Emotionally Touching Moments of Wonderous Awe Promotes Wellbeing

Emotionally Touching Moments of Wonderous Awe Promotes Wellbeing

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

And if a person is religious, I think it’s good, it helps you a bit. But if you’re not, at least you can have the sense that there is a condition inside you which looks at the stars with amazement and awe.” Maya Angelou

 

Religion and spirituality have been promulgated as solutions to the challenges of life. 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, well-being, and mental health. Spirituality can also promote the occurrence of wondering awe which are emotional reactions to touching experiences. Wondering awe can induce internal changes in the individual. So, it is important to examine the relationships of wondering awe, spirituality, and well-being.

 

In today’s Research News article “Wondering Awe as a Perceptive Aspect of Spirituality and Its Relation to Indicators of Wellbeing: Frequency of Perception and Underlying Triggers.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.738770/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1750137_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211012_arts_A ) Büssing and colleagues recruited adult participants online and had them complete measures of Awe and Gratitude, spiritual experiences, well-being, and frequency of meditation and prayer. A separate group of participants wrote descriptions of situations where they experienced moments of wondering awe.

 

They found that women had significantly more experiences of awe than the men and older participants had more than younger participants. Christians had higher scores than non-religious participants but less than other denominations. They also found that the greater the frequency of awe the higher the well-being of the participants and the greater experiences of the sacred in daily life. The participants with the highest frequencies of awe were older, had the greater frequencies of spiritual practices, and the highest well-being and were more likely to meditate than pray. The descriptions of experiences of awe and gratitude were used to identify the triggers that elicited the experiences, and these were nature, persons, unique moments, and aesthetics, beauty, and devotion.

 

These findings are correlative. So, no conclusions about causation can be definitively reached. But it is clear that these experiences of wonderous awe and gratitude most often occur in women, older individuals, and those with religious orientations and they were associated with the individual’s well-being and experiences of the sacred. They were most often triggered by environmental conditions.

 

It is important to study these emotionally touching moments of awe and gratitude as they are associated with inner change in the individual. They can trigger new attitudes, insights, and behaviors. Importantly, they are associated with the person’s overall well-being. Future research might attempt to trigger more experiences of wonderous awe by immersing participants in the situations that tend to elicit awe and gratitude and examine their impact on the individual’s health, well-being, and spirituality.

 

So, emotionally touching moments of wonderous awe promotes wellbeing.

 

We can all experience feelings of awe as we ponder how everything that we witness is created and aligned in such a way that our lives unfold the way they do.” – K. Barrett

 

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

 

Büssing A (2021) Wondering Awe as a Perceptive Aspect of Spirituality and Its Relation to Indicators of Wellbeing: Frequency of Perception and Underlying Triggers. Front. Psychol. 12:738770. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.738770

 

Background: Spirituality is a multidimensional construct which includes religious, existentialistic, and relational issues and has different layers such as faith as the core, related attitudes and conviction, and subsequent behaviors and practices. The perceptive aspects of spirituality such as wondering awe are of relevance for both, religious and non-religious persons. These perceptions were related to perceiving the Sacred in life, mindful awareness of nature, others and self, to compassion, meaning in life, and emotional wellbeing. As awe perceptions are foremost a matter of state, it was the aim (1) to empirically analyze the frequency of wondering awe perceptions (i.e., with respect to gender, age cohorts, religious or non-religious persons) and (2) to qualitatively analyze a range of triggers of awe perceptions.

Methods: Data from 7,928 participants were analyzed with respect to the frequency of Awe/Gratitude perceptions (GrAw-7 scale), while for the second part of the study responses of a heterogeneous group of 82 persons what caused them to perceive moments of wondering awe were analyzed with qualitative content analysis techniques.

Results: Persons who experience Awe/Gratitude to a low extend were the youngest and had lowest wellbeing and lowest meditation/praying engagement, while those with high GrAw-7 scores were the oldest, had the highest wellbeing, and were more often meditating or praying (p<0.001). Gender had a significant effect on these perceptions, too (Cohen’s d=0.32). In the qualitative part, the triggers can be attributed to four main categories, Nature, Persons, Unique Moments, and Aesthetics, Beauty, and Devotion. Some of these triggers and related perceptions might be more a matter of admiration than wondering awe, while other perceptions could have more profound effects and may thus result in changes of a person’s attitudes and behaviors.

Conclusion: Emotionally touching experiences of wondering awe may result in feelings of interconnectedness, prosocial behavior, mindful awareness, and contribute to a person’s meaning in life and wellbeing and can also be a health-relevant resource. These perceptions can be seen as a perceptive aspect of spirituality, which is not exclusively experienced by religious people but also by non-religious persons.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.738770/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1750137_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211012_arts_A

 

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Social Care Workers with Mindfulness

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Social Care Workers with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindfulness also helps social workers with self-care . . . allowing them to notice when they’re getting overwhelmed and recognize signs of burnout earlier. Social workers . . . deal with extremely difficult things, and mindfulness can help them not feel overloaded.” – Kate Jackson

 

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 social work, burnout is all too prevalent. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. Improving the psychological health of individuals involved in social care, then, has to be a priority.

 

Contemplative practices have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, and improving sleep.  It makes sense that intervening early in the training for professional social care workers would help prevent later stress effects and burnout. Hence, it is reasonable to examine the ability of mindfulness training to improve the well-being of students preparing for careers as social care professionals.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on Health and Social Care Education: a Cohort-Controlled Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8190752/ ) Lo and colleagues recruited postgraduate students in social work, family therapy, or counseling and assigned them to either a no-treatment control or to receive 8 weekly, 2.5-hour sessions of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). The MBSR program consists of practice with meditation, yoga, and body scan, along with discussion and home practice. They were measured before and after training for burnout, perceived stress, work engagement, physical stress, empathy, and time in home practice.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the no-treatment control group the group that received Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) had significantly lower levels of perceived stress, physical distress, burnout, emotional exhaustion, and depersonalization of the client, and significantly higher levels of vigor. Hence, they found that participation in the MBSR program resulted in significant improvement in the psychological health of social care postgraduate students.

 

It should be noted that the present study used a weak research design that lacked random assignment of participants to groups, an active control condition, and follow-up measurements. This leave the interpretation open to confounding explanations and does not determine if the effects are lasting. Future studies should employ random assignment, an active control condition, e.g. exercise, and follow-up measurements.

 

But previous better controlled research has demonstrated that mindfulness training increases vigor and reduces perceived stress, distress, burnout, and emotional exhaustion. So, the present results, at least in part, are likely due to the ability of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training to improve psychological health. This suggests that the psychological health and resistance to stress and burnout in students preparing for careers as social care professionals can be strengthened by mindfulness training. This may better prepare them to deal with the stresses of their professional careers and make them more effective professionals.

 

So, improve the psychological well-being of social care workers with mindfulness.

 

mindfulness-based strategies . . .  will not prevent stress completely or take it away when it occurs, but doing them with care and attention on a regular basis can help us manage more effectively.” – Deborah Lisansky Beck

 

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

 

Lo, H., Ngai, S., & Yam, K. (2021). Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on Health and Social Care Education: a Cohort-Controlled Study. Mindfulness, 1–9. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-021-01663-z

 

Abstract

Objectives

Mindfulness practice has been recommended as part of health and social care education and training because of its potential benefits in fostering clinical skills and attitudes, increasing self-care, and reducing the effect of stress in education and occupation. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effects of a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program on stress, physical distress, job burnout, work engagement, and empathy for health and social care education.

Methods

Students (N = 124) from postgraduate programs in social work, counseling, and family therapy were recruited. Sixty-four students participated in an 8-week MBSR program as an elective course. Sixty students were recruited from other elective courses in the same cohort as control group participants. All participants completed self-report assessments.

Results

The results suggested that MBSR was associated with significant improvements in perceived efficacy and vigor and significant reductions in physical distress, total job burnout, emotional exhaustion, and depersonalization of clients compared with the control group.

Conclusions

This study contributes to the growing body of literature highlighting the potential use of mindfulness practice to improve students’ personal well-being and professional growth in health and social care education. Mindfulness practice should be further promoted in health and social care education and training.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8190752/

 

Improve Worker’s Psychological Wellbeing and Work Engagement and Performance with Mindfulness

Improve Worker’s Psychological Wellbeing and Work Engagement and Performance with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness impacts the individual holistically. This impact translates quickly into the workplace and appears as shifts in the approach to work, in changes in mindsets and in being present more, among others, opening the possibility for employees to impact the bottom line through these changes.” – Fabiola Fajardo

 

Work is very important for our health and well-being. We spend approximately 25% of our adult lives at work. How we spend that time is immensely important for our psychological, social, and physical health. But nearly 2/3 of employees worldwide are unhappy at work. This is partially due to work-related stress which is epidemic in the western workplace. Almost two thirds of workers report high levels of stress at work. This stress can result in impaired health and can result in burnout, producing fatigue, cynicism, and professional inefficacy.

 

To help overcome unhappiness, stress, and burnoutmindfulness practices have been implemented in the workplace. Indeed, mindfulness practices have been shown to markedly reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. As a result, it has become very trendy for business to incorporate meditation into the workday to help improve employee well-being, health, and productivity. These programs attempt to increase the employees’ mindfulness at work and thereby reduce stress.

 

In today’s Research News article “Differential Effects of Mindfulness-Based Intervention Programs at Work on Psychological Wellbeing and Work Engagement.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.715146/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1741394_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210930_arts_A ) Calcagni and colleagues recruited “white collar” workers and randomly assigned them to receive either mindfulness training based upon the Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) program or to a wait-list control condition. The mindfulness training occurred in either 6 weekly 2-hour sessions of 3 weekly 4-hour sessions along with daily home practice. They were measured before and 1-week after training for mindfulness, psychological well-being, work engagement, work performance, and perceived stress.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control group, the mindfulness group had significantly lower levels of perceived stress and significantly higher levels of mindfulness, including the describe, acting with awareness, and no-reactivity subscales. They also had significantly higher levels of psychological well-being, including the positive relations, autonomy, and environmental mastery subscales. For work engagement they found significantly higher levels for the mindfulness group including the vigor and absorption subscales. Finally, after training the mindfulness group had significantly higher levels of work performance including the in-role and extra-role subscales.

 

It appears that mindfulness training of “white collar” workers produces improved psychological well-being, engagement with work and job performance. These results are similar to those observed in previous research in a wide variety of contexts and participants including improves well-being and work engagement and performance. So, mindfulness training is an effective method to improve the work and psychological health of “white collar” workers. These results suggest that mindfulness training would reduce the likelihood of burnout and improve retention of workers. This provides support for mindfulness training in work environments.

 

So, improve worker’s psychological wellbeing and work engagement and performance with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness-based practices can improve workers’ health and reduce employers’ costs by ameliorating the negative effect of stress on workers’ health.” – Diana Kachan

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Calcagni CC, Salanova M, Llorens S, Bellosta-Batalla M, Martínez-Rubio D and Martínez Borrás R (2021) Differential Effects of Mindfulness-Based Intervention Programs at Work on Psychological Wellbeing and Work Engagement. Front. Psychol. 12:715146. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.715146

 

Two different mindfulness-based interventions were deployed in a sample of white-collar workers to explore the differential effects on different facets of mindfulness, dimensions of psychological wellbeing, work engagement, performance, and stress of a participant. A total of 28 participants completed one of the different programs, and their results were compared between groups and against 27 participants randomly allocated to a waiting list control group. Results suggest both mindfulness intervention programs were successful at increasing the levels of psychological wellbeing, work engagement, and performance of the participants, as well as decreasing their levels of stress. Significant differences were found between the two programs in all outcome variables. Results suggest that brief and customized mindfulness interventions at work are as successful as lengthier programs.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.715146/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1741394_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210930_arts_A

 

Combined Meditation, Yoga, and Ethical Education have Additive Effects on Well-Being

Combined Meditation, Yoga, and Ethical Education have Additive Effects on Well-Being

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

When practiced together, yoga and meditation strengthen the connection between mind and body, thereby improving overall fitness and wellbeing.” – Peaceful Dragon

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to improve health and well-being in healthy individuals and those with medical and psychiatric conditions, Similarly, yoga practice has been shown to improve health and well-being in healthy individuals and those with medical and psychiatric conditions.  Meditation practice is known to decrease the psychological and physical responses to stress. Similarly, yoga practice has been shown to decrease the psychological and physical responses to stress. But there has been little research of the impact of combining meditation and yoga practices.

 

In today’s Research News article “Differential Effects of Ethical Education, Physical Hatha Yoga, and Mantra Meditation on Well-Being and Stress in Healthy Participants-An Experimental Single-Case Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8375679/ ) Matko and colleagues recruited healthy adult participants who did not practice meditation or yoga and randomly assigned them to one of 4 treatment conditions once a week for 8 weeks; mantra meditation alone, mantra meditation plus physical yoga, mantra meditation plus ethical education, and mantra meditation plus physical yoga and ethical education. They were also instructed to practice daily at home. They were measured weekly before and after training and 8 weeks and 12 months later for well-being, perceived stress, and life satisfaction and a daily home practice questionnaire.

 

They found that all conditions produced significant improvements in well-being, but the combined treatments produced greater improvements than mantra meditation alone with those that contained ethical education having the greatest benefits. All conditions produced equivalent significant increases in life satisfaction.

 

The results suggest that engaging in mindfulness practices produce lasting improvements in the well-being and life satisfaction of the participants. This improved well-being and life satisfaction produced by mindfulness practices have been well documented in prior research studies. In addition, the findings suggest that adding yoga and especially ethical education to meditation amplifies the improvements in well-being. Ethical education in the present study included training and discussion of non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, self-restraint, non-hoarding, cleanliness, contentment, and transcendence. This appeared to have an additive effect on well-being.

 

 

There was, however, a confounding variable which is the duration of practice. Whereas the weekly trainings for mantra meditation practice took 60 minutes, mantra meditation plus physical yoga took 105 minutes, mantra meditation plus ethical education took 135 minutes, and mantra meditation plus physical yoga and ethical education took 180 minutes. In addition, each practice was practiced daily for 20 minutes with the combined conditions being practiced for 40 and 60 minutes respectively. So, the more practice the greater the improvement in well-being. Future research needs to fix the amount of practice so that the total is the same for all conditions and their combinations.

 

So, combined meditation, yoga, and ethical education have additive effects on well-being.

 

The beauty of Yoga and Meditation, when they are merged together, helps one relish each and every moment of life. There is no place for stress and anxiety in a mind that enjoys Yoga. While Yoga poses promote blood circulation in the brain, Meditation makes sure it stays calm and composed to feel complete serenity.” – Manmohan Singhis

 

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

 

Matko, K., Sedlmeier, P., & Bringmann, H. C. (2021). Differential Effects of Ethical Education, Physical Hatha Yoga, and Mantra Meditation on Well-Being and Stress in Healthy Participants-An Experimental Single-Case Study. Frontiers in psychology, 12, 672301. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.672301

 

Abstract

Traditionally, yoga is a multicomponent practice consisting of postures, breathing techniques, meditation, mantras, and ethics. To date, only a few studies have tried to dismantle the effects of each of these components and their combinations. To fill this gap, we examined the incremental effects of ethical education and physical Hatha yoga on mantra meditation using a single-case multiple-baseline design. This study was part of a project evaluating the new mind–body program Meditation-Based Lifestyle Modification. Fifty-seven healthy participants with no regular yoga or meditation practice were randomly assigned to three baselines (7, 14, and 21 days) and four conditions using a random number generator. The conditions were mantra meditation alone (MA), meditation plus physical yoga (MY), meditation plus ethical education (ME), and meditation plus yoga and ethical education (MYE). All the interventions lasted for 8 weeks and were run consecutively according to baseline length. During the baseline and treatment phases, participants received daily questionnaires measuring their well-being (WHO-5 Well-Being Index), stress (Perceived Stress Scale), and subjective experiences. Forty-two participants completed the treatment and were entered in the analyses. We analyzed our data using visual inspection, effect size estimation (Tau-U), and multilevel modeling. Almost all participants showed a longitudinal increase in well-being. Regarding between-group differences, participants who received ethical education exhibited the largest increases in well-being (Tau-U = 0.30/0.23 for ME/MYE), followed by participants in the MY condition (Tau-U = 0.12). Conversely, participants in the MA condition showed no change (Tau-U = 0.07). There was a tendency for the combined treatments to decrease stress. This tendency was strongest in the MY condition (Tau-U = –0.40) and reversed in the MA condition (Tau-U = 0.17). These results emphasize the incremental and differential effects of practicing meditation in combination with other practices from the eight-fold yoga path. This approach is valuable for better understanding the multifaceted practice of yoga.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8375679/

 

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/

Improve Psychological Health with Online Mindfulness Training

Improve Psychological Health with Online Mindfulness Training

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Virtual mindfulness is an increasingly accessible intervention available world-wide that may reduce psychological distress.” – Suzan Farris

 

Mindfulness training has been shown through extensive research to be effective in improving physical and psychological health. But 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 online has been developed. This has 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 online can be effective for improving the health and well-being of the participants. The research has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “New Evidence in the Booming Field of Online Mindfulness: An Updated Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8329762/ ) Sommers-Spijkerman and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published randomized controlled trials of the effectiveness on online mindfulness training to improve psychological health. They identified 97 randomized controlled trials, including a total of 17,464 participants.

 

They report that the published randomized controlled trials found that online mindfulness training produced significant moderate reductions of perceived stress anxiety and depression and increases in mindfulness and well-being. One to 3 months after training there were still significant reductions in anxiety and depression remaining. Although the effects were larger when comparing online mindfulness training to passive control conditions, they were still present in significant when compared to active control conditions.

 

A very large amount of research has accumulated on the effectiveness of online mindfulness training for psychological health. This meta-analysis revealed that this research clearly demonstrates that online mindfulness training has similar effectiveness as face-to-face mindfulness training in improving psychological health. Hence, online training is safe, effective convenient, scalable, and inexpensive, and doesn’t require a trained therapist making it an excellent option for improving psychological health.

 

So, improve psychological health with online mindfulness training.

 

The fear, anxiety and stress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on mental health. But . . . these symptoms may be alleviated through safe and convenient online mindfulness practices.” – Wake Forest Baptist Health

 

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

 

Sommers-Spijkerman, M., Austin, J., Bohlmeijer, E., & Pots, W. (2021). New Evidence in the Booming Field of Online Mindfulness: An Updated Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. JMIR mental health, 8(7), e28168. https://doi.org/10.2196/28168

 

Abstract

Background

There is a need to regularly update the evidence base on the effectiveness of online mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs), especially considering how fast this field is growing and developing.

Objective

This study presents an updated meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials assessing the effects of online MBIs on mental health and the potential moderators of these effects.

Methods

We conducted a systematic literature search in PsycINFO, PubMed, and Web of Science up to December 4, 2020, and included 97 trials, totaling 125 comparisons. Pre-to-post and pre-to-follow-up between-group effect sizes (Hedges g) were calculated for depression, anxiety, stress, well-being, and mindfulness using a random effects model.

Results

The findings revealed statistically significant moderate pre-to-post effects on depression (g=0.34, 95% CI 0.18-0.50; P<.001), stress (g=0.44, 95% CI 0.32-0.55; P<.001), and mindfulness (g=0.40, 95% CI 0.30-0.50; P<.001) and small effects on anxiety (g=0.26, 95% CI 0.18-0.33; P<.001). For well-being, a significant small effect was found only when omitting outliers (g=0.22, 95% CI 0.15-0.29; P<.001) or low-quality studies (g=0.26, 95% CI 0.12-0.41; P<.001). Significant but small follow-up effects were found for depression (g=0.25, 95% CI 0.12-0.38) and anxiety (g=0.23, 95% CI 0.13-0.32). Subgroup analyses revealed that online MBIs resulted in higher effect sizes for stress when offered with guidance. In terms of stress and mindfulness, studies that used inactive control conditions yielded larger effects. For anxiety, populations with psychological symptoms had higher effect sizes. Adherence rates for the interventions ranged from 35% to 92%, but most studies lacked clear definitions or cut-offs.

Conclusions

Our findings not only demonstrate that online MBIs are booming but also corroborate previous findings that online MBIs are beneficial for improving mental health outcomes in a broad range of populations. To advance the field of online MBIs, future trials should pay specific attention to methodological quality, adherence, and long-term follow-up measurements.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8329762/

 

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 Improve Social Media Control While Social Media Control Improves Mindfulness

Mindfulness Improve Social Media Control While Social Media Control Improves Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“social media overuse is increasingly commonplace today, and it may have some serious repercussions to your physical and mental health.” – Kristeen Cherney

 

Over the last few decades, the internet has gone from a rare curiosity to the dominant mode of electronic communications. In fact, it has become a dominant force in daily life, occupying large amounts of time and attention. As useful as the internet may be, it can also produce negative consequences. “Problematic Internet Use” is now considered a behavioral addiction, with almost half of participants in one study considered “Internet addicts”, developing greater levels of “tolerance” and experiencing “withdrawal” and distress when deprived. This phenomenon is so new that there is little understanding of its nature, causes, and consequences and how to treat it.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to be helpful with each of the components of addictions, decreasing cravingsimpulsiveness, and psychological and physiological responses to stress, and increasing emotion regulation.  It is no wonder then that mindfulness training has been found to be effective for the treatment of a variety of addictions. It also has been found to be helpful in overcoming internet and smartphone addictions. But there is a need to further explore the effectiveness of mindfulness training on one form of internet addiction, social media addiction.

 

In today’s Research News article “The reciprocal relationships between social media self-control failure, mindfulness and wellbeing: A longitudinal study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8336798/ ) Du and colleagues recruited participants online between the ages of 16 to 60 years of age and had them complete measures of social media control, mindfulness, well-being, and life satisfaction. They completed the measures three times at four-month intervals.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness at all measurements the higher the levels of social media control, well-being, and life satisfaction at all measurements. They also found evidence that social media control at the first measurement was associated with better mindfulness at the second measurement which was, in turn, associated with better social media control at the third measurement.

 

These results are correlative and as such caution must be exercised in interpreting causation. But mindfulness training has been found in prior research to reduce internet addictions. In addition, the associations found between variables and other variables 4 months later prohibit a reverse causation explanation. So, the associations reported here may well be due to causal connections. Hence, it could be tentatively concluded that being able to control participation in social media improves mindfulness and mindfulness improves the individual’s ability to control their participation in social media.

 

This is potentially important as participation in social media often gets out of control to the point where it interferes in everyday activities to the detriment of the individual. It can even become an addiction. That being mindful can help keep it under control may be very helpful allowing attention to other life activities. Although it was not explored in the present study this suggests that mindfulness training may help make the individual resistant to losing control of participation in social media.

 

So, mindfulness improve social media control while social media control improves mindfulness.

 

Social media addiction is becoming an increasing problem. . . One cure is mindfulness meditation. . . a powerful tool for kicking addictions ranging from drugs, to social media” – Elise Bialylew

 

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

 

Du, J., Kerkhof, P., & van Koningsbruggen, G. M. (2021). The reciprocal relationships between social media self-control failure, mindfulness and wellbeing: A longitudinal study. PloS one, 16(8), e0255648. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0255648

 

Abstract

This paper aims to shed light on the question whether, and how, social media self-control failure is related to mindfulness and wellbeing. Using a 3-wave longitudinal design, the present study among 594 daily social media users examined the reciprocal relationships between social media self-control failure and mindfulness, and between social media self-control failure and wellbeing (as assessed by subjective vitality and life satisfaction). Results of the random-intercept cross-lagged panel model showed that social media self-control failure has a time-invariant negative association with mindfulness and subjective vitality. No full reciprocal influence was found between social media self-control failure and mindfulness, yet part of this trajectory was observed, suggesting that social media self-control failure could impair mindfulness, which, in turn, might increase future social media self-control failure. For wellbeing, life satisfaction was found to predict subsequent drops in social media self-control failure.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8336798/

 

Improve Health Outcomes in Women on Long-Term Sick Leave with Mindfulness

Improve Health Outcomes in Women on Long-Term Sick Leave with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Since stress compromises our immune system, becoming caught up in this way can slow down our recovery. Instead, aim to approach your illness with care, seeing things as they are, with acceptance and compassion.” — Mark Bertin

 

Chronic Pain and mental health issues are the most common causes of long-term sick leave. At least 100 million adult Americans have chronic pain conditions. The most common treatment for chronic pain is drugs. These include over-the-counter analgesics and opioids. But opioids are dangerous and highly addictive. So, there is a great need to find safe and effective ways to lower the psychological distress and improve the individual’s ability to cope with the pain. There is an accumulating volume of research findings that demonstrate that mindfulness practices, in general, are effective in treating pain.

 

Depression affects over 6% of the population. Depression can be difficult to treat. It is usually treated with antidepressant medication. But, of patients treated initially with drugs only about a third attained remission of the depression. Even after remission there are a number of symptoms that remain. These include lingering dysphoria, impaired psychosocial functioning, fatigue, and decreased ability to work. These residual symptoms can lead to relapse. Mindfulness training is also an alternative treatment for depression. It has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression and its recurrence and even in the cases where drugs fail.

 

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults, or 18% of the population. A characterizing feature of anxiety disorders is that the suffer overly identifies with and personalizes their thoughts. The sufferer has recurring thoughts, such as impending disaster, that they may realize are unreasonable, but are unable to shake. Anxiety disorders have generally been treated with drugs. But there are considerable side effects, and these drugs are often abused. Recently, it has been found that mindfulness training can be effective for anxiety disorders.

 

A therapeutic technique that contains mindfulness training and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). It focuses on the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior and how they interact to impact their psychological and physical well-being. It then works to change thinking to alter the interaction and produce greater life satisfaction. ACT employs mindfulness practices to increase awareness and develop an attitude of acceptance and compassion in the presence of painful thoughts and feelings. ACT teaches individuals to “just notice”, accept and embrace private experiences and focus on behavioral responses that produce more desirable outcomes. This suggests that ACT may be an effective treatment for women who are on long-term sick leave.

 

In today’s Research News article “Comparing the Efficacy of Multidisciplinary Assessment and Treatment, or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, with Treatment as Usual on Health Outcomes in Women on Long-Term Sick Leave-A Randomised Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7916944/ ) Finnes and colleagues recruited working age women who were on long-term sick leave and randomly assigned them to receive either treatment as usual, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), or ACT in combination with a multidisciplinary team consisting of a physician, a psychologist, an occupational therapist and a social worker. They were measured before and after treatment and at 6 and 12 months after treatment for sick leave, satisfaction with treatment, pain, anxiety, depression, satisfaction with life, and general health well-being.

 

They found that there were no significant differences between Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), or ACT plus team with the women’s satisfaction with treatment. But in comparison to baseline and the treatment as usual group, both treatments produced significant reductions in anxiety, depression, pain intensity and significant increases in satisfaction with life, and general health well-being. At one year after treatment the ACT plus team group had significantly more patients classified as recovered than the ACT alone group.

 

These results demonstrate that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is effective in treating the physical and psychological symptoms of women who were on long-term sick leave. Women on long-term sick leave are very difficult to treat as their issues have resisted improvement for a substantial period of time. So, the ability of ACT to improve these symptoms is impressive. Adding the team produced slightly better outcomes at 12 months but the additional cost of the team is quite significant. So, from a cost effectiveness standpoint, ACT alone is superior.

 

So, improve health outcomes in women on long-term sick leave with mindfulness.

 

Musculoskeletal pain, depression, and anxiety cause the majority of all sick leave. . . Interestingly enough, mindfulness has become an important construct in return-to-work rehabilitation.” – Emily Lipinski

 

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

 

Finnes, A., Anderzén, I., Pingel, R., Dahl, J., Molin, L., & Lytsy, P. (2021). Comparing the Efficacy of Multidisciplinary Assessment and Treatment, or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, with Treatment as Usual on Health Outcomes in Women on Long-Term Sick Leave-A Randomised Controlled Trial. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(4), 1754. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041754

 

Abstract

Background: Chronic pain and mental disorders are common reasons for long term sick leave. The study objective was to evaluate the efficacy of a multidisciplinary assessment and treatment program including acceptance and commitment therapy (TEAM) and stand-alone acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), compared with treatment as usual (Control) on health outcomes in women on long-term sick leave. Method: Participants (n = 308), women of working age on long term sick leave due to musculoskeletal pain and/or common mental disorders, were randomized to TEAM (n = 102), ACT (n = 102) or Control (n = 104). Participants in the multidisciplinary assessment treatment program received ACT, but also medical assessment, occupational therapy and social counselling. The second intervention included ACT only. Health outcomes were assessed over 12 months using adjusted linear mixed models. The results showed significant interaction effects for both ACT and TEAM compared with Control in anxiety (ACT [p < 0.05]; TEAM [p < 0.001]), depression (ACT [p < 0.001]; TEAM [p < 0.001]) and general well-being (ACT [p < 0.05]; TEAM [p < 0.001]). For self-rated pain, there was a significant interaction effect in favour of ACT (p < 0.05), and for satisfaction with life in favour of TEAM (p < 0.001). Conclusion: Both ACT alone and multidisciplinary assessment and treatment including ACT were superior to treatment as usual in clinical outcomes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7916944/