Improve Well-Being of Healthy Individuals with Mindfulness
By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.
“engaging in mindfulness meditation cultivates our ability to both focus and broaden our attention, which is a practical way to elicit psychological well-being.” – Jennifer Wolkin
The primary focus of the majority of research on mindfulness has been on its ability to treat mental illness and 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.
The most commonly used mindfulness technique for the treatment of depression is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). MBCT involves mindfulness training, containing sitting and walking meditation and body scan, and cognitive therapy to alter how the patient relates to the thought processes that often underlie and exacerbate psychological symptoms. MBCT was developed to treat mental illness. So, it is not known if it can improve the well-being of healthy individuals.
In today’s Research News article “Effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Improving Subjective and Eudaimonic Well-Being in Healthy Individuals: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.700916/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1714167_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210831_arts_A ) Kosugi and colleagues recruited healthy adults and randomly assigned them to either a wait-list control condition or to receive 8 weekly, 2-hour group sessions of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). They were measured before, during, and after training and 8 weeks later for satisfaction with life, flourishing, positive and negative experiences, self-esteem, mindfulness, self-compassion, resilience, anxiety, depression, perceived stress, presenteeism, interoceptive awareness, and quality of life.
They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control group, the group that received Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) had significant increases in satisfaction with life, interoceptive awareness, mindfulness, self-compassion, resilience, and work productivity that were maintained 8 weeks after the end of training. Hence, MBCT produced significant improvements in the psychological states of healthy adults. So, MBCT is not only effective in improving the mental health of individuals with mental problems but also can increase the positive psychological states in healthy individuals.
This study had a passive comparison (control) condition. This leaves open the possibility that the results were affected by participant expectancies (placebo), experimenter bias, or attentional (Hawthorne) effects. Future research should compare Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) treatment to an active control condition, e.g. exercise to eliminate the possible confounding variables.
So, improve well-being of healthy individuals with mindfulness.
“The practice of mindfulness is an effective means of enhancing and maintaining optimal mental health and overall well-being, and can be implemented in every aspect of daily living.” – Rezvan Ameli
CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies
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Kosugi T, Ninomiya A, Nagaoka M, Hashimoto Z, Sawada K, Park S, Fujisawa D, Mimura M and Sado M (2021) Effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Improving Subjective and Eudaimonic Well-Being in Healthy Individuals: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Front. Psychol. 12:700916. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.700916
Objectives: Better subjective and eudaimonic well-being fosters better health conditions. Several studies have confirmed that mindfulness-based interventions are effective for improving well-being; however, the samples examined in these studies have been limited to specific populations, and the studies only measured certain aspects of well-being rather than the entire construct. Additionally, few studies have examined the effect of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy on well-being. The present study examines the feasibility of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and its effectiveness for improving subjective and eudaimonic well-being among community residents.
Methods: The study design featured an 8-week randomized, waiting-list controlled, parallel-group study. 8 weekly mindfulness classes, followed by 2 monthly classes, were provided for healthy individuals aged 20–65 years who had a Satisfaction with Life Scale score of ≤ 24 indicating average to low cognitive aspect of subjective well-being. This trial was registered with the University Hospital Medical Information Network Clinical Trials Registry (ID: UMIN000031885, URL: https://upload.umin.ac.jp/cgi-open-bin/ctr_e/ctr_view.cgi?recptno=R000036376).
Results: The results showed that cognitive aspect of subjective well-being and mindfulness skills were significantly improved at 8 weeks, and this effect was enhanced up to the end of the follow-up period. Positive affective aspect of subjective and eudaimonic well-being were significantly improved at 16 weeks.
Conclusions: Eight weeks of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy with a 2-month follow-up period improves cognitive and affective aspects of subjective and eudaimonic well-being in healthy individuals. The order of improvement was cognitive, positive affective, and eudaimonic well-being. To verify these findings, multi-center randomized controlled trials with active control groups and longer follow-up periods are warranted.