Decrease Burnout in Parents During Covid-19 Lockdown with Mindfulness

Decrease Burnout in Parents During Covid-19 Lockdown with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness can lower stress and anxiety, help with sleep and increase wellbeing. There are also specific benefits of mindfulness for anyone providing care to others.” – Naomi Stoll

 

Parenting can be difficult in the best of times but within a pandemic induced lockdown the pressures on the parents are substantially increased. Burnout can result from the continuing stress. Being mindful or engaging in mindfulness practices can be helpful in coping with the physical and psychological manifestations of stress.  In addition mindfulness can help build empathyself-compassionpatience, and flexibility that are so important for parenting, resilience to withstand the stresses, and the ability to effectively cope with the strong emotions. Indeed, Mindfulness practices has been shown to help parents cope with the physical and psychological demands of parenting.

 

In today’s Research News article “Self-Compassion and Rumination Type Mediate the Relation between Mindfulness and Parental Burnout.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8393602/ ) Paucsik and colleagues recruited online parents with children during the Covid-19 lockdown. They completed measures twice, separated by a month, of mindfulness practice, mindfulness, self-compassion, rumination, and parental burnout.

 

They found that at time 1 and 2 the higher the levels of parental mindfulness the higher the level of self-compassion and the lower the levels of burnout and rumination and the higher the levels of self-compassion the lower the levels of burnout and rumination. They further show that the higher the levels of mindfulness and self-compassion at time 1 the lower the levels of burnout at time 2 and the higher the levels of rumination at time 1 the higher the levels of burnout at time 2. Mindfulness at time 1 was found to be both directly associated with lower burnout at time 2 and also indirectly by being associated with higher self-compassion and lower ruminations at time 1 which were in turn associated with lower burnout.

 

These results are correlative and as such causation cannot be determined. But past research has demonstrated causal connections between mindfulness and burnout and self-compassion and burnout. So, the current results likely occurred also due to causal connections. Preventing the stress of the Covid-19 lockdown from debilitating parenting and producing burnout is highly important. The present study suggests that mindfulness and self-compassion can perform that role. This further suggests that mindfulness and self-compassion training would be helpful to parents in general and especially helpful during times of stress on the family.

 

So, decrease burnout in parents during Covid-19 lockdown with mindfulness.

 

Practicing mindfulness is a way to focus on the present, rather than worrying about the past or the future. This is especially important when you’re spending a lot of your time in a caregiving role—you need time to relax your mind and your body.” – Karen Gagliatre

 

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

 

Paucsik, M., Urbanowicz, A., Leys, C., Kotsou, I., Baeyens, C., & Shankland, R. (2021). Self-Compassion and Rumination Type Mediate the Relation between Mindfulness and Parental Burnout. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(16), 8811. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168811

 

Abstract

The COVID-19 lockdown increased the day-to-day challenges faced by parents, and thereby may have increased parental burnout risk. Therefore, identifying parental burnout protection factors is essential. This study aimed to assess the protective role of the following factors which can be increased through mindfulness practice: trait mindfulness, self-compassion, and concrete vs. abstract ruminations. A total of 459 parents (Mage = 40; 98.7% female) completed self-reported questionnaires at two-time points to assess the predictive role of mindfulness on parental burnout, self-compassion and rumination type, and the mediating role of self-compassion and rumination type in the relation between mindfulness and parental burnout. Results showed that trait mindfulness, self-compassion, and rumination type at Time 1 predicted levels of parental burnout at Time 2. Self-compassion (indirect effects: b = − 22, 95% CI = [−38, −05], p < 0.01), concrete ruminations (indirect effects: b = −20, 95% CI = [−32, −09], p < 0.001), and abstract ruminations (indirect effects: b = −0.54, 95% CI = [−71, −37], p < 0.001) partially mediated the relation between trait-mindfulness and parental burnout. These findings showed that trait mindfulness, self-compassion, and concrete (vs. abstract) ruminations may help prevent parental burnout in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. These results contribute to the field of research on parental burnout prevention and will allow for the development of effective approaches to mental health promotion in parents.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8393602/

Decrease Burnout in Healthcare Workers During Covid-19 with Mindfulness

Decrease Burnout in Healthcare Workers During Covid-19 with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Healthcare professionals have been going above and beyond in order to safeguard everyone’s health and well-being during the coronavirus pandemic. Many have been stretched to capacity—and it’s not as if all the pre-COVID pressures have magically disappeared. Mindfulness can help healthcare professionals look after themselves and their colleagues during this time and beyond.” – Mindful

 

For healthcare professionals the Covid-19 pandemic has produced a number of difficult issues that may be helped by mindfulness practice. Being mindful or engaging in mindfulness practices can be helpful in coping with the physical and psychological manifestations of stress produced by long hours of working with very sick people with a highly infectious disease, the depression resulting from separation from family and loved ones, the post-traumatic stress disorder that can be produced by repeated exposure to suffering and death, and burnout that can result from the overwhelming quantity and seriousness of the symptoms. In addition mindfulness can help build empathycompassionpatience, and flexibility that are so important for the treatment of the patients, resilience to withstand the stresses, and the ability to effectively cope with the strong emotions produced.

 

In today’s Research News article “Synchronous Mindfulness in Motion Online: Strong Results, Strong Attendance at a Critical Time for Health Care Professionals (HCPs) in the COVID Era.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.725810/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1709299_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210824_arts_A ) Klatt and colleagues recruited healthcare professionals and delivered to them a mindfulness training program, Mindfulness in Motion (MIM), either in person or over the internet and before the Covid-19 Pandemic or after. They were measured before and after training for resilience, perceived stress, work engagement, and burnout, including subscales of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment.

 

They found that after the mindfulness training there were significant reductions in burnout and perceived stress, and significant increases in resilience and work engagement regardless of whether it was delivered before or after the Covid-19 Pandemic. After Covid there were significantly higher levels of emotional exhaustion, but the mindfulness training produced significantly greater reductions in emotional exhaustion and perceived stress. There were no significant differences between the effects of the training delivered virtually over the internet or in person.

 

These results demonstrate that mindfulness training improves the psychological health of healthcare workers regardless of whether it’s delivered in person or over the internet or whether it was delivered before or after the onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Although there weren’t control comparison conditions present, prior controlled research has demonstrated that mindfulness training produces significant decreases in burnout and perceived stress and increases in resilience and work engagement. So, the present results likely are due to the mindfulness training program.

 

These are important findings as healthcare workers, particularly during the Covid-19 Pandemic are under severe stress which makes burnout likely. In addition, these workers have little available time for training, so being able to deliver the program over the internet makes it more readily available. Hence, mindfulness training appears to be able to buffer the healthcare professionals from burnout and improve their psychological well-being even during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

 

So, decrease burnout in healthcare workers during Covid-19 with mindfulness.

 

There is no doubt that the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic is causing a high level of stress and distress, particularly among health care workers due to our unique role in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. During a pandemic like this, our capacity to stay calm, present, and compassionate is more important than ever.” – Dzung Vo

 

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

 

Klatt M, Bawa R, Gabram O, Westrick A and Blake A (2021) Synchronous Mindfulness in Motion Online: Strong Results, Strong Attendance at a Critical Time for Health Care Professionals (HCPs) in the COVID Era. Front. Psychol. 12:725810. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.725810

 

Mindfulness in Motion (MIM) is an organizationally-sponsored mindfulness program for employees at a large academic health center that consistently produces significant reductions in burnout and perceived stress, alongside significant increases in work engagement and resilience. This study compared outcome measures of a synchronous virtual delivery of MIM, necessitated by COVID-19, to traditional in-person delivery of MIM. Outcome measures from the virtual COVID (AU20, WI21, SP21) MIM cohorts (n = 99) were compared with the in-person Pre-COVID (SP19, AU19, WI20) MIM cohorts (n = 124). Both Pre-COVID and COVID cohorts had similar attendance rates with an average attendance of 84 and 80%, respectively. Qualitative analysis of COVID cohorts reported community support during COVID as a substantial intervention benefit, which was important at a time when isolation dominated the healthcare professional experience. Total burnout was determined by scores on the subscales of the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI). There were no significant differences in depersonalization (p = 0.3876) and personal accomplishment (p = 0.1519) changes between Pre-COVID and COVID cohorts, however there was a significant difference in emotional exhaustion (p = 0.0315), with COVID cohorts improving more. In both Pre, and COVID cohorts, the percentage of people meeting burnout criteria from pre to post between groups were similar, yielding a non-significant difference (p = 0.2950). The Connor Davidson Resiliency Scale (CDRS) and Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES) also produced no significant differences between groups (p = 0.4259, p = 0.1984, respectively). The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) though yielded significant differences in reduction between groups (p = 0.0405), again with COVID cohorts showing greater improvement. Results of the first synchronous, virtually delivered MIM cohorts reflect that participants achieved very similar results and that MIM created a community in a time when it was greatly needed due to pandemic healthcare professional stress.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.725810/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1709299_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210824_arts_A

 

Yoga Practitioners Cope Better with the Stress and Psychological Distress During Covid-19 Pandemic

Yoga Practitioners Cope Better with the Stress and Psychological Distress During Covid-19 Pandemic

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“As the lockdown cannot last forever and workplaces will have to be functional soon, there is an increased possibility of recurrent infection. Therefore, Yoga can provide the necessary tool for risk reduction, amelioration of stress and anxiety and strengthening of the immune function.” – Kanupriya Sharma 

 

Mindfulness training and yoga practices have been shown to improve health and well-being in healthy individuals. They have 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. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the mental and physical health of the population. It has created intense stress both for frontline workers but also for people simply isolating at home. Mindfulness is known to decrease the psychological and physical responses to stress and yoga practice also produces similar improvements. So, yoga practice may be helpful in coping with the mental and physical challenges resulting from the lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

In today’s Research News article “Yoga Practice Is Beneficial for Maintaining Healthy Lifestyle and Endurance Under Restrictions and Stress Imposed by Lockdown During COVID-19 Pandemic.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8257944/ ) Nagarathna and colleagues recruited adult (>18 years of age) participants in India online during the Covid-19 lockdown and had them complete a questionnaire measuring demographics, Covid-19 exposure, physical health, mental health, coping strategies, lifestyle, and physical activities.

 

They defined a yoga group as those participants who practiced yoga before and during the Covid-19 lockdown and the non-yoga group as those who did not. They report that the yoga group had a significantly greater proportion of females and students, were younger, were less likely to use alcohol, tobacco, or other substances and eat junk food, more likely to be vegetarian, were disciplined in their diet, and had greater sleep quality, physical strength and endurance, and energy, have lower levels of anxiety and fear, but did not differ in Covid-19 exposure. In addition, the yoga group indicated more adaptive coping strategies.

 

This study was a comparison between groups defined by whether they were yoga practitioners or not. Any observed differences could well be due to the types of people attracted to yoga practice versus those who are not. It cannot be concluded that the practice of yoga was responsible for the differences. But prior research has demonstrated in controlled trials that the practice of yoga produces many physical and psychological benefits. So, the differences observed here may well be due to causal effects of yoga practice. Regardless of causation, the results clearly show that during the Covid-19 lockdown, yoga practitioners have greater physical and mental well-being and have healthier lifestyles.

 

So, yoga practitioners cope better with the stress and psychological distress during Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Yoga can be a powerful tool to deal with the lockdown’s uncertainty and isolation, as well as to maintain physical well-being.” – United Nations

 

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

Nagarathna, R., Anand, A., Rain, M., Srivastava, V., Sivapuram, M. S., Kulkarni, R., Ilavarasu, J., Sharma, M., Singh, A., & Nagendra, H. R. (2021). Yoga Practice Is Beneficial for Maintaining Healthy Lifestyle and Endurance Under Restrictions and Stress Imposed by Lockdown During COVID-19 Pandemic. Frontiers in psychiatry, 12, 613762. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.613762

 

Abstract

Uncertainty about Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and resulting lockdown caused widespread panic, stress, and anxiety. Yoga is a known practice that reduces stress and anxiety and may enhance immunity. This study aimed to (1) investigate that including Yoga in daily routine is beneficial for physical and mental health, and (2) to evaluate lifestyle of Yoga practitioners that may be instrumental in coping with stress associated with lockdown. This is a pan-India cross-sectional survey study, which was conducted during the lockdown. A self-rated scale, COVID Health Assessment Scale (CHAS), was designed by 11 experts in 3 Delphi rounds (Content valid ratio = 0.85) to evaluate the physical health, mental health, lifestyle, and coping skills of the individuals. The survey was made available digitally using Google forms and collected 23,760 CHAS responses. There were 23,290 valid responses (98%). After the study’s inclusion and exclusion criteria of yogic practices, the respondents were categorized into the Yoga (n = 9,840) and Non-Yoga (n = 3,377) groups, who actively practiced Yoga during the lockdown in India. The statistical analyses were performed running logistic and multinomial regression and calculating odds ratio estimation using R software version 4.0.0. The non-Yoga group was more likely to use substances and unhealthy food and less likely to have good quality sleep. Yoga practitioners reported good physical ability and endurance. Yoga group also showed less anxiety, stress, fear, and having better coping strategies than the non-Yoga group. The Yoga group displayed striking and superior ability to cope with stress and anxiety associated with lockdown and COVID-19. In the Yoga group, participants performing meditation reportedly had relatively better mental health. Yoga may lead to risk reduction of COVID-19 by decreasing stress and improving immunity if specific yoga protocols are implemented through a global public health initiative.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8257944/

 

Spirituality Modifies Coping with Covid-19 Evoked Psychological Distress

Spirituality Modifies Coping with Covid-19 Evoked Psychological Distress

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“COVID-19 . . . patients are suffering greatly from spiritual distress as well: existential distress, struggles with uncertainty, despair, hopelessness, isolation, feelings of abandonment by God or others, grief, and the need for reconciliation.” – GW School of Medicine

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the mental and physical health of the population. It has created intense stress for frontline workers but also for people simply isolating at home. Religion and spirituality have been promulgated as solutions to the challenges of life. There have been a number of studies of the influence of religiosity and spirituality on the physical and psychological well-being of practitioners mostly showing positive benefits, with spirituality encouraging personal growth and mental health. Perhaps, then, spirituality can be helpful in relieving stress and improve coping with the mental and physical challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

In today’s Research News article “Coping with COVID-19: An Examination of the Role of (Non)Religiousness/(Non)Spirituality.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8140577/ ) Abbott and Franks recruited adults over the internet and had them complete measures of coping strategies, psychological distress (anxiety, depression, and perceived stress), religiousness, spirituality, and pandemic related trauma.

 

They found that the higher the levels of pandemic related trauma and dysfunctional coping, the higher the levels of psychological distress experienced by the participants. Trauma was found to be both directly and indirectly associated with psychological distress via dysfunctional coping. This was true for religious, non-religious, and high and moderate spirituality participants but not for low spirituality participants.

 

These results are correlational and as such caution must be exercised in forming conclusions regarding causation. But the relationship is clear between the trauma created by the pandemic and psychological distress, people who are traumatized experience high levels of anxiety, depression, and stress. The trauma is also related to dysfunctional coping suggesting that traumatized individual tend to engage in maladaptive coping strategies. Dysfunctional coping involves coping with difficulties by behavioral disengagement, denial, self-distraction, self-blame, substance use and venting and these strategies are associated with heightened levels of trauma. Finally, the analysis suggests that pandemic related trauma is associated with psychological distress directly and also indirectly by being associated with higher levels of dysfunctional coping which in turn is associated with higher levels of distress.

 

These results suggest that religion and spirituality are helpful in coping with trauma produced by the Covid-19 pandemic. But not with those having low levels of spirituality. Spirituality generally implies a feeling or belief in something beyond the physical. Conversely, low spirituality would imply a focus solely on the physical. So, the results suggest that trauma does not affect coping’s effects on psychological distress when there’s a belief that only physical forces are involved. This then suggests that spirituality increases the individual’s attempts to deal with trauma with coping strategies.

 

So, spirituality modifies coping with covid-19 evoked psychological distress.

 

“during a major crisis such as the Covid-19 pandemic, we need to make sure that everyone is getting spiritual care.” – Eric Hall

 

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

 

Abbott, D. M., & Franks, A. S. (2021). Coping with COVID-19: An Examination of the Role of (Non)Religiousness/(Non)Spirituality. Journal of religion and health, 60(4), 2395–2410. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-021-01284-9

 

Abstract

Psychological distress and coping strategies employed during collective trauma events may vary for theists and atheists, as well as others along the (non)religious spectrum. The present study explored these differences via data collected from a US-based sample during the COVID-19 pandemic. Statistical models suggested relationships between maladaptive coping and distress for all participants and potential differences in coping and, in turn, distress between participants high and low in institutional religiousness and individual spirituality. Additionally, all participants, though especially nonreligious participants, appeared less able to engage in adaptive emotion-focused coping strategies. Implications for future research are provided.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8140577/

 

Better Mental Health During the Covid-19 Pandemic is Associated with Exercise and Meditation

Better Mental Health During the Covid-19 Pandemic is Associated with Exercise and Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Introducing a mindfulness and meditation practice during this pandemic has the potential to complement treatment and is a low-cost beneficial method of providing support with anxiety for all.” C. Behan

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to improve health and well-being in healthy individuals. It has also been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the mental and physical health of the population. It has created intense stress both for frontline workers but also for people simply isolating at home. Mindfulness is known to decrease the psychological and physical responses to stress. So, meditation may be helpful in coping with the mental and physical challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effect of Meditation and Physical Activity on the Mental Health Impact of COVID-19-Related Stress and Attention to News Among Mobile App Users in the United States: Cross-sectional Survey.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8045775/ ) Green and colleagues recruited adult participants online who used the meditation app “Calm” and had them complete a questionnaire measuring worry regarding Covid-19, meditation, exercise, and health related behaviors. They also had them complete measures of habits, perceived stress, anxiety, depression, and PTSD symptoms.

 

There were 8,392 responses. They reported a significant increase in meditation and exercise during Covid-19. But the greater the worry about Covid-19, the lower the levels of meditation and exercise and the greater the levels of perceived stress and PTSD symptoms.  They found that the Covid-19 worry was associated with lower the levels of meditation and exercise and these decreases were in turn associated with higher levels of perceived stress, PTSD symptoms, anxiety and depression. Hence, worry about Covid-19 appears to be detrimental to mental health as a result of decreases meditation and exercise.

 

These results are correlational, and caution must be exercised in concluding causation. In addition, the sample was composed of users of a meditation app and thus the results may not be predictive of the responses of non-meditators. But the associations are clear. Worry about the pandemic is associated with decreases in meditation and exercise which are in turn associated with poorer mental health.

 

This suggests that methods to support continued meditation practice and exercise during the pandemic may be helpful in improving mental health during the pandemic. They may mitigate the detrimental effects of worry about the pandemic. Indeed, previous research has found that mindfulness training improves mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

So, better mental health during the covid-19 pandemic is associated with exercise and meditation.

 

certain meditation, yoga asana (postures), and pranayama (breathing) practices may possibly be effective adjunctive means of treating and/or preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection” – William Bushell

 

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

 

Green, J., Huberty, J., Puzia, M., & Stecher, C. (2021). The Effect of Meditation and Physical Activity on the Mental Health Impact of COVID-19-Related Stress and Attention to News Among Mobile App Users in the United States: Cross-sectional Survey. JMIR mental health, 8(4), e28479. https://doi.org/10.2196/28479

 

Abstract

Background

The COVID-19 pandemic has been declared an international public health emergency, and it may have long-lasting effects on people’s mental health. There is a need to identify effective health behaviors to mitigate the negative mental health impact of COVID-19.

Objective

The objectives of this study were to (1) examine the regional differences in mental health and COVID-19–related worry, attention to news, and stress, in light of the state-level prevalence of COVID-19 cases; (2) estimate the associations between mental health and COVID-19–related worry, attention to news, and stress and health behavior engagement (ie, physical activity, mindfulness meditation); and (3) explore the mediating effect of health behavior engagement on the associations between mental health and COVID-19–related worry, attention to news, and stress.

Methods

A cross-sectional survey was distributed to a sample of US adult paying subscribers to the Calm app (data were collected from April 22 to June 3, 2020). The survey assessed COVID-19–related worry, attention to news, and stress; health behavior engagement; and mental health (ie, perceived stress, posttraumatic stress disorder, and anxiety and depression). Statistical analyses were performed using R software. Differences in COVID-19–related worry, attention to news, and stress and mental health by location were assessed using t tests and chi-square tests. Logistic and ordinary least squares models were used to regress mental health and health behavior on COVID-19–related worry, attention to news, and stress; moreover, causal mediation analysis was used to estimate the significance of the mediation effects.

Results

The median age of the respondents (N=8392) was 47 years (SD 13.8). Participants in the Mid-Atlantic region (New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania) reported higher levels of stress, more severe depression symptoms, greater worry about COVID-19, paying more attention to COVID-19–related news, and more stress related to social distancing recommendations than participants living in other regions. The association between worry about COVID-19 and perceived stress was significantly mediated by changes in physical activity (P<.001), strength of meditation habit (P<.001), and stopping meditation (P=.046). The association between worry about COVID-19 and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms was significantly mediated by changes in physical activity (P<.001) and strength of meditation habit (P<.001).

Conclusions

Our findings describe the mental health impact of COVID-19 and outline how continued participation in health behaviors such as physical activity and mindfulness meditation reduce worsening of mental health due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These data have important implications for public health agencies and health organizations to promote the maintenance of health habits to reduce the residual mental health burden of the COVID-19 pandemic.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8045775/

 

Mindfulness Increases Resiliency During a Pandemic

Mindfulness Increases Resiliency During a Pandemic

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“These are trying times, but incorporating mindful practices into your daily routine can help calm anxiety and build healthy coping skills.” – Rae Jacobson

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to improve health and well-being in healthy individuals. It has also been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the mental and physical health of the population. It has created intense stress both for frontline workers but also for people simply 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 lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Physical Activity and Mindfulness on Resilience and Depression During the First Wave of COVID-19 Pandemic..” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.700742/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1696300_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210803_arts_A ) Antonini and colleagues used emails to recruit adults who were engaged in either exercise or mindfulness practice during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown in Switzerland. They had them complete measures of resilience and depression at two different times during the lockdown.

 

They found that mindfulness practitioners had significantly lower resilience than exercisers and that had women had significantly lower resilience and greater depression than men. They also found that the resilience of the mindfulness group significantly increased from the first to the second measurement while the exercisers did not. But the depression of the exercise group significantly declined from the first to the second measurement while the mindfulness group did not. Overall, the higher the levels of resilience the lower the levels of depression at both measurement times.

 

These are interesting results but are correlational, so no conclusions regarding causation can be reached. The results suggest that resilience tends to counteract depression. They also suggest that mindfulness practitioners are initially less resilient during a stressful time than exercisers but that they increase in resilience as the lockdown continues. On the other hand, exercisers decrease in depression over the same period of time.

 

Dealing with a public health emergency lockdown can be extremely stressful and requires resilience in the face of the stress to effectively deal with it. Mindfulness appears to allow for a growth in resilience making the practitioners better able to cope. On the other hand, exercise appears to help with the depression resulting from the lockdown. Unfortunately, they did not look at mindfulness practitioners who were also exercisers to observe if the combination has additive benefits.

 

So, mindfulness increases resiliency during a pandemic.

 

mindfulness meditation might be a viable low-cost intervention to mitigate the psychological impact of the COVID-19 crisis and future pandemics.” – Julie Lei Zhu

 

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

 

Antonini Philippe R, Schwab L and Biasutti M (2021) Effects of Physical Activity and Mindfulness on Resilience and Depression During the First Wave of COVID-19 Pandemic. Front. Psychol. 12:700742. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.700742

 

The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic generated a significant number of stressors that the Swiss population had to deal with. In order to cope with and adapt to such adversity, it is essential to have protective factors that allow for resilience. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of mindfulness and physical activity on depression and resilience during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. A quantitative method was adopted asking participants who were engaged in physical activity or mindfulness to fill a battery of measures of depression and resilience and some demographic questions. The results showed that mindfulness practice strengthened the initial level of resilience of practitioners, suggesting that mindfulness meditation is a tool for coping with adversity during a potentially traumatic event. Conversely, physical activity practitioners maintained a stable resilience score over time, suggesting that exposure to adversity did not disrupt their state of biopsychospiritual homeostasis. Moreover, being physically active decreased the depression score over time. Regarding demographic variables, gender differences were observed in the average scores in the resilience scale and in the Depression Inventory.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.700742/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1696300_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210803_arts_A

 

Improve Perceived Stress and Sleep Disturbance During Covid-19 Pandemic with Mindfulness

Improve Perceived Stress and Sleep Disturbance During Covid-19 Pandemic with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Right now it’s very easy to let your brain spin out with the frightening possibilities. Practicing mindfulness helps bring us back to the present, and away from the brink.” – David Anderson

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to improve health and well-being in healthy individuals. It has also been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the mental and physical health of the population. It has created intense stress both for frontline workers but also for people simply 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.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Web-Based Group Mindfulness Training on Stress and Sleep Quality in Singapore During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Retrospective Equivalence Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7962857/ ) Lim and colleagues recruited participants who received mindfulness training prior to the Covid-19 lockdown or during the lockdown either in person training or over videoconference. The trainings were based upon the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. They were measured before and after training for perceived stress and sleep disturbance and quality of sleep.

 

They found that after training all three groups had equivalent significant reductions in perceived stress and sleep disturbance. On the other hand, sleep quality and the time to fall asleep were significantly improved in the group that received mindfulness training before the Covid-19 lockdown but not during the lockdown.

 

Previous research has repeatedly demonstrated that mindfulness training reduces perceived stress and sleep. The present study adds to these findings by demonstrating these effects during the Covid-19 lockdown. But during the lockdown, mindfulness training was effective in reducing sleep disturbance but not effective in improving sleep quality. Mindfulness training either in person or via videoconference was unable to overcome the effects of the lockdown on quality of sleep.

 

So, improve perceived stress and sleep disturbance during Covid-19 pandemic with mindfulness.

 

mindfulness is one tool that can help promote mental wellness throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.” – Julie Dunne

 

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

 

Lim, J., Leow, Z., Ong, J., Pang, L. S., & Lim, E. (2021). Effects of Web-Based Group Mindfulness Training on Stress and Sleep Quality in Singapore During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Retrospective Equivalence Analysis. JMIR mental health, 8(3), e21757. https://doi.org/10.2196/21757

 

Abstract

Background

The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted psychological health. Mindfulness training, which helps individuals attend to the present moment with a nonjudgmental attitude, improves sleep and reduces stress during regular times. Mindfulness training may also be relevant to the mitigation of harmful health consequences during acute crises. However, certain restrictions may necessitate the web-based delivery of mindfulness training (ie, rather than in-person group training settings).

Objective

The objective of our study was to examine the effects of mindfulness interventions during the COVID-19 pandemic and to evaluate the effectiveness of web-based interventions.

Methods

Data from an ongoing study were used for this retrospective equivalence analysis. Recruited participants were enrollees from mindfulness courses at a local charity organization that promoted mental wellness. This study had no exclusion criteria. We created three groups; two groups received their training during the COVID-19 pandemic (in-person training group: n=36; videoconferencing group: n=38), and a second control group included participants who were trained before the pandemic (n=86). Our primary outcomes were self-reported stress and sleep quality. Baseline levels and changes in these variables due to mindfulness training were compared among the groups via an analysis of covariance test and two one-tailed t tests.

Results

Baseline perceived stress (P=.50) and sleep quality (P=.22) did not differ significantly among the three groups. Mindfulness training significantly reduced stress in all three groups (P<.001), and this effect was statistically significant when comparing videoconferencing to in-person training (P=.002). Sleep quality improved significantly in the prepandemic training group (P<.001). However, sleep quality did not improve in the groups that received training during the pandemic. Participants reported that they required shorter times to initiate sleep following prepandemic mindfulness training (P<.001), but this was not true for those who received training during the pandemic. Course attendance was high and equivalent across the videoconferencing and comparison groups (P=.02), and participants in the videoconferencing group engaged in marginally more daily practice than the in-person training group.

Conclusions

Web-based mindfulness training via videoconferencing may be a useful intervention for reducing stress during times when traditional, in-person training is not feasible. However, it may not be useful for improving sleep quality.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7962857/

Improve Well-Being During Covid-19 Lockdown with Yoga and Meditation

Improve Well-Being During Covid-19 Lockdown with Yoga and Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Practicing mindfulness and meditation may help you manage stress and high blood pressure, sleep better, feel more balanced and connected, and even lower your risk of heart disease.” American Heart Association

 

The Covid-19 pandemic has challenged the mental and physical health of the population. It has created intense stress both for frontline workers but also for people simply isolating at home. Mindfulness training has been shown to improve health and well-being in healthy individuals and those with medical and psychiatric conditions, Similarly, yoga practice has been shown to improve health and well-being in healthy individuals and those with medical and psychiatric conditions.  Meditation practice is known to decrease the psychological and physical responses to stress. Similarly, yoga practice has been shown to decrease the psychological and physical responses to stress. So, mindfulness and yoga practices may be helpful in coping with the mental and physical challenges resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.

 

In today’s Research News article “A cross–sectional study of mental wellbeing with practice of yoga and meditation during Covid-19 pandemic.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8144767/ ) Priyanka and colleagues recruited adults over the internet during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown and had them complete a questionnaire measuring yoga practice, meditation practice, mental well-being, change in eating and sleeping, and the effects of the lockdown on mental health. The participants were separated into 4 groups, yoga only (18%), meditation only (21%), meditation plus yoga (35%), and no yoga or meditation.

 

They found that normal well-being scores were present in 66% of participants who practiced both yoga and meditation, 62% of those practicing meditation only, 60% of those practicing yoga only and 50.6% of people who practiced none. They also found that the greater the number of years practicing and the more frequent the practice the greater the proportion of participants with normal well-being scores.  A similar association of yoga and meditation practices was found with the change in eating, sleeping pattern, and family relations.

 

These results are correlational and as such caution must be exercised in concluding causation. But it has been previously shown that contemplative practices improve well-being, sleep, eating, and family relations. So, it is likely that the present results are due to yoga and meditation producing these benefits. The results, then, suggest that practicing yoga and meditation help to maintain mental well-being during a stressful pandemic lockdown and practicing both produces optimum benefits. They also suggest that the greater the frequency of practice and years practicing the greater the benefits. This suggests that practicing yoga and meditation help to relieve stress during difficult times, improving overall well-being.

 

So, improve well-being during Covid-19 lockdown with yoga and meditation.

 

mindfulness meditation is related to improved mental health across a variety of disorders, including different anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, and chronic pain symptom reduction.” – Jennifer Wolkin

 

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

 

Priyanka, & Rasania, S. K. (2021). A cross–sectional study of mental wellbeing with practice of yoga and meditation during COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of family medicine and primary care, 10(4), 1576–1581. https://doi.org/10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_2367_20

 

Abstract

Background:

COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in increased mental health issues. Yoga and meditation can help in alleviating mental stress and improving psychological wellbeing.

Methods:

It was a community-based online cross-sectional study involving adult general population. Data collection was done by using a Google form link that was circulated via online platforms. The data were analyzed using Microsoft Excel and SPSS version 22. Qualitative data were expressed in proportions or percentages and quantitative data were expressed in mean and standard deviation. Chi-square test was used to check the association of various factors and mental wellbeing.

Results:

A total of 649 (58.4%) subjects had normal mental wellbeing score, whereas 279 (25.1%) were found to be at risk of developing psychological distress and 184 (16.5%) were at risk of depression. A significantly larger proportion of subjects with normal mental wellbeing was found with the practice of both yoga and meditation (66.2%), followed by practice of only meditation (62.1%), only yoga (59.9%), and none of them (50.6%). A similar association of yoga and meditation practices was found with the change in eating, sleeping patterns, and family relations. The frequency of practice was positively associated with a higher level of mental wellbeing in the case of both yoga as well as meditation, with daily practice having the highest wellbeing scores.

Conclusion:

The practice of yoga and meditation, preferably both of them, is associated with higher level of mental wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8144767/

 

Mindfulness is Associated with Better Perinatal Mental Health Among Uncertainty Produced by Covid-19

Mindfulness is Associated with Better Perinatal Mental Health Among Uncertainty Produced by Covid-19

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

use of a mindfulness-based meditation app may benefit patients who are navigating the stressors of being pregnant during the COVID-19 pandemic.” –  Orli K. Florsheim, MD

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the mental and physical health of the population. It has created intense stress for everyone including women during the perinatal period. Mindfulness is known to decrease the psychological and physical responses to stress and to improve well-being during the perinatal period. So, mindfulness training may be helpful in coping with the mental and physical challenges during the perinatal period resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Indirect Effect of Parental Intolerance of Uncertainty on Perinatal Mental Health via Mindfulness During COVID-19.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8171361/ ) Sbrilli and colleagues recruited pregnant women or women who had given birth in the last 6 months during the Covid-19 pandemic. They were measured for Intolerance of uncertainty, mindfulness, and psychological symptoms, including anxiety, depression, and somatization.

 

They performed a path analysis and found that in these perinatal women intolerance of uncertainty was associated with psychological symptoms, especially anxiety and depression, directly and also indirectly by being associated with lower mindfulness which was, in turn, associated with greater psychological symptoms. The mindfulness facets that were significant in the indirect path were acting with awareness, non-reactivity, and describing.

 

The present study is correlational and as such caution must be exercised in reaching causal conclusions. But mindfulness has been shown in prior research to produce reductions in anxiety and depression. So, reduced mindfulness in the present study was probably the cause of the increased psychological symptoms. What’s new here is the finding that intolerance of uncertainty is directly and through mindfulness indirectly associated with increased psychological symptoms in perinatal women.

 

Intolerance of uncertainty is a fear of the unknown. During Covid-19 this fear is greatly amplified and the present results suggest that this results in greater anxiety and depression in these women. But since mindfulness is an intermediary it is possible that improvements in mindfulness, perhaps through training, could intervene to block the effects of intolerance of uncertainty on psychological symptoms. This is supported by the findings that mindfulness during Covid-19 improves psychological well-being.

 

Anxiety and depression during pregnancy can affect the birth and condition of the newborn. In addition, after birth they can affect post-partum depression. So, improving mindfulness is important during the perinatal period to improve the health and well-being of the infant and the mother. This becomes more important during the pandemic where uncertainty can exacerbate anxiety and depression.

 

So, mindfulness is associated with better perinatal mental health among uncertainty produced by Covid-19.

 

The strength of mediation habits may play a role in pregnant women’s mental health during COVID-19. Stronger meditation habits may prevent increases in stress despite increased worry related to getting infected by COVID-19 and may reduce symptoms of depression and PTSD.” – Jennifer Huberty

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Sbrilli, M. D., Haigler, K., & Laurent, H. K. (2021). The Indirect Effect of Parental Intolerance of Uncertainty on Perinatal Mental Health via Mindfulness During COVID-19. Mindfulness, 1–10. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-021-01657-x

 

Abstract

Objectives

The COVID-19 pandemic is associated with mental health difficulties, especially during pregnancy and early postpartum. Intolerance of uncertainty (IU) and reduced capacity for mindfulness—a protective factor for child-bearers—may be particularly relevant factors driving mental health problems given the unpredictable nature of the pandemic. The current study aims to shed light on modifiable paths to perinatal psychological distress by testing whether there is an indirect effect of IU on psychological symptoms through a perceived reduction in mindfulness during the pandemic.

Methods

Pregnant individuals (67%, n = 133) and new mothers within 6 months postpartum (33%, n = 66) participated in a cross-sectional online survey assessing IU, current and retrospective pre-pandemic mindfulness (FFMQ), and psychological symptoms (anxiety, depression, somatization; BSI). Perceived change in mindfulness was captured by including retrospective mindfulness as a covariate in the PROCESS macro used for analyses.

Results

Tests of the direct association between mindfulness, IU, and psychological symptoms showed significant effects of IU (b = 0.46, SE = 0.064; p < .001) and perceived decrease in mindfulness during the pandemic (b =  − 0.72, SE = 0.08, p < .001) on psychological symptoms (R2 = .21–.34; F[2, 197] = 51.13–52.81, p < .001). The indirect effect of IU on symptoms via perceived decrease in mindfulness during the pandemic (b = 0.13, SE = 0.043, 95%CI [.060, .226]) was significant (R2 = .41, F[3, 195] = 45.08, p < .001).

Conclusions

Results suggest that mothers who are less able to tolerate uncertainty experience more psychological symptoms, in part due to perceived reduction in mindfulness during the pandemic. Future research should examine whether IU is a screening risk marker and target for mindfulness-based interventions to improve maternal well-being and family outcomes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8171361/

 

Improve Psychological Well-Being in Patients with Fever Undergoing Covid-19 Screening with Mindfulness

Improve Psychological Well-Being in Patients with Fever Undergoing Covid-19 Screening with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness-based approaches appear well-suited to deal with the challenges presented by the time of unpresented uncertainty, change, and loss, which can take many forms in the context of COVID-19 pandemic.” – Elena Antonova

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to improve health and well-being in healthy individuals. It has also been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. One of the primary effects of mindfulness that may be responsible for many of its benefits is that it improves the physiological and psychological responses to stress. The COVID-19 pandemic is extremely stressful particularly for patients running a fever and being screened for Covid-19.  So, mindfulness, because of its ability to improve stress responding, may be helpful in coping with the mental challenges of awaiting COVID-19 test results.

 

In today’s Research News article “Using Mindfulness to Reduce Anxiety and Depression of Patients With Fever Undergoing Screening in an Isolation Ward During the COVID-19 Outbreak.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.664964/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1651992_69_Psycho_20210603_arts_A )  Liu and colleagues recruited adult patients who had a fever and were undergoing screening in a hospital for Covid-19. They were randomly assigned either to no-treatment or a very brief (25 minute) mindfulness instruction while awaiting test results. They were measured at the time of admissions and again just before test results for positive and negative emotions, distress, satisfaction with life, anger, anxiety, and depression.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the no-treatment controls, the participants who had received brief mindfulness instruction had significantly lower anger, distress, anxiety, depression, and need for help and higher satisfaction with life. Hence, the brief mindfulness instruction improved the mood and psychological well-being of these patients during a very stressful time of awaiting Covid-19 test results.

 

Mindfulness has been previously found to be effective in reducing anger, distress, anxiety, and depression, and increasing satisfaction with life. What the present study demonstrates is that these benefits can occur after a very brief instruction for patients in a very stressful situation. This suggests that brief mindfulness instruction should be incorporated into the routine treatment of patients under high short-term stress.

 

So, improve psychological well-being in patients with fever undergoing Covid-19 screening with mindfulness.

 

mindfulness is an increasingly accessible intervention available world-wide that may reduce psychological distress during this isolating public health crisis.” – Susan Farris

 

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

 

Liu Y, Huyang S, Tan H, He Y, Zhou J, Li X, Ye M, Huang J and Wu D (2021) Using Mindfulness to Reduce Anxiety and Depression of Patients With Fever Undergoing Screening in an Isolation Ward During the COVID-19 Outbreak. Front. Psychol. 12:664964. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.664964

 

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to spread globally. This infectious disease affects people not only physically but also psychologically. Therefore, an effective psychological intervention program needs to be developed to improve the psychological condition of patients screened for fever during this period. This study aimed to investigate the effect of a brief mindfulness intervention on patients with suspected fever in a screening isolation ward awaiting results of the COVID-19 test. The Faces Scale and the Emotional Thermometer Tool were used to investigate 51 patients who were randomly divided into an intervention group and a control group. All patients completed self-rating questionnaires online at the time they entered the isolation ward and before they were informed of the results. The intervention group listened to the mindfulness audios through hospital broadcasts in the isolation ward before their lunch break and while they slept. Compared with the control group, the intervention group’s life satisfaction score increased (F = 4.02, p = 0.051) and the emotional thermometer score decreased (F = 8.89, p = 0.005). The anxiety scores (F = 9.63, p = 0.003) and the needing help scores decreased significantly (F = 4.95, p = 0.031). Distress (F = 1.41, p = 0.241), depression (F = 1.93, p = 0.171), and anger (F = 3.14, p = 0.083) also decreased, but did not reach significance. Brief mindfulness interventions can alleviate negative emotions and improve the life satisfaction of patients in the isolation ward who were screened for COVID-19 during the waiting period.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.664964/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1651992_69_Psycho_20210603_arts_A