Mindfulness is Associated with Resilience

Mindfulness is Associated with Resilience

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindful people … can better cope with difficult thoughts and emotions without becoming overwhelmed or shutting down (emotionally). Pausing and observing the mind may (help us) resist getting drawn into wallowing in a setback.” – Tom Jacobs

 

Being mindful increases happiness, improves the ability to bounce back from difficulties, resilience, and reduces physiological and psychological responses to stress. These effects are well established. But it is not known how mindfulness, resilience, and attachment security interact.

 

In today’s Research News article “The role of mindfulness and attachment security in facilitating resilience.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8924741/ ) Yang and Oka recruited university students online and had them complete measures of mindfulness, attachment, and resilience.

 

They found that the higher the levels of both mindfulness and resilience the lower the levels of attachment insecurity, attachment anxiety, and attachment avoidance and that the higher the levels of mindfulness the higher the levels of resilience. Further the relationship between mindfulness and resilience was affected by attachment avoidance such that the higher the levels of attachment avoidance the weaker the relationship between mindfulness and resilience.

 

Hence, being mindful is associated with being resilient but avoiding attachment weakens the relationship. This suggests the being able to form attachments is helpful in creating resilience. Further research is needed to establish whether there are causal relationships between the variables.

 

The emotional soup that follows a stressful event can whip up negative stories about yourself or others that goes on and on, beyond being useful. Mindfulness reduces this rumination and, if practiced regularly, changes your brain so that you’re more resilient to future stressful events.” – Shamash Alidina

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Yang, F., & Oka, T. (2022). The role of mindfulness and attachment security in facilitating resilience. BMC psychology, 10(1), 69. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40359-022-00772-1

 

Abstract

Background

In recent years, there has been growing interest in exploring ways to facilitate positive psychological dispositions, including resilience. The goal of the present study was to explore the possibility that trait mindfulness facilitates attachment security and thus enhances resilience.

Methods

We conducted two studies based on cross-sectional surveys. In Study 1, data of 207 students studying in Japan was collected. In Study 2, we used a different sample of 203 participants and different measurements to replicate the findings of Study 1.

Results

The results of Study 1 revealed that mindfulness positively predicted resilience, while attachment anxiety and avoidance were mediators between mindfulness and resilience. The results of Study 2 showed that mindfulness positively predicted resilience, and the mediating effect of attachment avoidance was significant, but the mediating effect of attachment anxiety was not significant.

Conclusions

It is possible to facilitate attachment security through cultivating trait mindfulness, and in this way, resilience could be enhanced. The effect of different components of mindfulness on attachment and resilience requires further studies.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8924741/

 

Improve College Student Psychological Well-Being with Mindfulness and Relaxation

Improve College Student Psychological Well-Being with Mindfulness and Relaxation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness helps focus by tuning out distractions, improving memory, decision-making and attention skills. . . It is not a panacea; it is not for everyone. However, it is very worth trying. It may be the next evolution in health care and well-being.” – Affordable Colleges

 

In the modern world education is a key for success. There is a lot of pressure on college students to excel so that they can get the best jobs after graduation. The pressure can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression which can impede the student’s mental health, well-being, and school performance. So it is important that methods be found to reduce the college students’ responses to stress; to make them more resilient.

 

Contemplative practices including meditationmindfulness training, exercise, Tai Chi and Qigong, and yoga practice have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stressrelieve anxiety, and reduce depression .  A therapeutic technique that contains mindfulness training and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). It focuses on the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior and how they interact to impact their psychological and physical well-being. It then works to change thinking to alter the interaction and produce greater life satisfaction. ACT employs mindfulness practices to increase awareness and develop an attitude of acceptance and compassion in the presence of painful thoughts and feelings. ACT teaches individuals to “just notice”, accept and embrace private experiences and focus on behavioral responses that produce more desirable outcomes. This suggests that ACT may be effective in improving the psychological well-being of college students.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Combined with Music Relaxation Therapy on the Self-Identity of College Students.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8853795/ ) Yin recruited college students and assigned them to receive either  a 2-month program of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) plus systematic muscle relaxation with music, or conventional self-identity intervention, including health education, regular communication, and regular follow-up. They were measured before and after the treatments for anxiety, depression, resilience, and quality of life.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control condition Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) plus relaxation produced significant reductions in anxiety and depression and significant increases in resilience and quality of life. It cannot be determined if the combination of ACT and relaxation was necessary for the benefits or is each individually may have been effective.

 

So, improve college student psychological well-being with mindfulness and relaxation.

 

mindfulness . . . can also be a great tool for students, reducing stress and increasing well-being and productivity.” – Rebecca Enderby

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Yin J. (2022). Effect of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Combined with Music Relaxation Therapy on the Self-Identity of College Students. Journal of healthcare engineering, 2022, 8422903. https://doi.org/10.1155/2022/8422903

 

Abstract

This paper analyzes various effects of acceptance and commitment therapy combined with music relaxation therapy on the self-identity of the college students. Through open recruitment and following the principle of voluntary and confidential, 80 college students were selected from our school, and then they were divided into two groups: the control group (40 cases) and the observation group (40 cases). The observation group received acceptance and commitment therapy combined with music relaxation therapy. For the control group, conventional mental health interventions were administered. Two months after intervention, psychological status, mental resilience, and quality of life scores were compared between the two groups. Before intervention, there was no significant difference in SAS and SDS scores between the two groups (P > 0.05). After intervention, SAS and SDS scores were significantly higher than those in the control group, and the difference between the two groups was statistically significant (P < 0.05). Before intervention, there was no significant difference in the scores of toughness, strength, and optimism between the two groups (P > 0.05). After intervention, the scores of toughness, strength, and optimism in the two groups were all improved, and the scores of mental resilience in the observation group were higher than those in the control group, with statistical significance (P < 0.05). Before intervention, there was no significant difference in the quality of life scores between the observation group and the control group (P > 0.05). After intervention, the quality of life score of the observation group was higher than that of the control group, and the difference between the two groups was statistically significant (P < 0.05). The combined application of acceptance and commitment therapy and music relaxation therapy can help college students to improve their mental state, improve their mental resilience, enhance their evaluation of life quality, improve their sense of self-identity, and reduce the probability of the occurrence of unhealthy emotions such as depression.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8853795/

 

Improve Secure Attachment and Resilience in Adolescents with Meditation

Improve Secure Attachment and Resilience in Adolescents with Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

meditation for teens. The practise of meditation will help you to let go of what is out of your control. To lessen the negative and draining energy of worry and anxiety.” – Tejay Dowe

 

Adolescence is a time of mental, physical, social, and emotional growth. But adolescence 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 in adults has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression levels and improve resilience and emotional regulation. In addition, in adolescents it has been shown to improve emotion regulation and to benefit psychological and emotional health.

 

In today’s Research News article “Meditation and Five Precepts Mediate the Relationship between Attachment and Resilience.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8947555/ ) DeMaranville and colleagues recruited 10th – 12th grade students and had them complete measures of attachment anxiety, attachment avoidance, positive behavioral characteristics, precept practice, and resilience.

 

They found that the higher the levels of both attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance the lower the levels of resilience and the higher the levels meditation and precept practices the higher the levels of resilience. They also found that attachment anxiety was negatively associated with resilience by being negatively associated with meditation and precept practices.

 

Resilience is very important during adolescence where adversity can derail the individuals social/emotional/psychological development. The results of the current study suggest that an adolescent’s inability to bond with other human beings (insecure attachment) lowers the adolescent’s ability to adapt to adversity (resilience). But meditation and precept practices improve that adaptability. Finally, the results suggest that insecure attachment is associated with lower levels of meditation and precept practices resulting in less facilitation of resilience.

 

So, poor ability to bond with others reduces adolescents’ adaptability while meditation increases adaptability.

 

Mindfulness offers teens a sense of control over their emotions and circumstances and will help them experience more joy because they are more focused on the present moment instead of worrying about past or future stress.” – Erin VanLuven

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

DeMaranville, J., Wongpakaran, T., Wongpakaran, N., & Wedding, D. (2022). Meditation and Five Precepts Mediate the Relationship between Attachment and Resilience. Children (Basel, Switzerland), 9(3), 371. https://doi.org/10.3390/children9030371

 

Abstract

Secure attachment is fundamental to the development of resilience among adolescents. The present study investigated whether meditation and precept practices influence the relationship between attachment and resilience. This study recruited 453 10th–12th-grade boarding school students who completed the Experience of Close Relationship Questionnaire (revised), Resilience Inventory, Inner Strength-Based Inventory, and Precept Practice to assess attachment, resilience, meditation practice, and precepts adherence. The participants’ mean age was 16.35 ± 0.96 years; 87.9% were females, and 89.2% were Buddhists. A parallel mediation model within the structural equation framework was used for an analysis of the indirect effect of attachment on resilience through meditation and precept practices. The indirect effects of attachment anxiety and avoidance on resilience were β = −0.086, 95% CI = −0.125, −0.054, p < 0.001, and β = −0.050, 95% CI = −0.088, −0.021, p = 0.006, respectively. The indirect effect size resulting from meditation was significantly higher than that resulting from observance of the precepts. The parallel mediation model explained the 33% variance of the resilience scores, compared with 23% from the direct effect of attachment anxiety and avoidance only. This work provides evidence that meditation and precepts significantly affect the relationship between attachment and resilience.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8947555/

 

Improve Anxiety and the Gut Microbiome with Mindfulness

Improve Anxiety and the Gut Microbiome with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“A healthy gut can be different iterations of bacteria for different people, because it is this diversity that maintains wellness.” – Jennifer Wolkin

 

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults, or 18% of the population. A characterizing feature of anxiety disorders is that the sufferer overly identifies with and personalizes their thoughts. The sufferer has recurring thoughts, such as impending disaster, that they may realize are unreasonable, but are unable to shake. Anxiety disorders have generally been treated with drugs. But there are considerable side effects, and these drugs are often abused. There are several psychological therapies for anxiety. But, about 45% of the patients treated do not respond to the therapy. So, there is a need to develop alternative treatments. Recently, it has been found that mindfulness training can be effective for anxiety disorders.

 

The GI tract contains intestinal micro-organisms, flora, bacteria, known as the microbiome, that have major effects throughout the body through the bacteria-intestinal-brain axis. This can affect overall health and well-being including anxiety. So, it would make sense to investigate the relationship of mindfulness practice with anxiety and intestinal micro-organisms.

 

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) has been shown to be effective in treating anxiety disorders. MBCT involves mindfulness training, containing sitting, walking and body scan meditations, and cognitive therapy that attempts to teach patients to distinguish between thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, and behaviors, and to recognize irrational thinking styles and how they affect behavior. But whether MBCT affects both anxiety and the microbiome has not been investigated.

 

In today’s Research News article “Gut Microbiota Associated with Effectiveness And Responsiveness to Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy in Improving Trait Anxiety.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8908961/ ) Wang and colleagues recruited young adults with high anxiety levels and a similar control group with normal anxiety levels. The high anxiety group were provided with 8 weekly 2.5 hour sessions of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). They were measured before and after treatment for anxiety, depression, resilience, and mindfulness. In addition, their feces were measured for microbiota.

 

They found that after Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) there were significant decreases in anxiety and depression and significant increases in resilience and mindfulness. The gut microbiome significantly differed between the high anxiety group and the controls before trteatment in that the high anxiety participants had less bacterial diversity in the gut. But after MBCT the bacterial diversity levels increased to the levels of the healthy controls.

 

Hence, mindfulness training improves the psychological health of highly anxious young adults and simultaneously normalizes the deficiency in the bacterial diversity in the gut.

 

Mindfulness training is good for both physical and mental health.

 

During stress, an altered gut microbial population affects the regulation of neurotransmitters mediated by the microbiome and gut barrier function. Meditation helps regulate the stress response, thereby suppressing chronic inflammation states and maintaining a healthy gut-barrier function.” – Ayman Mukerji Househam

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Wang, Z., Liu, S., Xu, X., Xiao, Y., Yang, M., Zhao, X., Jin, C., Hu, F., Yang, S., Tang, B., Song, C., & Wang, T. (2022). Gut Microbiota Associated With Effectiveness And Responsiveness to Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy in Improving Trait Anxiety. Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, 12, 719829. https://doi.org/10.3389/fcimb.2022.71982

 

Abstract

Objective

Mindfulness-based interventions have been widely demonstrated to be effective in reducing stress, alleviating mood disorders, and improving quality of life; however, the underlying mechanisms remained to be fully understood. Along with the advanced research in the microbiota-gut-brain axis, this study aimed to explore the impact of gut microbiota on the effectiveness and responsiveness to mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) among high trait anxiety populations.

Design

A standard MBCT was performed among 21 young adults with high trait anxiety. A total of 29 healthy controls were matched for age and sex. The differences in gut microbiota between the two groups were compared. The changes in fecal microbiota and psychological indicators were also investigated before and after the intervention.

Results

Compared with healthy controls, we found markedly decreased bacterial diversity and distinctive clusters among high trait anxiety populations, with significant overgrowth of bacteria such as Streptococcus, Blautia, and Romboutsia, and a decrease in genera such as Faecalibacterium, Coprococcus_3, and Lachnoclostridium. Moreover, MBCT attenuated trait anxiety and depression, improved mindfulness and resilience, and increased the similarity of gut microbiota to that of healthy controls. Notably, a high presence of intestinal Subdoligranulum pre-MBCT was associated with increased responsiveness to MBCT. Decreases in Subdoligranulum post-MBCT were indicative of ameliorated trait anxiety. The tryptophan metabolism pathways were significantly over-represented among high responders compared to low responders.

Conclusion

The significantly increased diversity post-MBCT added evidence to gut-brain communication and highlighted the utility of mycobiota-focused strategies for promoting the effectiveness and responsiveness of the MBCT to improve trait anxiety.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8908961/

 

Improve Teacher Well-Being and Immune Function with Mindfulness

Improve Teacher Well-Being and Immune Function with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

learning and cultivating skills of mindfulness . . .can help us to promote the calm, relaxed, but enlivened classroom environment that children need to learn. Mindfulness can also help us to be more effective at reducing conflict and developing more positive ways of relating in the classroom, which can help us feel more job satisfaction.” – Patricia Jennings

 

Stress is epidemic in the workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. This often produces burnout; fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, and professional inefficacy. In a school setting, this burnout and exhaustion not only affects teachers personally, but also the students and schools, as it produces a loss of enthusiasm, empathy, and compassion. Hence, there is a need to identify methods of reducing stress and improving teachers’ psychological health. Mindfulness has been demonstrated to be helpful in reducing the psychological and physiological responses to stress and for treating and preventing burnout. This suggests that mindfulness would improve the psychological and physiological well-being of teachers,

 

In today’s Research News article “Fostering emotional self-regulation in female teachers at the public teaching network: A mindfulness-based intervention improving psychological measures and inflammatory biomarkers.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8881415/ ) Wilson and colleagues recruited public school teachers and provided them with either 8 weeks of mindfulness training or neuroscience education. Measurements were taken before and after training of reactivity, emotions, stress, resilience, and psychological well-being as well as blood inflammatory markers.

 

Compared to controls, the teachers who received mindfulness training had significant decreases in stress levels and negative emotions and significant increases in resilience, positive emotions and psychological well-being. Blood inflammatory markers also showed significant improvements. These results suggest that mindfulness training improves immune function, reduces stress, and increases psychological well-being in teachers.

 

This suggests that teachers should receive mindfulness training to make them better able to withstand the stresses of the job.

 

In the last decade, many professional development programs have sprung up that use mindfulness as a key tool to alleviate teacher stress.” – Catherine Gewertz

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Wilson, D., Rodrigues de Oliveira, D., Palace-Berl, F., de Mello Ponteciano, B., Fungaro Rissatti, L., Piassa Pollizi, V., Sardela de Miranda, F., D’Almeida, V., & Demarzo, M. (2022). Fostering emotional self-regulation in female teachers at the public teaching network: A mindfulness-based intervention improving psychological measures and inflammatory biomarkers. Brain, behavior, & immunity – health, 21, 100427. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbih.2022.100427

 

Abstract

Objective

To examine the effect of a mindfulness-based program specifically designed for teachers in reducing perceived stress and improving the quality of experienced emotion in female active working teachers. A second outcome evaluated is the associated change in cellular inflammatory activity, measured by peripheral blood levels of cytokines.

Method

Eighty-eight female active teachers from public schools from São Paulo Municipality were recruited, and randomly allocated to an eight-week Mindfulness-Based Health Program for Educators (MBHP-Educa) or to Neuroscience for Education Program (Neuro-Educa: active control group). The venue of both programs were several public school facilities, where many of the teachers actually worked. Both groups received activities during eight weeks in a 2 ​h/week regimen, totalizing 16 ​h. Sixty-five participants completed the program and pre- and post-interventions measures were taken from the following scales: Interpersonal Multidimensional Reactivity Scale (IRI), Positive-and-Negative Affects Scale (PANAS), Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC), and a primary outcome in Ryff’s Psychological Well-Being Scale (PBWS). At pre-and post-intervention, blood samples were collected for the measurement of several important inflammatory biomarkers, Tumor Necrosis Factor – α (TNF-α), Interleukin 1β (IL-1β), Interleukin 6 (IL-6), Interleukin 8 (IL-8), Interleukin 10 (IL-10) and Interleukin 12p70 (IL-12P70) through flow cytometry assay. Intervention effects were analyzed via Generalized mixed models (GLMM).

Results

According to the GLMM, MBHP-Educa significantly reduced the scores of perceived stress (p ​< ​0.0001), and negative affect (p ​< ​0.0001) compared to active control group (Neuro-Educa). Conversely, an increase was observed on Psychological Well Being Scale in dimensions of Self-acceptance (p ​< ​0.0001), and Autonomy (p ​= ​0.001), as well as improvements in Resilience (p ​< ​0.0001), and Positive Affect (p ​< ​0.0001). MBHP-Educa also promoted a reduction in the levels of IL-6 (p ​= ​0.003), IL-8 (p ​= ​0.036), and increase in the levels of IL-10 (p ​< ​0.0001) and IL-12p70 (p ​< ​0.044). TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-10p70 showed results below theoretical limit of detection accepted for CBA kit.

Conclusions

Our data suggest that mindfulness-based interventions introduced as a strategy for reducing stress, promoting well-being and improve immune function can be a useful asset in promoting psychological health among teachers in Basic Education.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8881415/

 

Mindful People are Resilient, Unstressed, Happy People

Mindful People are Resilient, Unstressed, Happy People

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“practicing mindfulness may make us happier only if we learn to tolerate, make space for, and accept whatever experiences arise, rather than judging them, letting them define us, or running away from them.” – Melanie Greenberg

 

“Meditation leads to concentration, concentration leads to understanding, and understanding leads to happiness” – This wonderful quote from the modern day sage Thich Nhat Hahn is a beautiful pithy description of the benefits of mindfulness practice. Mindfulness allows us to view our experience and not judge it, not put labels on it, not make assumptions about it, not relate it to past experiences, and not project it into the future. Rather mindfulness lets us experience everything around and within us exactly as it is arising and falling away from moment to moment. There is a need to investigate the mechanisms by which mindfulness increases happiness.

 

In today’s Research News article “Resilience and Stress as Mediators in the Relationship of Mindfulness and Happiness.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8850270/ ) Bajaj and colleagues had students from an Indian University complete measure of mindfulness, stress, resilience, and happiness.

 

They found that the higher the students levels of mindfulness, the greater their happiness and resilience and the lower their levels of stress. Mindfulness was associated with higher levels of happiness directly and also indirectly by being associated with higher levels of resilience which in turn were associated with higher happiness and also with lower levels of stress that were also in turn associated with greater happiness.

 

Hence, mindful students are happier, more resilient, and less stressed students all of which contribute to their happiness. Be mindful and be happy.

 

we’re happiest when we are mindful of the moment, and we’re least happy when the mind is wandering.” – Melli O’Brian

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Bajaj, B., Khoury, B., & Sengupta, S. (2022). Resilience and Stress as Mediators in the Relationship of Mindfulness and Happiness. Frontiers in psychology, 13, 771263. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.771263

 

Abstract

The aim of the present study was to examine the mediation effects of resilience and stress, two perceived opposite constructs, in the relationship between mindfulness and happiness. Mindful Attention Awareness Scale, Connor–Davidson Resilience Scale, Subjective Happiness Scale, Depression Anxiety Stress Scales short version-21 were administered to 523 undergraduate university students in India. Structural Equation Modeling with bootstrapping was applied to test the mediating effects of resilience and stress. Results showed that resilience and stress partially mediated the mindfulness-happiness relationship. In addition, resilience partially mediated the relationship of mindfulness to stress. Findings suggest that mindfulness may play an influential role in enhancing happiness through the mediating effects of resilience and stress.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8850270/

 

Be Happier, More Resilient, and Less Stressed with Mindfulness

Be Happier, More Resilient, and Less Stressed with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

There is no way to happiness — happiness is the way.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Being mindful increases happiness, improves the ability to bounce back from difficulties, resilience, and reduces physiological and psychological responses to stress. These effects are well established. But it is not known how mindfulness, resilience, and stress interact.

 

In today’s Research News article “Resilience and Stress as Mediators in the Relationship of Mindfulness and Happiness.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.771263/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1816931_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20220215_arts_A ) Bajaj and colleagues measure mindfulness, resilience and stress in college students and find that mindfulness is associated with greater happiness not only by directly promoting happiness but also indirectly. First it is associated with increased resilience, and this is associated with higher happiness and second, mindfulness is associated with less stress and being less stressed, not surprisingly, improves happiness.

 

This suggests that be happier mindfulness should be practiced, to be more resilient and thereby happier mindfulness should be practiced, and to be better at dealing with stress and thereby happier mindfulness should be practiced.

 

Happiness, not in another place but this place… not for another hour, but this hour.” – Walt Whitman

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Bajaj B, Khoury B and Sengupta S (2022) Resilience and Stress as Mediators in the Relationship of Mindfulness and Happiness. Front. Psychol. 13:771263. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.771263

 

The aim of the present study was to examine the mediation effects of resilience and stress, two perceived opposite constructs, in the relationship between mindfulness and happiness. Mindful Attention Awareness Scale, Connor–Davidson Resilience Scale, Subjective Happiness Scale, Depression Anxiety Stress Scales short version-21 were administered to 523 undergraduate university students in India. Structural Equation Modeling with bootstrapping was applied to test the mediating effects of resilience and stress. Results showed that resilience and stress partially mediated the mindfulness-happiness relationship. In addition, resilience partially mediated the relationship of mindfulness to stress. Findings suggest that mindfulness may play an influential role in enhancing happiness through the mediating effects of resilience and stress.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.771263/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1816931_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20220215_arts_A

 

Increase the Levels of the Anti-Stress Hormone Dehydroepiandrosterone with Mindfulness

Increase the Levels of the Anti-Stress Hormone Dehydroepiandrosterone with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Best known by researchers as the “longevity molecule” and stress counter-puncher, DHEA is one of the most important hormones in the body. As we get older our DHEA levels decrease year after year, opening us up to disease and accelerated aging. . . Luckily, meditation provides a dramatic boost in DHEA hormone levels.” –  EOC Institute

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to improve health and well-being in healthy individuals. It has also been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. One of the primary effects of mindfulness that may be responsible for many of its benefits is that it improves the physiological and psychological responses to stress. Stress is accompanied by release of stress-related hormones such as cortisol. But it is also associated with release of the steroid hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) which tends to counteract the negative effects of cortisol. This would predict that, mindfulness training would result in an increase in DHEA in stressed individuals. But this prediction has not been assessed.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate in adults with self-reported stress. A randomized trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8604255/ ) Jørgensen and colleagues recruited adults with self-reported high levels of stress and randomly assigned them to a wait-list control condition, or to receive either weekly 90-minute sessions for 8 weeks of either Local Stress Reduction (LSR) or Mindfulness-Based Stress reduction (MBSR). LSR was based upon Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and differed from MBSR in a number of ways but primarily on an emphasis on cognitive behavioral changes. The participants had blood drawn before and after the programs and assayed for dehydroepiandrosterone‐sulfate (DHEAS). They were also measured for resilience, and well-being.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline, the wait-list control group, and the group that received Local Stress Reduction (LSR), the group that received Mindfulness-Based Stress reduction (MBSR) had significantly higher levels of dehydroepiandrosterone‐sulfate (DHEAS), resilience and well-being. A strength of this study was then inclusion of an active control condition, LSR. This eliminates a large number of alternative confounding interpretations of the results and makes the conclusions much stronger of MBSR causing the effects.

 

DHEAS is a hormone that tends to counteract the deleterious effects of stress hormones. Hence, MBSR improved both the psychological and physiological well-being of the high stress participants. High levels of stress are a major source of ill health. So, counteracting the effects of stress may be an important contributor to the health and well-being of the individual. This is particularly important for individual experiencing high levels of perceived stress as in the present study..

 

So, increase the levels of the anti-stress hormone dehydroepiandrosterone with mindfulness.

 

DHEA is one of the most important hormones in the body. It helps counteract the effects of cortisol as well as provide the raw materials for making other necessary hormones. Low DHEA is linked to increased risk of mortality. Individuals who practice meditation have 43 percent more DHEA than their peers.” –  Renew Youth

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Jørgensen, M. A., Pallesen, K. J., Fjorback, L. O., & Juul, L. (2021). Effect of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate in adults with self-reported stress. A randomized trial. Clinical and translational science, 14(6), 2360–2369. https://doi.org/10.1111/cts.13100

 

Abstract

Long‐term stress can lead to long‐term increased cortisol plasma levels, which increases the risk of numerous diseases. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its sulfated form dehydroepiandrosterone‐sulfate (DHEAS), together DHEA(S), have shown to counteract some of the effects of cortisol and may be protective during stress. The program “Mindfulness‐Based Stress Reduction” (MBSR) has shown to have positive effects on stress. The present study examined a possible effect of MBSR on DHEAS in plasma compared to a waiting list and a locally developed stress reduction program (LSR) in people with self‐reported stress. The study was a three‐armed randomized controlled trial conducted in a municipal health care center in Denmark. It included 71 participants with self‐reported stress randomized to either MBSR (n = 24) or LSR (n = 23), or a waiting list (n = 24). Blood samples were collected at baseline and at 12 weeks follow‐up to estimate effects of MBSR on DHEAS. The effect of MBSR on DHEAS was statistically significant compared to both the waiting list and LSR. We found a mean effect of 0.70 µmol/L (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.18–1.22) higher DHEAS in the MBSR group compared with the waiting list group and a mean effect of 0.54 µmol/L (95% CI = 0.04–1.05) higher DHEAS in the MBSR group compared with the LSR group. Findings indicate an effect on DHEAS of the MBSR program compared to a waiting list and LSR program in people with self‐reported stress. However, we consider our findings hypothesis‐generating and validation by future studies is essential.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8604255/

Mindfulness Components of Decentering, Acceptance, and Non-Attachment are All Subsumed as a “Delusion of Me”

Mindfulness Components of Decentering, Acceptance, and Non-Attachment are All Subsumed as a “Delusion of Me”

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

You’re not really selfless- I am!” – Joseph Goldstein

 

Most people strongly believe that they have a self, an ego. Reflecting this, our language is replete with concepts that contain self; oneself, myself, himself, herself, ourselves, self-concept, self-esteem, self-love, self-regard, selfless, selfish, selfhood, selfie, etc. But particularly note the term self-concept. It directly states that self is a concept. It is not a thing. It is an idea.  This is important, as most of us think that there is a thing that is the self, when, in fact, there is not. A concept is a way to summarize a set of phenomena that appear to have common properties, such as fruit, or more abstractly, attention. But note there is not a single entity that is fruit. It is a set of things that are grouped together by common biological factors. The idea of attention is not a thing. Rather it refers to a set of processes. This is also true of the concept of self.

 

The problem with the idea of a self is that it can lead to not seeing things as they are, a rigidity in approaching the world, and psychological distress. Mindfulness practices are thought to alter or even eliminate the idea of a self. These practices are thought to change different components of the self, producing decentering, acceptance, and non-attachment. But the meanings of these concepts have major overlaps. This suggests that they may be measuring in part a similar component. A statistical method to tease out common factors is called factor analysis. Perhaps it can identify the common component contained in decentering, acceptance, and non-attachment.

 

In today’s Research News article “Decentering, Acceptance, and Non-Attachment: Challenging the Question “Is It Me?”.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8637104/ ) Soler and colleagues recruited adults online who were meditators and meditation naïve participants and had them complete an online survey measuring mindfulness, decentering, non-attachment, resilience, anxiety, depression, and stress. These data were then subjected to an exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses.

 

They identified a general factor that subsumed the three constructs of decentering, acceptance, and non-attachment. When the shared general factor was present the individual differences between the concepts were minimal. They labelled the general factor as “Delusion of Me”. This refers to seeing that the self is a delusion. Decentering reflects just that, acceptance reflects seeing things as they are, and non-attachment reflects an absence of a fixation on ideas like those generated by a self. So, all three concepts contribute to the dissolution of an idea of self and the advancement of an understanding that the self is but a delusion.

 

They found that the higher the levels of this general factor, “Delusion of Me,” the higher the levels of resilience. This suggests that the idea of self reduces latitude of actions making one less resilient. This in turn explains why mindfulness training significantly improves resilience. In addition, the higher the levels of “Delusion of Me” the lower the levels of depression. This suggests that the idea that there is a self leads to a rigidity in processing experiences producing expectations of how things should be, and this contributes to feelings of depression. This also explains why mindfulness training significantly reduces depression.

 

These findings are correlational and as such do not determine causation. It is possible that a lack of resilience and the presence of depression produces a concept of “Me”. But the findings open up a potentially fruitful avenue of research by specifying a specific conceptual variable which may contribute to psychological well-being. This may lead to more focused therapeutic techniques that may better treat mental illness and contribute to human thriving.

 

So, mindfulness components of decentering, acceptance, and non-attachment are all subsumed as a “Delusion of Me”.

 

delusion is a state of not realizing what it is that we actually know, and what we don’t know — and not asking the right questions. It is a state of failure or resistance to see things as they actually are.” – Sharon Salzberg

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Soler J, Montero-Marin J, Domínguez-Clavé E, González S, Pascual JC, Cebolla A, Demarzo M, Analayo B, García-Campayo J. Decentering, Acceptance, and Non-Attachment: Challenging the Question “Is It Me?”. Front Psychiatry. 2021 Nov 18;12:659835. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.659835. PMID: 34867498; PMCID: PMC8637104.

 

Abstract

Among mindfulness measures the three constructs acceptance, decentering, and non-attachment are psychometrically closely related, despite their apparent semantic differences. These three facets present robust psychometric features and can be considered core themes in most “third wave” clinical models. The aim of the present study was to explore the apparently different content domains (acceptance, decentering, and non-attachment) by administering various psychometric scales in a large sample of 608 volunteers. Resilience and depression were also assessed. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses performed in two randomly selected subsamples showed a bifactor approximation. The explained common variance suggested a unidimensional nature for the general factor, with good psychometric properties, which we named “Delusion of Me” (DoM). This construct is also strongly correlated with resilience and depression, and appears to be a solid latent general construct closely related to the concept of “ego.” DoM emerges as a potentially transdiagnostic construct with influence on well-being and clinical indexes such as resilience and depression. Further studies should analyze the potential utility of this new construct at a therapeutic level.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8637104/

 

Improve Cognitive and Socio-Emotional Skills in Children with Mindfulness

Improve Cognitive and Socio-Emotional Skills in Children with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Teaching mindfulness to kids can also help shape three critical skills developed in early childhood: paying attention and remembering information, shifting back and forth between tasks, and behaving appropriately with others.” – Christopher Willard

 

Childhood is a miraculous period during which the child is dynamically absorbing information from every aspect of its environment. This is particularly evident during the elementary school years. Mindfulness training in school has been shown to have very positive effects. These include improvements in the cognitive, psychological, emotional and social domains. Importantly, mindfulness training in school appears to improve attentional ability which is fundamental to success in all aspects of academic performance. The research evidence has been accumulating. So, there is a need to summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Exploring the Effects of Meditation Techniques Used by Mindfulness-Based Programs on the Cognitive, Social-Emotional, and Academic Skills of Children: A Systematic Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.660650/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1778822_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211123_arts_A ) Filipe and colleagues review and summarize the published controlled research studies on the effects of mindfulness training on 6-12 year old children. They found 29 published research articles.

 

They report that the published research found that mindfulness training produced significant improvements in the children’s cognitive skills, including overall executive functions, attention, concentration, inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility, and immediate auditory-verbal memory. They also found that there were significant improvements in socio-emotional skills, including stress, wellbeing, mindfulness, self-esteem, resilience, psychological happiness, empathy, perspective-taking, emotional control, optimism, depression, internalizing problems, peer aggression, prosocial behavior, peer acceptance, anxiety, self-control, self-regulation, mental health problems, quality of life, self-compassion, acceptance, relaxation, happiness, aggressive behaviors, and social competence. But only one of the 29 studies reported improvements in academic skills.

 

The published research makes a strong case for the effectiveness of mindfulness training to improve the cognitive and socio-emotional skills on children. But there is little evidence for improvement in academic performance. Unfortunately, only 9 of the 29 studies employed strong research designs (randomized controlled trails). So, there is a need for further research with high quality research designs. Nevertheless, the consistency and magnitude of the findings suggest robust positive effects of mindfulness trainings on a myriad of cognitive, social, and emotional skills in children. These are important benefits for these developing humans that may have important contributions to their growth and well-being, perhaps eventually making them better adults. As such, mindfulness training should be incorporated into the school curriculum.

 

So, improve cognitive and socio-emotional skills in children with mindfulness.

 

For children, mindfulness can offer relief from whatever difficulties they might be encountering in life. It also gives them the beauty of being in the present moment.” – Annaka Harris

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Filipe MG, Magalhães S, Veloso AS, Costa AF, Ribeiro L, Araújo P, Castro SL and Limpo T (2021) Exploring the Effects of Meditation Techniques Used by Mindfulness-Based Programs on the Cognitive, Social-Emotional, and Academic Skills of Children: A Systematic Review. Front. Psychol. 12:660650. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.660650

 

There is evidence for the positive impact of mindfulness in children. However, little is known about the techniques through which mindfulness practice results in differential outcomes. Therefore, this study intended to systematically review the available evidence about the efficacy of meditation techniques used by mindfulness-based programs on cognitive, socio-emotional, and academic skills of children from 6 to 12 years of age. The review was registered on the PROSPERO database, and the literature search was conducted according to PICO criteria and PRISMA guidelines. The EBSCO databases were searched, and 29 studies were eligible: nine randomized controlled trials and 20 quasi-experimental studies. All the included randomized controlled trials were rated as having a high risk of bias. Overall, the evidence for mindfulness techniques improving cognitive and socio-emotional skills was reasonably strong. Specifically, for cognitive skills, results showed that all the interventions used “body-centered meditations” and “mindful observations.” Regarding socio-emotional skills, although all the studies applied “body-centered meditations” and “mindful observations,” “affect-centered meditations” were also frequent. For academic skills, just one quasi-experimental trial found improvements, thus making it difficult to draw conclusions. Further research is crucial to evaluate the unique effects of different meditation techniques on the cognitive, social-emotional, and academic skills of children.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.660650/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1778822_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211123_arts_A