Improve Mental Health with Mantra-Based Meditation

Improve Mental Health with Mantra-Based Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Many people find that using a mantra can boost awareness and improve concentration. Since it helps you stay focused, it could lead to improved results from meditation.” – Timothy Legg

 

Meditation training has been shown to improve health and well-being. 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. But many people have difficulty quieting the mind and maintaining concentration during meditation. Repeating a mantra during meditation has been thought to help prevent intrusive thoughts and improve concentration and focus during meditation. There have been a number of studies of the psychological benefits of mantra-based meditations. It makes sense then to summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effectiveness of Mantra-Based Meditation on Mental Health: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8949812/ ) Álvarez-Pérez and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the effects of mantra-based meditations on mental health. They found 51 published research studies.

 

They report that the published research studies found that mantra-based meditations produced significant reduction in anxiety, depression, perceived stress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and psychopathology, and significant increases in health-related quality of life. All of these effects had small to moderate effect sizes.

 

So, the published research demonstrate that mantra-based meditations produce significant improvements in mental health.

 

Mantra meditation is not magic, but the results can be magical.”— Thomas Ashley-Farrand”

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Álvarez-Pérez, Y., Rivero-Santana, A., Perestelo-Pérez, L., Duarte-Díaz, A., Ramos-García, V., Toledo-Chávarri, A., Torres-Castaño, A., León-Salas, B., Infante-Ventura, D., González-Hernández, N., Rodríguez-Rodríguez, L., & Serrano-Aguilar, P. (2022). Effectiveness of Mantra-Based Meditation on Mental Health: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International journal of environmental research and public health, 19(6), 3380. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19063380

 

Abstract

Background: Meditation is defined as a form of cognitive training that aims to improve attentional and emotional self-regulation. This systematic review aims to evaluate the available scientific evidence on the effectiveness and safety of mantra-based meditation techniques (MBM), in comparison to passive or active controls, or other active treatment, for the management of mental health symptoms. Methods: MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, and PsycINFO databases were consulted up to April 2021. Randomised controlled trials regarding meditation techniques mainly based on the repetition of mantras, such as transcendental meditation or others, were included. Results: MBM, compared to control conditions, was found to produce significant small-to-moderate effect sizes in the reduction of anxiety (g = −0.46, IC95%: −0.60, −0.32; I2 = 33%), depression (g = −0.33, 95% CI: −0.48, −0.19; I2 = 12%), stress (g = −0.45, 95% CI: −0.65, −0.24; I2 = 46%), post-traumatic stress (g = −0.59, 95% CI: −0.79, −0.38; I2 = 0%), and mental health-related quality of life (g = 0.32, 95% CI: 0.15, 0.49; I2 = 0%). Conclusions: MBM appears to produce small-to-moderate significant reductions in mental health; however, this evidence is weakened by the risk of study bias and the paucity of studies with psychiatric samples and long-term follow-up.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8949812/

Meditation is an Effective Treatment for a Variety of Medical Conditions

Meditation is an Effective Treatment for a Variety of Medical Conditions

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness is not a cure-all. . . . There have been thousands of studies showing that there are psychological and physical benefits to mindfulness meditation, but the intention . . . is not to cure the disease or fully treat the symptoms, but to treat the whole person — and that includes their mental and emotional well-being — so they can live in greater health and joy.” – Men’s Health

 

Over the last several decades, research and anecdotal experiences have accumulated an impressive evidential case that meditation has positive benefits for the individual’s mental, physical, and spiritual life. Meditation appears to be beneficial both for healthy people and for people suffering from a myriad of mental and physical illnesses. It appears to be beneficial across ages, from children to the elderly. And it appears to be beneficial across genders, personalities, race, and ethnicity. The breadth and depth of benefits is unprecedented. There is no other treatment or practice that has been shown to come anyway near the range of mindfulness’ positive benefits.

 

Over the last few decades, a vast amount of research has been published on the benefits of meditation on the mental and physical health of the practitioners. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Systematic Review for the Medical Applications of Meditation in Randomized Controlled Trials.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8834867/ ) Kim and colleagues review and summarize the 104 published randomized controlled trials on the benefits of meditation practices on mental and physical well-being.

 

They report that the published research found that different studies report varying results but the most common significant benefits of meditation practice were improvements in fatigue, sleep quality, quality of life, stress, PTSD symptoms, blood pressure, intraocular pressure, and depression. In general yoga-based practices produced slightly better results than mindfulness based techniques,

 

Hence, meditation practices have been found to help improve mental and physical well-being.

 

meditation can improve mental health and reduce symptoms associated with chronic conditions.” – Ashley Welch

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Kim, D. Y., Hong, S. H., Jang, S. H., Park, S. H., Noh, J. H., Seok, J. M., Jo, H. J., Son, C. G., & Lee, E. J. (2022). Systematic Review for the Medical Applications of Meditation in Randomized Controlled Trials. International journal of environmental research and public health, 19(3), 1244. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031244

 

Abstract

Background: Meditation has been increasingly adapted for healthy populations and participants with diseases. Its beneficial effects are still challenging to determine due to the heterogeneity and methodological obstacles regarding medical applications. This study aimed to integrate the features of therapeutic meditation in randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Methods: We conducted a systematic review of RCTs with meditation for populations with diseases using the PubMed database through June 2021. We analyzed the characteristics of the diseases/disorders, participants, measurements, and their overall benefits. Results: Among a total of 4855 references, 104 RCTs were determined and mainly applied mindfulness-based (51 RCTs), yoga-based (32 RCTs), and transcendental meditation (14 RCTs) to 10,139 patient-participants. These RCTs were conducted for participants with a total of 45 kinds of disorders; the most frequent being cancer, followed by musculoskeletal and connective tissue diseases and affective mood disorder. Seven symptoms or signs were frequently assessed: depressive mood, feeling anxious, quality of life, stress, sleep, pain, and fatigue. The RCTs showed a higher ratio of positive outcomes for sleep (73.9%) and fatigue (68.4%). Conclusions: This systematic review produced the comprehensive features of RCTs for therapeutic meditation. These results will help physicians and researchers further study clinical adaptations in the future as reference data.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8834867/

 

Improve Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) Symptoms with Online Mindfulness Training

Improve Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) Symptoms with Online Mindfulness Training

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness can help people train themselves to get unstuck from a vicious cycle of negative thinking, often a cornerstone of trauma.” – Jennifer Wolkin

 

Experiencing trauma is quite common. It has been estimated that 60% of men and 50% of women will experience a significant traumatic event during their lifetime. But only a fraction will develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). But this still results in a frightening number of people with 7%-8% of the population developing PTSD at some point in their life.

 

PTSD involves a number of troubling symptoms including reliving the event with the same fear and horror in nightmares or with a flashback. PTSD sufferers avoid situations that remind them of the event this may include crowds, driving, movies, etc. and may avoid seeking help because it keeps them from having to think or talk about the event. They often experience negative changes in beliefs and feelings including difficulty experiencing positive or loving feelings toward other people, avoiding relationships, memory difficulties, or see the world as dangerous and no one can be trusted. Sufferers may feel hyperarousal, feeling keyed up and jittery, or always alert and on the lookout for danger. They may experience sudden anger or irritability, may have a hard time sleeping or concentrating, may be startled by a loud noise or surprise.

 

Recently, a new category has emerged of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) that meets the criterion for PTSD but has the additional symptoms of disturbances in self-organization including affect dysregulation, negative self-concept, and disturbances in relationships. There are a number of therapies that have been developed to treat PTSD. Mindfulness-based therapies have been shown to be particularly effective. But it is not known if mindfulness-based therapies are also effective for CPTSD.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Mindfulness-Based Internet Intervention on ICD-11 Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms: a Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8435188/ ) Dumarkaite and colleagues recruited college students who had been exposed to trauma including natural disasters, accidents, physical or sexual abuse, or assault. They were randomly assigned to either a wait-list control condition or to receive 8 weekly online mindfulness trainings sessions. They were measured before and after training for traumatic experiences, symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD), anxiety, depression, positive mental health, and satisfaction and usability of the online program.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control group, the participants who received online mindfulness training had significant decreases in disturbances in self-organization including negative self-concept, and disturbances in relationships and increases in positive mental health. In addition, satisfaction and usability of the online program was high. But they did not find significant changes in PTSD symptoms. Because of the improvements in self-concept, relationships, and mental health it is likely that online mindfulness training is effective for Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD).

 

These results are disappointing in that Mindfulness training has been shown in multiple studies to be effective in improving the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The difference here is that the mindfulness training was online. This raises the possibility that the interpersonal connections involved in the face-to-face delivery of mindfulness training which is usually delivered in groups is essential for the success of the therapy in treating PTSD.

 

So, improve Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) symptoms with online mindfulness training.

 

Trauma and presence (or mindfulness) cannot coexist. Thus, mindfulness practices can help bring trauma victims back to the present and heal from disturbing past events.” – Jason Linder

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Dumarkaite, A., Truskauskaite-Kuneviciene, I., Andersson, G., Mingaudaite, J., & Kazlauskas, E. (2021). Effects of Mindfulness-Based Internet Intervention on ICD-11 Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms: a Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. Mindfulness, 1–13. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-021-01739-w

 

Abstract

Objectives

A substantial proportion of trauma survivors with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complex PTSD (CPTSD) continue to experience symptoms even after trauma-focused therapies. Internet-based interventions could facilitate access to treatment for PTSD and CPTSD. The current pilot study aimed to investigate the effects of mindfulness-based internet intervention on PTSD and CPTSD symptoms.

Methods

A randomized controlled trial (RCT) design with two measurement points (pre-test and post-test) was used to investigate the effects of a structured mindfulness-based internet intervention on PTSD and CPTSD symptoms as well as anxiety, depression, and positive mental health. In total, 70 university students with high levels of PTSD and CPTSD symptoms based on ICD-11 criteria participated in the study: 31 in the intervention group and 39 in the waiting list control group.

Results

We found that the mindfulness-based internet intervention reduced CPTSD disturbances in self-organization (DSO) symptoms (ES = − 0.48 [− 0.96; 0.00]), particularly negative self-concept (ES = − 0.72 [− 1.21; − 0.24]) and disturbances in relationships (ES = − 0.55 [− 1.03; − 0.07]). Moreover, the intervention reduced the symptoms of PTSD sense of threat (ES = − 0.48 [− 0.96; − 0.01]) and promoted positive mental health (ES = 0.51 [0.03; 0.99]). High user satisfaction and good usability of the intervention were reported.

Conclusions

Promising treatment effects were found, indicating that mindfulness-based internet intervention can reduce CPTSD symptoms and have a positive effect on mental health among youth in general. The findings of the current study contribute to the further development of trauma care using internet-delivered interventions.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8435188/

 

Improve Well-Being in Adults who Experienced Childhood Maltreatment with Mindfulness

Improve Well-Being in Adults who Experienced Childhood Maltreatment with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness-based interventions can be beneficial for childhood maltreatment survivors to alleviate psychological symptoms including stress, anxiety, recurrent depression, substance use, and post-traumatic stress.” – Diane Joss

 

Childhood trauma can leave in its wake symptoms which can haunt the victims for the rest of their lives. These include persistent recurrent re-experiencing of the traumatic event, including flashbacks and nightmares, loss of interest in life, detachment from other people, increased depression, anxiety and emotional arousal, including outbursts of anger, difficulty concentration, and jumpiness, startling easily. Unfortunately, childhood maltreatment can continue to affect mental and physical health throughout the individual’s life. How individuals cope with childhood maltreatment helps determine the effects of the maltreatment on their mental health.

 

It has been found that experiencing the feelings and thoughts produced by trauma completely, allows for better coping. This can be provided by mindfulness. Indeed, mindfulness has been found to be effective for relieving trauma symptoms. But it is not known how mindfulness works to impact the psychological well-being of adults who experienced childhood maltreatment.

 

In today’s Research News article “Nonattachment Predicts Empathy, Rejection Sensitivity, and Symptom Reduction After a Mindfulness-Based Intervention Among Young Adults with a History of Childhood Maltreatment.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7205188/ ) Joss and colleagues recruited patience with a history of childhood maltreatment including physical and emotional abuse or neglect, and sexual abuse, verbal abuse, witnessing violence between parents or physical abuse of siblings.

 

They were assigned to either a wait-list control condition or to receive mindfulness training. The training was modelled after the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program and met once a week for eight weeks along with daily home practice and contained “breath awareness meditation, body scan meditation, mindful yoga, open awareness meditation, loving-kindness meditation, walking meditation, mountain meditation, mindful eating as well as noticing mindful moments in daily lives”. They were measured before and after training for mindfulness, childhood trauma, adverse childhood experiences, anxiety sensitivity, PTSD symptoms, rejection sensitivity, nonattachment, and interpersonal reactivity.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control group, the group that received mindfulness training had significantly higher levels of mindfulness and nonattachment and significantly lower levels of PTSD symptoms, rejection sensitivity, and interpersonal reactivity. In addition, the greater the attendance at the mindfulness training sessions the greater the increases in mindfulness and nonattachment and decreases in personal distress and anxiety sensitivity. Further they found that mindfulness was associated with reduced rejection sensitivity indirectly by being associated with higher levels of nonattachment and empathy which were in turn associated with lower levels of rejection sensitivity.

 

The results suggest that mindfulness training improves the psychological well-being of young adults who had experienced childhood maltreatment in a dose dependent way. Nonattachment is a “flexible way of relating to one’s experiences without clinging to or suppressing them” and is increased by mindfulness training. In addition, empathy is “the capacity to understand others’ perspectives and to feel and share others’ feelings” and is increased by mindfulness training. These factors in turn appear to be important for the improvement in psychological well-being. In other words, mindfulness increases the ability to let go of experiences and not ruminate or worry about them and improves empathy and these factors improve the well-being of young adults who had experienced childhood maltreatment. All this suggests that mindfulness training should be recommended for people who experienced childhood maltreatment to reduce the impact of the trauma and improve psychological well-being.

 

So, improve well-being in adults who experienced childhood maltreatment with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness skills tend to be lower among adolescents and adults exposed to various forms of childhood maltreatment.” – Alan R. King

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Joss, D., Lazar, S. W., & Teicher, M. H. (2020). Nonattachment Predicts Empathy, Rejection Sensitivity, and Symptom Reduction After a Mindfulness-Based Intervention Among Young Adults with a History of Childhood Maltreatment. Mindfulness, 11(4), 975–990. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-020-01322-9

 

Abstract

Objectives:

Individuals with a childhood maltreatment history tend to have various psychological symptoms and impaired social functioning. This study aimed to investigate the related therapeutic effects of a mindfulness-based intervention in this population.

Methods:

We analyzed self-report questionnaire scores of the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS), Non-Attachment Scale (NAS), Adult Rejection Sensitivity Questionnaire (A-RSQ), Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI), PTSD CheckList (PCL), and Anxiety Sensitivity Index (ASI), from 16 (3 males) young adults (age range 22–29) with mild to moderate childhood maltreatment, compared to 18 matched participants (6 males) on a waiting list, during both pre- and post-intervention/waiting periods. Analyses were conducted with linear mixed effects models, partial correlation analyses and t-tests.

Results:

There were group by time interaction effects with the scores of MAAS, NAS, PCL, IRI-Fantasy, and A-RSQ (p < .05). The mindfulness group had significant increase in MAAS (17.325%) and NAS (8.957%) scores, as well as reduction in PCL (15.599%) and A-RSQ (23.189%) scores (p < .05). Changes in non-attachment, but not mindfulness, had significant contributions to the score changes of PCL (16.375%), ASI (36.244%), IRI-Personal Distress (24.141%), IRI-Empathic Concern (16.830%), and A-RSQ (10.826%) (p < .05). The number of intervention sessions attended was correlated with score changes of NAS (r = .955, p < .001), and ASI (r = −.887, p < .001), suggesting a dose-dependent effect.

Conclusions:

Findings from this pilot study suggest that the mindfulness-based intervention improved mindfulness, non-attachment and empathy, which contributed to reduced interpersonal distress, rejection sensitivity and other psychological symptoms.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7205188/

 

Improve Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Symptoms with Loving Kindness Meditation

Improve Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Symptoms with Loving Kindness Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“You probably know that symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often include anxiety, unwanted memories, anger and avoidance. But did you know that meditation may be able to help? Meditative practices have been linked to decreases in hyperarousal, depression and insomnia.” – Jill Bormann

 

Experiencing trauma is quite common. It has been estimated that 60% of men and 50% of women will experience a significant traumatic event during their lifetime. But only a fraction will develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). But this still results in a frightening number of people with 7%-8% of the population developing PTSD at some point in their life. For military personnel, it’s much more likely for PTSD to develop with about 11%-20% of those who have served in a war zone developing PTSD.

 

PTSD involves a number of troubling symptoms including reliving the event with the same fear and horror in nightmares or with a flashback. PTSD sufferers avoid situations that remind them of the event this may include crowds, driving, movies, etc. and may avoid seeking help because it keeps them from having to think or talk about the event. They often experience negative changes in beliefs and feelings including difficulty experiencing positive or loving feelings toward other people, avoiding relationships, memory difficulties, or see the world as dangerous and no one can be trusted. Sufferers may feel hyperarousal, feeling keyed up and jittery, or always alert and on the lookout for danger. They may experience sudden anger or irritability, may have a hard time sleeping or concentrating, may be startled by a loud noise or surprise.

 

Obviously, these are troubling symptoms that need to be addressed. There are a number of therapies that have been developed to treat PTSD. One of which, mindfulness training has been found to be particularly effective.  Increasing self-compassion is important for improvement in PTSD symptoms. Mindfulness has been shown to increase self-compassion.  In Loving Kindness Meditation the individual systematically pictures different individuals from self, to close friends, to enemies and wishes them happiness, well-being, safety, peace, and ease of well-being. So, Loving Kindness Meditation may be an effective treatment for the symptoms of PTSD.

 

In today’s Research News article “Loving-Kindness Meditation vs Cognitive Processing Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among Veterans: A Randomized Clinical Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8052593/ ) Kearney and colleagues recruited military veterans who were diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and randomly assigned them to receive 2 weekly 90-minute group sessions of either Loving Kindness Meditation or Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT). CPT “combines cognitive restructuring with emotional processing of trauma-related content”. They were measured before and after treatment and 3 and 6 months later for PTSD symptom severity and depression.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline both groups had significant but modest reductions in PTSD symptom severity and depression that were maintained 6 months after the end of treatment. The therapy groups did not differ in PTSD symptom severity but the group that practiced Loving Kindness Meditation had significantly lower level of depression after treatment and 6 months later.

 

These are interesting findings that suggest that both Loving Kindness Meditation and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) produce modest relief of the symptoms of PTSD and depression in military veterans. But Loving Kindness Meditation produces better outcomes in relieving depression. Loving Kindness Meditation is known to improve mindfulness and compassion for the self and others, and this appears to help relieve the psychological consequences of trauma. This suggests that trauma, to some extent, produces a degree of self-blame which may be responsible for some of the symptoms. But these therapies produce only modest improvements suggesting that Loving Kindness Meditation is not a cure but may be useful as a component in the treatment of PTSD.

 

So, improve Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms with Loving Kindness Meditation.

 

veteran participants self-reported a significant decrease in their PTSD symptoms and a high degree of satisfaction with the compassion meditation program.” – Laura McArdle

 

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

 

Kearney, D. J., Malte, C. A., Storms, M., & Simpson, T. L. (2021). Loving-Kindness Meditation vs Cognitive Processing Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among Veterans: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA network open, 4(4), e216604. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.6604

 

Question

Is group loving-kindness meditation noninferior to group cognitive processing therapy for treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among veterans?

Findings

In this randomized clinical trial, 184 veterans with PTSD were assigned to group loving-kindness meditation or group cognitive processing therapy; the differences in the decrease from baseline to 6-month follow-up for measures of PTSD and depression were very similar and within predefined margins considered not meaningfully different. Attendance was better for loving-kindness meditation.

Meaning

This study adds to the evidence indicating that interventions without a specific focus on trauma, including meditation-based interventions, can yield results similar to trauma-focused therapies.

Importance

Additional options are needed for treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among veterans.

Objective

To determine whether group loving-kindness meditation is noninferior to group cognitive processing therapy for treatment of PTSD.

Design, Setting, and Participants

This randomized clinical noninferiority trial assessed PTSD and depression at baseline, posttreatment, and 3- and 6-month follow-up. Veterans were recruited from September 24, 2014, to February 5, 2018, from a large Veternas Affairs medical center in Seattle, Washington. A total of 184 veteran volunteers who met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth Edition) criteria for PTSD were randomized. Data collection was completed November 28, 2018, and data analyses were conducted from December 10, 2018, to November 5, 2019.

Interventions

Each intervention comprised 12 weekly 90-minute group sessions. Loving-kindness meditation (n = 91) involves silent repetition of phrases intended to elicit feelings of kindness for oneself and others. Cognitive processing therapy (n = 93) combines cognitive restructuring with emotional processing of trauma-related content.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Co–primary outcomes were change in PTSD and depression scores over 6-month follow-up, assessed by the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS-5; range, 0-80; higher is worse) and Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement Information System (PROMIS; reported as standardized T-score with mean [SD] of 50 [10] points; higher is worse) depression measures. Noninferiority margins were 5 points on the CAPS-5 and 4 points on the PROMIS depression measure.

Results

Among the 184 veterans (mean [SD] age, 57.1 [13.1] years; 153 men [83.2%]; 107 White participants [58.2%]) included in the study, 91 (49.5%) were randomized to the loving-kindness group, and 93 (50.5%) were randomized to the cognitive processing group. The mean (SD) baseline CAPS-5 score was 35.5 (11.8) and mean (SD) PROMIS depression score was 60.9 (7.9). A total of 121 veterans (66%) completed 6-month follow-up. At 6 months posttreatment, mean CAPS-5 scores were 28.02 (95% CI, 24.72-31.32) for cognitive processing therapy and 25.92 (95% CI, 22.62-29.23) for loving-kindness meditation (difference, 2.09; 95% CI, −2.59 to 6.78), and mean PROMIS depression scores were 61.22 (95% CI, 59.21-63.23) for cognitive processing therapy and 58.88 (95% CI, 56.86-60.91) for loving-kindness meditation (difference, 2.34; 95% CI, −0.52 to 5.19). In superiority analyses, there were no significant between-group differences in CAPS-5 scores, whereas for PROMIS depression scores, greater reductions were found for loving-kindness meditation vs cognitive processing therapy (for patients attending ≥6 visits, ≥4-point improvement was noted in 24 [39.3%] veterans receiving loving-kindness meditation vs 9 (18.0%) receiving cognitive processing therapy; P = .03).

Conclusions and Relevance

Among veterans with PTSD, loving-kindness meditation resulted in reductions in PTSD symptoms that were noninferior to group cognitive processing therapy. For both interventions, the magnitude of improvement in PTSD symptoms was modest. Change over time in depressive symptoms was greater for loving-kindness meditation than for cognitive processing therapy.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8052593/

 

Hallucinogenic Drugs may Effectively Treat Mental Illness

Hallucinogenic Drugs may Effectively Treat Mental Illness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Combined with psychotherapy, some psychedelic drugs like MDMA, psilocybin and ayahuasca may improve symptoms of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder,” – Cristina L. Magalhaes

 

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. More recently hallucinogenic drugs such as MDMA (Ecstasy) and Ketamine have been similarly used. People find the experiences produced by these substances extremely pleasant. eye opening, and even transformative. They often report that the experiences changed them forever. Psychedelics and hallucinogens 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 these drugs on mood and mental illness is accumulating. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7880300/ ) De Gregorio and colleagues review and summarize the published research on the brain mechanisms of hallucinogenic drug actions and their effectiveness as treatments for mental illness.

 

They report that the different drugs have very different effects on the nervous system although most interact with serotonin receptors. The nervous systems effects appear to alter sensory integration and associations with these sensations resulting in altered experiences.

 

They also report that the published research suggests that psilocybin may be useful in treating anxiety, depression, alcohol abuse, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), LSD may relieve anxiety and depression, that Ketamine may improve major depressive disorder, and MDMA (Ecstasy) may help in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Hence, psychedelic and hallucinogenic drugs may be effective in treating mental illness. It needs to be kept in mind that these drugs have powerful effects so they must be administered in controlled environments by trained practitioners.

 

So, hallucinogenic drugs may effectively treat mental illness.

 

Most powerful substances that we know of, that have powerful effects on the central nervous system, are like any powerful tool, They can have dangerous effects, or beneficial effects, if judiciously used in a context where the dangers are known and mechanisms are in place to address them.” – Matthew Johnson

 

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

 

De Gregorio, D., Aguilar-Valles, A., Preller, K. H., Heifets, B. D., Hibicke, M., Mitchell, J., & Gobbi, G. (2021). Hallucinogens in Mental Health: Preclinical and Clinical Studies on LSD, Psilocybin, MDMA, and Ketamine. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 41(5), 891–900. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1659-20.2020

 

Abstract

A revamped interest in the study of hallucinogens has recently emerged, especially with regard to their potential application in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. In the last decade, a plethora of preclinical and clinical studies have confirmed the efficacy of ketamine in the treatment of depression. More recently, emerging evidence has pointed out the potential therapeutic properties of psilocybin and LSD, as well as their ability to modulate functional brain connectivity. Moreover, MDMA, a compound belonging to the family of entactogens, has been demonstrated to be useful to treat post-traumatic stress disorders. In this review, the pharmacology of hallucinogenic compounds is summarized by underscoring the differences between psychedelic and nonpsychedelic hallucinogens as well as entactogens, and their behavioral effects in both animals and humans are described. Together, these data substantiate the potentials of these compounds in treating mental diseases.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7880300/

 

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/

 

Improve Military-Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with Mindfulness

Improve Military-Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness may help to mitigate the relationship between maladaptive thinking and posttraumatic distress.” – Matthew Tull

 

Experiencing trauma is quite common. It has been estimated that 60% of men and 50% of women will experience a significant traumatic event during their lifetime. But only a fraction will develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). But this still results in a frightening number of people with 7%-8% of the population developing PTSD at some point in their life. For military personnel, it’s much more likely for PTSD to develop with about 11%-20% of those who have served in a war zone developing PTSD.

 

PTSD involves a number of troubling symptoms including reliving the event with the same fear and horror in nightmares or with a flashback. PTSD sufferers avoid situations that remind them of the event this may include crowds, driving, movies, etc. and may avoid seeking help because it keeps them from having to think or talk about the event. They often experience negative changes in beliefs and feelings including difficulty experiencing positive or loving feelings toward other people, avoiding relationships, memory difficulties, or see the world as dangerous and no one can be trusted. Sufferers may feel hyperarousal, feeling keyed up and jittery, or always alert and on the lookout for danger. They may experience sudden anger or irritability, may have a hard time sleeping or concentrating, may be startled by a loud noise or surprise.

 

Obviously, these are troubling symptoms that need to be addressed. There are a number of therapies that have been developed to treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Mindfulness-based therapies have been shown to be particularly effective in treating PTSD. There has accumulated a considerable amount of research. So, it is important to step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Military-related posttraumatic stress disorder and mindfulness meditation: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8344114/ ) Sun and colleagues review summarize and perform a meta-analysis of the published randomized controlled trials on the effectiveness of mindfulness practice to improve the symptoms of PTSD.

 

They identified 19 published randomized controlled trials with a total of 1326 participants, 15 of which employed an active control condition. They report that the published research found that mindfulness meditation practices produced a significant reduction in the symptoms of military-related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This improvement was present regardless of the nature of the control condition, whether the treatment was provided individually or in a group, or the duration of the therapy. Hence, the published research studies support the conclusion that mindfulness meditation practice is a safe and effective treatment for the symptoms of PTSD in military personnel.

 

So, improve military-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with mindfulness.

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

research has shown mindfulness to be helpful with other anxiety problems. It has also been shown to help with symptoms of PTSD, such as avoidance and hyperarousal.” – National Center for PTSD

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Sun, L. N., Gu, J. W., Huang, L. J., Shang, Z. L., Zhou, Y. G., Wu, L. L., Jia, Y. P., Liu, N. Q., & Liu, W. Z. (2021). Military-related posttraumatic stress disorder and mindfulness meditation: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Chinese journal of traumatology = Zhonghua chuang shang za zhi, 24(4), 221–230. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cjtee.2021.05.003

 

Abstract

Purpose

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a significant global mental health concern, especially in the military. This study aims to estimate the efficacy of mindfulness meditation in the treatment of military-related PTSD, by synthesizing evidences from randomized controlled trials.

Methods

Five electronic databases (Pubmed, EBSCO Medline, Embase, PsychINFO and Cochrane Library) were searched for randomized controlled trials focusing on the treatment effect of mindfulness meditation on military-related PTSD. The selection of eligible studies was based on identical inclusion and exclusion criteria. Information about study characteristics, participant characteristics, intervention details, PTSD outcomes, as well as potential adverse effects was extracted from the included studies. Risk of bias of all the included studies was critically assessed using the Cochrane Collaboration’s tool. R Statistical software was performed for data analysis.

Results

A total of 1902 records were initially identified and screened. After duplicates removal and title & abstract review, finally, 19 articles in English language with 1326 participants were included through strict inclusion and exclusion criteria. The results revealed that mindfulness meditation had a significantly larger effect on alleviating military-related PTSD symptoms compared with control conditions, such as treatment as usual, present-centered group therapy and PTSD health education (standardized mean difference (SMD) = −0.33; 95% CI [−0.45, −0.21]; p < 0.0001). Mindfulness interventions with different control conditions (active or non-active control, SMD = −0.33, 95% CI [−0.46, −0.19]; SMD = −0.49, 95% CI [−0.88, −0.10], respectively), formats of delivery (group-based or individual-based, SMD = −0.30, 95% CI [−0.42, −0.17], SMD = −0.49, 95% CI [−0.90, −0.08], respectively) and intervention durations (short-term or standard duration, SMD = −0.27, 95% CI [−0.46, −0.08], SMD = −0.40, 95% CI [−0.58, −0.21], respectively) were equally effective in improving military-related PTSD symptoms.

Conclusion

Findings from this meta-analysis consolidate the efficacy and feasibility of mindfulness meditation in the treatment of military-related PTSD. Further evidence with higher quality and more rigorous design is needed in the future.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8344114/

 

Improve Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with Mindfulness

Improve Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

As a clinical psychologist working at the VA, I found that veterans who also had a practice, whether it be meditation or mindful movement, had better outcomes,” – Dan Libby

 

Experiencing trauma is quite common. It has been estimated that 60% of men and 50% of women will experience a significant traumatic event during their lifetime. But only a fraction will develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). But this still results in a frightening number of people with 7%-8% of the population developing PTSD at some point in their life. For military personnel, it’s much more likely for PTSD to develop with about 11%-20% of those who have served in a war zone developing PTSD.

 

PTSD involves a number of troubling symptoms including reliving the event with the same fear and horror in nightmares or with a flashback. PTSD sufferers avoid situations that remind them of the event this may include crowds, driving, movies, etc. and may avoid seeking help because it keeps them from having to think or talk about the event. They often experience negative changes in beliefs and feelings including difficulty experiencing positive or loving feelings toward other people, avoiding relationships, memory difficulties, or see the world as dangerous and no one can be trusted. Sufferers may feel hyperarousal, feeling keyed up and jittery, or always alert and on the lookout for danger. They may experience sudden anger or irritability, may have a hard time sleeping or concentrating, may be startled by a loud noise or surprise.

 

Obviously, these are troubling symptoms that need to be addressed. There are a number of therapies that have been developed to treat PTSD. One of which, mindfulness training has been found to be particularly effective. The Mindfulness-based Stress reduction (MBSR) program involves meditation, yoga, body scan and group discussion. It has been found to improve the symptoms of PTSD.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Multisite Randomized Controlled Trial of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8189576/ ) Davis and colleagues recruited veterans who were diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and randomly assigned them to receive 8 weeks of Mindfulness-based Stress reduction (MBSR) or Present-Centered Group Therapy (PCGT). PCGT was a control condition that contained many of the non-specific, social effects and expectations contained in MBSR, but discussions were on current events and everyday problems but not trauma. They were measured before and after treatment and 7 weeks later for PTSD symptoms, mindfulness, and health.

They found that at the 7-week follow up assessment both groups had significant reductions in PTSD severity as assessed in a clinical interview and increases in mindfulness and did not statistically differ. For both groups the greater the increase in mindfulness that occurred over treatment the greater the reductions in clinically assessed PTSD severity. On the other hand, there were significantly greater reductions in self-reported PTSD symptoms in the MBSR group.

 

It is surprising that Present-Centered Group Therapy (PCGT) produced such significant improvements. This demonstrates the power of non-specific factors in therapy. Factors such as “decreased isolation, shared support, shared positive experiences with other veterans with similar symptoms, experience of an atmosphere of safety, and awareness and objectivity of how PTSD affects one’s daily life” produce major improvements in PTSD. In most research the control condition doesn’t contain these components and as a result the intervention effects appear quite large.

 

But even with the strong control condition employed here, Mindfulness-based Stress reduction (MBSR) produced significantly greater improvements in the veterans self-assessments of their symptoms. One of the reasons that Present-Centered Group Therapy (PCGT) produced significant improvements is that it increased mindfulness. It has been previously found that increases in mindfulness produces improvements in the symptoms of PTSD. So, increasing mindfulness, no matter what technique accomplishes it, may be the key to improving the symptoms of PTSD.

 

So, improve Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with mindfulness.

 

Both MBSR and present-centered group therapy appear to have beneficial effects in treating PTSD in veterans, with greater improvement observed in self-reported PTSD symptoms among the MBSR group.” – Mitch Mirkin

 

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

 

Davis, L. L., Whetsell, C., Hamner, M. B., Carmody, J., Rothbaum, B. O., Allen, R. S., Al Bartolucci, A., Southwick, S. M., & Bremner, J. D. (2019). A Multisite Randomized Controlled Trial of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Psychiatric research and clinical practice, 1(2), 39–48. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.prcp.20180002

 

Abstract

Objective:

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is often difficult to treat, and many patients do not achieve full remission. Complementary and integrative health approaches, such as mindfulness meditation, are intended to be integrated with evidence-based treatment. This study examined the efficacy of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in the treatment of PTSD in U.S. military veterans.

Methods:

Veterans with a diagnosis of PTSD (N=214) were randomly assigned to either 90-minute group MBSR or present-centered group therapy (PCGT) for eight weeks. Follow-up assessments were obtained at baseline and weeks 3, 6, 9 (primary endpoint), and 16.

Results:

Both the MBSR and PCGT groups achieved significant improvement in PTSD as measured by the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-IV (CAPS-IV), with no statistically significant differences between groups. However, compared with PCGT, the MBSR group showed a statistically significant improvement in PTSD on the self-reported PTSD Checklist for DSM-IV over the nine weeks. This difference was not maintained posttreatment, at week 16. Strengths of the study include its large sample size, multisite design, active control group, single-blind outcome ratings, fidelity monitoring, large minority representation, and randomized approach. The study was limited by its high attrition rate and low representation of women.

Conclusion:

Both MBSR and PCGT appear to have beneficial effects in treating PTSD in veterans, with greater improvement observed in self-reported PTSD symptoms in the MBSR group. No differences between groups were observed on the CAPS-IV scale.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8189576/

 

Mindfulness Improves Physical and Mental Well-Being

Mindfulness Improves Physical and Mental Well-Being

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“scientists have found that practicing mindfulness is associated with changes in the structure and function of the brain as well as changes in our body’s response to stress, suggesting that this practice has important impacts on our physical and emotional health.” –  University of Minnesota

 

Over the last several decades, research and anecdotal experiences have accumulated an impressive evidential case that the development of mindfulness has positive benefits for the individual’s mentalphysical, and spiritual life. Mindfulness appears to be beneficial both for healthy people and for people suffering from a myriad of mental and physical illnesses. It appears to be beneficial across ages, from children, to adolescents, to the elderly. And it appears to be beneficial across genders, personalitiesrace, and ethnicity. The breadth and depth of benefits is unprecedented. There is no other treatment or practice that has been shown to come anyway near the range of mindfulness’ positive benefits.

 

Research on mindfulness effects on mental and physical health has exploded over the last few decades. So, it makes sense to pause and examine what has been learned. In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-based interventions: an overall review” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8083197/ )  Zhang and colleagues reviewed and summarized the randomized controlled trials and meta-analyses of the effects of mindfulness-based practices on mental and physical health.

 

They report that the published research studies and meta-analyses found that mindfulness-based practices produced significant improvements in mental health including anxiety, depression, anger, prosocial behavior, loneliness, physiological and psychological indicators of stress, insomnia, eating disorders, addictions, psychoses, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and autism. They also report that mindfulness-based practices produced significant improvements in physical health including pain, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), aggression, and violence.

 

In addition, mindfulness-based practices produced safe, cost-effective improvements in professional and healthcare settings, in schools, and in the workplace. Further they report that mindfulness-based practices produced significant changes in the structure and activity of the nervous system, improvements in immune functioning and physiological markers of stress.

 

The review of the published research has provided a compelling case for the utilization of mindfulness-based practices for a myriad of psychological and physical problems in humans of all ages with and without disease. The range and depth of effects are unprecedented making a strong case for the routine training in mindfulness for the improvement of their well-being.

 

So, mindfulness improves physical and mental well-being.

 

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

 

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

 

Zhang, D., Lee, E., Mak, E., Ho, C. Y., & Wong, S. (2021). Mindfulness-based interventions: an overall review. British medical bulletin, ldab005. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1093/bmb/ldab005

 

Abstract

Introduction

This is an overall review on mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs).

Sources of data

We identified studies in PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, AMED, Web of Science and Google Scholar using keywords including ‘mindfulness’, ‘meditation’, and ‘review’, ‘meta-analysis’ or their variations.

Areas of agreement

MBIs are effective for improving many biopsychosocial conditions, including depression, anxiety, stress, insomnia, addiction, psychosis, pain, hypertension, weight control, cancer-related symptoms and prosocial behaviours. It is found to be beneficial in the healthcare settings, in schools and workplace but further research is warranted to look into its efficacy on different problems. MBIs are relatively safe, but ethical aspects should be considered. Mechanisms are suggested in both empirical and neurophysiological findings. Cost-effectiveness is found in treating some health conditions.

Areas of controversy

Inconclusive or only preliminary evidence on the effects of MBIs on PTSD, ADHD, ASD, eating disorders, loneliness and physical symptoms of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and respiratory conditions. Furthermore, some beneficial effects are not confirmed in subgroup populations. Cost-effectiveness is yet to confirm for many health conditions and populations.

Growing points

Many mindfulness systematic reviews and meta-analyses indicate low quality of included studies, hence high-quality studies with adequate sample size and longer follow-up period are needed.

Areas timely for developing research

More research is needed on online mindfulness trainings and interventions to improve biopsychosocial health during the COVID-19 pandemic; Deeper understanding of the mechanisms of MBIs integrating both empirical and neurophysiological findings; Long-term compliance and effects of MBIs; and development of mindfulness plus (mindfulness+) or personalized mindfulness programs to elevate the effectiveness for different purposes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8083197/