological distress and increase mental well-being. But, these programs do not appear to further improve mental health in people who already have excellent mental health. This suggests that mindfulness-based community programs should be implemented to improve the mental health of at-risk individuals or those who have metal health issues.

 

So, improve mental health with mindfulness.

 

simple changes in lifestyle can lead to improved mental health and wellbeing.  Mindfulness is one such practice—with strong research supporting its usefulness for those suffering from anxiety, depression, or even just daily stress.” – U Minnesota

 

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

 

Galante, J., Friedrich, C., Dawson, A. F., Modrego-Alarcón, M., Gebbing, P., Delgado-Suárez, I., Gupta, R., Dean, L., Dalgleish, T., White, I. R., & Jones, P. B. (2021). Mindfulness-based programmes for mental health promotion in adults in nonclinical settings: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. PLoS medicine, 18(1), e1003481. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003481

 

Abstract

Background

There is an urgent need for mental health promotion in nonclinical settings. Mindfulness–based programmes (MBPs) are being widely implemented to reduce stress, but a comprehensive evidence synthesis is lacking. We reviewed trials to assess whether MBPs promote mental health relative to no intervention or comparator interventions.

Methods and findings

Following a detailed preregistered protocol (PROSPERO CRD42018105213) developed with public and professional stakeholders, 13 databases were searched to August 2020 for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) examining in–person, expert–defined MBPs in nonclinical settings. Two researchers independently selected, extracted, and appraised trials using the Cochrane Risk–of–Bias Tool 2.0. Primary outcomes were psychometrically validated anxiety, depression, psychological distress, and mental well–being questionnaires at 1 to 6 months after programme completion. Multiple testing was performed using p < 0.0125 (Bonferroni) for statistical significance. Secondary outcomes, meta–regression and sensitivity analyses were prespecified. Pairwise random–effects multivariate meta–analyses and prediction intervals (PIs) were calculated.

A total of 11,605 participants in 136 trials were included (29 countries, 77% women, age range 18 to 73 years). Compared with no intervention, in most but not all scenarios MBPs improved average anxiety (8 trials; standardised mean difference (SMD) = −0.56; 95% confidence interval (CI) −0.80 to −0.33; p–value < 0.001; 95% PI −1.19 to 0.06), depression (14 trials; SMD = −0.53; 95% CI −0.72 to −0.34; p–value < 0.001; 95% PI −1.14 to 0.07), distress (27 trials; SMD = −0.45; 95% CI −0.58 to −0.31; p–value < 0.001; 95% PI −1.04 to 0.14), and well–being (9 trials; SMD = 0.33; 95% CI 0.11 to 0.54; p–value = 0.003; 95% PI −0.29 to 0.94). Compared with nonspecific active control conditions, in most but not all scenarios MBPs improved average depression (6 trials; SMD = −0.46; 95% CI −0.81 to −0.10; p–value = 0.012, 95% PI −1.57 to 0.66), with no statistically significant evidence for improving anxiety or distress and no reliable data on well–being. Compared with specific active control conditions, there is no statistically significant evidence of MBPs’ superiority. Only effects on distress remained when higher–risk trials were excluded. USA–based trials reported smaller effects. MBPs targeted at higher–risk populations had larger effects than universal MBPs. The main limitation of this review is that confidence according to the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach is moderate to very low, mainly due to inconsistency and high risk of bias in many trials.

Conclusions

Compared with taking no action, MBPs of the included studies promote mental health in nonclinical settings, but given the heterogeneity between studies, the findings do not support generalisation of MBP effects across every setting. MBPs may have specific effects on some common mental health symptoms. Other preventative interventions may be equally effective. Implementation of MBPs in nonclinical settings should be partnered with thorough research to confirm findings and learn which settings are most likely to benefit.

Author summary

Why was this study done?

Mindfulness courses to increase well–being and reduce stress have become very popular; most are in community settings.

Many randomised controlled trials (RCTs) tested whether mindfulness courses show benefit, but results are varied and, to our knowledge, there are no reviews combining the data from these studies to show an overall effect.

What did the researchers do and find?

Worldwide, we identified 136 RCTs on mindfulness training for mental health promotion in community settings. We reviewed them all, assessed their quality, and calculated their combined effects.

We showed that, compared with doing nothing, mindfulness reduces anxiety, depression, and stress, and increases well–being, but we cannot be sure that this will happen in every community setting.

In these RCTs, mindfulness is neither better nor worse than other feel–good practices such as physical exercise, and RCTs in this field tend to be of poor quality, so we cannot be sure that our combined results represent the true effects.

What do these findings mean?

Mindfulness courses in the community need to be implemented with care, because we cannot assume that they work for everyone, everywhere.

We need good quality collaborative research to find out which types of communities benefit from the different types of mindfulness courses available.

The courses that work best may be those aimed at people who are most stressed or in stressful situations.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7799763/

 

Focused Meditation has Superior Effectiveness for Emotional Disorders

Focused Meditation has Superior Effectiveness for Emotional Disorders

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

               

“meditation can help you relax and reduce stress. It can also help you disengage from stressful or anxious thoughts, and better control your mood.” – Healthline

 

Meditation training has been shown to improve health and well-being. 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. As a result, meditation training has been called the third wave of therapies. One problem with understanding meditation effects is that there are, a wide variety of meditation techniques and it is not known which work best for affecting different psychological areas.

 

There are a number of different types of meditation. Classically they’ve been characterized on a continuum with the degree and type of attentional focus. In focused attention meditation, the individual practices paying attention to a single meditation object, often the breath. In open monitoring meditation, the individual opens up awareness to everything that’s being experienced including thoughts regardless of its origin.  Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) employs both focused and open monitoring meditation and also Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). During therapy the patient is trained to investigate and alter aberrant thought patterns. It is important to understand which form of meditation training works best for which conditions.

 

In today’s Research News article “The contributions of focused attention and open monitoring in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for affective disturbances: A 3-armed randomized dismantling trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7802967/ ) Cullen and colleagues recruited adults with mild-moderate depression and anxiety and randomly assigned them to an 8-week program of one of three meditation types; focused meditation, open monitoring meditation, or their combination as occurs in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). They were measured before training and weekly over the 8-week program and 12 weeks later for depression, stress, and anxiety.

 

They found that all three meditation programs produced significant improvements in depression, stress, and anxiety at the end of training and 12 weeks later. But Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and focused meditation produced significantly greater reductions in anxiety at the 12-week follow-up than open monitoring meditation. During training statistically significant improvements in depression, stress, and anxiety occurred first for focused meditation, followed by MBCT, and last by open monitoring meditation.

 

These are interesting results that again demonstrate the efficacy of meditation training in improving depression, stress, and anxiety. They also found that the training in both focused and open monitoring meditation as occurs in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) did not produce superior results to the individual meditation types. Finally, they show the focused meditation may be superior to open monitoring meditation in relieving depression, stress, and anxiety. The participants who practiced focused meditation improved faster and at follow up had lower levels of anxiety than those who practiced open monitoring meditation.

 

The reason for the differences in the effectiveness of the different meditation types is unknown. But focused meditation may be simpler and easier to learn and practice than open monitoring meditation. Also, open monitoring meditation by having the practitioner open up awareness to everything that’s being experienced may allow for anxiety, stress, and depression to more easily arise during the session. Future research should investigate these possibilities.

 

So, focused meditation has superior effectiveness for emotional disorders.

 

Within just a week or two of regular meditation, you should see a noticeable change in your mood and stress level. “People will start to feel some inner peace and inner poise, even in the midst of their busy lives,” – Burke Lennihan.

 

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

 

Cullen, B., Eichel, K., Lindahl, J. R., Rahrig, H., Kini, N., Flahive, J., & Britton, W. B. (2021). The contributions of focused attention and open monitoring in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for affective disturbances: A 3-armed randomized dismantling trial. PloS one, 16(1), e0244838. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0244838

 

Abstract

Objective

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) includes a combination of focused attention (FA) and open monitoring (OM) meditation practices. The aim of this study was to assess both short- and long-term between- and within-group differences in affective disturbance among FA, OM and their combination (MBCT) in the context of a randomized controlled trial.

Method

One hundred and four participants with mild to severe depression and anxiety were randomized into one of three 8-week interventions: MBCT (n = 32), FA (n = 36) and OM (n = 36). Outcome measures included the Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology (IDS), and the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS). Mixed effects regression models were used to assess differential treatment effects during treatment, post-treatment (8 weeks) and long-term (20 weeks). The Reliable Change Index (RCI) was used to translate statistical findings into clinically meaningful improvements or deteriorations.

Results

All treatments demonstrated medium to large improvements (ds = 0.42–1.65) for almost all outcomes. While all treatments were largely comparable in their effects at post-treatment (week 8), the treatments showed meaningful differences in rapidity of response and pattern of deteriorations. FA showed the fastest rate of improvement and the fewest deteriorations on stress, anxiety and depression during treatment, but a loss of treatment-related gains and lasting deteriorations in depression at week 20. OM showed the slowest rate of improvement and lost treatment-related gains for anxiety, resulting in higher anxiety in OM at week 20 than MBCT (d = 0.40) and FA (d = 0.36), though these differences did not reach statistical significance after correcting for multiple comparisons (p’s = .06). MBCT and OM showed deteriorations in stress, anxiety and depression at multiple timepoints during treatment, with lasting deteriorations in stress and depression. MBCT showed the most favorable pattern for long-term treatment of depression.

Conclusions

FA, OM and MBCT show different patterns of response for different dimensions of affective disturbance.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7802967/

 

Improve Psychological, Physiological, and Epigenetic Markers of Type 2 Diabetes with Mind-Body Practices

Improve Psychological, Physiological, and Epigenetic Markers of Type 2 Diabetes with Mind-Body Practices

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Diabetes, like many other chronic diseases, can also affect the mind. Similarly the mind has great power to influence the body.” – Diabetes UK

 

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. Type II Diabetes results from a resistance of tissues, especially fat tissues, to the ability of insulin to promote the uptake of glucose from the blood. As a result, blood sugar levels rise producing hyperglycemia. 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.

 

Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable. One of the reasons for the increasing incidence of Type 2 Diabetes is its association with overweight and obesity which is becoming epidemic in the industrialized world. A leading cause of this is a sedentary life style. Current treatments for Type 2 Diabetes focus on diet, exercise, and weight control. Recently, mindfulness practices have been shown to be helpful in managing diabetes. Mindful movement practices such as Tai Chi and Qigong  and yoga are mindfulness practices that are also gentle exercises. There is accumulating research on the effectiveness of these mind-body practices for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes. So, it makes sense to examine what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Changes Induced by Mind-Body Intervention Including Epigenetic Marks and Its Effects on Diabetes.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7865217/ ) Yang and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies of the effects of mind-body practices on the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes including epigenetic markers.

 

They report that moving meditation practices such as Tai Chi and Qigong  and yoga have been shown to significantly improve blood glucose, HbA1c, postprandial blood glucose, total cholesterol, and both low-density and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to significantly improve HbA1c, diabetes-related distress, depression, and stress. In addition, mind-body interventions produce epigenetic changes reflected in DNA methylation modification. More study is needed but these epigenetic changes may underlie the improvements in Type 2 Diabetes produced by mind-body interventions.

 

Mind-body interventions have been repeatedly demonstrated to significantly reduce depression, anxiety and stress. These psychological states tend to aggravate Type 2 Diabetes. Since mind-mind-body practices reduce depression, anxiety and stress, they produce improvements in the symptoms of diabetes. In addition, mind-body practices produce physiological changes that can improve the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes. These include activation of the parasympathetic (relaxation) nervous system, lower stress hormone (cortisol) secretion, reduced inflammation, and even reduced age based physiological changes.

 

These are remarkable findings that suggest that mind-body practices are effective in producing psychological and physiological changes that are very beneficial for the relief of the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes. These benefits are reflected in changes on the epigenetic level that might ultimately be responsible for the benefits. Clearly, mind-body practices should be incorporated into Type 2 Diabetes treatment programs.

 

So, improve psychological, physiological, and epigenetic markers of type 2 diabetes with mind-body practices.

 

meditation strategies can be useful adjunctive techniques to lifestyle modification and pharmacological management of diabetes and help improve patient wellbeing.” Gagan Priya

 

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

Yang, H. J., Koh, E., Sung, M. K., & Kang, H. (2021). Changes Induced by Mind-Body Intervention Including Epigenetic Marks and Its Effects on Diabetes. International journal of molecular sciences, 22(3), 1317. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031317

 

Abstract

Studies have evidenced that epigenetic marks associated with type 2 diabetes (T2D) can be inherited from parents or acquired through fetal and early-life events, as well as through lifelong environments or lifestyles, which can increase the risk of diabetes in adulthood. However, epigenetic modifications are reversible, and can be altered through proper intervention, thus mitigating the risk factors of T2D. Mind–body intervention (MBI) refers to interventions like meditation, yoga, and qigong, which deal with both physical and mental well-being. MBI not only induces psychological changes, such as alleviation of depression, anxiety, and stress, but also physiological changes like parasympathetic activation, lower cortisol secretion, reduced inflammation, and aging rate delay, which are all risk factors for T2D. Notably, MBI has been reported to reduce blood glucose in patients with T2D. Herein, based on recent findings, we review the effects of MBI on diabetes and the mechanisms involved, including epigenetic modifications.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7865217/

Improve Caregivers Psychological and Physiological Health with Meditation

Improve Caregivers Psychological and Physiological Health with Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Feel overwhelmed with the responsibilities of caring for a loved one? One of the most effective ways to avoid burnout is engaging in a mindfulness practice like meditation.” – Audrey Meinertzhagen

 

There is a tremendous demand for caregiving in the US. It is estimated that over 65 million (29% of the adult population) provides care to someone who is ill, disabled or aged, averaging 20 hours per week spent caring for their loved ones. This caregiving comes at a cost exacting a tremendous toll on caregivers’ health and well-being. Caregiving has been associated with increased levels of depression and anxiety as well as higher use of psychoactive medications, poorer self-reported physical health, compromised immune function, and increased mortality. Mindfulness practice for caregivers has been shown to help them cope with the physical and psychological demands of caregiving.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Meditation on Mental Health and Cardiovascular Balance in Caregivers.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7828286/ ) Díaz-Rodríguez and colleagues recruited caregivers for dependent family members for at least 2 years. They were assigned to either no treatment or to receive twice weekly, 2-hour, sessions of focused meditation training on the basis of availability for the training sessions. They were measured before and after training for happiness, anxiety, depression, heart rate, heart rate variability, and blood pressure.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control group, the group that received meditation training were significant higher in happiness and heart rate variability and significantly lower in anxiety, heart rate, and blood pressure. Hence meditation training improved the mental health and cardiovascular balance of caregivers.

 

These are excellent results. A higher level of heart rate variability is an indicator of increased parasympathetic and reduced sympathetic nervous system activity. Hence, the relaxation promoting portion of the autonomic nervous system increases while the portion promoting activation and arousal decreases. This is further evidenced by the significant decrease in heart rate and blood pressure. This suggest that a 4-week training in meditation improves caregivers’ psychological and physiological state. The effectiveness of the caregiving was not measured but based upon the improvements observed it would be expected that the quality of caregiving would also be improved. This suggests that meditation training should be recommended for caregivers.

 

So, improve caregivers psychological and physiological health with meditation.

 

Caregiving is a tough job and the stress can seriously affect your physical and mental health. An effective and simple way to combat that is to meditate.” – Daily Caring

 

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

 

Díaz-Rodríguez, L., Vargas-Román, K., Sanchez-Garcia, J. C., Rodríguez-Blanque, R., Cañadas-De la Fuente, G. A., & De La Fuente-Solana, E. I. (2021). Effects of Meditation on Mental Health and Cardiovascular Balance in Caregivers. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(2), 617. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020617

 

Abstract

Background: Caring for a loved one can be rewarding but is also associated with substantial caregiver burden, developing mental outcomes and affecting happiness. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of a four-week, 16-h presential meditation program on physiological and psychological parameters and vagal nerve activity in high-burden caregivers, as compared to a control group. Methods: A non-randomized repeated-measures controlled clinical trial was conducted. Results: According to the ANCOVA results, the global happiness score (F = 297.42, p < 0.001) and the scores for all subscales were significantly higher in the experimental group than in the control group at 5 weeks. Anxiety levels were also significantly reduced in the experimental group (F = 24.92, p < 0.001), systolic (F = 16.23, p < 0.001) and diastolic blood (F = 34.39, p < 0.001) pressures, and the resting heart rate (F = 17.90, p < 0.05). HRV results revealed significant between-group differences in the HRV Index (F = 8.40, p < 0.05), SDNN (F = 13.59, p < 0.05), and RMSSD (F = 10.72, p < 0.05) in the time domain, and HF (F = 4.82 p < 0.05)) in the frequency domain, which were all improved in the experimental group after the meditation program. Conclusions: Meditation can be a useful therapy to enhance the mental health and autonomic nervous system balance of informal caregivers, improving symptoms of physical and mental overload.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7828286/

 

Mindfulness and Exercise Reduce Depression in College Students

Mindfulness and Exercise Reduce Depression in College Students

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness is as popular at colleges nationwide. It’s someone giving themselves uninterrupted mental space. . . It’s a time to stop and refocus your purpose. Studies show the practice may be an antidote to the high levels of stress and depression seen on college campuses.” – Susan Donaldson James

 

In the modern world education is a key for success. There a lot of pressure on university students to excel so that they can get the best jobs after graduation. The pressure can actually lead to stress, anxiety, and depression which can impede the student’s mental health, well-being, and school performance.

 

It is, for the most part, beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress, so it is important that methods be found to reduce the college students’ responses to stress; to make them more resilient when high levels of stress occur. Contemplative practices including meditationmindfulness training, exercise, Tai Chi and Qigong, and yoga practice have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress, relieve anxiety, and reduce depression So, it would seem important to examine various techniques to relieve the stress and its consequent symptoms in college students.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of aerobic exercise, traditional Chinese exercises, and meditation on depressive symptoms of college student: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7793414/ ) Song and colleagues reviewed, summarized, and performed a meta-analysis of the published randomized controlled trials of the effects of aerobic exercise, meditation, or traditional Chinese exercises on depression, anxiety, and stress in college students. traditional Chinese exercises included tai chi, Baduanjin, qigong, and other mind-body therapies. They identified 44 published trials.

 

They report that the published trials found that aerobic exercise, meditation, and traditional Chinese exercises all improved depression in the college students. On the other hand, only aerobic exercise produced a significant reduction in anxiety levels and only aerobic exercise and traditional Chinese exercises produced significant reductions in stress.

 

The findings regarding depression make sense as all three types of interventions have been found to be effective in relieving depression. But previous studies with diverse groups have found that meditation is effective for anxiety and stress and traditional Chinese exercises are also effective for anxiety. So, it may well be that the review included only college students may be responsible for these failures to find significant effects. In addition, there were no studies included that involved the use of meditation for stress and only 2 for the effects of traditional Chinese exercises on anxiety. Regardless, the results clearly show that all three practices are effective in relieving depression.

 

So, mindfulness and exercise reduce depression in college students.

 

Although the research on long-term benefits is still scarce, much of it has shown that long-term mindfulness practitioners tend to have improved health outcomes, enhanced psychological well-being and better attentional function.” – Affordable College Onine

 

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

 

Song, J., Liu, Z. Z., Huang, J., Wu, J. S., & Tao, J. (2021). Effects of aerobic exercise, traditional Chinese exercises, and meditation on depressive symptoms of college student: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Medicine, 100(1), e23819. https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000023819

 

Abstract

Background:

Non-pharmacological intervention methods such as rehabilitation training or psychological treatment are mostly used in the treatment of depression owing to the limitation of adverse reactions such as drug treatment. However, the best non-pharmacological treatment strategy for depression in college students is unclear. Therefore, it is significant to discover non-drug intervention methods that can improve the depression symptoms of college students.

Method:

Electronic databases as of Sep 15, 2019, were searched, and reference lists and pharmaceutical dossiers were reviewed to detect published and unpublished studies from the date of their inception to Sep 15, 2019. With document quality evaluations and data extraction, Meta-Analysis was performed using a random effect model to evaluate the intervention effect of the aerobic exercise, traditional Chinese exercises, and meditation.

Results:

A total of 44 original studies were included. The random effect model was used to combine the effect values with Standard Mean Difference (SMD), and the results were: aerobic exercise [SMD = –0.53, 95% CI (–0.77, –0.30), I2 = 80%, P < .001], traditional Chinese exercises [SMD = –0.42, 95% CI (–0.74, –0.10), I2 = 90%, P = .01], meditation [SMD = –0.51, 95% CI (–0.90, –0.12), I2 = 79%, P = .01]. There was greater heterogeneity among the included studies: aerobic exercise (I2 = 80%, P < .001), traditional Chinese medicine methods (I2 = 90%, P < .001), and meditation (I2 = 79%, P < .001).

Conclusions:

This study revealed that the depression symptoms of college students can be effectively improved by aerobic exercise, traditional Chinese exercises, and meditation. Aerobic exercise would have a better effect on anxiety and stress while traditional Chinese exercise would have a better effect on stress. Further research (such as high-quality randomized controlled trials and long-term follow-up) is required to evaluate the effects of aerobic exercise, traditional Chinese exercise, and meditation on the depressive symptoms of college students to further apply complementary and alternative therapies.

Ethics and dissemination:

The results of the effects of aerobic exercise, traditional Chinese exercises, and meditation on depressive symptoms for a college student will be reported in a peer-reviewed publication. Hopefully, our findings from this meta-analysis can provide the most up-to-date evidence for the contribution to preventing the occurrence of depressive symptoms in college students.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7793414/

 

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Breast Cancer Survivors with Mindfulness

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Breast Cancer Survivors with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness is a good resource for dealing with the physical and psychological symptoms of metastatic disease. Women who were more mindful tended to have lower symptoms of metastatic breast cancer, including pain severity and interference, fatigue, psychological distress, and sleep disturbance.” – Lauren Zimmaro

 

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 cancer recovery and help to alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depression. The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program is a mindfulness training program that includes meditation practice, body scan, yoga, and discussion along with daily home practice. MBSR has been shown to be beneficial for cancer patients in general and also specifically for the symptoms of breast cancer survivors. So, it makes sense to further explore the effectiveness of MBSR training for the treatment of breast cancer survivors.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in Post-treatment Breast Cancer Patients: Immediate and Sustained Effects Across Multiple Symptom Clusters.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7771358/ ) Reich and colleagues recruited breast cancer survivors and randomly assigned them to either usual care or to receive a 6-week, once a week for 2-hours, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) modified for breast cancer survivors. They were measured before and after training and 6 weeks later for worry, fear of cancer recurrence, anxiety, depression, perceived stress, mindfulness, symptom severity, sleep quality, fatigue, pain, cognition, and health-related quality of life.

 

They found with factor analysis that the measures fit into 4 clusters; pain, cognition, fatigue, and psychological. They found that in comparison to baseline the usual care, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) produced significant improvement in the psychological and fatigue clusters, but not the cognitive or pain clusters. These effects were still present 6 weeks later.

 

These findings suggest that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an effective treatment to relieve the psychological and fatigue symptoms of breast cancer survivors. This corresponds with prior findings that mindfulness improves the symptoms of breast cancer survivors and reduces anxiety, depression, and perceived stress, and improves emotional well-being and also reduces fatigue and improves sleep quality.

 

The observed improvements produced by Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) markedly improves the quality of life and reduces the suffering of these cancer patients. These are clinically significant. It has been shown that an improved psychological outlook is associated with better physical recovery. Hence, these findings suggest that MBSR or other mindfulness training programs, should be incorporated into the routine care of breast cancer survivors.

 

So, improve the psychological well-being of breast cancer survivors with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness is a state of mind which we can all acquire and use to support our wellbeing physically, emotionally and mentally. . .  Having cancer, or specifically breast cancer, is no exception. Our cancer experiences take up a lot of energies, mental focus and can drain us emotionally. It is important to have a few tools to help us create ‘down’ and ‘out’ times, and to replenish and reconnect with who we are.“ – Breast Cancer Now

 

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

 

Reich, R. R., Lengacher, C. A., Alinat, C. B., Kip, K. E., Paterson, C., Ramesar, S., Han, H. S., Ismail-Khan, R., Johnson-Mallard, V., Moscoso, M., Budhrani-Shani, P., Shivers, S., Cox, C. E., Goodman, M., & Park, J. (2017). Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in Post-treatment Breast Cancer Patients: Immediate and Sustained Effects Across Multiple Symptom Clusters. Journal of pain and symptom management, 53(1), 85–95. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2016.08.005

 

Abstract

Context.

Breast cancer survivors (BCS) face adverse physical and psychological symptoms, often co-occurring. Biologic and psychological factors may link symptoms within clusters, distinguishable by prevalence and/or severity. Few studies have examined the effects of behavioral interventions or treatment of symptom clusters.

Objectives.

The aim of this study was to identify symptom clusters among post-treatment BCS and determine symptom cluster improvement following the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Breast Cancer (MBSR(BC)) program.

Methods.

Three hundred twenty-two Stage 0–III post-treatment BCS were randomly assigned to either a six-week MBSR(BC) program or usual care. Psychological (depression, anxiety, stress, and fear of recurrence), physical (fatigue, pain, sleep, and drowsiness), and cognitive symptoms and quality of life were assessed at baseline, six, and 12 weeks, along with demographic and clinical history data at baseline. A three-step analytic process included the error-accounting models offactor analysis and structural equation modeling.

Results.

Four symptom clusters emerged at baseline: pain, psychological, fatigue, and cognitive. From baseline to six weeks, the model demonstrated evidence of MBSR(BC) effectiveness in both the psychological (anxiety, depression, perceived stress and QOL, emotional well-being) (P = 0.007) and fatigue (fatigue, sleep, and drowsiness) (P < 0.001) clusters. Results between six and 12 weeks showed sustained effects, but further improvement was not observed.

Conclusion.

Our results provide clinical effectiveness evidence that MBSR(BC) works to improve symptom clusters, particularly for psychological and fatigue symptom clusters, with the greatest improvement occurring during the six-week program with sustained effects for several weeks after MBSR(BC) training.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7771358/

 

Movement-Based Therapies are Affective for Rehabilitation from Disease

Movement-Based Therapies are Affective for Rehabilitation from Disease

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Tai chi is often described as “meditation in motion,” but it might well be called “medication in motion.” There is growing evidence that this mind-body practice, which originated in China as a martial art, has value in treating or preventing many health problems.” – Havard Health

 

Mindful movement practices such as yoga and Tai Chi and Qigong have been used for centuries to improve the physical and mental health and well-being of practitioners. But only recently has the effects of these practices come under scientific scrutiny. This research has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to pause and examine what has been learned about the effectiveness of these practice for rehabilitation from disease.

 

In today’s Research News article “Movement-Based Therapies in Rehabilitation.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7476461/ ) Phuphanich and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies of the effects of mindful movement practices on rehabilitation from disease.

 

They report that published research has found that yoga practice reduces fatigue, sleep disturbances, depression, and anxiety and improves the immune system in cancer patients. Yoga has been found to be an effective treatment for mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Yoga has been found to reduce pain levels, fear avoidance, stress, and sleep disturbance and increases self-efficacy and quality of life in chronic pain patients. Yoga has been found to improve the symptoms of traumatic brain injury, stroke, spinal cord injury, Parkinson disease, dementia, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and neuropathies. In addition, yoga has been found to improve systolic and diastolic blood pressures, heart rate, respiratory rate, waist circumference, waist/hip ratio, cholesterol, triglycerides, hemoglobin A1c, and insulin resistance in cardiopulmonary diseases.

 

They report that the published research has found that Tai Chi and Qigong practices reduce falls in the elderly. Tai Chi and Qigong has been found to reduce pain levels and increase quality of life in chronic pain patients. In addition, there is evidence that Tai Chi and Qigong practices improves depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, sleep disturbance, schizophrenia, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, and immune disorders.

 

These are remarkable findings. The range of disorders that are positively affected by yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong practices is breathtaking. These practices are also safe and can be widely implemented at relatively low cost and can be performed alone or in groups and at home or in a therapeutic setting. This suggests that these practices should be routinely implemented for rehabilitation from disease.

 

So,  movement-based therapies are affective for rehabilitation from disease.

 

Being mindful through any physical activity can not only improve performance in the activity such as yoga, tennis, swimming, etc, but it can also increase flexibility, confidence in movement and generate a sense of body and mind connection that has the potential for improving your overall sense of well-being.“- Anupama Kommu

 

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

 

Phuphanich, M. E., Droessler, J., Altman, L., & Eapen, B. C. (2020). Movement-Based Therapies in Rehabilitation. Physical medicine and rehabilitation clinics of North America, 31(4), 577–591. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmr.2020.07.002

 

Abstract

Movement therapy refers to a broad range of Eastern and Western mindful movement-based practices used to treat the mind, body, and spirit concurrently. Forms of movement practice are universal across human culture and exist in ancient history. Research demonstrates forms of movement therapy, such as dance, existed in the common ancestor shared by humans and chimpanzees, approximately 6 million years ago. Movement-based therapies innately promote health and wellness by encouraging proactive participation in one’s own health, creating community support and accountability, and so building a foundation for successful, permanent, positive change.

Key Points – Movement-based therapies

  • Decrease fear avoidance and empower individuals to take a proactive role in their own health and wellness.
  • Can benefit patients of any ability; practices are customizable to the individual’s needs and health.
  • Are safe, cost-effective, and potent adjunct treatments used to supplement (not replace) standard care.
  • Deliver patient-centered, integrative care that accounts for the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual aspects of health and illness.
  • Have diverse, evidence-based benefits, including reduction in pain, stress, and debility, and improvements in range of motion, strength, balance, coordination, cardiovascular health, physical fitness, mood, and cognition.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7476461/

 

Improve Stress Responding, Health, and Well-Being with Qigong

Improve Stress Responding, Health, and Well-Being with Qigong

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Qigong is an extraordinary tool for reducing the harmful effects of stress. The three pillars of qigong practice are body, breath, and mind. If your body is relaxed your breathing will slow down. When your breath is slow, you feel more centered, more calm, and more in touch with yourself” – Kenneth Cohen

 

Tai Chi and Qigong are ancient mindfulness practices involving slow prescribed movements. They are gentle and completely safe, can be used with the elderly and sickly, are inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility or even public park, and can be quickly learned. In addition, they can also be practiced in social groups without professional supervision. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice.

 

Tai Chi and Qigong are both mindfulness practices and gentle exercises. They have been shown to be beneficial for the health and well-being of individuals of a variety of ages, but particularly the elderly. They also improve the symptoms of a variety of diseases. One way that these practices may improve health and well-being is by reducing stress. The studies of the benefits for health of Tai Chi and Qigong are accumulating and so it makes sense to take a moment to summarize what has been learned about the benefits of Qigong practice.

 

In today’s Research News article “Individual Stress Prevention through Qigong.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7579037/ )  van Dam reviews and summarizes the published research studies of the effects of Qigong practice on stress. She reports that the published studies found that Qigong practice improves the cardiovascular system including a significant reduction in blood pressure and an increase in heartrate variability, an indicator of parasympathetic relaxation. It improves the respiratory system including increased lung capacity, oxygen intake and breathing patterns. It improves immune function and reduces inflammatory responses. It improves both psychological and physiological responses to stress. It improves sleep quality and reduces fatigue. It reduces depression and both acute and chronic anxiety.

 

These findings are remarkable and suggest that this gentle safe practice markedly improves the physical and mental well-being and health of the practitioners. Many of these benefits may result from the ability of Qigong practice to improve stress responding. Stress impairs health and well-being and Qigong practice appears to counteract these effects.

 

So, improve stress responding, health, and well-being with Qigong.

 

Qi Gong helps you develop a crystal clear mind as you connect with the present moment, letting go of the stress of daily life and relaxing deeply.”- Nick Jankel

 

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

 

van Dam K. (2020). Individual Stress Prevention through Qigong. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(19), 7342. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197342

 

Abstract

Owing to work intensification and an accelerated pace of life in general, individuals in many Western countries are often overactivated and find it difficult to switch off. However, recovery from physiological and mental activation is critical to prevent stress symptoms and maintain one’s physiological and mental well-being. Extensive research evidence indicates that Qigong, a traditional Chinese movement practice for promoting health, provides an effective means to recover from work and off-work demands. The main objective of this paper is to offer a comprehensive, narrative review of the effects of Qigong and its core components. Attention is first paid to the outcomes of work and off-work demands and stress, and the role of recovery for individuals’ well-being. Then, Qigong and its components are explained, followed by the results of scientific research. Finally, limitations and implications for research and practiced are discussed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7579037/

 

Reduce Anxiety with Mindful but not Non-Mindful Exercises

Reduce Anxiety with Mindful but not Non-Mindful Exercises

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Yoga brings together physical and mental disciplines that may help you achieve peacefulness of body and mind. This can help you relax and manage stress and anxiety.” – Mayo Clinic

 

Anxiety at low levels is normal and can act to signal potential future danger. But when it is overwhelming it creates what we label as anxiety disorders. They are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults, or 18% of the population. It has been estimated that one out of every three absences at work are caused by high levels of anxiety. Also, it has been found to be the most common reason for chronic school absenteeism. In addition, people with high levels of anxiety are three-to-five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than non-sufferers, making it a major burden on the healthcare system.

 

Anxiety has generally been treated with drugs. But there are considerable side effects and these drugs are often abused. There are a number of psychological therapies for anxiety. But, about 45% of the patients treated do not respond to the therapy. So, there is a need to develop alternative treatments. Recently, it has been found that mindfulness improves the regulation of  all emotions, including negative emotions like anxiety. There are a large variety of mindfulness practices. There have been a number of studies examining the effectiveness of mindfulness practices on anxiety. It’s important to take a look at what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Comparing Mindful and Non-Mindful Exercises on Alleviating Anxiety Symptoms: 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/PMC7700675/ )  So and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published randomized controlled trials of mindful and non-mindful practices for the treatment of non-specific anxiety.

 

They identified 14 published studies. The mindful practices consisted of yoga (10 studies) and qigong (4 studies) while the non-mindful practices consisted of walking, aerobic exercise, and stretching. They report that the published studies found that yoga practice produced a significant reduction in anxiety compared to non-mindful exercises while qigong practice did not.

 

Mindfulness practices have been routinely found to reduce anxiety in numerous other research studies. So, these results are not surprising. But yoga is both a mindfulness practice and an exercise. So, finding it effective while other non-mindful exercises were not, suggests that it is the mindfulness practice that is the key to yoga’s ability to reduce anxiety. The fact that qigong practice was not effective is surprising. The authors note that yoga but not qigong empathises breath control and speculate that this may be the critical difference explaining their differential effectiveness.

 

So, reduce anxiety with mindful but not non-mindful exercises.

 

Yoga for stress and anxiety helps to release deep holding patterns in the body and generates a state of balance to support healing.” – Melissa Mercedes

 

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

 

So, W., Lu, E. Y., Cheung, W. M., & Tsang, H. (2020). Comparing Mindful and Non-Mindful Exercises on Alleviating Anxiety Symptoms: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(22), 8692. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228692

 

Abstract

Background: In recent years, studies and reviews have reported the therapeutic benefits of both mindful and non-mindful exercises in reducing anxiety. However, there have not been any systematic reviews to compare their relative effectiveness for therapeutic application, especially among the non-clinical population. Thus, the aim of this review is to compare the effectiveness between mindful and non-mindful exercise on treating anxiety among non-clinical samples. Methods: Potential articles were retrieved from PubMed, Embase, Academic Search Premier, and PsycInfo. Randomized controlled trials, which involved both mindful and non-mindful exercises as intervention, and the use of anxiety outcome measures were included. Results: Twenty-four studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria and were included in our systematic review. In addition, 14 studies provided sufficient data to be included in the meta-analysis. For studies that reported significant group differences at post-assessment, results showed that mindful exercise was more beneficial in reducing anxiety than non-mindful exercise. The meta-analysis reported that yoga was more effective in reducing anxiety than non-mindful exercise. Conclusions: Compared to non-mindful exercise, yoga is shown to be more effective in alleviating anxiety symptoms. It is recommended that yoga could be used as a primary healthcare intervention to help the public reduce anxiety.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7700675/

 

Change the Brain to Improve Emotion Regulation in Bereaved Individuals with Mindfulness

Change the Brain to Improve Emotion Regulation in Bereaved Individuals with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“It takes a boat load of self-compassion to allow oneself to feel whatever it is you are feeling at any given time, without judgment, without comparison relative to another’s explicit portrayal of their own process. In this way, to grieve is to be mindful of our thoughts and feelings.” – Jennifer Wolkin

 

Grief is a normal, albeit complex, process that follows a loss of a significant person or situation in one’s life. This can involve the death of a loved one, a traumatic experience, termination of a relationship, relationship to a long-missing person, etc. Exactly what transpires depends upon the individual and the nature of the loss. It involves physical, emotional, psychological and cognitive processes. In about 15% of people grief can be overly intense or long and therapeutic intervention may become necessary.

 

Mindfulness practices have been found to help with coping with loss and its consequent grief.  Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) was specifically developed to treat depression. MBCT involves mindfulness training, containing sitting, walking and body scan meditations, and cognitive therapy that is designed to alter how the patient relates to the thought processes that often underlie and exacerbate psychological symptoms. Mindfulness training has been shown to change the size, activity and connectivity of brain structures. Hence, MBCT may reduce grief by altering the brain.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy on bereavement grief: Alterations of resting-state network connectivity associate with changes of anxiety and mindfulness.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7775995/ ) Huang and colleagues recruited adults who had lost a first degree relative within the last 4 years and had unresolved grief. The patients received an 8-week program of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). They met weekly for 2.5 hours and were encouraged to practice for 45 minutes daily at home. They were measured before and after the training for grief, generalized anxiety, depression, emotion regulation, and mindfulness. After training they underwent brain functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) at rest and while viewing pictures of faces with either neutral or negative emotional expressions.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline, after Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) the participants had significant increases in mindfulness, particularly the describing and non-reacting mindfulness facets, and emotion regulation and significant decreases in grief, anxiety, and depression. The brain connectivity as revealed in the fMRI scans changed after MBCT training with decreased connectivity within the Default Mode Network of the brain and connectivity between the Auditory, Visual, Salience, and frontal-parietal networks during rest but not emotion arousal. In addition, the connectivity between the subcortical caudate with the cortex correlated positively with mindfulness and emotion regulation and negatively with anxiety.

 

The Default Mode Network is thought to underly mind wandering and self-referential thinking. So, the decreases in connectivity may signal heightened present moment awareness. In addition, the changes in the connectivity between cortical areas were negatively related to emotion regulation while the connectivity between cortical and subcortical areas were positively related to emotion regulation. This suggests that MBCT training decreased effects of external perception on emotion regulation while increasing the effects of internal sensations.

 

It should be noted that there wasn’t a comparison, control, condition. So, the passage of time, participant expectancy effects, attentional effects, or experimenter bias may have been responsible for the observed changes. Nevertheless, the results suggest that MBCT training for bereaved patients improves their mental health and reduces grief. The brain scans suggest that the training altered the brain to increase present moment awareness and dependence of the person’s internal state in regulating emotions.

 

So, change the brain to improve emotion regulation in bereaved individuals with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness practice is not meant to minimize that pain or to convince people that everything is OK, but rather to help you recognize the reality of your circumstances, and to do so in a nonjudgmental and self-compassionate way.” – Stephanie Pritchard

 

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

 

Huang, F. Y., Hsu, A. L., Chao, Y. P., Shang, C. M., Tsai, J. S., & Wu, C. W. (2020). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy on bereavement grief: Alterations of resting-state network connectivity associate with changes of anxiety and mindfulness. Human brain mapping, 42(2), 510–520. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25240

 

Abstract

Bereavement, the experience of losing a loved one, is one of the most catastrophic but inevitable events in life. It causes grief and intense depression‐like sadness. Recent studies have revealed the effectiveness and proficiency of mindfulness‐based cognitive therapy (MBCT) in emotional regulation among bereavement populations. MBCT improves the well‐being of the bereaved by enhancing cognitive performances. Regarding the neural correlates of bereavement grief, previous studies focused on the alleviation of emotion–cognition interferences at specific brain regions. Here, we hypothesized that the bereavement grief fundamentally triggers global alterations in the resting‐state brain networks and part of the internetwork connectivity could be reformed after MBCT intervention. We recruited 19 bereaved individuals who participated the 8‐week MBCT program. We evaluated (a) the large‐scale changes in brain connectivity affected by the MBCT program; as well as (b) the association between connectivity changes and self‐rated questionnaire. First, after MBCT, the bereaved individuals showed the reduction of the internetwork connectivity in the salience, default‐mode and fronto‐parietal networks in the resting state but not under emotional arousal, implying the alleviated attention to spontaneous mind wandering after MBCT. Second, the alterations of functional connectivity between subcortical (e.g., caudate) and cortical networks (e.g., cingulo‐opercular/sensorimotor) were associated with the changes of the mindfulness scale, the anxiety and the emotion regulation ability. In summary, MBCT could enhance spontaneous emotion regulation among the bereaved individuals through the internetwork reorganizations in the resting state.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7775995/