Enhance Spatial Cognition in Younger Children with Movement Meditation and Creativity with Sitting Meditation in Older Children

Enhance Spatial Cognition in Younger Children with Movement Meditation and Creativity with Sitting Meditation in Older Children

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness as a powerful new skill to offer students, not just to manage stress but also to keep them from acting out. Its appeal: one simple, centralized intervention with effects that potentially stretch beyond the classroom.” – Brian Resnick

 

Childhood is a miraculous period during which the child is dynamically absorbing information from every aspect of its environment. This is particularly evident during the elementary school years. Mindfulness training in school has been shown to have very positive effects. These include improvements in the academic, cognitive, psychological, and social domains. Training early in childhood has the potential of jump-starting the child’s academic performance. It is not known, however, what form of meditation training works best for children of different ages.

 

In today’s Research News article “Age-Related Differential Effects of School-Based Sitting and Movement Meditation on Creativity and Spatial Cognition: A Pilot Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8303844/  ) Marson and colleagues recruited children 10 to 13 years of age in the 5th through 8th grades and had them perform two practices in counterbalanced order for 10 weeks; a 5-minute sensorimotor task (mindful movements) and a 5-monute sitting meditation (Open monitoring). Before and after each training the children were measured for cognitive performance with a hidden figures test and for creativity with an alternative uses test.

 

They found that the younger children were most affected by the meditative movement training while the older children were affected more by the sitting meditation, In particular, younger children had significant increases in spatial cognition (hidden figures task), and the number of uses (fluency) and the number of categories of uses (flexibility) in the alternative uses task after meditative movement training. On the other hand, the older children had significantly greater improvements in creativity (unusual, divergent uses in the alternative uses task) after the sitting meditation.

 

Hence, meditative movement training improved younger children’s’ spatial cognition, fluency, and flexibility while sitting meditation improved older children’s creativity. These are interesting findings that suggest that different kinds of mindfulness trainings are most effective at different ages of children. Movement based training are most effective with younger children while sitting meditation id most effective with older children. It has been shown that mindfulness training has many benefits for children. In the present study, the benefits involve improvements in spatial cognition and creativity. The present research suggests that the type of training that is most effective is age dependent.

 

So, enhance spatial cognition in younger children with movement meditation and creativity with sitting meditation in older children.

 

The simple act of teaching children how to stop, focus, and just breathe could be one of the greatest gifts you give them.” – Healthy Children

 

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

 

Marson, F., Fano, A., Pellegrino, M., Pesce, C., Glicksohn, J., & Ben-Soussan, T. D. (2021). Age-Related Differential Effects of School-Based Sitting and Movement Meditation on Creativity and Spatial Cognition: A Pilot Study. Children (Basel, Switzerland), 8(7), 583. https://doi.org/10.3390/children8070583

 

Abstract

Psychophysical well-being can be supported during development by the integration of extra-curricular activities in scholastic settings. These activities can be implemented in different forms, ranging from physical activities to sitting meditation practices. Considering that both such activities are thought to affect children’s psychophysical development, a movement-based meditation that combines the two approaches−in the form of a short daily activity−could represent a powerful tool to promote healthy physical and mental development. Consequently, the current pilot study aimed to examine the effect of short daily school-based sitting and movement meditation trainings on creativity and spatial cognition. Utilizing a crossover design, we evaluated their feasibility and efficacy at different ages among children (n = 50) in 5th to 8th grade. We observed that 5 weeks of daily training in sitting and movement meditation techniques improved children’s cognition differently. Specifically, younger children showed greater creativity and better spatial cognition following the movement-based meditation, while older children showed greater enhancement in these areas following sitting meditation training. This suggests that training can affect children’s cognition differently depending on their developmental stage. We discuss these results within the framework of embodied and grounded cognition theories. Information on feasibility and age-related effect sizes derived from the current study paves the way for future well-powered larger-scale efficacy studies on different forms of school-based interventions to cognitive development promotion.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8303844/

 

Mindfulness is Associated with Better Dementia Patient and Caregiver Outcomes

Mindfulness is Associated with Better Dementia Patient and Caregiver Outcomes

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Research has shown preliminary but promising results for mindfulness-based interventions to benefit people with dementia and caregivers.” – Lotte Berk

 

Dementia is a progressive loss of mental function produced by degenerative diseases of the brain. Dementia patients require caregiving particularly in the later stages of the disease. Caregiving for dementia patients is a daunting intense experience that can go on for four to eight years with increasing responsibilities as the loved one deteriorates. This places tremendous psychological and financial stress on the caregiver. Hence, there is a need to both care for the dementia patients and also for the caregivers. Mindfulness practice for caregivers has been shown to help them cope with the physical and psychological demands of caregiving. In addition, mindfulness training has been found to help protect aging individuals from physical and cognitive declines.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effect of Baseline Patient and Caregiver Mindfulness on Dementia Outcomes.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8324319/ ) Innis and colleagues recruited patients with dementia and their caregivers and both were measured for cognitive function, functional activities, health related quality of life, verbal learning, memory, executive function, visual ability, mindfulness, resilience, vulnerability, and Apolipoprotein E. In addition, “caregivers completed ratings of care confidence, care preparedness, burden, mood, and appraisals of caregiving”.  Finally, a subset of participants underwent brain scanning with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

 

They found that participants without dementia had significantly higher levels of mindfulness than those with even mild dementia. They also found that the higher the level of patient mindfulness the lower the caregiver ratings of patient dementia, the higher the ratings of health-related quality of life, and the lower the rated patient impairment, cognitive complaints, anxiety, and depression. In addition, the higher the patient’s level of mindfulness the higher the levels of cognition, verbal learning, memory, visuospatial ability, and resilience and the lower the levels of vulnerability. Finally, the found that the association of patient mindfulness on cognitive ability was mediated by resilience and vulnerability.

 

These results are based upon correlations and thus causation cannot be determined. Nevertheless, the associations are clear. The degree of mindfulness of dementia patients is associated with better cognitive ability, emotional health, and resilience and lower levels of vulnerability. These latter relationships appear to be the intermediaries between the patient’s mindfulness and their cognitive ability. It has been shown that mindfulness training in normal individuals produces improvements in resilience. This suggests that mindfulness may help protect against cognitive decline by improving the patient’s resilience and lessening their vulnerability to the effects of aging. This further suggests the possibility that mindfulness training might help to ameliorate the cognitive decline associated with dementia. It remains for future research to explore these possibilities.

 

So, mindfulness is associated with better dementia patient and caregiver outcomes.

 

Alzheimer’s disease patients who practice mindfulness may have better outcomes than those who do not.” – Josh Baxt

 

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

 

Innis, A. D., Tolea, M. I., & Galvin, J. E. (2021). The Effect of Baseline Patient and Caregiver Mindfulness on Dementia Outcomes. Journal of Alzheimer’s disease : JAD, 79(3), 1345–1367. https://doi.org/10.3233/JAD-201292

 

Abstract

Background:

Mindfulness is the practice of awareness and living in the present moment without judgment. Mindfulness-based interventions may improve dementia-related outcomes. Before initiating interventions, it would be beneficial to measure baseline mindfulness to understand targets for therapy and its influence on dementia outcomes.

Objective:

This cross-sectional study examined patient and caregiver mindfulness with patient and caregiver rating scales and patient cognitive performance and determined whether dyadic pairing of mindfulness influences patient outcomes.

Methods:

Individuals (N = 291) underwent comprehensive evaluations, with baseline mindfulness assessed using the 15-item Applied Mindfulness Process Scale (AMPS). Correlation, regression, and mediation models tested relationships between patient and caregiver mindfulness and outcomes.

Results:

Patients had a mean AMPS score of 38.0 ± 11.9 and caregivers had a mean AMPS score of 38.9 ± 11.5. Patient mindfulness correlated with activities of daily living, behavior and mood, health-related quality of life, subjective cognitive complaints, and performance on episodic memory and attention tasks. Caregiver mindfulness correlated with preparedness, care confidence, depression, and better patient cognitive performance. Patients in dyads with higher mindfulness had better cognitive performance, less subjective complaints, and higher health-related quality of life (all p-values<0.001). Mindfulness effects on cognition were mediated by physical activity, social engagement, frailty, and vascular risk factors.

Conclusion:

Higher baseline mindfulness was associated with better patient and caregiver outcomes, particularly when both patients and caregivers had high baseline mindfulness. Understanding the baseline influence of mindfulness on the completion of rating scales and neuropsychological test performance can help develop targeted interventions to improve well-being in patients and their caregivers.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8324319/

 

Improve Cognitive Function in Older Adults with Tai Chi Practice

Improve Cognitive Function in Older Adults with Tai Chi Practice

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“The practice of Tai Chi promotes the preservation of cognitive abilities including global cognitive functions, semantic memory, verbal learning/memory, self-perception of memory, and visuospatial skills in the elderly.” – Karine Huy-Leng Lim

 

The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline of the body and the brain. Every system in the body deteriorates including cognitive function (thinking ability) and motor function with a decline in strength, flexibility, and balance. There is some hope as there is evidence that these declines can be slowed. For example, a healthy diet and a regular program of exercise can slow the physical and cognitive decline of the body with aging. Also, contemplative practices such as meditation, yoga, and tai chi or qigong have all been shown to be beneficial in slowing or delaying physical and mental decline.

 

Tai Chi has been practiced for thousands of years with benefits for health and longevity. Tai Chi training is designed to enhance function and regulate the activities of the body through regulated breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. Tai Chi is not strenuous, involving slow gentle movements, and is safe, having no appreciable side effects, it is appropriate for all ages including the elderly and for individuals with illnesses that limit their activities or range of motion. Tai Chi has been shown to help the elderly improve attentionbalance, reducing fallsarthritiscognitive functionmemory, and reduce age related deterioration of the brain. The research has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned about the effectiveness of Tai Chi practice for cognition in older adults.

 

In today’s Research News article “Dose-Response Association of Tai Chi and Cognition among Community-Dwelling Older Adults: 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/PMC8003349/ ) Chen and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the effects of Tai Chi practice on cognitive ability in older adults (55 years old and older) living in the community. They identified 16 published research studies.

 

They report that the published research studies found that Tai Chi practice produced significant improvements in cognitive function with moderate to large effect sizes. But there were no relationships between the amount of Tai Chi practice and the amount of improvement in cognitive function, including session duration, amount of practice per week, or amount of practice over the entire study.

 

These meta-analysis findings suggest that Tai Chi practice has large and significant effects on the high-level thinking ability of community dwelling older adults. It would appear that even the smallest dose of Tai Chi practice is capable of producing these improvements. These improvements in cognition may be important for preventing or mitigating cognitive decline with aging and prevent age related dementia. This makes the safe and fun Tai Chi practice and almost ideal practice for maintaining cognitive ability with aging.

 

So, improve cognitive function in older adults with Tai Chi practice.

 

A regular tai chi exercise regimen enlarges the brain and enhances the cognitive abilities of the elderly.” – Hans Villarica

 

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

 

Chen, M. L., Wotiz, S. B., Banks, S. M., Connors, S. A., & Shi, Y. (2021). Dose-Response Association of Tai Chi and Cognition among Community-Dwelling Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(6), 3179. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18063179

 

Abstract

Previous studies indicated that Tai Chi might be an effective way to improve or prevent cognitive impairments in older populations. However, existing research does not provide clear recommendations about the optimal dose of Tai Chi practice, which is the most effective in improving cognitive function in older adults. The purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to investigate the dose–response relationship between Tai Chi and cognition in community-dwelling older adults. A total of 16 studies with 1121 subjects were included in this study. Meta-regression analyses of Tai Chi duration (Tai Chi session duration, Tai Chi practice duration per week, study duration, and Tai Chi practice duration for the entire study) on the study effect size (ES) were performed to examine the dose–response association of Tai Chi and cognition. The results showed that there was a positive effect of Tai Chi on cognitive function, but there were no statistically significant dose duration effects on cognition. The findings suggest that Tai Chi has beneficial effects on cognitive function, but a longer duration was not associated with larger effects. In order to establish evidence-based clinical interventions using Tai Chi, future research should clearly demonstrate intervention protocol, particularly the style and intensity of Tai Chi.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8003349/

 

Improve Cognitive Ability in Elementary School Children with Mindfulness

Improve Cognitive Ability in Elementary School Children with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness [has been linked] to two core social-emotional skills: self-regulation and self-awareness. Skills in these areas teach students not only how to recognize their thoughts, emotions, and actions, but also how to react to them in positive ways.” – Waterford.org

 

Childhood is a miraculous period during which the child is dynamically absorbing information from every aspect of its environment. This is particularly evident during the elementary school years. Mindfulness training in school has been shown to have very positive effects. These include improvements in the academic, cognitive, psychological, emotional and social domains. Importantly, mindfulness training in school appears to improve attentional ability which is fundamental to success in all aspects of academic performance. But there have been few studies comparing the effects of mindfulness training to other types of training for elementary schoolchildren.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Versus Story Reading Intervention in Public Elementary Schools: Effects on Executive Functions and Emotional Health.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.576311/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1679696_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210713_arts_A ) Milaré and colleagues recruited 2 classrooms of children 8-9 years of age. One class received an 8-week mindfulness training that met twice a week for 30 minutes. The instructions were on awareness, generosity, and heartfulness. The other class received 8 weeks of story reading that met twice a week for 15 minutes. The stories were targeted to moral and emotional issues appropriate for children. They were measured before and after training for stress, anxiety, depression, positive and negative emotions, and executive functions including attention.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline both groups had significant improvements in executive functions including attention, processing speed, and controlled attention. On the other hand, the story reading but not mindfulness group had decreases in depression and negative emotions.

 

It should be noted that there wasn’t a control condition, so improvements from baseline might have been due to a number of confounding factors including practice effects, expectancy effects, experimenter bias etc. In addition, there wasn’t random assignment of the children to condition. But in adults it is well established that mindfulness training produces improvements in executive functions including attention. This is not surprising as mindfulness training involves focusing attention which is important for cognitive performance. The present study suggests that these benefits also accrue to 8-9 year-old children. Improving cognitive skills particularly attention in children is important and may well lead to improved academic performance.

 

It is interesting that targeted story reading produced similar cognitive benefits and also some emotional improvements. This may be due to the fact that the stories included emotional issues pertinent to children while the mindfulness training did not include mindfulness of emotions. This suggests that the mindfulness program could be improved by including paying attention to emotions.

 

So, improve cognitive ability in elementary school children with mindfulness.

 

Students . . . have been spending anywhere from 10 to 12 minutes per day on mindfulness exercises. But classes appear to be gaining more instruction time as a result because there are fewer outbursts and disruptions.” – Emily DeRuy

 

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

 

Milaré CAR, Kozasa EH, Lacerda S, Barrichello C, Tobo PR and Horta ALD (2021) Mindfulness-Based Versus Story Reading Intervention in Public Elementary Schools: Effects on Executive Functions and Emotional Health. Front. Psychol. 12:576311. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.576311

 

Introduction: In this study we compared the effects of a mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) with a story reading intervention (SI) on the executive functions and psychological profile of children in two different public schools in São Paulo, Brazil.

Methods: In this controlled clinical trial, 207 children aged 8 to 9 years old responded to the Five-Digit Test (FDT), stress levels, depression, anxiety, positive and negative affect, at baseline (T0) and 8 weeks later (T1). From T0 to T1, school 1 participated in MBI classes and school 2 in IS classes.

Results: In school 1 (MBI), children improved their scores on all tests except reading (errors) and counting (errors) compared with school 2. No differences were observed between groups in terms of emotional health.

Conclusion: It is feasible to implement MBI or SI in Brazilian public schools. Students in the MBI group presented broader effects in executive functions, while students in the SI group showed a trend toward reduced negative affect and depression symptoms.

Highlights

This study contributes to the scientific evidence of the positive effects of Mindfulness and Story reading on executive functions and emotional well-being in children. Neither intervention had significant effects on depression, anxiety, stress, positive, and negative affect (although Story reading showed a trend in reducing negative affect and depression), while the Mindfulness-Based Intervention had relatively broader effects on executive functions.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.576311/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1679696_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210713_arts_A

 

Improve Nervous System and Cognitive Function with Tai Chi

Improve Nervous System and Cognitive Function with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“tai chi appears to improve executive function—the ability to multitask, manage time, and make decisions—in people without any cognitive decline. In those with mild cognitive impairment, tai chi slowed the progression to dementia.” – Harvard Health

 

Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese practice involving mindfulness and gentle movements. It is easy to learn, safe, and gentle. Tai Chi has been practiced for thousands of years with benefits for health and longevityTai Chi training is designed to enhance function and regulate the activities of the body through controlled breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. Only recently though have the effects of this practice been scrutinized with empirical research. This research has found that it is effective for an array of physical and psychological issues. It appears to strengthen the immune systemreduce inflammation and increase the number of cancer killing cells in the bloodstream, improve cardiovascular healthreduce arthritis painimprove balance and reduce falls. It also appears to improve attentional ability improve cognitive ability in the elderly, and relieve depression.

 

The nervous system is a dynamic entity, constantly changing and adapting to the environment. It will change size, activity, and connectivity in response to experience. These changes in the brain are called neuroplasticity. Over the last decade neuroscience has been studying the effects of contemplative practices on the brain and has identified neuroplastic changes in widespread areas. In other words, mindfulness practice appears to mold and change the brain, producing psychological, physical, and spiritual benefits. Hence, it would appear likely that Tai Chi practice may alter the brain networks underlying mindfulness.

 

In today’s Research News article “Tai Chi Chuan Alters Brain Functional Network Plasticity and Promotes Cognitive Flexibility.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.665419/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1671974_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210701_arts_A ) Cui and colleagues recruited healthy adults and randomly assigned them to either a control condition or to 3, 60 minute sessions per week for 8 weeks of aerobic exercise (Brisk walking) or Tai Chi practice. Before and after practice they were measured for cognitive flexibility and they also had their brains scanned with functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI).

 

They found that only after Tai Chi practice there was a significant increase in cognitive flexibility. The fMRI revealed that Tai Chi practice increased brain local efficiency compared with general aerobic exercise. Local efficiency reflects brain information transmission and processing in local densely interconnected areas. Tai Chi practice also increased the clustering coefficient of brain activity which reflects how well brain areas connect with other areas. Tai Chi practice increased Nodal global efficiency which reflects the efficiency of information transmission within brain networks. Importantly, they found that the higher the Nodal global efficiency the greater the level of cognitive flexibility. These changes with Tai Chi practice suggest that it increases brain specialization and that this is related to better cognitive ability.

 

A strength of the present study was that Tai Chi practice was compared to another aerobic exercise, brisk walking. So, it can be concluded that the effects observed were due to Tai Chi practice per se and not to the exercise provided by Tai Chi. The findings suggest then that practicing Tai Chi changes the brain making it better interconnected with a greater ability to share information and these changes are associated with greater cognitive flexibility. This shows that Tai Chi practice changes the brain in beneficial ways. This may be responsible for the ability of Tai Chi practice to improve the physical and psychological processes especially in the elderly.

 

So, improve nervous system and cognitive function with Tai Chi.

 

Tai Chi, a multicomponent mind-body exercise, combines slow physical activity with relaxation to serve as a movement meditation. Prior trials suggested that the beneficial effects of Tai Chi are created by a physical component which capitalizes on the benefits of physical exercise and a mind component which additionally promotes psychological well-being, life satisfaction, and improved perception of health.” – Chunlin Yue

 

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

 

Cui L, Tao S, Yin H-c, Shen Q-q, Wang Y, Zhu L-n and Li X-j (2021) Tai Chi Chuan Alters Brain Functional Network Plasticity and Promotes Cognitive Flexibility. Front. Psychol. 12:665419. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.665419

 

Objective: This study used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate the effects of 8 weeks of Tai Chi Chuan and general aerobic exercise on the topological parameters of brain functional networks, explored the advantages of Tai Chi Chuan for improving functional network plasticity and cognitive flexibility, and examined how changes in topological attributes of brain functional networks relate to cognitive flexibility.

Methods: Thirty-six healthy adults were grouped into Tai Chi Chuan (Bafa Wubu of Tai Chi), general aerobic exercise (brisk walking), and control groups. All of the subjects underwent fMRI and behavioral assessment before and after the exercise intervention.

Results: Tai Chi Chuan exercise significantly enhanced the clustering coefficient and local efficiency compared with general aerobic exercise. Regarding the nodal properties, Tai Chi Chuan significantly enhanced the nodal clustering coefficient of the bilateral olfactory cortex and left thalamus, significantly reduced the nodal clustering coefficient of the left inferior temporal gyrus, significantly improved the nodal efficiency of the right precuneus and bilateral posterior cingulate gyrus, and significantly improved the nodal local efficiency of the left thalamus and right olfactory cortex. Furthermore, the behavioral performance results demonstrated that cognitive flexibility was enhanced by Tai Chi Chuan. The change in the nodal clustering coefficient in the left thalamus induced by Tai Chi Chuan was a significant predictor of cognitive flexibility.

Conclusion: These findings demonstrated that Tai Chi Chuan could promote brain functional specialization. Brain functional specialization enhanced by Tai Chi Chuan exercise was a predictor of greater cognitive flexibility.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.665419/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1671974_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210701_arts_A

 

Mindfulness is Associated with Better Cognition and Shooting Performance in Archers

Mindfulness is Associated with Better Cognition and Shooting Performance in Archers

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Once you can direct your mind toward your senses, you can walk through the steps of your shooting process while aware of every sensation of your body.” – Azurebolt

 

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

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effects of Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Shooting Performance and Cognitive Functions in Archers.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.661961/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1670080_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210629_arts_A ) Wu and colleagues recruited healthy adult competitive archery athletes. They were provided a 60 minute, twice per week, for 4 weeks Mindfulness-Based Peak Performance program including daily homework that was adapted from the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program and targeted at athletes. They were measured before, after 2 weeks, and after the program for shooting performance, information processing speed, selective attention, and inhibitory control, mindfulness, mindfulness in sport, and rumination.

 

They found that after training there was a significant improvement in the shooting performance, information processing speed, selective attention, and inhibitory control. They also found significant growth in mindfulness and mindfulness in sport and reductions in rumination from baseline to the midpoint, to the end of training. The greater the increase in mindfulness in sport the greater the increase in shooting performance.

 

This study was a pre to post comparison and did not contain a control condition, so it is open to a variety of potential contaminants including placebo effects, experimenter bias, and practice effects. But better controlled previous research has shown that mindfulness training produces significant improvements in athletic performance, cognitive function, and reductions in rumination. So, the current results probably reflect the effect of mindfulness training on the archery athletes.

 

Stress, strong emotions, such as anxiety, and physiological and psychological activation interfere with fine motor skills like are needed in archery. Mindfulness training is known to reduce stress effects, improve the control of emotions, including anxiety, and increase physiological and psychological relaxation. These may be the mechanisms whereby mindfulness training improves archery performance, Future research should repeat the experiment with an active control condition and incorporate measurement of stress, emotion regulation, anxiety and arousal.

 

So, mindfulness is associated with better cognition and shooting performance in archers.

 

Most great archers say that archery is 90% mental. “ Rachel SNG

 

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

 

Wu T-Y, Nien J-T, Kuan G, Wu C-H, Chang Y-C, Chen H-C and Chang Y-K (2021) The Effects of Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Shooting Performance and Cognitive Functions in Archers. Front. Psychol. 12:661961. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.661961

 

This study investigated the effects of a mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) called mindfulness-based peak performance (MBPP) on athletic performance and cognitive functions in archers, as well as the role of psychological status and the dose-response relationship of MBPP in archery performance. Twenty-three archers completed a simulated archery competition and the Stroop task prior to and after MBPP training, which consisted of eight sessions over four weeks, while the mindfulness and rumination levels of the archers were assessed at three time points, namely, before, at the mid-point of, and after the MBPP program. The results revealed that the MBPP program significantly improved the shooting performance (p = 0.002, d = 0.27), multiple cognitive functions (ps < 0.001, d = 0.51~0.71), and mindfulness levels of the archers on the post-test, compared to the pre-test (p = 0.032, ηp2 = 0.15 for general; p = 0.004, ηp2 = 0.22 for athletic). Additionally, negative ruminations level was decreased from the pre-test to the middle-test and post-test (ps < 0.001, ηp2 = 0.43). These findings provide preliminary evidence to support the view that MBPP could serve as a promising form of training for fine motor sport performance, cognitive functions, and specific psychological status, such that it warrants further study.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.661961/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1670080_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210629_arts_A

 

Improve the Mental, Physical, and Emotional Well-Being of Older Adults During Covid-19 Pandemic with Tai Chi

Improve the Mental, Physical, and Emotional Well-Being of Older Adults During Covid-19 Pandemic with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Tai Chi Chuan has a potential effect on the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of COVID-19. Its potential mechanisms include reducing anxiety, relieving depression and stress, enhancing pulmonary and cardiovascular function, enhancing immunity and improving quality of life.” – Chen Xianjian

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the mental and physical health of the population. It has created intense stress on everyone but particularly the elderly isolating at home. Mindfulness is known to decrease the psychological and physical responses to stress. So, mindfulness training may be helpful in coping with the mental and physical challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. 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. So, it would seem reasonable to examine the ability of Tai Chi practice to improve the well-being of older adults during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

In today’s Research News article “Tai chi improves psychoemotional state, cognition, and motor learning in older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8054611/ ) Solianik and colleagues recruited healthy sedentary older adults (over 60 years of age) during the Covid-19 pandemic and randomly assigned them to 10 weeks of twice a week for 60 minute Tai Chi practice or to a no treatment control condition. They were measured before and after training for heart rate, perceived stress, anxiety, depression cognitive performance, and motor performance. In addition, blood was drawn and assayed for brain-derived neurotrophic factor.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control group, the older adults who practiced Tai Chi had significantly higher levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, high frequency power in the heart rate, visuospatial performance, response inhibition, and shifting mental set, and significantly lower reaction times, heart rate, perceived stress, and depression.

 

The results must be interpreted with the understanding that the control condition was no treatment in a sedentary group of older adults. So, it cannot be determined if the effects were due to Tai Chi itself or exercise in general. Nevertheless, Tai Chi practice resulted in significant improvements in cardiovascular fitness, brain development, cognitive performance, and psychological health.

 

Tai Chi practice is not strenuous, involves slow gentle movements, and is safe, having no appreciable side effects, it is appropriate the elderly. It can also be practiced without professional supervision and in groups making it inexpensive to deliver and fun to engage in. This suggests that during stressful times Tai Chi should be recommended for older adults for their mental, physical, and emotional well-being.

 

So, improve the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of older adults during Covid-19 pandemic with Tai Chi.

 

Older people should exercise for the entire duration of self-isolation. One large systematic review of falls prevention exercises emphasised the importance of maintaining exercise over time – benefits from Tai Chi were found after 20 weeks.” –  Jamie Hartmann-Boyce

 

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

 

Solianik, R., Mickevičienė, D., Žlibinaitė, L., & Čekanauskaitė, A. (2021). Tai chi improves psychoemotional state, cognition, and motor learning in older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Experimental gerontology, 150, 111363. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exger.2021.111363

 

Abstract

The aim of this study was to determine the effect of a 10-week tai chi intervention on psychoemotional state, cognition, and motor learning in older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants aged 60–78 years were randomized to either a control group (n = 15) or a tai chi group (n = 15) for a 10-week period. The tai chi group received two, 8-form tai chi classes of 60 min duration per week. Changes in psychoemotional state, cognition, and the learning of fast and accurate reaching movements were assessed. In addition, the potential roles of the autonomic nervous system and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) were investigated. Tai chi practice decreased (P < 0.05) perceived stress, whereas no change in autonomic nervous system activity was observed. Improvements in mental switching correlated with decreased depressive symptoms and increased BDNF levels (P < 0.05), whereas improvements in inhibitory control tended to correlate with BDNF levels (P = 0.08). Improvements in visuospatial processing tended to correlate with decreased depressive symptoms (P = 0.07) while improved visuospatial processing correlated with improved motor planning during learning tasks (P < 0.05). This study suggests that tai chi is an effective intervention that can be delivered under pandemic conditions to improve mental and physical function in older adults.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8054611/

 

Forest Walking and Forest Qigong Improve Cognitive Function in the Elderly

Forest Walking and Forest Qigong Improve Cognitive Function in the Elderly

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“forest bathing has received increasing attention due to its health-promoting effects, including enhancing immune functions and decreasing blood pressure in hypertension patients, as well as stress relief effects.” – Genxiang Mao,

 

Modern living is stressful, perhaps, in part because it has divorced us from the natural world that our species was immersed in throughout its evolutionary history. Modern environments may be damaging to our health and well-being simply because the species did not evolve to cope with them. This suggests that returning to nature, at least occasionally, may be beneficial. Indeed, researchers are beginning to study nature walks or what the Japanese call “Forest Bathing” and their effects on our mental and physical health.

 

Mindfulness practices have been found routinely to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress and improve mood. People have long reported that walking in nature elevates their mood. It appears intuitively obvious that if mindfulness training occurred in a beautiful natural place, it would greatly improve the effectiveness of mindfulness practice. In fact, being in nature has been shown to improve psychological health.

 

Qigong has been practiced for thousands of years with benefits for health and longevity. Qigong training is designed to enhance function and regulate the activities of the body through regulated breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. Qigong  practice has been found to be effective for an array of physical and psychological issues. Qigong has been shown to help the elderly improve attentionbalance, reducing fallsarthritiscognitive functionmemory, and reduce age related deterioration of the brain. So, it makes sense to further study the ability of Qigong training particularly when practiced in nature to improve well-being in the elderly.

 

In today’s Research News article “Psycho-Electrophysiological Benefits of Forest Therapies Focused on Qigong and Walking with Elderly Individuals.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7999348/ ) Yi and colleagues recruited healthy elderly (65 years of age and older) participants and assigned them to one of 3 conditions; no-treatment control, forest walking, or forest Qigong. The forest programs were 2 hours per session twice per week for 6 weeks and included warm-up exercises, stretching, physio-cognitive play, and cool-down along with 50 minutes of either forest walking, or forest Qigong. They were measured before and after training for cognitive impairment, depression, and quality of life. They also had the electroencephalogram (EEG) and electrocardiogram (EKG) recorded. Bioimpedance was used to determine body composition and nutritional metabolism.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the no-treatment control condition, the forest qigong group had a significant decrease in depression while the forest walking group had a significant decrease in cognitive impairment and increase in quality of life. In the EEG, the forest walking group had significant increases in Alpha and Beta rhythm power and a significant decrease in low frequency heart rate variability after training while the control and forest qigong groups did not. In addition, the forest qigong group had a significant increase in the upper body bioimpedance phase angle while the forest walking group had a significant increase in the lower body bioimpedance phase angle.

 

Bioimpedance phase angle is an indicator of the metabolic nutrition of the muscles. So, the practice of qigong in the forest appears to increase the metabolic nutritional status of the upper body while walking in the forest appears to increase the metabolic nutritional status of the lower body. This is not surprising as qigong involves frequent arm movements while walking involves more leg movements. Low frequency heart rate variability is an indicator of sympathetic nervous system activity and its decrease in the forest walking group suggests that walking in the forest is physiologically relaxing, reducing activating sympathetic activity. Finally, EEG power is indicative of brain information processing and its increase with forest walking is indicative of an increase in information (cognitive) processing.

 

These findings are interesting and suggest that walking in the forest and qigong in the forest have different effects on elderly individuals. Where forest qigong appears to be superior for decreasing depression and upper body metabolism, forest walking appears to improve cognitive ability, lower body metabolism, and physiological relaxation. Hence qigong in the forest is superior for emotional health while walking in the forest is superior for cognitive health. This suggests that the combination of qigong and walking in the forest may produce better well-being for elderly individual.

 

So, forest walking and forest qigong improve cognitive function in the elderly.

 

Forest bathing, also known as forest therapy or shinrin-yoku in Japanese, is an evidence-based practice of connecting to nature as a way to heal.” – Credible Mind

 

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

 

Yi, J., Kim, S. G., Khil, T., Shin, M., You, J. H., Jeon, S., Park, G. H., Jeong, A. Y., Lim, Y., Kim, K., Kim, J., Kang, B., Lee, J., Park, J. H., Ku, B., Choi, J., Cha, W., Lee, H. J., Shin, C., Shin, W., … Kim, J. U. (2021). Psycho-Electrophysiological Benefits of Forest Therapies Focused on Qigong and Walking with Elderly Individuals. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(6), 3004. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18063004

 

Abstract

We developed two distinct forest therapy programs (FTPs) and compared their effects on dementia prevention and related health problems for older adults. One was focused on Qigong practice in the forest (QP) and the other involved active walking in the forest (WP). Both FTPs consisted of twelve 2-h sessions over six weeks and were conducted in an urban forest. We obtained data from 25, 18, and 26 participants aged 65 years or above for the QP, WP, and control groups, respectively. Neuropsychological scores via cognition (MoCA), geriatric depression (GDS) and quality of life (EQ-5D), and electrophysiological variables (electroencephalography, bioimpedance, and heart rate variability) were measured. We analyzed the intervention effects with a generalized linear model. Compared to the control group, the WP group showed benefits in terms of neurocognition (increases in the MoCA score, and alpha and beta band power values in the electroencephalogram), sympathetic nervous activity, and bioimpedance in the lower body. On the other hand, the QP group showed alleviated depression and an increased bioimpedance phase angle in the upper body. In conclusion, both active walking and Qigong in the forest were shown to have distinctive neuropsychological and electrophysiological benefits, and both had beneficial effects in terms of preventing dementia and relieving related health problems for elderly individuals.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7999348/

 

Improve Cognitive Ability in Older Adults with Tai Chi and Qigong Practices

Improve Cognitive Ability in Older Adults with Tai Chi and Qigong Practices

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Qigong exercise induced significant neurocognitive improvement in aging.” – Di Qi

 

The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline in every system in the body, the brain included. The elderly frequently have problems with attention, thinking, and memory abilities, known as mild cognitive impairment. An encouraging new development is that mindfulness practices such as meditation training and mindful movement practices can significantly reduce these declines in cognitive ability.

 

Tai Chi and Qigong have been practiced for thousands of years with benefits for health and longevityTai Chi and Qigong trainings are designed to enhance function and regulate the activities of the body through regulated breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. Tai Chi and Qigong practice have been found to be effective for an array of physical and psychological issues. Tai Chi and Qigong have been shown to help the elderly improve attentionbalance, reducing fallsarthritiscognitive functionmemory, and reduce age related deterioration of the brain. The research findings have been accumulating suggesting that a summarization of what has been learned about the effects of Tai Chi and Qigong practice on the cognitive ability of older adults is called for.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Chinese Mind-Body Exercises on Executive Function in Middle-Aged and Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.656141/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1645362_69_Psycho_20210525_arts_A ) Ren and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research on the effects of Tai Chi and Qigong practice on the cognitive ability of older adults. They identified 29 published randomized controlled trials employing participants over 50 years of age.

 

They report that the published research found that Tai Chi and Qigong practice produced significant increases in overall executive function including improvements in short-term memory and shifting, the ability to shift from attentional focus to attentional focus. They also found that when practice occurred 5 or more times per week, the effects doubled compared to practice less than 4 times per week.

 

The findings suggest that Tai Chi and Qigong practices are effective in improving thinking in older adults. Since cognitive abilities tend to decline with age, the results suggests that Tai Chi and Qigong practice may protect against age related cognitive decline. This is true especially when practice occurs 5 or more times per week.

 

Some advantages of Tai Chi and Qigong include the facts that they are not strenuous, involve slow gentle movements, are safe, having no appreciable side effects, and are appropriate for all ages including the elderly and for individuals with illnesses that limit their activities or range of motion. It can also be practiced without professional supervision and in groups making it inexpensive to deliver and fun to engage in. This makes Tai Chi and Qigong practice excellent practices for protecting older individuals from age related cognitive decline.

 

So, improve cognitive ability in older adults with Tai Chi and Qigong practices.

 

“Tai chi appears to improve executive function—the ability to multitask, manage time, and make decisions—in people without any cognitive decline. In those with mild cognitive impairment, tai chi slowed the progression to dementia more than other types of exercise and improved their cognitive function in a comparable fashion to other types of exercise or cognitive training.” – Havard Health

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Ren F-F, Chen F-T, Zhou W-S, Cho Y-M, Ho T-J, Hung T-M and Chang Y-K (2021) Effects of Chinese Mind-Body Exercises on Executive Function in Middle-Aged and Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Front. Psychol. 12:656141. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.656141

 

Chinese mind-body exercises (CMBEs) are positively associated with executive function (EF), but their effects on EF, from synthesized evidence using systematic and meta-analytic reviews, have not been conducted. Therefore, the present systematic review with meta-analysis attempted to determine whether CMBEs affect EF and its sub-domains, as well as how exercise, sample, and study characteristics moderate the causal relationship between CMBEs and EF in middle-aged and older adults. Seven electronic databases were searched for relevant studies published from the inception of each database through June 2020 (PubMed, Web of Science, Embase, Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, Wanfang, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, and Weipu). Randomized controlled trials with at least one outcome measure of CMBEs on EF in adults of mean age ≥ 50 years with intact cognition or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and with or without chronic diseases were included. A total of 29 studies (N = 2,934) ultimately were included in this study. The results indicated that CMBEs improved overall EF (Standardized Mean Differences = 0.28, 95% CI 0.12, 0.44), as well as its sub-domains of working memory and shifting. The beneficial effects of CMBEs on EF occurred regardless of type (Tai Chi, Qigong), frequency of group classes (≤2 time, 3-4 time, ≥5 times), session time (≤45 min, 46-60 min), total training time (≥150 to ≤300 min, >300 min), and length of the CMBEs (4-12 week, 13-26 week, and >26 week), in addition to that more frequent participation in both group classes and home practice sessions (≥5 times per week) resulted in more beneficial effects. The positive effects of CMBEs on EF were also demonstrated, regardless of participants mean age (50-65 years old, >65 years old), sex (only female, both), and cognitive statuses (normal, MCI, not mentioned), health status (with chronic disease, without chronic disease), as well as training mode (group class, group class plus home practice) and study language (English, Chinese). This review thus suggests that CMBEs can be used as an effective method with small to moderate and positive effects in enhancing EF, and that more frequent group classes and home practice sessions may increase these effects. However, certain limitations, including strictly design studies, limited ES (effect size) samples for specific variables, and possible biased publications, required paying particular attention to, for further exploring the effects of CMBEs on EF.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.656141/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1645362_69_Psycho_20210525_arts_A

 

Improve Cognition and Performance in 3rd Grade Children with Mindfulness

Improve Cognition and Performance in 3rd Grade Children with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has linked mindfulness to two core social-emotional skills: self-regulation and self-awareness. Skills in these areas teach students not only how to recognize their thoughts, emotions, and actions, but also how to react to them in positive ways.” – Waterford.org

 

Childhood is a miraculous period during which the child is dynamically absorbing information from every aspect of its environment. This is particularly evident during the elementary school years. Mindfulness training in school has been shown to have very positive effects. These include improvements in the academic, cognitive, psychological, and social domains. Training early in childhood has the potential of jump-starting the child’s academic performance.

 

In today’s Research News article “Promoting Third Graders’ Executive Functions and Literacy: A Pilot Study Examining the Benefits of Mindfulness vs. Relaxation Training.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.643794/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1645362_69_Psycho_20210525_arts_A )  Cordeiro and colleagues recruited 3rd grade students and randomly assigned them to receive 2 30-minute sessions per week for 8 weeks of either mindfulness training or progressive muscle relaxation training. They were measured before and after training for non-verbal intelligence, short-term memory, inhibitory control, and cognitive flexibility, teacher ratings of the child’s short-term memory, inhibitory control, and cognitive flexibility, handwriting fluency, spelling, essay quality, and school grades.

 

They found that for children low in executive function, relaxation training produced significantly greater improvement in executive function while students high in executive function, mindfulness training produced significantly greater improvement in executive function. Further, in children high in cognitive flexibility mindfulness training produced significantly greater improvement in cognitive flexibility. Finally, they found that mindfulness training produced significantly greater improvements in handwriting fluency and school grades than relaxation training.

 

The results were not as straightforward as one might like but still are interesting. They suggest that mindfulness training of 3rd grade students produces cognitive improvements in the students with the greatest cognitive ability to start with and significantly greater improvements in grades and handwriting fluency in all students. It should be noted that there was no follow-up beyond the end of training, so it is not known if the benefits of mindfulness training persist longer than immediately after training.

 

It has been demonstrated in previous research that mindfulness training produces improvement in cognition and school performance. The results of the present study suggest that mindfulness training is beneficial for young children in the 3rd grade improving their thinking ability and school performance. Early interventions in children’s lives and school performance have the potential of producing greater achievements as the child progresses through school. It remains for future research to determine the long-term effects of early mindfulness training.

 

So, improve cognition and performance in 3rd grade children with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness applies to nearly every part of life. It includes everything from mindful commuting, to being mindful of what we eat (and how it smells and tastes) to being mindful of opportunities to sneak in some physical activity – or rest – during our busy days. And for adults, a good place to start learning the art of mindfulness is from these third graders!” – Health Partners

 

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

 

Cordeiro C, Magalhães S, Rocha R, Mesquita A, Olive T, Castro SL and Limpo T (2021) Promoting Third Graders’ Executive Functions and Literacy: A Pilot Study Examining the Benefits of Mindfulness vs. Relaxation Training. Front. Psychol. 12:643794. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.643794

 

Research suggested that developing mindfulness skills in children improves proximal outcomes, such as attention and executive functions, as well as distal outcomes, such as academic achievement. Despite empirical evidence supporting this claim, research on the benefits of mindfulness training in child populations is scarce, with some mixed findings in the field. Here, we aimed to fill in this gap, by examining the effects of a mindfulness training on third graders’ proximal and distal outcomes, namely, attention and executive functions (viz., inhibitory control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility) as well as literacy-related achievement (viz., handwriting fluency, text quality, Portuguese grades). These outcomes were measured with behavioral tasks and teacher ratings. Sixty-six Portuguese children were randomly allocated to an experimental group receiving mindfulness training (n = 29) or an active control group receiving relaxation training (n = 37). Both training programs were implemented by psychologists in two 30-min weekly sessions for 8 weeks. All students were assessed before and after the interventions. Three main findings are noteworthy: (a) mindfulness training enhanced teacher-rated cognitive flexibility and a performance-based composite score of executive functions among children with higher pretest scores; (b) relaxation training improved performance-based cognitive flexibility and the composite score of executive functions among children with lower pretest scores; (c) children receiving mindfulness training had higher handwriting fluency and better grades in Portuguese than those receiving relaxation training. These findings provide preliminary evidence on the benefits of mindfulness training in educational settings and highlight the moderating role of baseline performance on those benefits.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.643794/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1645362_69_Psycho_20210525_arts_A