Spirituality is Associated with Awe/Gratitude and Well-Being during the Covid-19 Pandemic

Spirituality is Associated with Awe/Gratitude and Well-Being during the Covid-19 Pandemic

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“During the COVID-19 pandemic . . . spirituality and religious practices are a protective factor connected not only with psychological and mental but also physical health.” – Ilaria Coppola

 

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 coping with the mental and physical challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

In today’s Research News article “Awe/Gratitude as an Experiential Aspect of Spirituality and Its Association to Perceived Positive Changes 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/PMC8095710/ ) Büssing and colleagues recruited adults online during the Covid-19 pandemic and had them complete online measures of awe/gratitude, perception of changes, well-being, life satisfaction, perception of burden, spirituality, and physical activities.

 

They found that Awe/Gratitude was associated with higher levels of frequency of meditation practice, female gender, life satisfaction and well-being, faith as a stronghold, and life reflection because of the pandemic and lower levels of perceived burden. Well-being was found to be significantly associated with higher life satisfaction, nature/silence/contemplation, and awe/gratitude and with lower perceived burden. A mediation analysis revealed that awe/gratitude mediated the associations between nature/silence/contemplation and well-being, between well-being and relationships, and between well-being and reflections.

 

These findings must be interpreted cautiously as they were correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. But they demonstrated that perceptions of awe followed by feelings of gratitude during the Covid-19 pandemic were higher in people who were religions, meditated frequently, and with religious backgrounds. But awe/gratitude did not moderate the negative consequences of the pandemic but rather appear to be associated with higher levels of the positive aspects of life including spirituality. Awe/gratitude itself is a component of spiritual awareness and is promoted by spiritual practices such as meditation and it appears to be associated higher levels of well-being even in the face of a pandemic.

 

So, spirituality is associated with awe/gratitude and well-being during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

“One wonders if social distancing might become the new normal, so scheduling time for spiritual life-building can become part of the change of filling the void of loneliness.” – William Creech

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Büssing, A., Rodrigues Recchia, D., Dienberg, T., Surzykiewicz, J., & Baumann, K. (2021). Awe/Gratitude as an Experiential Aspect of Spirituality and Its Association to Perceived Positive Changes During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Frontiers in psychiatry, 12, 642716. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.642716

 

Abstract

Background: While the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lives of almost all people worldwide, many people observed also positive changes in their attitudes and behaviors. This can be seen in the context of posttraumatic growth. These perceived changes refer to five main categories: Nature/Silence/Contemplation, Spirituality, Relationships, Reflection on life, and Digital media usage. A previous study with persons recruited in June 2020 directly after the lockdown in Germany showed that the best predictors of these perceived changes related to the Corona pandemic were the ability to mindfully stop and pause in distinct situations, to be “spellbound at the moment” and to become “quiet and devout,” indicating moments of wondering awe, with subsequent feelings of gratitude. Now, we intended to analyze (1) by whom and how strongly awe/gratitude was experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, and (2) how these feelings relate to perceived changes and experienced burden, and (3) whether or not feelings of awe/gratitude contribute to participants’ well-being or may buffer perceived burden in terms of a resilience factor.

Methods: Online survey with standardized questionnaires [i.e., WHO-Five Well-being Index (WHO5), Life satisfaction (BMLSS), Awe/Gratitude scale (GrAw-7), and Perceived Changes Questionnaire (PCQ)] among 2,573 participants (68% women; mean age 48.7 ± 14.2 years, 74% with a Christian affiliation) from Germany recruited between June and November 2020.

Results: Awe/Gratitude scored significantly higher particularly among women (Cohen’s d = 0.40), older persons (d = 0.88), persons who rely on their faith as a “stronghold in difficult times” (d = 0.99), those with higher well-being (d = 0.70), and lower perceptions of loneliness (d = 0.49). With respect to perceived changes during the pandemic, more intense feelings of Awe/Gratitude were particularly related to Nature/Silence/Contemplation (r = 0.41), Spirituality (r = 0.41), and Relationships (r = 0.33). Regression analyses revealed that the best predictors of Awe/Gratitude (R2 = 0.40) were the frequency of meditation, female gender, life satisfaction and well-being, faith as a stronghold, and perceived burden and also life reflection, while Nature/Silence/Contemplation and Relationships had a further, but weaker, impact on Awe/Gratitude as a dependent variable. Awe/Gratitude was moderately associated with well-being (r = 0.32) and would predict 9% of participants’ well-being variance. The best predictors of participants’ well-being were multidimensional life satisfaction and low perceived burden (related to the pandemic), and further Awe/Gratitude and Nature/Silence/Contemplation; these would explain 47% of variance in well-being scores. However, Awe/Gratitude cannot be regarded as a buffer of the negative aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as it is only marginally (though negatively) related to perceived burden (r = −0.15). Mediation analysis showed that Awe/Gratitude mediates 42% of the link between well-being as a predictor on Nature/Silence/Contemplation as an outcome and has a direct effect of β = 0.15 (p < 0.001) and an indirect effect of β = 0.11 (p < 0.001). Further, Awe/Gratitude mediates 38% (p < 0.001) of the link between Nature/Silence/Contemplation as a predictor on well-being as the outcome; the direct effect is β = 0.18 (p < 0.001), and the indirect effect is β = 0.11 (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: The general ability to experience Awe/Gratitude particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic may sensitize to perceive the world around (including nature and concrete persons) more intensely, probably in terms of, or similar to, posttraumatic growth. As this awareness toward specific moments and situations that deeply “touch” a person was higher in persons with more intense meditation or prayer practice, one may assume that these practices may facilitate these perceptions in terms of a training. However, the experience of Awe/Gratitude does not necessarily buffer against adverse events in life and cannot prevent perceived burden due to the corona pandemic, but it facilitates to, nevertheless, perceive positive aspects of life even within difficult times. As Awe/Gratitude is further mediating the effects of Nature/Silence/Contemplation on well-being, intervention programs could help to train these perceptions, as these self-transcendent feelings are also related to prosocial behaviors with respectful treatment of others and commitment to persons in needs, and well-being.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8095710/

 

Psychedelic Drug Experiences Produce Long-Term Improvements in Psychological Well-Being

Psychedelic Drug Experiences Produce Long-Term Improvements in Psychological Well-Being

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Awe may be a critically important emotional experience during psychedelic treatment in generating compassion, empathy, and overall well-being” – Eve Ekman

 

Psychedelic substances such as peyote, mescaline, LSD, Bufotoxin, ayahuasca and psilocybin have been used almost since the beginning of recorded history to alter consciousness and produce spiritually meaningful experiences. People find these experiences extremely pleasant. eye opening, and even transformative. They often report that the experiences changed them forever. Psychedelics have also been found to be clinically useful as they markedly improve mood, increase energy and enthusiasm and greatly improve clinical depression. Even though the effects of psychedelic substances have been experienced and reported on for centuries, only very recently have these effects come under rigorous scientific scrutiny.

 

In today’s Research News article “Sustained, Multifaceted Improvements in Mental Well-Being Following Psychedelic Experiences in a Prospective Opportunity Sample.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8277190/ ) Mans and colleagues recruited adults who were planning on having a psychedelic experience and had them complete a questionnaire before and after the experience and 2 weeks, 4 weeks, and 2 years after measuring well-being, depression, self-esteem, life orientation, emotional stability, meaning in life, acceptance, resilience, mindfulness, social connectedness, gratitude, spiritual transcendence, Spiritual and Religious Attitudes in Dealing with Illness, trust, and compassion and after the experience only Challenging Experience Questionnaire (CEQ), the Mystical Experience Questionnaire (MEQ), and the Emotional Breakthrough.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline after the psychedelic experiences there were significant improvements in all measures except spirituality that were maintained over follow-up. Factor analysis revealed three clusters of measures labelled as being well, staying well, and spirituality. They found that after the psychedelic experiences there were large significant improvements in being and staying well that were still present 2 years later.

 

It should be noted that there wasn’t a comparison, control, condition present and that the participants self-selected to engage in psychedelic experiences. Hence, a myriad of confounding alternative explanations for the findings abound, particularly participant expectancy effects (placebo effects). So, great caution must be exercised in drawing conclusions regarding the effects of psychedelic drugs. But placebo effects are generally transitory and don’t last over substantial periods of time and the present improvements lasted for at least 2 years, making it unlikely that confounding variable explanations are viable.

 

It is interesting that spirituality was not affected as psychedelic drugs have been employed throughout history as a part of spiritual development. It is possible that the context of spiritual ceremony is essential for the effects of psychedelic drugs being interpreted as spiritual effects.

 

The results of the present study suggest that people who engage in psychedelic experiences have profound improvements in their well-being that are sustained for at least 2 years. The magnitude and duration of the effects may explain why psychedelics have such profound effects on people with mental illnesses producing relief of symptoms and appear to be safe and effective treatments for mental illnesses.

 

So, psychedelic drug experiences produce long-term improvements in psychological well-being.

 

use of psychedelic substances in a naturalistic setting is associated with experiences of personal transformation, a sense of altered moral values, increased feelings of social connectedness, and a more positive mood.” – Matthias Forstmann

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

 

Mans, K., Kettner, H., Erritzoe, D., Haijen, E., Kaelen, M., & Carhart-Harris, R. L. (2021). Sustained, Multifaceted Improvements in Mental Well-Being Following Psychedelic Experiences in a Prospective Opportunity Sample. Frontiers in psychiatry, 12, 647909. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.647909

 

Abstract

In the last 15 years, psychedelic substances, such as LSD and psilocybin, have regained legitimacy in clinical research. In the general population as well as across various psychiatric populations, mental well-being has been found to significantly improve after a psychedelic experience. Mental well-being has large socioeconomic relevance, but it is a complex, multifaceted construct. In this naturalistic observational study, a comprehensive approach was taken to assessing well-being before and after a taking a psychedelic compound to induce a “psychedelic experience.” Fourteen measures of well-being related constructs were included in order to examine the breadth and specificity of change in well-being. This change was then analysed to examine clusters of measures changing together. Survey data was collected from volunteers that intended to take a psychedelic. Four key time points were analysed: 1 week before and 2 weeks, 4 weeks, and 2 years after the experience (N = 654, N = 315, N = 212, and N = 64, respectively). Change on the included measures was found to cluster into three factors which we labelled: 1) “Being well”, 2) “Staying well,” and 3) “Spirituality.” Repeated Measures Multivariate Analysis of Variance revealed all but the spirituality factor to be improved in the weeks following the psychedelic experience. Additional Mixed model analyses revealed selective increases in Being Well and Staying Well (but not Spirituality) that remained statistically significant up to 2 years post-experience, albeit with high attrition rates. Post-hoc examination suggested that attrition was not due to differential acute experiences or mental-health changes in those who dropped out vs. those who did not. These findings suggest that psychedelics can have a broad, robust and sustained positive impact on mental well-being in those that have a prior intention to use a psychedelic compound. Public policy implications are discussed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8277190/

 

Emotionally Touching Moments of Wonderous Awe Promotes Wellbeing

Emotionally Touching Moments of Wonderous Awe Promotes Wellbeing

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

And if a person is religious, I think it’s good, it helps you a bit. But if you’re not, at least you can have the sense that there is a condition inside you which looks at the stars with amazement and awe.” Maya Angelou

 

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, well-being, and mental health. Spirituality can also promote the occurrence of wondering awe which are emotional reactions to touching experiences. Wondering awe can induce internal changes in the individual. So, it is important to examine the relationships of wondering awe, spirituality, and well-being.

 

In today’s Research News article “Wondering Awe as a Perceptive Aspect of Spirituality and Its Relation to Indicators of Wellbeing: Frequency of Perception and Underlying Triggers.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.738770/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1750137_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211012_arts_A ) Büssing and colleagues recruited adult participants online and had them complete measures of Awe and Gratitude, spiritual experiences, well-being, and frequency of meditation and prayer. A separate group of participants wrote descriptions of situations where they experienced moments of wondering awe.

 

They found that women had significantly more experiences of awe than the men and older participants had more than younger participants. Christians had higher scores than non-religious participants but less than other denominations. They also found that the greater the frequency of awe the higher the well-being of the participants and the greater experiences of the sacred in daily life. The participants with the highest frequencies of awe were older, had the greater frequencies of spiritual practices, and the highest well-being and were more likely to meditate than pray. The descriptions of experiences of awe and gratitude were used to identify the triggers that elicited the experiences, and these were nature, persons, unique moments, and aesthetics, beauty, and devotion.

 

These findings are correlative. So, no conclusions about causation can be definitively reached. But it is clear that these experiences of wonderous awe and gratitude most often occur in women, older individuals, and those with religious orientations and they were associated with the individual’s well-being and experiences of the sacred. They were most often triggered by environmental conditions.

 

It is important to study these emotionally touching moments of awe and gratitude as they are associated with inner change in the individual. They can trigger new attitudes, insights, and behaviors. Importantly, they are associated with the person’s overall well-being. Future research might attempt to trigger more experiences of wonderous awe by immersing participants in the situations that tend to elicit awe and gratitude and examine their impact on the individual’s health, well-being, and spirituality.

 

So, emotionally touching moments of wonderous awe promotes wellbeing.

 

We can all experience feelings of awe as we ponder how everything that we witness is created and aligned in such a way that our lives unfold the way they do.” – K. Barrett

 

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

 

Büssing A (2021) Wondering Awe as a Perceptive Aspect of Spirituality and Its Relation to Indicators of Wellbeing: Frequency of Perception and Underlying Triggers. Front. Psychol. 12:738770. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.738770

 

Background: Spirituality is a multidimensional construct which includes religious, existentialistic, and relational issues and has different layers such as faith as the core, related attitudes and conviction, and subsequent behaviors and practices. The perceptive aspects of spirituality such as wondering awe are of relevance for both, religious and non-religious persons. These perceptions were related to perceiving the Sacred in life, mindful awareness of nature, others and self, to compassion, meaning in life, and emotional wellbeing. As awe perceptions are foremost a matter of state, it was the aim (1) to empirically analyze the frequency of wondering awe perceptions (i.e., with respect to gender, age cohorts, religious or non-religious persons) and (2) to qualitatively analyze a range of triggers of awe perceptions.

Methods: Data from 7,928 participants were analyzed with respect to the frequency of Awe/Gratitude perceptions (GrAw-7 scale), while for the second part of the study responses of a heterogeneous group of 82 persons what caused them to perceive moments of wondering awe were analyzed with qualitative content analysis techniques.

Results: Persons who experience Awe/Gratitude to a low extend were the youngest and had lowest wellbeing and lowest meditation/praying engagement, while those with high GrAw-7 scores were the oldest, had the highest wellbeing, and were more often meditating or praying (p<0.001). Gender had a significant effect on these perceptions, too (Cohen’s d=0.32). In the qualitative part, the triggers can be attributed to four main categories, Nature, Persons, Unique Moments, and Aesthetics, Beauty, and Devotion. Some of these triggers and related perceptions might be more a matter of admiration than wondering awe, while other perceptions could have more profound effects and may thus result in changes of a person’s attitudes and behaviors.

Conclusion: Emotionally touching experiences of wondering awe may result in feelings of interconnectedness, prosocial behavior, mindful awareness, and contribute to a person’s meaning in life and wellbeing and can also be a health-relevant resource. These perceptions can be seen as a perceptive aspect of spirituality, which is not exclusively experienced by religious people but also by non-religious persons.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.738770/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1750137_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211012_arts_A

 

Improve Alcohol Treatment Completion with Spirituality

Improve Alcohol Treatment Completion with Spirituality

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

So, improve alcohol treatment completion with spirituality.

 

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

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

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

 

Abstract

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

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

 

Increase Positive Psychological States with Mindfulness

Increase Positive Psychological States with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

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

 

The primary focus of the majority of research on mindfulness has been on its ability to treat negative emotional states such as anxiety, depression, and perceived stress. As such, it has been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. But mindfulness training has also been shown to improve health and well-being in healthy individuals. Indeed, it is possible that the effectiveness of mindfulness training in relieving mental and physical illness may result from its ability to improve positive psychological states. There is accumulating research. So, it makes sense to review and summarize what has been learned

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

So, increase positive psychological states with mindfulness.

 

 

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

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

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

 

Abstract

Background

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

Methods

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

Results

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

Conclusion

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

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

Mindfulness Promotes Life Satisfaction by Increasing Gratitude and Savoring of Positive Experiences

 

Mindfulness Promotes Life Satisfaction by Increasing Gratitude and Savoring of Positive Experiences

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

savoring . . . is pretty powerful: it can lead to better mental health and relationships, among many other benefits.” – Magdalena Puniewska

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to be effective in improving physical and psychological health. This has led to an increasing adoption of mindfulness techniques for the health and well-being of both healthy and ill individuals. Mindfulness, however, is a complex concept that contains attentional processes, non-judgmental awareness, non-reactivity to the environment, gratitude, and a savoring of the present moment. It is not known if mindfulness’ promotion of savoring and gratitude may be responsible for some of its beneficial effects.

 

In today’s Research News article “Is Mindfulness Linked to Life Satisfaction? Testing Savoring Positive Experiences and Gratitude as Mediators.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7965977/ )  Cheung and Lau recruited adult Chinese mindfulness practitioners and had them complete measures of mindfulness, savoring positive experiences, gratitude, and life satisfaction. Their responses were subjected to regression analysis and linear structural modelling.

 

The regression analysis revealed that the higher the levels of mindfulness the higher the levels of gratitude, and life satisfaction, and savoring, including savoring anticipation, savoring the moment, savoring reminiscing, and the higher the levels of savoring the higher the levels of gratitude, and life satisfaction. Modelling revealed that mindfulness was only indirectly related to life satisfaction as a result of its associations with savoring of positive experiences and gratitude which in turn were associated with increases in life satisfaction.

 

These results are correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. But mindfulness training has been shown in prior research to increase savoring, gratitude, and life satisfaction. So, the relationships observed in the present study likely result from causal relationships. The present study contributes to knowledge by finding that mindfulness improves savoring and gratitude and these in turn increase satisfaction with life.

 

In other words, mindfulness increases the savoring of positive experiences and this leads to more positive feelings about life. Mindfulness also increases being thankful for what one has and this too leads to greater positive feelings about life. These increases in savoring and gratitude may be how mindfulness produces many of its benefits for the psychological well-being of the individual.

 

So, mindfulness promotes life satisfaction by increasing gratitude and savoring of positive experiences.

 

“Like mindfulness, savoring is another way to exercise being present, but it takes things a step further. Mindfulness asks you to observe the present moment without judging it and then let go of it. Whereas with savoring, you observe a specific type of moment, a positive one, and then you try to cling onto it and not let it go.” – Fred Bryant

 

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

 

Cheung, R., & Lau, E. N. (2021). Is Mindfulness Linked to Life Satisfaction? Testing Savoring Positive Experiences and Gratitude as Mediators. Frontiers in psychology, 12, 591103. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.591103

 

Abstract

Grounded in Mindfulness-to-Meaning Theory, this study examined the relation between dispositional mindfulness and life satisfaction through mediating mechanisms including savoring positive experiences and gratitude. A total of 133 Chinese mindfulness practitioners at 20–72 years old were recruited from a 3-day transnational meditation event in Hong Kong. Findings based on structural equation modeling indicated that controlling for sex, age, education, family income, number of hours of mindfulness practice per week, and type of administration, dispositional mindfulness was associated with satisfaction with life through savoring positive experiences and gratitude as mediators. The findings provided initial evidence for these processes between mindfulness and life satisfaction in the Chinese context. To promote life satisfaction, researchers and mental health practitioners should recognize the chain of mechanisms related to mindfulness.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7965977/