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

 

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

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

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

 

Abstract

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

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

 

Improve Forgiveness, Character, and Satisfaction with Life with a Smartphone Mindfulness App

Improve Forgiveness, Character, and Satisfaction with Life with a Smartphone Mindfulness App

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness can promote forgiveness. We have known for many years that mindfulness helps people cope with stress and increases their wellbeing. These studies suggest that mindfulness can also enhance the quality of our relationships with other people by affecting how forgiving we are.” – Johan Karremans

 

Mindfulness training has been shown through extensive research to be effective in improving physical and psychological health and particularly with reducing the physical and psychological reactions to stress and increasing resilience in the face of stress. So, mindfulness training may be particularly effective in promoting well-being even during a stressful time like the lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

The vast majority of the mindfulness training techniques, however, require a trained therapist. This results in costs that many clients can’t afford. In addition, the participants must be available to attend multiple sessions at particular scheduled times that may or may not be compatible with their busy schedules and at locations that may not be convenient. As an alternative, mindfulness training with smartphone apps have been developed. These have tremendous advantages in decreasing costs, making training schedules much more flexible, and eliminating the need to go repeatedly to specific locations. In addition, research has indicated that mindfulness training with smartphone apps can be effective for improving the health and well-being of the participants.

 

In today’s Research News article “Influence on Forgiveness, Character Strengths and Satisfaction with Life of a Short Mindfulness Intervention via a Spanish Smartphone Application.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7832842/ )  Pizarro-Ruiz and colleagues recruited college students during Covid-19 confinement and randomly assigned them to perform a smartphone app guided practice of either mindfulness (Aire Fresco) or mental exercises (Luminosity) once a day for 14 days. They were measured before and after training for mindfulness, positive and negative emotions, forgiveness, satisfaction with life, and 3 strengths, temperance, intellectual, and interpersonal. A strength of the study was that the control condition was highly similar to the experimental condition. This makes the results and conclusions resistant to confounding.

 

They found that at baseline the higher the levels of mindfulness the higher the levels of positive emotions, forgiveness, satisfaction with life, and temperance, and the lower the levels of negative emotions. In comparison to baseline and the mental exercise control group, after the interventions the mindfulness group had significantly greater decreases in negative emotions and significantly greater increases in forgiveness, intellectual and interpersonal strength and mindfulness, including the observe, describe, act with awareness, and non-judgment facets.

 

The findings are similar to previous findings that mindfulness training improves emotions, satisfaction with life, forgiveness and intellectual and interpersonal strength. This study, however, demonstrates that training mindfulness with a smartphone app is effective in improving the mood and mental health of college students locked down during a pandemic. Since, during a pandemic lockdown access to trained therapists is extremely limited, employing an smartphone app is one of the few available methods to receive mindfulness training. The results suggest that mindfulness smartphone apps should be recommended to help counteract the deleterious effects of a stressful and isolating situation.

 

So, improve forgiveness, character, and satisfaction with life with a smartphone mindfulness app.

 

mindfulness may meet the defining characteristics of character strength, it is really “an attentional stance, or a way of relating to one’s present-moment experience, that probably cultivates a wide range of strengths and virtues” – Karrie Shogren

 

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

 

Pizarro-Ruiz, J. P., Ordóñez-Camblor, N., Del-Líbano, M., & Escolar-LLamazares, M. C. (2021). Influence on Forgiveness, Character Strengths and Satisfaction with Life of a Short Mindfulness Intervention via a Spanish Smartphone Application. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(2), 802. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020802

 

Abstract

Mindfulness-based interventions (MBI) are a recognized effective psychological practice characterized by attention control, awareness, acceptance, non-reactivity, and non-judgmental thinking obtained through the practice of meditation. They have been shown to be useful in reducing stress and enhancing well-being in different contexts. In this research, the effectiveness of an MBI was evaluated on variables that can promote successful job performance such as mindfulness trait, positive and negative affect, forgiveness, personality strengths and satisfaction with life. The intervention was carried out through a smartphone application called “Aire Fresco” (Fresh Air) during 14 days in the middle of the quarantine produced by the Covid-19 pandemic. The study sample was composed of 164 Spanish people who were distributed in two groups: control group and experimental group, which were evaluated before and after the intervention. The MANCOVA performed showed an overall positive effect of the intervention on the variables evaluated. The different ANCOVAs carried out showed that the intervention was beneficial in increasing mindfulness trait, reducing negative affect or increasing life satisfaction, among others. Our study is, as far as we know, the first to demonstrate the effectiveness of a brief intervention in mindfulness conducted using a smartphone application in Spanish.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7832842/

 

Nature-Based and Mind-Body Practices Produce Cost-Effective Improvements in Life Satisfaction and Happiness

Nature-Based and Mind-Body Practices Produce Cost-Effective Improvements in Life Satisfaction and Happiness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

our emotional connections with nature are predictive of our attitudes and the choices we make about living sustainable lifestyles. But in addition, the study also found a unique connection between nature and happiness itself.” – Marilyn Price-Mitchell

 

Modern living is stressful, perhaps, in part because it has divorced us from the natural world that our species was immersed in throughout its evolutionary history. Modern environments may be damaging to our health and well-being simply because the species did not evolve to cope with them. This suggests that returning to nature, at least occasionally, may be beneficial. Indeed, researchers are beginning to study nature walks or what the Japanese call “Forest Bathing” and their effects on our mental and physical health.

 

A variety of forms of mindfulness training including mind-body practices have been shown to increase psychological well-being and happiness. People have long reported that walking in nature elevates their mood and Tai Chi practice has also been found to increase happiness. The evidence has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned

 

In today’s Research News article “Nature-Based Interventions and Mind-Body Interventions: Saving Public Health Costs Whilst Increasing Life Satisfaction and Happiness.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7660642/ ) Pretty and Barton analyze four databases (Green Light Trust (n = 32), Trust Links Growing Together (n = 328), Ecominds green care interventions (n = 154), and a tai chi programme (n = 128) on the effects of nature-based and mind-body interventions on satisfaction with life and happiness. These interventions included woodland therapy, therapeutic horticulture, ecotherapy/green care, and tai chi.They then compared the costs of these programs to the costs of public health and other services to produce comparable changes in life satisfaction and happiness. They also looked at the cost savings produced by nature-based and mind-body interventions in preventing the use of other medical and psychological services.

 

They report that the analysis demonstrated that all nature-based and Tai Chi interventions produced large and significant improvements in satisfaction with life and happiness and these improvements were still present 2 years later. They report that the magnitude of these changes is substantially greater than those produced by major life events such as marriage, birth of a child, etc. They find that the economic impact of these programs is substantial and estimated savings of between £6000–£14,000 per person per year.

 

These findings are remarkable and suggest that nature-based and Tai Chi interventions are highly effective in improving life satisfaction and happiness. These improvements are not only psychological but also economic saving money by reducing the need for medical and other services. These programs then produce great value for the money. It is recommended that such programs should be incorporated into standard public health services.

 

So, nature-based and mind-body practices produce cost-effective improvements in life satisfaction and happiness.

 

If you want to further your happiness and success, then having a mind-body-spirit connection is vital. “– Health and Happiness

 

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

 

Pretty, J., & Barton, J. (2020). Nature-Based Interventions and Mind-Body Interventions: Saving Public Health Costs Whilst Increasing Life Satisfaction and Happiness. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(21), 7769. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17217769

 

Abstract

A number of countries have begun to adopt prevention pays policies and practices to reduce pressure on health and social care systems. Most affluent countries have seen substantial increases in the incidence and costs of non-communicable diseases. The interest in social models for health has led to the growth in use of social prescribing and psychological therapies. At the same time, there has been growth in application of a variety of nature-based and mind–body interventions (NBIs and MBIs) aimed at improving health and longevity. We assess four NBI/MBI programmes (woodland therapy, therapeutic horticulture, ecotherapy/green care, and tai chi) on life satisfaction/happiness and costs of use of public services. These interventions produce rises in life satisfaction/happiness of 1.00 pts to 7.29 (n = 644; p < 0.001) (for courses or participation >50 h). These increases are greater than many positive life events (e.g., marriage or a new child); few countries or cities see +1 pt increases over a decade. The net present economic benefits per person from reduced public service use are £830–£31,520 (after 1 year) and £6450–£11,980 (after 10 years). We conclude that NBIs and MBIs can play a role in helping to reduce the costs on health systems, while increasing the well-being of participants.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7660642/

 

Spirituality is Associated with the Long-Term Psychological Health of Cancer Survivors

Spirituality is Associated with the Long-Term Psychological Health of Cancer Survivors

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“spiritual or religious beliefs and practices create a positive mental attitude that may help a patient feel better and improve the well-being of family caregivers. Spiritual and religious well-being may help improve health and quality of life.” – National Cancer Institute

 

Surviving cancer has a huge impact on most people. Feelings of depression, anxiety, and fear are very common and are normal responses to this life-changing experience. These feeling can result from changes in body image, changes to family and work roles, feelings of grief at these losses, and physical symptoms such as pain, nausea, or fatigue. People might also fear death, suffering, pain, or all the unknown things that lie ahead. So, coping with the emotions and stress of a surviving cancer is a challenge and there are no simple treatments for these psychological sequelae of cancer.

 

Religion and spirituality become much more important to people when they survive cancer. It is thought that people take comfort in the spiritual when facing mortality. Hence, spirituality may be useful for the survivors of cancer to cope with their illness and the psychological difficulties resulting from the disease. Thus, there is a need to study the relationships of spirituality on the long-term psychological health of cancer survivors.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Influence of Daily Spiritual Experiences and Gender on Subjective Well-Being Over Time in Cancer Survivors.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7500286/ ) Rudaz and colleagues garnered data from the longitudinal Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study

of adults that was collected in 2005 and again in 2015. They selected participants who reported having survived cancer and extracted data on spiritual and religious coping, daily spiritual experiences, life satisfaction, positive emotions, and negative emotions.

 

They report that for both men and women the higher the levels of spiritual experiences at baseline the higher the levels of religious coping, life satisfaction, and positive emotions, and the lower the levels of negative emotions at baseline and 10 years later. In addition, they found that spiritual experiences at baseline moderated the association of life satisfaction at baseline with life satisfaction 10 years later such that participants with low life satisfaction at baseline had a greater increase in life satisfaction 10 years later when they were higher in spiritual experiences. Also, they found that for men but not women that spiritual experiences at baseline moderated the association of positive emotions at baseline with positive emotions 10 years later such that men with low positive emotions at baseline had a greater increase in positive emotions 10 years later when they were higher in spiritual experiences.

 

These results are correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. But they show that cancer survivors having high levels of spirituality is associated with better psychological health and this is maintained over time. They also show that spirituality is associated with better psychological health 10 years later in cancer survivors who were low in life satisfaction and positive emotions. Hence, spirituality is important for the psychological health of cancer survivors and this lasts over decades.

 

So, spirituality is associated with the long-term psychological health of cancer survivors.

 

“Patients reporting greater overall religiousness and spirituality also reported better physical health, greater ability to perform their usual daily tasks, and fewer physical symptoms of cancer and treatment.” – Science Daily

 

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

 

Rudaz, M., Ledermann, T., & Grzywacz, J. G. (2019). The Influence of Daily Spiritual Experiences and Gender on Subjective Well-Being Over Time in Cancer Survivors. Archive for the psychology of religion = Archiv fur Religionspsychologie, 41(2), 159–171. https://doi.org/10.1177/0084672419839800

 

Abstract

Cancer survivors are at risk for poor subjective well-being, but the potential beneficial effect of daily spiritual experiences is unknown. Using data from the second and third wave of the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study, we examined the extent to which daily spiritual experiences at baseline moderate the association between subjective well-being at baseline and approximately 10 years later in cancer survivors (n = 288). Regression analyses, controlled for age, educational attainment, and religious/spiritual coping, showed that daily spiritual experiences moderated the association between life satisfaction at baseline and follow-up. Specifically, high spiritual experiences enhanced life satisfaction over time in cancer survivors with low life satisfaction at baseline. Also, daily spiritual experiences moderated the association between positive affect at baseline and follow-up, though this moderating effect was different for women and men. No moderating effect emerged for negative affect.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7500286/

 

Reduce College Students Self-Criticism with Mindful Lovingkindness Training

Reduce College Students Self-Criticism with Mindful Lovingkindness Training

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“What’s so amazing about mindfulness practice is we can use mindfulness to be aware when we have those self-critical voices, and we can label that voice as “judging”. We can notice when we have those judging voices because we have a mindfulness practice that allows us to have quite a bit more self-awareness, more ability to regulate emotions, and all of the positive things that come with the mindfulness practice.“ – Diana Winston

 

In the modern world education is a key for success. Where a high school education was sufficient in previous generations, a college degree is now required to succeed in the new knowledge-based economies. There is a lot of pressure on students to excel so that they can get the best jobs after graduation. This stress might in fact be counterproductive as the increased pressure can actually lead to stress and anxiety which can impede the student’s physical and mental health, well-being, and school performance. This is particularly true in very competitive Asian countries like Korea. This can lead to extreme self-criticism where the individual is never happy with themselves producing great unhappiness and psychological distress.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown through extensive research to be effective in improving physical and psychological reactions to stress and resilience in the face of stress. It has also been found to promote the well-being of college students. Mindfulness has been found to improve self-esteem.  One understudied meditation technique is Loving Kindness Meditation. It is designed to develop kindness and compassion to oneself and others. 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. Although Loving Kindness Meditation has been practiced for centuries, it has received very little scientific research attention. But it may be effective in counteracting the effects of stress and self-criticism.

 

In today’s Research News article “Psychological and Physiological Effects of the Mindful Lovingkindness Compassion Program on Highly Self-Critical University Students in South Korea.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.585743/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1463957_69_Psycho_20201022_arts_A ) Noh and colleagues recruited healthy Korean college students who were high in self-criticism and randomly assigned them to either a wait-list control condition or to receive a Mindful Lovingkindness Compassion program. The training consisted of 8 2-hour sessions over 6 weeks of mindfulness meditation and Loving Kindness Meditation. They were measured before and after training and one and three months later for self-criticism, self-reassurance, mindfulness, compassion, shame, anxiety, depression, fears of compassion, satisfaction with life, and heart rate variability.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control group, the Mindful Lovingkindness Compassion group had significantly higher self-reassurance, mindfulness, compassion, and satisfaction with life, and significantly lower self-criticism, shame, anxiety, depression, and fears of compassion. These improvements continued to be present 1 and 3 months after the completion of training. In addition, the Mindful Lovingkindness Compassion group had significantly higher heart rate variability.

 

The interpretation of these results has to be tempered with the knowledge that the comparison, control, condition was passive. This opens the study up to a number of potential confoundings. Nevertheless, the results are similar to those of prior research that found that mindfulness training produces higher self-reassurance, compassion, and satisfaction with life, and lower self-criticism, shame, anxiety, and depression. Hence, the current study suggests that Mindful Lovingkindness Compassion training produces improved psychological health in highly self-critical college students. In addition, the increased heart rate variability observed suggests that the trained students had greater physiological relaxation, probably indicating a great resistance to the effects of stress.

 

This is important for the well-being of college students. They are under great pressure to perform especially in Asian countries like Korea. Combining that with high levels of self-criticism is a formula for psychological and physical problems. The kind of mindfulness and loving kindness training employed here appears to be able to markedly counteract the deleterious effects of these forces and produce greater relaxation and overall well-being.

 

So, reduce college students’ self-criticism with Mindful Lovingkindness training.

 

Self-criticism is an unhelpful habit that can sometimes be destructive and cause emotional ill-health. . . Through practicing mindfulness and self-compassion you can loosen up old self-critical habits that may have been present from childhood and develop a kinder, more appreciative way of being with yourself.” – Linda Hall

 

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

 

Noh S and Cho H (2020) Psychological and Physiological Effects of the Mindful Lovingkindness Compassion Program on Highly Self-Critical University Students in South Korea. Front. Psychol. 11:585743. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.585743

 

Objectives: Self-critical behavior is especially relevant for university students who face academic and non-academic stressors, leading to negative outcomes such as mental distress and psychopathologies. To address this behavior, mindfulness and compassion are important factors to decrease self-criticism and ensure positive outcomes. This study examined the psychological and physiological effects of an intervention, the Mindful Lovingkindness Compassion Program (MLCP), on highly self-critical university students in South Korea.

Methods: Thirty-eight university students with a high level of self-criticism were assigned to an MLCP group (n = 18) or waitlist (WL) group (n = 20). Self-report measures of self-criticism, self-reassurance, psychological distress, and other mental health variables were completed, and the physiological measure of heart rate variability (HRV) was conducted before and after the intervention with both groups. In addition, 1- and 3-month follow-up assessments were conducted using self-report measurements.

Results: Compared to the WL group, participants in the MLCP group experienced significantly greater reductions in self-criticism and psychological distress, and a greater increase in self-reassurance, mental health, and HRV. The improvements in the self-report measures were maintained when assessed 1 and 3 months later.

Conclusions: MLCP could be a promising intervention for alleviating self-criticism and increasing self-reassurance among self-critical individuals.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.585743/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1463957_69_Psycho_20201022_arts_A

Reduce Aggressiveness in Militant Extremists with Yoga

Reduce Aggressiveness in Militant Extremists with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

yoga helps to improve symptoms of anxiety and depression in prisoners, and crucially, decreases impulsivity—a known factor in much prison violence.” – Georgia Pike

 

As Mahatma Gandhi has recognized “Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.” It attempts to rectify the problem quickly, but the roots of the problem are deep and violence does not address the roots. It only deals with the surface manifestations. This is on display with militant extremists where violence has begot violence for centuries. Rather than solving the root problems, it has instead led to more and more hatred, violence, and deeper and deeper problems.

 

Militant extremism has been increasing recently. Obviously, there is a need in modern society to find methods to reduce violent and aggressive tendencies in extremists who have been captured. Mindfulness training has been shown to reduce aggression and hostility. Yoga is a mindfulness practice whose effects on violent and aggressive behaviors have not been well studied. So, it makes sense to study the effectiveness of yoga practice in reducing aggressive tendencies in captured extremists.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effectiveness of a Comprehensive Yoga Program on Convicted Extremist Offenders.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6937884/), Kanchibhotla and colleagues examine the ability of yoga practice to reduce aggressiveness in militant extremists. They recruited ULFA militant extremists in Northern India who had surrendered their arms. They completed a 40-day intensive yoga workshop including postures, breathing exercises, meditation, singing, and discussions. They were measured before and after training for aggression, satisfaction with life, and quality of life including 4 dimensions, physical health, social relationships, environment, and psychological health.

 

They found that after treatment there were significant decreases in aggression including physical aggression, verbal aggression, anger, and hostile behavior. They also found significant improvements in satisfaction with life, and quality of life including physical health, environment, and psychological health.

 

It should be noted that there wasn’t a comparison, control, group. So, the study is open to many potential confounding influences and the results must be interpreted with great caution. But the study group is so unique that the findings should be considered. Yoga practice has been shown in a number of well controlled studies to reduce aggression, and improve quality of life, and satisfaction with life and reduce aggression and violence in prisoners. So, it is reasonable to suggest that the intensive yoga workshop was effective in improving the psychological health of the militant extremists.

 

This suggests that yoga practice and perhaps other mind-body practices may be effective in reducing hostility and aggression in even the most extreme offenders. This also suggests that yoga practice may be useful in treating violent and aggressive individuals generally. This may intervene and disrupt the circle of escalating violence better addressing the roots of the problem.

 

So, reduce aggressiveness in militant extremists with yoga.

 

“subjects in the yoga group showed a significant improvement from the baseline performance in aggression and results . . . are consistent with earlier researches on yoga to reduce aggression.” – Umesh Dwivedi

 

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

 

Kanchibhotla, D., Kulkarni, S., & Singh, S. (2020). Effectiveness of a Comprehensive Yoga Program on Convicted Extremist Offenders. International journal of yoga, 13(1), 50–54. https://doi.org/10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_79_18

 

Abstract

Objective:

The present study aimed to explore the effect of yoga techniques on well-being and behavior among those who have propagated and participated in extreme violence and aggression. The sample comprised 219 United Liberation Front of Assam militants selected immediately after surrender of arms in the year 2012 from all over northeast region of India.

Methodology:

The study design was a single group with pre- and posttest assessment. All participants attended a 40-day intensive Yoga workshop (Sudarshan Kriya Yoga, Pranayama, Physical postures or Hatha Yoga, Meditation) conducted at Art of Living International Centre, Bengaluru. The impact of spiritual practices was observed on peace, aggression, life satisfaction, and quality of life in individuals using the aggression Buss Perry questionnaire, WHOQOL-BREF, and Satisfaction with Life Scale. The questionnaires were administered at the beginning and at the end of the 40-day workshop.

Results:

Significant results using paired t-test clearly demonstrate that by following yoga techniques (Sudarshan Kriya, Yoga, and Meditation), a reduction in aggression, quality of life, and life satisfaction can be obtained. These practices can be useful for people who want to rehabilitate themselves after incarceration or experience of militancy. The purpose of these measures is to reduce the risk of future criminality by those already convicted of violent extremist offenses, thereby protecting public safety while also benefiting individuals and communities.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6937884/

 

Spirituality is Associated with Enhanced Well-Being

Spirituality is Associated with Enhanced Well-Being

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

despite differences in specific rituals and beliefs among the world’s major religions, that being spiritual tended to improve someone’s health, regardless of his or her actual religion.” – Christopher Bergland

 

Religion and spirituality have been promulgated as solutions to the challenges of life both in a transcendent sense and in a practical sense. What evidence is there that these claims are in fact true? The transcendent claims are untestable with the scientific method. But the practical claims are amenable to scientific analysis. There have been a number of studies of the influence of religiosity and spirituality on the physical and psychological well-being of practitioners mostly showing positive benefits, with spirituality encouraging personal growth and mental health.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Role of Spirituality and Religiosity in Subjective Well-Being of Individuals With Different Religious Status.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6630357/), Villani and colleagues recruited adults online and had them complete an online questionnaire. They were measured for life satisfaction, positive and negative emotions, spirituality, including purpose, innerness, interconnection, and transcendence, and religiosity, including commitment, in-depth exploration, and reconsideration of commitment. Path analysis was used to investigate the interrelationships of these variables.

 

They found that the spirituality dimension of purpose was positively associated with life satisfaction and positive emotions while the dimension if innerness was negatively associated with negative emotions. This was found to be true regardless of the participants religiosity. They found that the religiosity dimension of commitment was also positively associated with and positive emotions regardless of the participants religiosity but with life satisfaction for only individuals who considered themselves religious and not individuals who were religiously uncertain. Further they found that the religiosity dimension of commitment was positively associated with and negative emotions for individuals who were religiously uncertain and negatively associated for individuals who considered themselves religious.

 

This study was correlational, so caution must be exercised in inferring causation. Nevertheless, the results suggest that being spiritual is associated with high levels of psychological well-being regardless of whether the individual is religious or uncertain. On the other hand, the results suggest that religiosity is associated with high levels of psychological well-being only for individuals who are religious, while for uncertain individuals, religious commitment actually is associated with poorer well-being.

 

Thus, spirituality is associated with enhanced well-being.

 

“Spirituality/Religion and its role in promoting physical and behavioral health has been embraced in many public health settings as an important tool to promote wellness.” – SAMHSA

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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Study Summary

 

Villani, D., Sorgente, A., Iannello, P., & Antonietti, A. (2019). The Role of Spirituality and Religiosity in Subjective Well-Being of Individuals With Different Religious Status. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 1525. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01525

 

Abstract

Spirituality and religiosity have been found to be positive predictors of subjective well-being, even if results are not altogether consistent across studies. This mixed evidence is probably due to the inadequate operationalization of the constructs as well as the neglect of the moderation effect that the individuals’ religious status can have on the relation between spirituality/religiosity and subjective well-being. The current study aimed to investigate the relationship of spirituality and religiosity with subjective well-being (operationalized as both life satisfaction and balance between positive and negative affect) and to test whether differences exist according to individuals’ religious status (religious, non-religious, and uncertain). Data were collected from 267 Italian adults aged 18–77 (M = 36.68; SD = 15.13), mainly women (59.9%). In order to test the role of spirituality (operationalized as Purpose, Innerness, Interconnection, and Transcendence) and religiosity (operationalized as three dimensions of the religious identity: Commitment, In-depth Exploration, and Reconsideration of Commitment) in subjective well-being, two path analysis models were run, one for each predictor. To test the invariance of the two models across the individuals’ religious status, two multi-group models were run. The models concerning spirituality were tested on the entire sample, finding that spirituality had a positive impact on subjective well-being (except for the dimension of Interconnection) and that this relation is unaffected by the individual’s religious status. The models concerning religiosity were instead tested only on religious and uncertain, finding that the relationship between religiosity and subjective well-being changes across religious status. In particular, the main difference we found was that religious identity commitment positively predicted satisfaction with life among religious, but not among uncertain individuals. An interpretation of the results and their implications are discussed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6630357/