Improve Preschool Teacher Job Satisfaction with Mindfulness

Improve Preschool Teacher Job Satisfaction with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Teachers who engage in mindfulness-based practices have been shown to have lower cortisol levels and to be more responsive and compassionate towards their students, less emotionally reactive, and more intentional in their teaching practices.” – Meghan Robles

 

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 and administrators personally, but also the students and schools, as it produces a loss of enthusiasm, empathy, and compassion. If stress doesn’t produce burnout, it at least can produce lowered psychological well-being and job satisfaction and impair teaching performance.

 

Hence, there is a need to identify methods of reducing stress and improve 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 in a number of work environments. But the relationship of mindfulness on preschool teacher’s job satisfaction has not been explored.

 

In today’s Research News article “Can Trait Mindfulness Improve Job Satisfaction? The Relationship Between Trait Mindfulness and Job Satisfaction of Preschool Teachers: The Sequential Mediating Effect of Basic Psychological Needs and Positive Emotions.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.788035/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1796285_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211223_arts_A ) Song and colleagues recruited kindergarten teachers and had them complete an online survey measuring mindfulness, positive emotions, job satisfaction, and basic psychological needs, including capacity needs, relationship needs, and autonomy needs.

 

They found that the higher the teacher’s level of mindfulness the higher the levels of basic psychological needs, positive emotions, and job satisfaction and the higher the level of positive emotions the higher the levels of basic psychological needs and job satisfaction. Modelling analysis revealed that mindfulness was associated with higher levels of job satisfaction directly and also indirectly by being associated with higher levels of basic psychological needs and positive emotions that were in turn associated with higher levels of job satisfaction.

 

These findings are correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. But previous controlled studies have demonstrated that mindfulness training increases positive emotions, job satisfaction, and basic psychological needs. So, the present findings are probably due to causative effects of mindfulness. This suggests that mindfulness is an important determinant of the psychological well-being of kindergarten teachers leading to satisfaction with their work. This should decrease the likelihood of burnout and improve teaching performance. This further suggests that mindfulness training would be of great benefit for preschool teachers.

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So, improve preschool teacher job satisfaction with mindfulness.

 

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

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Song Z, Pan B and Wang Y (2021) Can Trait Mindfulness Improve Job Satisfaction? The Relationship Between Trait Mindfulness and Job Satisfaction of Preschool Teachers: The Sequential Mediating Effect of Basic Psychological Needs and Positive Emotions. Front. Psychol. 12:788035. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.788035

 

Objective: This study aims to explore the relationship between basic psychological needs and positive emotions of preschool teachers between trait mindfulness and job satisfaction.

Methods: Three hundred and ninety-eight preschool teachers were tested with mindfulness attention awareness scale, basic psychological needs scale, positive emotion scale, and job satisfaction scale.

Results: Preschool teachers trait mindfulness can predict job satisfaction (β = 0.265, p < 0. 001). Preschool teachers trait mindfulness has an indirect impact on job satisfaction through basic psychological needs (β = 0.059, p = 0.002), and preschool teachers trait mindfulness has an indirect impact on job satisfaction through positive emotions (β = 0.123, p < 0. 001). In addition, basic psychological needs and positive emotions play a sequential intermediary role between preschool teachers trait mindfulness and job satisfaction (β = 0.017, p < 0. 001).

Conclusion: Basic psychological needs and positive emotions play a sequential mediating role between preschool teachers trait mindfulness and job satisfaction, and this sequential mediating effect accounts for a high proportion of the total effect.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.788035/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1796285_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211223_arts_A

Reduce Stress and Improve Well-Being in Nursing Students with Mindfulness

Reduce Stress and Improve Well-Being in Nursing Students with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness meditation has a positive impact on nurses’ and nursing students’ stress, anxiety, depression, burnout, sense of well-being and empathy.” – Pamela van der Riet

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. In high stress occupations, like healthcare, burnout is all too prevalent. It is estimated that over 45% of healthcare workers experience burnout. Burnout not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion. So, preventing burnout has to be a priority.

 

It is important that methods be found to reduce the individual’s responses to stress and to improve their resilience. Contemplative practices have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, and improving sleep. Developing mindfulness early in healthcare careers could work to prevent later burnout. There has been considerable research on this topic. So, it makes sense to summarize what has been learned regarding the effects of mindfulness training for nursing students.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Undergraduate Nursing Students in a University Setting: A Narrative Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8621067/ ) McVeigh and colleagues review and summarize the published research on the effectiveness of mindfulness training on the psychological well-being of nursing students. They identified 15 published research studies.

 

They report that the published research found that mindfulness training for nursing students resulted in significant decreases in anxiety, depression, perceived stress, and negative coping strategies, and significant increases in mindfulness, self-efficacy, emotion regulation, and self-awareness. These benefits accrued regardless of the type and form of mindfulness training from meditation, to Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), to mindful movement practice.

 

These results are very promising. Mindfulness training of nursing students appears to markedly improve their psychological well-being. There was no long-term follow-up reported. So, it is not known whether the training has lasting effects and potentially improve resilience to later career stresses and reduce burnout. Future research needs to follow-up to identify whether the effects of this early intervention might assist the nurses in their later careers.

 

So, reduce stress and improve well-being in nursing students with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness practices have been found beneficial for nurses. The program has been found to increase self-compassion, serenity, and empathetic concern as well as decrease burnout and self-reported distress “ – Sandra Bernstein

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are available at the Contemplative Studies Blog http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/ andon Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

McVeigh, C., Ace, L., Ski, C. F., Carswell, C., Burton, S., Rej, S., & Noble, H. (2021). Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Undergraduate Nursing Students in a University Setting: A Narrative Review. Healthcare, 9(11), 1493. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9111493

 

Abstract

(1) Introduction: Undergraduate (UG) nursing students are vulnerable to stress throughout their education, known to result in burnout, with high attrition rates of up to 33%. There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that mindfulness-based interventions are effective for the management of anxiety, depression and wellbeing, thereby reducing stress in healthcare provider populations. The aim of this narrative review was to synthesize and provide a critical overview of the current evidence in relation to mindfulness-based interventions for UG nursing students in a university setting. (2) Methods: A review of the literature was conducted in March 2020 and updated in May 2021, utilising the databases CINAHL, Medline and PsycINFO. (3) Results: Fifteen studies were included in the review, with three common themes identified: (i) the positive impact of mindfulness on holistic wellbeing, (ii) mindfulness-based techniques as a positive coping mechanism within academic and clinical practice, and (iii) approaches to the delivery of mindfulness-based interventions. (4) Conclusions: Mindfulness-based interventions are effective strategies for the management of stress, development of self-awareness and enhanced academic and clinical performance in undergraduate nursing students. No ideal approach to delivery or duration of these interventions was evident from the literature. Best practice in relation to delivery of mindfulness-based interventions for nursing students is recommended for future studies.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8621067/

 

Decrease Anxiety and Improve Test Performance with Virtual Reality Meditation

Decrease Anxiety and Improve Test Performance with Virtual Reality Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“VR based meditation interventions have the potential to play an important role in anxiety management and stress reduction.” – Jeff Tarrant

 

In the modern world education is a key for success. But there is a lot of pressure on university students to excel. The pressure can lead to anxiety which can impede the student’s well-being and school performance. It is, for the most part, beyond the ability of the students to change the environment to reduce anxiety. There are, however, a number of psychological therapies for anxiety. Recently, it has been found that mindfulness training can be effective for anxiety disorders.

 

Technology has recently been applied to training in mindfulness. Indeed, mindfulness training carried out completely on-line has been shown to be effective for as number of conditions including anxiety. Virtual reality (VR) devices are improving and becoming readily available. Previously it has been shown the virtual reality (VR) can be helpful in treating phobias. and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). But, it is not known if VR can enhance the effectiveness of mindfulness training in the treatment of anxiety in college students.

 

In today’s Research News article “The impact of virtual reality meditation on college students’ exam performance.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8520331/ ) Kaplan-Rakowski and colleagues recruited university students and randomly assigned them to receive a 15-minute meditation either with an “animated, slow-paced, calming visualizations of forest scenes” accompanied by music presented in virtual reality or on a video screen. They were measured before and after the meditation for anxiety. They also completed a 30-minute series of computer science tasks.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline both groups had decreased anxiety and improved performance on the computer science tasks, but the virtual reality group had significantly better test performance.

 

This study looked only at the immediate effects of a single 15-minute meditation in the laboratory. So, no conclusions can be reached on whether the benefits are sustained or what would be the effects of long-term meditation practice and whether these interventions would work in real-world applications. Nevertheless, the results are clear, brief meditation with videos produces immediate relief of anxiety and better test performance. In addition, adding virtual reality presentation to a brief meditation practice increases the improvement in test performance.

 

So, decrease anxiety and improve test performance with virtual reality meditation.

 

I see virtual reality as a tool that helps me bridge the gap between that ideal and my reality. Some people might call it “cheating” at meditation. I simply call it relief.” – Sarah Garone

 

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

 

Kaplan-Rakowski, R., Johnson, K. R., & Wojdynski, T. (2021). The impact of virtual reality meditation on college students’ exam performance. Smart Learning Environments, 8(1), 21. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40561-021-00166-7

 

Abstract

Advocates of meditation claim that it can improve various aspects of life, including health, attention, thinking, and learning. The purpose of this empirical, quantitative, between-subject study was twofold. First, it compared the effectiveness of meditation delivered through virtual reality versus video, as measured by students’ test scores. Second, the study provided insights on the use of meditation, whether via virtual reality or video, as a way to positively affect well-being. T-test analysis showed virtual reality meditation to be significantly more beneficial than video meditation. Students reported that meditation techniques delivered using either medium to be helpful in decreasing their pre-exam anxiety. This study has practical implications and offers evidence on the beneficial impact of VR meditation on students’ exam performance and anxiety levels.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8520331/

 

Improve the Psychological Health of College Students with Mindfulness

Improve the Psychological Health of College Students with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness can help students who might be struggling, in particular medical students, find new ways of relating to the difficulties that arise in their clinical work, studying and wellbeing.” – Alice Malpass

 

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 university 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 lead to stress and anxiety which can impede the student’s physical and mental health, well-being, and school performance.

 

It is, for the most part, beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress, so it is important that methods be found to reduce the college students’ responses to stress; to make them more resilient when high levels of stress occur. Contemplative practices including meditationmindfulness training, and yoga practice have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. Indeed, these practices have been found to reduce stress and improve psychological health in college students. So, it would seem important to summarize what has been learned about mindfulness-based approaches to improve the psychological well-being of college students studying to become health professionals.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Approaches for Managing Stress, Anxiety and Depression for Health Students in Tertiary Education: a Scoping Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8435111/ ) Parsons and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies investigating the effectiveness of mindfulness-based approaches to improve the psychological well-being of college students studying to become health professionals. They identified 24 published research studies.

 

They report that the published research studies found that mindfulness-based training produced significant reductions in perceived stress, anxiety, and depression in the health students. Hence, these health students had similar responses to mindfulness training as has been observed in a large number of studies with a variety of healthy and ill participants. This suggests that it would be beneficial to incorporate mindfulness training in the curriculum of college students studying to become health professionals. This should improve their ability to learn their professions and become more resilient and effective professionals.

 

So, improve the psychological health of college health students with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness-based interventions decrease stress, anxiety, and depression and improve mindfulness, mood, self-efficacy, and empathy in health profession students.” – Janet McConville

 

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

 

Parsons, D., Gardner, P., Parry, S., & Smart, S. (2021). Mindfulness-Based Approaches for Managing Stress, Anxiety and Depression for Health Students in Tertiary Education: a Scoping Review. Mindfulness, 1–16. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-021-01740-3

 

Abstract

Objectives

High rates of depression, anxiety and stress are reported in tertiary health students. Mindfulness-based programs have been included in the training of health students to help them manage depression, anxiety and stress; however, to date, there has been no review of best practice implementation of mindfulness for health students. The aim of this review was to evaluate the outcomes of mindfulness-based practice for health students to inform best practice with this population.

Methods

A comprehensive search was conducted of three electronic databases (PsychINFO, Medline and Embase) guided by the five-step systematic process for conducting scoping reviews to investigate mindfulness-based intervention programs for students enrolled in a tertiary institution in a health-related course.

Results

Twenty-four papers met the eligibility criteria and were reviewed in detail. Findings suggested that mindfulness-based intervention approaches are useful in decreasing depression, anxiety and stress in health students; however, challenges exist in student engagement and retention. Generalization of results was limited by the heterogeneous population, intervention designs and delivery methods, as well as a lack of standardized outcome measures.

Conclusion

The inclusion of mindfulness-based programs within tertiary curricula can be an effective approach to assist with managing depression, stress and anxiety in health students. Providing academic credit to students, improving translation of skills to working with future clients, and embedding mindfulness-based programs within the curriculum could improve engagement and retention.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8435111/

 

Improve Graduate Student Emotion Regulation and Reduce Stress with Mindfulness

Improve Graduate Student Emotion Regulation and Reduce Stress with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“graduate students . . . who practiced mindfulness reported a statistically significant reduction in depression and increased self-efficacy, hope and resilience.” – Coleen Flaherty

 

In the modern world education is a key for success. Where a high school education was sufficient in previous generations, a college or graduate degree is now required to succeed in the new knowledge-based economies. There is a lot of pressure on undergraduate and graduate 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 lead to stress and anxiety which can impede the student’s physical and mental health, well-being, and school performance.

 

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. Indeed, these practices have been found to reduce stress and improve psychological health in college students. It makes sense that mindfulness might be equally effective for graduate students.

 

In today’s Research News article “Emotion Regulation, Stress, and Well-Being in Academic Education: Analyzing the Effect of Mindfulness-Based Intervention.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8382289/ ) Peixoto and colleagues recruited university graduate students and randomly assigned them to receive 8 weekly 2-hour trainings in mindfulness or to a wait-list control condition. They were measured before and after treatment for perceived stress, mindfulness, psychological well-being, and momentary emotions. They also underwent a structured interview on the impressions, beliefs, opinions, and experiences of the participants.

 

They found that in comparison to the baseline and the wait-list control group, the mindfulness trained group had significantly higher mindfulness and psychological well-being and significantly lower perceived stress. Wait-list control conditions do not produce the kinds of expectations that are produced by mindfulness training, and this raises the possibility that the results may be due to confounding factors such as placebo effects, experimenter bias, and attentional effects. But previous controlled research has shown that mindfulness training produces higher psychological well-being and significantly lower perceived stress. So, it is likely that the benefits observed in the present study were due to the mindfulness training.

 

The interviews of the graduate students revealed that the graduate school training process produced ambivalent feelings of joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment, accompanied by anxiety, distress, and insecurity. The ambivalent feelings resulted from the student’s love of their discipline but the problems they have with graduate study with “excess hours of study, poor academic performance evaluations, relationship with advisor, reconciling with one’s personal life, demand for productivity, deadlines, and institutional problems” and financial insecurity and worries about future career prospects.

 

These results suggest that graduate students benefit from mindfulness training, improving their psychological well-being. In the interviews the students reported that the mindfulness training helped them cope with these stresses in their training. These results suggest that the process of graduate school training should be examined to reduce the stresses and worries of the students and that mindfulness training should be incorporated into the training to improve the student’s ability to cope with the situation.

 

So, improve graduate student emotion regulation and reduce stress with mindfulness.

 

If you are someone struggling with mental health in graduate school, or just feel stressed, mindfulness can help you to focus on the present, remain positive, and feel in control.” – Natalya Ortolano

 

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

 

Santos Alves Peixoto, L., Guedes Gondim, S. M., & Pereira, C. R. (2021). Emotion Regulation, Stress, and Well-Being in Academic Education: Analyzing the Effect of Mindfulness-Based Intervention. Trends in Psychology, 1–25. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s43076-021-00092-0

 

Abstract

Recent studies point to an increase in psychological distress among graduate students. The aim of this study was to analyze the effects of mindfulness practices on emotion regulation, on the perception of stress, and on the psychological well-being of graduate students. Forty-five (45) graduate students participated in the study, divided into an intervention and a control group. Questionnaires were applied for self-assessment of mindfulness, perceived stress, and psychological well-being, in addition to qualitative interviews in the pre- and post-timeframes of a mindfulness-based intervention. Quantitative data were analyzed using ANOVAs for repeated measures, while the interviews were analyzed using the thematic content analysis technique. The results indicated increases in the levels of mindfulness and psychological well-being, and a reduction in perceived stress in the intervention group, post-intervention. The interviews indicated the presence of ambivalent emotions in relation to graduate studies and the development of new strategies to cope with the stress in this work context. The main contribution of the study was to present empirical evidence of the effectiveness of mindfulness practices in the graduate-level education context, allowing students to become more capable of dealing with the challenges of an academic career.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8382289/

 

Increase Positive Psychological States with Mindfulness

Increase Positive Psychological States with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

state mindfulness was associated with positive experiences across the three outcomes: higher levels of autonomy, more intense and frequent pleasant affect, and less intense and less frequent unpleasant affect.” – Kirk Warren Brown

 

The primary focus of the majority of research on mindfulness has been on its ability to treat negative emotional states such as anxiety, depression, and perceived stress. As such, it has been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. But mindfulness training has also been shown to improve health and well-being in healthy individuals. Indeed, it is possible that the effectiveness of mindfulness training in relieving mental and physical illness may result from its ability to improve positive psychological states. There is accumulating research. So, it makes sense to review and summarize what has been learned

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-based positive psychology interventions: a systematic review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8344333/ ) Allen and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies of the effects of mindfulness-based interventions on positive psychological states. They identified 22 published research studies.

 

They report that the published research found that mindfulness-based interventions significantly increased eudaimonia, well-being, of children, adults, and couples. Mindfulness-based interventions were also found to significantly enhance hedonia, positive emotions (amusement, awe, contentment, joy, gratitude, hope, interest, love, and pride, collectively) and quality of life. They also report that mindfulness training produces significant increases in prosocial behavior, social competence, emotion regulation, flexibility, academic performance, delay of gratification, coping behavior, relaxation, self-compassion, and happiness.

 

Hence, the research published to date supports the conclusion that mindfulness-based interventions improve positive psychological states. So, these interventions are not only useful for the relief of negative psychological states in people who are suffering but can also enhance the psychological well-being of everyone.

 

So, increase positive psychological states with mindfulness.

 

 

mindfulness is a fundamental part of a broad program of psycho-spiritual development, aiming to help people reach ‘enlightenment’. . .  it may be conceived of as the superlative state of happiness, equanimity and freedom that a human being is capable of experiencing.” – Itai Ivtzan

 

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

 

Allen, J. G., Romate, J., & Rajkumar, E. (2021). Mindfulness-based positive psychology interventions: a systematic review. BMC psychology, 9(1), 116. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40359-021-00618-2

 

Abstract

Background

There are hundreds of mindfulness-based interventions in the form of structured and unstructured therapies, trainings, and meditation programs, mostly utilized in a clinical rather than a well-being perspective. The number of empirical studies on positive potentials of mindfulness is comparatively less, and their known status in academia is ambiguous. Hence, the current paper aimed to review the studies where mindfulness-based interventions had integrated positive psychology variables, in order to produce positive functioning.

Methods

Data were obtained from the databases of PubMed, Scopus, and PsycNet and manual search in Google Scholar. From the 3831 articles, irrelevant or inaccessible studies were eliminated, reducing the number of final articles chosen for review to 21. Interventions that contribute to enhancement of eudaimonia, hedonia, and other positive variables are discussed.

Results

Findings include the potential positive qualities of MBIs in producing specific positive outcomes within limited circumstances, and ascendancy of hedonia and other positive variables over eudaimonic enhancement.

Conclusion

In conclusion, exigency of modifications in the existing MBIs to bring about exclusively positive outcomes was identified, and observed the necessity of novel interventions for eudaimonic enhancement and elevation of hedonia in a comprehensive manner.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8344333/

Mindfulness Makes Teachers Better Teachers

Mindfulness Makes Teachers Better Teachers

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Most teacher training focuses primarily on content and pedagogy, overlooking the very real social, emotional, and cognitive demands of teaching itself. Luckily, learning and cultivating skills of mindfulness. . . can help us to promote the calm, relaxed, but enlivened classroom environment that children need to learn.” – Patricia Jennings

 

In a school setting, mindfulness not only affects teachers, but also the students. Mindfulness has been demonstrated to be helpful in reducing the psychological and physiological responses to stress and for treating and preventing burnout in schools. But the effects of mindfulness on elementary school teachers and their students need further exploration. Are mindful elementary school teachers better teachers?

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Teachers: a Study on Teacher and Student Outcomes.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8060685/ ) de Carvalho and colleagues recruited primary school teachers and randomly assigned them to a no-treatment control or to receive 30 hours of mindfulness training delivered over 10 weeks. They were measured before and after training for mindfulness, emotion regulation, self-compassion, self-efficacy, mental health, and burnout. They were also observed in the classroom and rated for “flexibility and ability to adapt to classroom situations, cooperation among students, and group cohesion.” They also recruited parents and students of the teachers. The students measured teacher involvement with students, and the students’ positive and negative emotions, mental health, and emotion control. Finally, the parents rated their child’s social behavior.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control group, after mindfulness training there were significant improvements in all teacher measurements including the classroom observation measurements. The students of the mindfulness trained teachers rated the teachers as having higher involvement with students and the students of these teachers also had better emotion regulation, higher positive emotions, lower negative emotions, higher well-being and parental ratings of social behavior.

 

It should be noted that the control teachers received no treatment whatsoever. This passive type of control does not allow for the conclusion that it was mindfulness training per se that was responsible for the improvements. Rather any kind of attention to the teachers might result in similar improvements. The study should be replicated comparing teacher mindfulness training to an active control condition such as teacher fitness training.

 

The findings for the teachers replicate previous findings that mindfulness training increases mindfulness, emotion regulation, self-compassion, self-efficacy, mental health, and reduces burnout. The results also demonstrate that teacher mindfulness training makes them more attentive to the needs of their students which improves the students’ emotional well-being and their interactions with others.

 

These findings are remarkable in that they demonstrate how teaching mindfulness to teachers affects the entire classroom system, altering the teachers’ behavior which in turn affects the students’ behavior and well-being. This further suggests that training elementary school teachers in mindfulness will improve the school experience for both the teachers and their students. This could lower teacher burnout while improving the emotional and social development of the children.

 

So, mindfulness makes teachers better teachers.

 

We see mental health benefits. We see some behavioral benefits. Youth are more likely not to engage in conflict — more likely to walk away from contentious discussions. They express greater acceptance of themselves.” – Erica Sibinga

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

de Carvalho, J. S., Oliveira, S., Roberto, M. S., Gonçalves, C., Bárbara, J. M., de Castro, A. F., Pereira, R., Franco, M., Cadima, J., Leal, T., Lemos, M. S., & Marques-Pinto, A. (2021). Effects of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Teachers: a Study on Teacher and Student Outcomes. Mindfulness, 1–14. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-021-01635-3

 

Abstract

Objectives

Teachers’ stress can affect their occupational health and negatively impact classroom climate and students’ well-being. This study aims to evaluate the proximal and distal effects of a mindfulness-based program, specially developed to promote teachers’ social-emotional competencies (SEC), across teachers, classroom climates, and students’ outcomes.

Methods

The study followed a randomized trial design with two data collection points (pretest and posttest). Participants in the experimental group (EG) included 123 elementary school teachers, their 1503 students, and these students’ parents (1494), while the control group (CG) comprised 105 elementary school teachers, their 947 students, and these students’ parents (913). A mixed data collection strategy was used that included teachers’ and students’ (self-) report, observational ratings of teachers’ classroom behaviors, and parents’ reports on students.

Results

After the intervention, EG teachers, compared to CG teachers, reported a significant increase in mindfulness and emotional regulation competencies, self-efficacy, and well-being and a decrease in burnout symptoms. Similarly, a significant improvement was found in EG teachers’ classroom behaviors related to students’ engagement. Additionally, significant improvements were also found in EG students’ perceptions of the quality of their teachers’ involvement in classroom relationships, self-reported effect, and social competencies perceived by their parents.

Conclusions

These findings further the knowledge on the role played by mindfulness-based SEC interventions in reducing teachers’ burnout symptoms and cultivating their SEC and well-being, in promoting a nurturing classroom climate and also in promoting the SEC and well-being of students.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8060685/

 

Mindfulness Training Improves Medical Students’ Mindfulness and Briefly Academic Success

Mindfulness Training Improves Medical Students’ Mindfulness and Briefly Academic Success

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“medical students who participate in mindfulness based stress reduction programs see a decrease in anxiety and stress.  Reduction in outside noise combined with the discipline to remain present in the moment can also lead to more effective concentration.” – Brendan Murphy

 

There is a lot of pressure on medical students to excel. 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 academic performance. Mindfulness training has been shown through extensive research to be effective in reducing the physiological and psychological responses to stress and improving physical and psychological health. Indeed, these practices have been found to improve psychological health in college students. So, it would be expected that training in mind-body practices would reduce stress and improve the psychological health of medical students.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-based intervention helps preclinical medical students to contain stress, maintain mindfulness and improve academic success.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7934360/ ) Lampe and colleagues recruited preclinical medical students and offered them a midsemester mindfulness training. The course lasted 6-weeks and was an adapted version of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) consisting of meditation, yoga, and body scan training along with home practice and group discussion. They were measured before and after training and 6 months later for perceived stress, mindfulness, and academic test grades. They compared the students who participated in the course to those who did not.

 

They found that both before and after training the higher the students’ levels of mindfulness, the lower the levels of perceived stress. Neither mindfulness nor perceived stress were related to academic test grades. But after training the mindfulness group had significantly higher test grades and levels of mindfulness. 6 months later mindfulness remained significantly higher but there were no significant differences in test grades.

 

The study did not randomly assign participants but rather compared students who voluntarily chose to take a mindfulness course to those who chose not to. There were probably differences between the types of students who volunteered to those who didn’t. The results need to be interpreted with this in mind. Nevertheless, the results suggest, as has previous research, that mindfulness and perceived stress are inversely related. The results also suggest that training in mindfulness during medical education produces a lasting effect on mindfulness but only a transient improvement in academic performance. The improvement in mindfulness did not predict a lasting effect on academic performance. This suggests that more work is needed to identify how to intervene in medical education to reduce stress effects and improve students’ academic performances.

 

So, mindfulness training improves medical students’ mindfulness and briefly academic success.

 

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

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Lampe, L. C., & Müller-Hilke, B. (2021). Mindfulness-based intervention helps preclinical medical students to contain stress, maintain mindfulness and improve academic success. BMC medical education, 21(1), 145. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-021-02578-y

 

Abstract

Background

Stress among students is on the rise during early medical school and has been implicated in poor academic performance. Several methods are being discussed to efficiently reduce stress, among them mindfulness-based interventions. We therefore set out to assess how stress, mindfulness, and academic performance are connected and if an intervention on mindfulness based stress reduction could alleviate stress among medical students and improve their academic achievements.

Methods

A non-randomized controlled trial including 143 medical students in their preclinical years was performed in 2019. The students completed two surveys – one in the first, the other in the third term – recording perceived stress and mindfulness via validated scales (PSS-10 and MAAS). In between both, 41 students participated in a voluntary mindfulness-based intervention including six two-hours courses. 86 students served as controls. Scholarly success was assessed via the scores achieved in six exams written during the observation period.

Results

Stress was inversely related with mindfulness and with the results of the most challenging exam. The intervention on mindfulness based stress reduction helped to contain stress and maintain mindfulness during the observation period and this effect lasted for at least six months beyond completion of the intervention. In contrast, beneficial effects on scholarly success were transient and only detectable at completion of the intervention.

Conclusion

Our observation of short- and intermediate term effects resulting from six individual interventions on mindfulness based stress reduction is encouraging and calls for alternative strategies to induce long-lasting impacts.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7934360/

 

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of University Students with Mindfulness

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of University Students with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindfulness apps offer modest but clear benefits to users in terms of improved mental health. They present a promising supplement to traditional mental health services.” – Oskari Lahtinen

 

There is a lot of pressure on university 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. Mindfulness training has been shown through extensive research to be effective in improving physical and psychological health. Indeed, these practices have been found to improve psychological health in college students.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Mental Health and Wellbeing of University Students: Acceptability, Effectiveness, and Mechanisms of a Mindfulness-Based Course.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8199969/ ) Medlicott and colleagues recruited university students who attended an 8-week mindfulness training. The program was based upon Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and was delivered in 8 weekly 90 minute sessions along with daily home practice. The participants were measured before and after the program and 6 weeks later for expected benefits from the program, wellbeing, mental health, mindfulness, self-compassion, resilience, and academic goals.

 

They found that following the course there were significant improvement in wellbeing. mental health, mindfulness, self-compassion, resilience, and orientation toward their academic goals that were maintained 6 weeks later. The effects were greater for participants who had mental health problems at the beginning of the program. In addition, the greater the amount of home practice, the greater the improvements observed. The amount of change in mindfulness and self-compassion produced by the course was related to the amount of improvement in wellbeing and mental health while the amount of change in resilience was related to the improvements in wellbeing.

 

It has to be recognized that the study did not contain a control, comparison, condition, so it is open to numerous alternative, confounding, explanations. But previous controlled research has demonstrated that mindfulness training produces improvements in wellbeing, mental health, mindfulness, self-compassion, and resilience. So, it is likely that the present findings are the result of the effects of the mindfulness training program rather than some alternative explanation.

 

These results suggest that participating in a mindfulness training program produces significant benefits for the psychological health and wellbeing of university students. The fact their orientation to academic goals was also improved suggests that the program may also improve their academic performance. Indeed, it would be expected that improvement in the students wellbeing and mental health would improve the likelihood of academic success.

 

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

 

In college, it’s easy to compile all of the problems we’re facing and place it in to one big feeling of paranoia or stress. Headspace helps sort that out and filter what I should be worried about.” – Ryan Coughlin

 

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

 

Medlicott, E., Phillips, A., Crane, C., Hinze, V., Taylor, L., Tickell, A., Montero-Marin, J., & Kuyken, W. (2021). The Mental Health and Wellbeing of University Students: Acceptability, Effectiveness, and Mechanisms of a Mindfulness-Based Course. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(11), 6023. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18116023

 

Abstract

Mental health problems are relatively common during university and adversely affect academic outcomes. Evidence suggests that mindfulness can support the mental health and wellbeing of university students. We explored the acceptability and effectiveness of an 8-week instructor-led mindfulness-based course (“Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World”; Williams and Penman, 2011) on improving wellbeing and mental health (self-reported distress), orientation and motivation towards academic goals, and the mechanisms driving these changes. Eighty-six undergraduate and post-graduate students (>18 years) participated. Students engaged well with the course, with 36 (48.0%) completing the whole programme, 52 (69.3%) attending 7 out of 8 sessions, and 71 (94.7%) completing at least half. Significant improvements in wellbeing and mental health were found post-intervention and at 6-week follow-up. Improvements in wellbeing were mediated by mindfulness, self-compassion, and resilience. Improvements in mental health were mediated by improvements in mindfulness and resilience but not self-compassion. Significant improvements in students’ orientation to their academic goal, measured by “commitment” to, “likelihood” of achieving, and feeling more equipped with the “skills and resources” needed, were found at post-intervention and at 6-week follow-up. Whilst exploratory, the results suggest that this mindfulness intervention is acceptable and effective for university students and can support academic study.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8199969/

 

Improve Cognitive Ability in Elementary School Children with Mindfulness

Improve Cognitive Ability in Elementary School Children with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness [has been linked] to two core social-emotional skills: self-regulation and self-awareness. Skills in these areas teach students not only how to recognize their thoughts, emotions, and actions, but also how to react to them in positive ways.” – Waterford.org

 

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 academic, 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. But there have been few studies comparing the effects of mindfulness training to other types of training for elementary schoolchildren.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Versus Story Reading Intervention in Public Elementary Schools: Effects on Executive Functions and Emotional Health.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.576311/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1679696_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210713_arts_A ) Milaré and colleagues recruited 2 classrooms of children 8-9 years of age. One class received an 8-week mindfulness training that met twice a week for 30 minutes. The instructions were on awareness, generosity, and heartfulness. The other class received 8 weeks of story reading that met twice a week for 15 minutes. The stories were targeted to moral and emotional issues appropriate for children. They were measured before and after training for stress, anxiety, depression, positive and negative emotions, and executive functions including attention.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline both groups had significant improvements in executive functions including attention, processing speed, and controlled attention. On the other hand, the story reading but not mindfulness group had decreases in depression and negative emotions.

 

It should be noted that there wasn’t a control condition, so improvements from baseline might have been due to a number of confounding factors including practice effects, expectancy effects, experimenter bias etc. In addition, there wasn’t random assignment of the children to condition. But in adults it is well established that mindfulness training produces improvements in executive functions including attention. This is not surprising as mindfulness training involves focusing attention which is important for cognitive performance. The present study suggests that these benefits also accrue to 8-9 year-old children. Improving cognitive skills particularly attention in children is important and may well lead to improved academic performance.

 

It is interesting that targeted story reading produced similar cognitive benefits and also some emotional improvements. This may be due to the fact that the stories included emotional issues pertinent to children while the mindfulness training did not include mindfulness of emotions. This suggests that the mindfulness program could be improved by including paying attention to emotions.

 

So, improve cognitive ability in elementary school children with mindfulness.

 

Students . . . have been spending anywhere from 10 to 12 minutes per day on mindfulness exercises. But classes appear to be gaining more instruction time as a result because there are fewer outbursts and disruptions.” – Emily DeRuy

 

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

 

Milaré CAR, Kozasa EH, Lacerda S, Barrichello C, Tobo PR and Horta ALD (2021) Mindfulness-Based Versus Story Reading Intervention in Public Elementary Schools: Effects on Executive Functions and Emotional Health. Front. Psychol. 12:576311. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.576311

 

Introduction: In this study we compared the effects of a mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) with a story reading intervention (SI) on the executive functions and psychological profile of children in two different public schools in São Paulo, Brazil.

Methods: In this controlled clinical trial, 207 children aged 8 to 9 years old responded to the Five-Digit Test (FDT), stress levels, depression, anxiety, positive and negative affect, at baseline (T0) and 8 weeks later (T1). From T0 to T1, school 1 participated in MBI classes and school 2 in IS classes.

Results: In school 1 (MBI), children improved their scores on all tests except reading (errors) and counting (errors) compared with school 2. No differences were observed between groups in terms of emotional health.

Conclusion: It is feasible to implement MBI or SI in Brazilian public schools. Students in the MBI group presented broader effects in executive functions, while students in the SI group showed a trend toward reduced negative affect and depression symptoms.

Highlights

This study contributes to the scientific evidence of the positive effects of Mindfulness and Story reading on executive functions and emotional well-being in children. Neither intervention had significant effects on depression, anxiety, stress, positive, and negative affect (although Story reading showed a trend in reducing negative affect and depression), while the Mindfulness-Based Intervention had relatively broader effects on executive functions.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.576311/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1679696_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210713_arts_A