Improve Brain Processing in Mood Dysregulated Adolescents with Mindfulness

Improve Brain Processing in Mood Dysregulated Adolescents with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness-based interventions—practices that promote non-judgmental attention to the present—can help individuals respond with acceptance to challenging circumstances or emotions and is a promising approach to treatment of mood lability.” – D. M. Hafemann

 

Adolescence is a time of mental, physical, social, and emotional growth. But it can be a difficult time, fraught with challenges. During this time the child transitions to young adulthood; including the development of intellectual, psychological, physical, and social abilities and characteristics. There are so many changes occurring during this time that the child can feel overwhelmed and unable to cope with all that is required. This can lead to emotional and behavioral problems. Indeed, up to a quarter of adolescents suffer from depression or anxiety disorders, and an even larger proportion struggle with subclinical symptoms. Mindfulness training has been shown to improve emotion regulation and to benefit the psychological and emotional health of adolescents

 

The nervous system is a dynamic entity, constantly changing and adapting to the environment. It will change size, activity, and connectivity in response to experience. These changes in the brain are called neuroplasticity. Over the last decade neuroscience has been studying the effects of contemplative practices on the brain and has identified neuroplastic changes in widespread areas. In other words, mindfulness practice appears to mold and change the brain, producing psychological, physical, and spiritual benefits. The brains of adolescents are different from fully mature adult brains. They are dynamically growing and changing. It is unclear how mindfulness affects their maturing brains particularly in adolescents who have mood dysregulations.

 

In today’s Research News article “Network-level functional topological changes after mindfulness-based cognitive therapy in mood dysregulated adolescents at familial risk for bipolar disorder: a pilot study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8080341/ ) Qin and colleagues recruited adolescents (13-17 years of age) who were mood dysregulated and who had at least one biological parent with bipolar disorder. They were provided a once a week for 75 minutes for 12-weeks program of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) adapted for children along with home practice. They were measured before and after training for emotion regulation, depressive and manic symptoms, overall global functioning, and clinical ratings. They also had their brains scanned with functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI).

 

In comparison to baseline they found that after Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) there were surprisingly no significant changes in emotion regulation, depressive and manic symptoms, overall global functioning, and clinical ratings. But there were significant increases in network efficiency and decreases in path length in the cingulo-opercular network and frontal parietal network and increases in the connectivity of brain structures within the cingulo-opercular network and the default mode network. In addition, the shorter the path length within the cingulo-opercular network the higher the level of emotion regulation.

 

These results need to be interpreted with caution as there was no control comparison condition and so there are potential confounding variables that could account for the results. But the psychological results are very disappointing. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) has been routinely found to improve emotions and emotion regulation in previous research. But it did not in the present study. It is possible that unlike with adults, MBCT is simply ineffective in improving the psychological health of mood dysregulated adolescents.

 

On the other hand, the functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) findings were interesting. The cingulo-opercular network and frontal parietal network are both involved in top-down cognitive control. The observed increases in network efficiency within these networks after Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) suggests that MBCT improves the ability of mood dysregulated adolescents to control their thinking. This is exactly what MBCT is designed to do. Unfortunately, the researchers did not measure cognitive ability in this study, so there is no confirmatory behavioral results. The increased emotion regulation associated with decreases in path length in the cingulo-opercular network, though, suggests that the changes in the youths’ brains may be associated with improved ability to control their emotions. This may suggest an a lessened chance of developing major mental illness in the future.

 

So, Improve Brain Processing in Mood Dysregulated Adolescents with Mindfulness.

 

With low level of mindfulness, adolescents might be lack of emotion clarity, self-control and acceptance, which in turn might lead to their poor realization of emotion and easy immersion into dysfunctional emotional reactions such as impulse and aggressive behavior toward others or blame to themselves.” – Ying Ma

 

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

 

Qin, K., Lei, D., Yang, J., Li, W., Tallman, M. J., Duran, L., Blom, T. J., Bruns, K. M., Cotton, S., Sweeney, J. A., Gong, Q., & DelBello, M. P. (2021). Network-level functional topological changes after mindfulness-based cognitive therapy in mood dysregulated adolescents at familial risk for bipolar disorder: a pilot study. BMC psychiatry, 21(1), 213. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-021-03211-4

 

Abstract

Background

Given that psychopharmacological approaches routinely used to treat mood-related problems may result in adverse outcomes in mood dysregulated adolescents at familial risk for bipolar disorder (BD), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Children (MBCT-C) provides an alternative effective and safe option. However, little is known about the brain mechanisms of beneficial outcomes from this intervention. Herein, we aimed to investigate the network-level neurofunctional effects of MBCT-C in mood dysregulated adolescents.

Methods

Ten mood dysregulated adolescents at familial risk for BD underwent a 12-week MBCT-C intervention. Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was performed prior to and following MBCT-C. Topological metrics of three intrinsic functional networks (default mode network (DMN), fronto-parietal network (FPN) and cingulo-opercular network (CON)) were investigated respectively using graph theory analysis.

Results

Following MBCT-C, mood dysregulated adolescents showed increased global efficiency and decreased characteristic path length within both CON and FPN. Enhanced functional connectivity strength of frontal and limbic areas were identified within the DMN and CON. Moreover, change in characteristic path length within the CON was suggested to be significantly related to change in the Emotion Regulation Checklist score.

Conclusions

12-week MBCT-C treatment in mood dysregulated adolescents at familial risk for BD yield network-level neurofunctional effects within the FPN and CON, suggesting enhanced functional integration of the dual-network. Decreased characteristic path length of the CON may be associated with the improvement of emotion regulation following mindfulness training. However, current findings derived from small sample size should be interpreted with caution. Future randomized controlled trials including larger samples are critical to validate our findings.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8080341/

 

Mindfulness Improves Thinking in Children and Youths with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Mindfulness Improves Thinking in Children and Youths with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“studies indicate that people with ADHD can meditate successfully, and that meditation may have benefits for some of the behaviors associated with ADHD.” – Corey Whelan

 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is most commonly found in children, but for about half it persists into adulthood. It’s estimated that about 5% of the adult population has ADHD. Hence, this is a very large problem that can produce inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity, and emotional issues, and reduce quality of life. The most common treatment is drugs, like methylphenidate, Ritalin, which helps reducing symptoms in about 30% of the people with ADHD. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of the drugs appears to be markedly reduced after the first year. In addition, the drugs often have troublesome side effects, can be addictive, and can readily be abused. So, drugs, at present, do not appear to be a good solution, only affecting some, only for a short time, and with unwanted side effects.

 

There are indications that mindfulness practices may be an effective treatment for ADHD. It makes sense that it should be, as the skills and abilities strengthened by mindfulness practices training are identical to those that are defective in ADHD,  attentionimpulse controlexecutive functionemotion control, and mood improvement. In addition, unlike drugs, they are relatively safe interventions that have minimal troublesome side effects.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Differential Impact of Acute Exercise and Mindfulness Meditation on Executive Functioning and Psycho-Emotional Well-Being in Children and Youth With ADHD.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.660845/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1665889_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210623_arts_A ) Bigelow and colleagues recruited children aged 10-14 years who were diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). They completed 3 sessions in random order of 10 minutes of either aerobic cycling, mindfulness meditation, or magazine reading. They were measured before and after each session and 10 minutes later for inhibitory control, short-term memory, task switching, mood, and self-efficacy.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the magazine reading control condition only mindfulness meditation produced an increase in inhibitory control, short-term memory, and task switching. The improvement in inhibitory control and short-term memory were still present 10 minutes later. On the other hand, in comparison to baseline and the magazine reading control condition only aerobic exercise produced an improvement in mood and self-efficacy.

 

These results suggest that brief mindfulness meditation produces short-term improvements in executive function (thinking) in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) while aerobic exercise produces mood improvements in these children. These are acute effects of brief interventions and do not demonstrate lasting effects. But previous research has shown that mindfulness training produces lasting improvements in ADHD and executive function and that yoga practice, a form of exercise and mindfulness practice also produces lasting improvements in ADHD and executive function.

 

Hence, it appears that mindfulness training and exercise are both beneficial for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) but they appear to affect different types of ADHD symptoms with mindfulness meditation improving executive function and exercise improving emotions. This suggests that a combined program or meditation and exercise may be particularly beneficial for children with ADHD. It remains for future research to examine this intriguing possibility.

 

So, mindfulness improves thinking in children and youths with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

 

 

Medication and therapy are good ways to manage your ADHD symptoms. But they’re not your only options. Research now shows that mindfulness meditation — where you actively observe your moment-to-moment thoughts and feelings- — may also be a good way to calm your mind and improve your focus.” – WebMD

 

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

 

Bigelow H, Gottlieb MD, Ogrodnik M, Graham JD and Fenesi B (2021) The Differential Impact of Acute Exercise and Mindfulness Meditation on Executive Functioning and Psycho-Emotional Well-Being in Children and Youth With ADHD. Front. Psychol. 12:660845. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.660845

 

This study investigated how acute exercise and mindfulness meditation impacts executive functioning and psycho-emotional well-being in 16 children and youth with ADHD aged 10–14 (male = 11; White = 80%). Participants completed three interventions: 10 min of exercise, 10 min of mindfulness meditation, and 10 min of reading (control). Before and after each intervention, executive functioning (inhibitory control, working memory, task-switching) and psycho-emotional well-being (mood, self-efficacy) were assessed. Mindfulness meditation increased performance on all executive functioning tasks whereas the other interventions did not (d = 0.55–0.86). Exercise enhanced positive mood and self-efficacy whereas the other interventions did not (d = 0.22–0.35). This work provides preliminary evidence for how acute exercise and mindfulness meditation can support differential aspects of executive and psycho-emotional functioning among children and youth with ADHD.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.660845/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1665889_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210623_arts_A

 

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Medical Students with Mindfulness

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Medical Students with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Medical students are being trained to have 100 things on their mind at all times. It’s harder and harder to focus on one thing explicitly. [Mindfulness] gives you that skill to know that you can focus on everything at once, but when you need to focus on one thing, you can be present with it.” – Chloe Zimmerman

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. In high stress occupations, like healthcare, burnout is all too prevalent. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. It is estimated that over 45% of healthcare workers experience burnout. Currently, over a third of healthcare workers report that they are looking for a new job. It not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion. Burnout, in fact, it is a threat to the entire healthcare system as it contributes to the shortage of doctors and nurses.

 

Preventing burnout has to be a priority. Contemplative practices have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, and improving sleep. It would be best to provide techniques to combat burnout early in a medical career. Studying medicine can be extremely stressful and many students show distress and express burnout symptoms. The undergraduate medical student level may be an ideal time to intervene.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-based stress reduction for medical students: a narrative review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8105581/ )  Polle and colleagues review and summarize the published research on the effectiveness of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program to improve the psychological well-being of undergraduate medical students. MBSR includes training in meditation, body scan, and yoga, and group discussions normally over an 8-week period. They identified 9 published studies.

 

They report that the published research found that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) produced significant increases in undergraduate medical students mood, mental health, satisfaction with life, and self-compassion and significant reductions in psychological distress, perceived stress, and depression. One study followed up these students 6 years later and found persisting effects of MBSR.

 

The published research paints a clear picture that participating in a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program produces lasting benefits for the psychological health of undergraduate medical students. This is important as stress and burnout is prevalent in the medical professions and intervening early may prevent or ameliorate future problems. Incorporation of MBSR into the undergraduate medical curriculum should be considered.

 

So, improve the psychological well-being of medical students with mindfulness.

 

in medical students, higher empathy, lower anxiety, and fewer depression symptoms have been reported by students after participating in MSBR. In summary, mindfulness meditation may be used to elicit positive emotions, minimize negative affect and rumination, and enable effective emotion regulation.”- Michael Minichiello

 

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

 

Polle, E., & Gair, J. (2021). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for medical students: a narrative review. Canadian medical education journal, 12(2), e74–e80. https://doi.org/10.36834/cmej.68406

 

Abstract

Background

Medical students are at high risk of depression, distress and burnout, which may adversely affect patient safety. There has been growing interest in mindfulness in medical education to improve medical student well-being. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a commonly used, standardized format for teaching mindfulness skills. Previous research has suggested that MBSR may be of particular benefit for medical students. This narrative review aims to further investigate the benefits of MBSR for undergraduate medical students.

Methods

A search of the literature was performed using MedLine, Embase, ERIC, PSYCInfo, and CINAHL to identify relevant studies. A total of 102 papers were identified with this search. After review and application of inclusion and exclusion criteria, nine papers were included in the study.

Results

MBSR training for medical students was associated with increased measures of psychological well-being and self-compassion, as well as improvements in stress, psychological distress and mood. Evidence for effect on empathy was mixed, and the single paper measuring burnout showed no effect. Two studies identified qualitative themes which provided context for the quantitative results.

Conclusions

MBSR benefits medical student well-being and decreases medical student psychological distress and depression.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8105581/

 

Reduce Negative Moods and Depression in Healthy Individuals and Patients with Mood Disorders with Psychedelic Drugs

Reduce Negative Moods and Depression in Healthy Individuals and Patients with Mood Disorders with Psychedelic Drugs

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs in psychotherapeutic settings represents a promising and integrative treatment with enduring effects for mental health patients.” – Genis Oña

 

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.

 

The research on the effectiveness of psychedelic drugs on mood and clinical depression is accumulating. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned. In today’s Research News article “Classic serotonergic psychedelics for mood and depressive symptoms: a meta-analysis of mood disorder patients and healthy participants.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7826317/ )  Galvão-Coelho and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research studies of the effectiveness of psychedelic drugs in improving mood and reducing depression with healthy individuals and patients with mood disorders.

 

They identified 12 published randomized controlled trials; 8 used psilocybin, 3 LSD, and 1 ayahuasca. They report that the research found that psychedelic treatment produced significant reductions in negative moods and depression in both healthy participants and in patients with mood disorders. In mood disorder patients the improvements were still significant 2 months after treatment. It should be recognized that the application of the psychedelics in these studies occur in highly structured controlled environments. This produces few if any troubling side effects with the exception of occasional slight anxiety. The safety of these drugs in uncontrolled non-clinical settings are not known.

 

The published research is clear that psychedelic drugs are effective in improving mood and reducing depression in both healthy individuals and those with mood disorders. Mood disorders including depression are by far the most common psychological problems in humans. The research is suggesting that controlled administration of psychedelic drugs is a safe and effective treatment relieving the suffering.

 

So, reduce negative moods and depression in healthy individuals and patients with mood disorders with psychedelic drugs.

 

People who had recently used psychedelics such as psilocybin report a sustained improvement in mood and feeling closer to others after the high has worn off.” – Bill Hathaway

 

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

 

Galvão-Coelho, N. L., Marx, W., Gonzalez, M., Sinclair, J., de Manincor, M., Perkins, D., & Sarris, J. (2021). Classic serotonergic psychedelics for mood and depressive symptoms: a meta-analysis of mood disorder patients and healthy participants. Psychopharmacology, 238(2), 341–354. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-020-05719-1

 

Abstract

Rationale

Major depressive disorder is one of the leading global causes of disability, for which the classic serotonergic psychedelics have recently reemerged as a potential therapeutic treatment option.

Objective

We present the first meta-analytic review evaluating the clinical effects of classic serotonergic psychedelics vs placebo for mood state and symptoms of depression in both healthy and clinical populations (separately).

Results

Our search revealed 12 eligible studies (n = 257; 124 healthy participants, and 133 patients with mood disorders), with data from randomized controlled trials involving psilocybin (n = 8), lysergic acid diethylamide ([LSD]; n = 3), and ayahuasca (n = 1). The meta-analyses of acute mood outcomes (3 h to 1 day after treatment) for healthy volunteers and patients revealed improvements with moderate significant effect sizes in favor of psychedelics, as well as for the longer-term (16 to 60 days after treatments) mood state of patients. For patients with mood disorder, significant effect sizes were detected on the acute, medium (2–7 days after treatment), and longer-term outcomes favoring psychedelics on the reduction of depressive symptoms.

Conclusion

Despite the concerns over unblinding and expectancy, the strength of the effect sizes, fast onset, and enduring therapeutic effects of these psychotherapeutic agents encourage further double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials assessing them for management of negative mood and depressive symptoms.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7826317/

 

Yoga Practice Improves the Symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome

Yoga Practice Improves the Symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“regular yoga poses and stretches can help ease those restless legs syndrome symptoms and help you sleep better, feel less stressed, and even lower blood pressure.” – Everyday Health

 

Restless legs syndrome, also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, is characterized by an urge to move the legs after rest. This occurs particularly at night but also after extended sitting such as in a car, airplane, or movie theatre. It produces unpleasant sensations in the legs or feet including crawling, creeping, pulling, throbbing, aching, itching, and electric sensations. It can involve twitching and kicking, possibly throughout the night, while you sleep. It is estimated that about 7% of the population experiences restless legs syndrome.

 

There is no known cause or cures for restless leg syndrome. The only treatments that seem to help are movements such as stretching, jiggling the legs, walking, or pacing. Yoga is a mindfulness practice and an exercise that involves stretching and movement. Hence, it would make sense to explore the ability of yoga practice to improve the symptoms of restless leg syndrome.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of a 12-week yoga versus a 12-week educational film intervention on symptoms of restless legs syndrome and related outcomes: an exploratory randomized controlled trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7053002/ ) Innes and colleagues recruited adult patients with restless legs syndrome and randomly assigned them to receive a 12-week program of either yoga training or to watch educational films on restless legs syndrome. Yoga training occurred for 75 minutes, 2 times per week for 4 weeks and then once a week for four more weeks. Participants were asked to practice at home for 30 minutes daily. The education class met once a week. The participants were measured before and after training for frequency, intensity, and impact of restless legs syndrome symptoms, sleep quality, health-related quality of life, mood, perceived stress, blood pressure, heart rate, social support, and physical activity.

 

They found that both the yoga and education groups had significant improvements in restless legs syndrome symptoms, and most secondary outcomes. The yoga group, however, had significantly greater reductions in restless legs syndrome symptoms, perceived stress, sleep quality, and mood. Additionally, the more yoga sessions attended and the greater the amount of home practice the greater the improvement in restless legs syndrome symptoms. This was not true for the education group.

 

The results suggest that yoga practice produced symptom relief for restless legs syndrome patients to a significantly greater extent than education about restless legs syndrome. Yoga provides exercise and stretching and it is not clear whether the benefits for restless legs syndrome are a result of the exercise or are specific to yoga practice. Future research should compare the effective of yoga practice relative to other exercises for restless legs syndrome. Regardless, it is clear from this study that practicing yoga is a safe, effective, and relatively inexpensive treatment for restless legs syndrome. It should be routinely recommended to relieve the suffering of these patients.

 

So, yoga practice improves the symptoms of restless legs syndrome.

 

When restless legs syndrome keeps you up all night, yoga is a treatment option that helps both your mind and body relax.” – Diana Rodriguez

 

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

 

Innes, K. E., Selfe, T. K., Montgomery, C., Hollingshead, N., Huysmans, Z., Srinivasan, R., Wen, S., Hausmann, M. J., Sherman, K., & Klatt, M. (2020). Effects of a 12-week yoga versus a 12-week educational film intervention on symptoms of restless legs syndrome and related outcomes: an exploratory randomized controlled trial. Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 16(1), 107–119. https://doi.org/10.5664/jcsm.8134

 

Abstract

Study Objectives:

To assess the effects of a yoga versus educational film (EF) program on restless legs syndrome (RLS) symptoms and related outcomes in adults with RLS.

Methods:

Forty-one community-dwelling, ambulatory nonpregnant adults with moderate to severe RLS were randomized to a 12-week yoga (n = 19) or EF program (n = 22). In addition to attending classes, all participants completed practice/treatment logs. Yoga group participants were asked to practice at home 30 minutes per day on nonclass days; EF participants were instructed to record any RLS treatments used on their daily logs. Core outcomes assessed pretreatment and posttreatment were RLS symptoms and symptom severity (International RLS Study Group Scale (IRLS) and RLS ordinal scale), sleep quality, mood, perceived stress, and quality of life (QOL).

Results:

Thirty adults (13 yoga, 17 EF), aged 24 to 73 (mean = 50.4 ± 2.4 years), completed the 12-week study (78% female, 80.5% white). Post-intervention, both groups showed significant improvement in RLS symptoms and severity, perceived stress, mood, and QOL-mental health (P ≤ .04). Relative to the EF group, yoga participants demonstrated significantly greater reductions in RLS symptoms and symptom severity (P ≤ .01), and greater improvements in perceived stress and mood (P ≤ .04), as well as sleep quality (P = .09); RLS symptoms decreased to minimal/mild in 77% of yoga group participants, with none scoring in the severe range by week 12, versus 24% and 12%, respectively, in EF participants. In the yoga group, IRLS and RLS severity scores declined with increasing minutes of homework practice (r = .7, P = .009 and r = .6, P = .03, respectively), suggesting a possible dose-response relationship.

Conclusions:

Findings of this exploratory RCT suggest that yoga may be effective in reducing RLS symptoms and symptom severity, decreasing perceived stress, and improving mood and sleep in adults with RLS.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7053002/

 

Mindfulness is Related to Better Sleep

Mindfulness is Related to Better Sleep

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“By taking this mindful attitude, sleep is facilitated by simply being aware of the moment-to-moment experience of relaxing into the bed, without judging or being critical of that experience, so that the mind can gently slip into sleep.” – John Cline

 

Modern society has become more around-the-clock and more complex producing considerable pressure and stress on the individual. The advent of the internet and smart phones has exacerbated the problem. The resultant stress can impair sleep. Indeed, it is estimated that over half of Americans sleep too little due to stress. As a result, people today sleep 20% less than they did 100 years ago. Not having a good night’s sleep has adverse effects upon the individual’s health, well-being, and happiness. This is heightened in college students who are generally highly stressed. Mindfulness-based practices have been reported to improve sleep amount and quality and help with insomnia. But the mechanisms by which mindfulness improves sleep have not been well explored.

 

In today’s Research News article “Relationship Between Trait Mindfulness and Sleep Quality in College Students: A Conditional Process Model.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.576319/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1456740_69_Psycho_20201013_arts_A ) Ding and colleagues recruited college students and had them complete measures of mindfulness, sleep quality, mood states, and personality. They then subjected the data to regression analysis.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness of the students the lower the levels of neuroticism and negative mood states, and the better the sleep quality. In addition, the greater the negative mood states the poorer the sleep quality and the higher the levels of neuroticism. So, mindfulness was associated with lower negative mood states which were in turn associated with better sleep. They also found that neuroticism significantly affected the relationship of mindfulness with the quality of sleep. Mindfulness was only significantly related to better sleep quality when neuroticism was low but not when it was high.

 

It has been well documented in previous research that mindfulness is related to better sleep quality and improved mood. The present study contributes to our understanding of the mindfulness – sleep relationship by demonstrating that the personality characteristic of neuroticism disrupts the relationship; when neuroticism is high the relationship between mindfulness and sleep disappears.

 

Neuroticism is a personality trait that indicates a tendency toward negative emotions and self-doubt. Neurotic people generally have high negative mood states. It is possible that neuroticism disrupts the mindfulness – sleep relationship by preventing mindfulness from improving mood and thereby improving sleep. This interpretation must be tempered with the understanding that these relationships are correlational. So, definitive conclusions about causation cannot be reached. Nevertheless, previous research has demonstrated that mindfulness causes improved sleep. So, it is likely that the present results represent causal connections.

 

So, mindfulness is related to better sleep.

 

We cannot make ourselves sleep, but perhaps, by aiming to stay settled and getting less caught up in our thoughts, we fall asleep anyway.” – Mark Bertin

 

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

 

Ding X, Wang X, Yang Z, Tang R and Tang Y-Y (2020) Relationship Between Trait Mindfulness and Sleep Quality in College Students: A Conditional Process Model. Front. Psychol. 11:576319. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.576319

 

Sleep quality can affect the physical and mental health, as well as the personal development of college students. Mindfulness practices are known to ameliorate sleep disorder and improve sleep quality. Trait mindfulness, an innate capacity often enhanced by mindfulness training, has been shown to relate to better sleep quality and different aspects of psychological well-being. However, how individual difference factors such as trait mindfulness relate to sleep quality remains largely unclear, which limits the optimization and further application of mindfulness-based intervention schemes targeting the improvement of sleep quality. In this study, we aimed to investigate how negative emotions and neuroticism may influence the relationship between trait mindfulness and sleep quality. A conditional process model was built to examine these relationships in 1,423 Chinese young adults. Specifically, the conditional process model was constructed with trait mindfulness as the independent variable, sleep quality as the dependent variable, negative emotions as the mediating variable, and neuroticism as the moderating variable. Our results showed that negative emotions mediated the link between mindfulness and sleep quality and that neuroticism had a moderating effect on the relationship between mindfulness and sleep quality. Together, these findings suggested a potential mechanism of how trait mindfulness influences sleep quality, provided a therapeutic target for which mindfulness-based interventions may act upon to improve sleep quality, and offered a basis for prediction of different intervention effects among individuals.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.576319/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1456740_69_Psycho_20201013_arts_A

 

Reduce Sedentariness with Mindfulness

Reduce Sedentariness with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness- and acceptance-based practices can help exercisers establish the consistent, high-quality exercise practices required to experience the health benefits of exercise and physical activity.” – R. Shangraw

 

We tend to think that illness is produced by physical causes, disease, injury, viruses, bacteria, etc. But many health problems are behavioral problems such as sedentary lifestyle. Promoting exercise and reducing sedentariness has the potential to markedly improve health. Mindfulness training also has been shown to promote health and improve illness. Mindfulness and exercise, though, are not entirely independent. Research has been accumulating on the relationship between mindfulness and exercise. It makes sense, then, to summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Exploring the Use of Meditation as a Valuable Tool to Counteract Sedentariness.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00299/full), Bigliassi and colleagues review and summarize the published research literature on the relationship of mindfulness with physical exercise,

 

They report that the published research has found that mindfulness increases physical activity in both normal, overweight and obese individuals. They also report that mindfulness increases self-compassion and it, in turn, increases the likelihood of engagement or reengagement in exercise. Mindfulness appears to facilitate exercise in active individuals by increasing sensory awareness of interoceptive and exteroceptive stimuli, making exercise more enjoyable. It can also improve mood and decrease anxiety which in turn reduces some emotional impediments to engaging in exercise. In addition, mindfulness reduces pain sensitivity which can improve engagement in high intensity exercises.

 

Both mindfulness and exercise are known to promote mental and physical health. The review suggests that they act synergistically with mindfulness making engaging in exercise more likely, increasing the sensory awareness of the exercise, reducing negative emotional impediments to exercise, increasing self-compassion, reducing the pain during exercise, and increasing the likelihood of reengagement in exercise after a lapse. Hence, mindfulness has beneficial effects to promote exercise, reducing sedentariness, and promoting health and well-being.

 

So, reduce sedentariness with Mindfulness.

 

Practicing mindfulness exercises and daily physical activity has been shown repeatedly to help manage stress and depression, and promote mental balance and happiness.” – Defeat Diabetes Foundation

 

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

 

Bigliassi M and Bertuzzi R (2020) Exploring the Use of Meditation as a Valuable Tool to Counteract Sedentariness. Front. Psychol. 11:299. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00299

 

Some forms of meditation have been recently proposed as effective tools to facilitate the handling of undesired thoughts and reappraisal of negative emotions that commonly arise during exercise-related situations. The effects of meditation-based interventions on psychological responses could also be used as a means by which to increase exercise adherence and counteract the detrimental consequences of sedentariness. In the present article, we briefly describe the effects of meditation on physical activity and related factors. We also propose a theoretical model as a means by which to further understanding of the effects of meditation on psychological, psychophysical, and psychophysiological responses during exercise. The results of very recent studies in the realms of cognitive and affective psychology are promising. The putative psychological mechanisms underlying the effects of meditation on exercise appear to be associated with the interpretation of interoceptive and exteroceptive sensory signals. This is primarily due to the fact that meditation influences the cerebral processing of physical sensations, emotions, and thoughts. In such instances, the bodily and perceptual responses that are commonly reported during exercise might be assuaged during the practice of meditation. It also appears that conscious presence and self-compassion function as an emotional backdrop against which more complex behaviors can be forged. In such instances, re-engagement to physical activity programs can be more effectively achieved through the implementation of holistic methods to treat the body and mind. The comments provided in the present paper might have very important implications for exercise adherence and the treatment of hypokinetic diseases.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00299/full

 

Improve Mood with Brief Meditation

Improve Mood with Brief Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

‘Meditation is thought to work via its effects on the sympathetic nervous system, which increases heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure during times of stress. Yet meditating has a spiritual purpose, too. “True, it will help you lower your blood pressure, but so much more: it can help your creativity, your intuition, your connection with your inner self,” – Burke Lennihan

 

Mindfulness practice has been shown to improve emotion regulation. Practitioners demonstrate the ability to fully sense and experience emotions, but respond to them in more appropriate and adaptive ways. In other words, mindful people are better able to experience yet control their responses to emotions. Exercise is also known to improve mood. It is not known how much exercise or meditation is necessary to produce a mood improvement.

 

In today’s Research News article “Experimental effects of brief, single bouts of walking and meditation on mood profile in young adults.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6064756/ ), Edwards and Loprinzi recruited young adults and randomly assigned them to either perform a guided breath following meditation, a brisk walk, or a quiet sit for 10 minutes. Before and after the 10-minute intervention the participants were measured for mood states.

 

They found that after the meditation there was a significant improvement in the participants’ overall mood state and after both the meditation and the walk but not the quiet sit, the participants had a significant reduction in fatigue/inertia. It appears that meditation produced a more global mood enhancement while walking produced an activation that overcame feelings of fatigue.

 

It is surprising that only 10 minutes of guided meditation was sufficient to improve mood. This suggests that meditation has great power to affect emotions. It also suggests that simple brief periods of meditation might be used to assist the individual when there’s a need to control their emotions.

 

So. improve mood with brief meditation.

 

“Me, I can’t meditate for shit. Sitting that long, paying attention to my breath or an imaginary white light, chafes my natural impatience. In contrast, hiking easily brings me to that sought-after state of being “in the moment.” – Karin Klein

 

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

 

Edwards, M. K., & Loprinzi, P. D. (2018). Experimental effects of brief, single bouts of walking and meditation on mood profile in young adults. Health Promotion Perspectives, 8(3), 171–178. http://doi.org/10.15171/hpp.2018.23

 

Abstract

Background: To examine the effects of an acute bout of aerobic exercise and meditation on mood state among young adults.

Methods: Participants (N= 66, mean age = 21.3 years) were randomly assigned to walk,meditate, or sit (control) for 10 minutes. Participants’ mood state was monitored before and after the intervention using the Profile of Mood States (POMS) questionnaire.

Results: Significant group x time interaction effects were observed for the POMS composite scores (P=0.05). When evaluating three POMS sub scales separately (depression/dejection,anger/hostility, and fatigue/inertia), only fatigue/inertia was found to have a significant group x time effect (P=0.04). Post hoc paired t tests revealed that fatigue/inertia sub scale scores significantly decreased from baseline to post-intervention in both the exercise (P=0.03) and meditation (P<0.001) groups. However, POMS composite scores decreased significantly in the meditation group (P<0.001) but not in the exercise group (P=0.10).

Conclusion: A 10-minute bout of brisk walking and meditation both improved mood state,when compared to an inactive control group. A single bout of brisk walking or meditation may offer suitable strategies to improve mood state among young adults.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6064756/