Improve Worker Well-Being in Spite of Work-Life Conflicts with Mindfulness

Improve Worker Well-Being in Spite of Work-Life Conflicts with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“For many busy professionals, the phrase “work-life balance” can seem like an oxymoron. In today’s world of multi-tasking and 24/7 connectivity, work can seem omnipresent and overwhelming. How can you possibly maintain your competitive edge at work while also nurturing a healthy personal life? . . . Mindfulness can bring us back into balance by acting as a bridge between work and life.” – Dorsey Standish

 

Work is very important for our health and well-being. We spend approximately 25% of our adult lives at work. Indeed, the work environment has even become an important part of our social lives, with friendships and leisure time activities often attached to the people we work with. But work-related stress is epidemic in the western workplace. Almost two thirds of workers reporting 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. These mindfulness practices have been shown to markedly reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress.

 

One of the stresses produced by the modern work environments results from work conflicting with the rest of the workers’ lives harming their well-being and mental health. But there is little understanding regarding how these conflicts affect the worker and what practices might help to mitigate the effects of work-life conflicts. Mindfulness helps to prevent the harmful effects of conflicts. So, it may help to blunt the effects of work-life conflict on the individual’s well-being.

 

In today’s Research News article “When Work Conflicts With Personal Projects: The Association of Work-Life Conflict With Worker Wellbeing and the Mediating Role of Mindfulness.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.539582/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1771688_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211111_arts_A ) Pacheco and colleagues recruited adult workers and had them complete a questionnaire measuring mindfulness, positive mental health, well-being in the workplace, personality, and work-life conflict, including time-based conflict and strain-based conflict..

 

They report that the higher the levels of mindfulness the higher the levels of positive mental health and well-being in the workplace and the lower the levels of time-based conflict and strain-based conflict. They also found that the higher the levels of both time-based conflict and strain-based conflict the lower the levels of positive mental health and well-being in the workplace.

 

Using linear structural modelling to assess the interrelationships between the variables they found that both time-based conflict and strain-based conflict were associated with lower well-being in the workplace directly and also indirectly by being associated with lower mindfulness which was associated with lower well-being in the workplace. They also found that both time-based conflict and strain-based conflict were associated with lower positive mental health only indirectly by being associated with lower mindfulness which was associated with lower positive mental health.

 

These findings are correlational. So, no conclusions regarding causation can be reached. But in previous controlled research mindfulness training has been shown to improve mental health and well-being. So, the relationships with mindfulness observed here are likely due to causal connections. The findings, then, suggest that the conflicts between work and life in general are factors in lowering workers’ mental health and well-being at work. The findings further suggest that mindfulness is an important intermediary where mindfulness is a promoter of positive mental health and well-being at work, but work-life conflicts reduce mindfulness. Future research should attempt to train mindfulness to observe whether it can mitigate the negative effects of work-life conflicts.

 

So, improve worker well-being in spite of work-life conflicts with mindfulness.

 

“[mindfulness] is effective for encouraging work–life balance and improve well-being.” – Sarah Elena Althammer

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Pacheco T, Coulombe S and Meunier S (2021) When Work Conflicts With Personal Projects: The Association of Work-Life Conflict With Worker Wellbeing and the Mediating Role of Mindfulness. Front. Psychol. 12:539582. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.539582

 

The negative emotional and health effects of work-life conflict (WLC) have been demonstrated in numerous studies regarding organizational psychology and occupational health. However, little is known about WLC’s relationship with positive wellbeing outcomes, including emotional, psychological, and social aspects of workers’ thriving. Furthermore, the mediating processes underlying the effects of WLC remain mostly unknown. The current study investigated the associations of perceived time- and strain-based WLC with positive mental health and thriving at work, as well as the mediating role of mindfulness in these associations. It is argued that WLC causes reduced mindfulness capacities among workers, which is in turn associated with lower positive wellbeing given the importance of mindfulness in emotion regulation. A sample of 330 workers based in Québec, Canada, completed an online survey including a measure of strain- and time-based interference with personal projects (i.e., the goals and activities that define the daily life of an individual) and validated scales of wellbeing outcomes and mindfulness. Results of structural equation modeling revealed negative associations between time- and strain-based WLC with positive mental health and thriving at work. Work-life conflict was related to lower mindfulness, which played a mediating role in the associations between time-based WLC with positive mental health and thriving at work, as well as strain-based WLC with positive mental health. The mediation was complete for the time-based WLC and positive mental health association, but partial for the other mediated pathways, highlighting the need for more research to identify additional mediators. These results highlight that beyond resulting in negative emotional/health outcomes often studied in previous research, WLC may be associated with workers’ reduced potential to live a fulfilling life, in general and in the workplace. Recommendations (e.g., mindfulness intervention to promote emotional regulation, personal project intervention) for workplace policymakers and practitioners are identified.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.539582/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1771688_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211111_arts_A

 

Reduce Covid-19 Lockdown Stress Effects on Sleep and Work Engagement with Mindfulness

Reduce Covid-19 Lockdown Stress Effects on Sleep and Work Engagement with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Research shows that mindfulness meditation can reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression and can have a significant impact in the workplace”. – Headspace

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to improve health and well-being in healthy individuals. It has also been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the mental and physical health of the population. It has created intense stress both for workers but also for people simply isolating at home. Mindfulness is known to decrease the psychological and physical responses to stress. So, mindfulness training may be helpful in employees coping with the mental challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

 

In today’s Research News article “Stay Mindful and Carry on: Mindfulness Neutralizes COVID-19 Stressors on Work Engagement via Sleep Duration.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.610156/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1757290_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211021_arts_A ) Zheng and colleagues performed 2 studies, recruiting working adult participants, one in China and the other in the UK during Covid-19 lockdown. They were randomly assigned to practice for 10 minutes each morning for 10 days an audio guided practice of mindfulness or mind wandering. They were measured before and after training for mindfulness, sleep quality, work engagement, and the level of stress as indicated by the number of Covid-19 cases in the area.

 

They found that with the mind wandering group the greater the number of cases reported the shorter the sleep duration of the participants while the mindfulness group had no significant change in sleep duration. In addition, they found that work engagement was positively related to sleep duration but negatively related to the number of cases reported.

 

The results suggest that mindfulness training reduces the impact of stress during Covid-19 lockdown on sleep which in turn maintains work engagement. Mindfulness has previously been shown in multiple studies to improve sleep, reduce stress effects, and improve work engagement. The present study suggests that these benefits of mindfulness practice work to buffer the effects of the stress produced by Covid-19 lockdown on sleep and work engagement. In other words mindfulness training makes employees better able to cope with stress.

 

So, reduce Covid-19 lockdown stress effects on sleep and work engagement with mindfulness.

 

“The mindful response to COVID-19 . . . exemplifies that burnout can be mitigated by system-sponsored programming.” – Marianna Klatt

 

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

 

Zheng MX, Masters-Waage TC, Yao J, Lu Y, Tan N and Narayanan J (2020) Stay Mindful and Carry on: Mindfulness Neutralizes COVID-19 Stressors on Work Engagement via Sleep Duration. Front. Psychol. 11:610156. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.610156

 

We examine whether mindfulness can neutralize the negative impact of COVID-19 stressors on employees’ sleep duration and work engagement. In Study 1, we conducted a field experiment in Wuhan, China during the lockdown between February 20, 2020, and March 2, 2020, in which we induced state mindfulness by randomly assigning participants to either a daily mindfulness practice or a daily mind-wandering practice. Results showed that the sleep duration of participants in the mindfulness condition, compared with the control condition, was less impacted by COVID-19 stressors (i.e., the increase of infections in the community). In Study 2, in a 10-day daily diary study in the United Kingdom between June 8, 2020, and June 19, 2020, we replicate our results from Study 1 using a subjective measure of COVID-19 stressors and a daily measure of state mindfulness. In addition, we find that mindfulness buffers the negative effect of COVID-19 stressors on work engagement mediated by sleep duration. As the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing and the number of reported cases continues to rise globally, our findings suggest that mindfulness is an evidence-based practice that can effectively neutralize the negative effect of COVID-19 stressors on sleep and work outcomes. The findings of the present study contribute to the employee stress and well-being literature as well as the emerging organizational research on mindfulness.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.610156/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1757290_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211021_arts_A

 

Reduce the Impact of Job Demands and Resources on Social Worker Burnout with Mindfulness

Reduce the Impact of Job Demands and Resources on Social Worker Burnout with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindfulness is shown to help social work students and social workers reduce stress and enhance self-care, compassion and well-being.” – Pearce McCusker

 

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. These stressors have been vastly amplified during the Covid-19 pandemic. Examining the causes of burnout, then should be a priority to find ways to improve the psychological health of social workers.

 

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.  Hence, it is reasonable to examine the association of mindfulness with the characteristics of the job and burnout to begin to determine how to improve the well-being of social work professionals.

 

In today’s Research News article “Job Demands, Resources, and Burnout in Social Workers in China: Mediation Effect of Mindfulness.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8507647/ ) Huang and colleagues administered an anonymous online survey to social workers in China. They were measured during the Covid-19 pandemic for burnout including emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment subscales, job demands, job resources and mindfulness.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness and job resources the lower the levels of burnout and the higher the levels of job demands including workload and emotional demands the higher the levels of burnout. Structural equation modelling revealed that mindfulness partially mediated the associations of job resources and demands on burnout. Job resources were associated with lower burnout directly and also indirectly by being associated with higher mindfulness which was in turn associated with lower burnout. Similarly, job demands were associated with higher burnout directly and also indirectly by being associated with lower mindfulness which was in turn associated with greater burnout.

 

These results are correlative and as such causation cannot be determined. But mindfulness has been shown in past controlled research to produce lower levels of burnout. So, it is likely that the present relationships are the results of mindfulness causing higher resistance to burnout. It is not surprising that the workload and emotional demands of social work tend to produce burnout and that the resources available on the job tend to mitigate burnout. Social work is an extremely stressful occupation with high demands and low resources. So, it is promising that mindfulness may help to prevent the stress from these job characteristics from producing burnout. This suggests that mindfulness training might be incorporated into social work education to help arm the students to better deal with the job and withstand burnout.

 

So, reduce the impact of job demands and resources on social worker burnout with mindfulness.

 

a career in social work is generally highly demanding, with large caseloads and minimal compensation. Imagine, for example, performing a job in which your caseload outweighs your time, your clients are victims of chronic abuse, and you barely earn enough money to pay your mortgage.” – Heather Lonczak

 

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

 

Huang, C., Xie, X., Cheung, S. P., Zhou, Y., & Ying, G. (2021). Job Demands, Resources, and Burnout in Social Workers in China: Mediation Effect of Mindfulness. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(19), 10526. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910526

 

Abstract

Internationally, human service professionals, including social workers, experience high burnout and turnover rates. Despite the recent and rapid development of contemporary social work in China, Chinese social workers similarly experience significant rates of burnout. Therefore, there is a need to investigate the factors that contribute to social work burnout. This study applied the job demands and resources (JD-R) model to examine the effects of JD-R on burnout in social workers (n = 897) from Chengdu, China, and whether these relations are mediated by state mindfulness. Structural equation modeling results supported the previously hypothesized dual process by which JD-R affect burnout, specifically in a sample of social workers in China. Job demands (JD) were positively associated with burnout, while job resources (JR) were negatively associated with burnout. These relations were partially mediated by state mindfulness. JR had a strong, positive direct effect on mindfulness (β = 0.38), and its total effect on burnout was high (β = −0.56). Meanwhile, JD had a slight negative direct effect on mindfulness (β = −0.09), and its total effect on burnout was 0.42. The results suggest that the implementation of mindfulness-based interventions for social workers can potentially mitigate the effect of JD on burnout, as well as increase the effect of JR on burnout.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8507647/

 

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

 

Reduce Stress and Increase Work Engagement with an Online Mindfulness Course

Reduce Stress and Increase Work Engagement with an Online Mindfulness Course

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“When we constantly flit from one task to another, the quality of our work can suffer. By practicing mindfulness — simply coming back to the present moment over and over again — we can train ourselves to become more focused.” – David Gelles

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to greatly improve psychological health and well-being. But most mindfulness training techniques require a trained teacher. The participants must be available to attend multiple sessions at particular scheduled times that may or may not be compatible with busy employee schedules and at locations that may not be convenient. As an alternative online mindfulness trainings have been developed. These have tremendous advantages in decreasing costs, making training schedules much more flexible, and eliminating the need to go repeatedly to specific locations. But the question arises as to the effectiveness of these online courses in inducing mindfulness and reducing stress and improving psychological well-being of people who choose to participate.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness Is Associated With Lower Stress and Higher Work Engagement in a Large Sample of MOOC Participants.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.724126/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1735535_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210921_arts_A ) Bartlett and colleagues employed people who spontaneously enrolled in a 3 hour per week for 6 weeks online mindfulness course that was based upon the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program. Before and after the course participants could volunteer to complete measures of mindfulness, perceived stress, and work engagement. 16,697 participants voluntarily completed these measures.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the levels of perceived stress and the higher the levels of work engagement including the vigor, dedication, and absorption subscales. Mindfulness was found to be associated with higher work engagement directly and indirectly by being associated with lower perceived stress that was in turn associated with higher work engagement. In comparison to baseline after the mindfulness course there were significant increases in mindfulness and work engagement and decreases in perceived stress.

 

This study employed people who voluntarily chose to take an online mindfulness course and complete questionnaires before and after the course. There was no random selection or assignment to groups. So, there are a large number of alternative, confounding, interpretations of the results. But many prior controlled research studies have demonstrated that mindfulness training produces lower perceived stress and higher work engagement and that mindfulness can be learned over the internet with similar effects to that learned with in person training. So, the present results were likely due to the effects of the online mindfulness training.

 

These results suggest that online courses freely available to anyone with an internet connection are effective in improving the well-being of the participants. The particular online mindfulness course employed in the present study has been completed by over 400,000 individuals. Hence, this course was free and widely used and was effective in improving the psychological health of the participants. This is remarkable. Online mindfulness courses allow the benefits of mindfulness training to be available free to huge numbers of people worldwide.

 

So, reduce stress and increase work engagement with an online mindfulness course.

 

Mindful work means to be consciously present in what you’re doing, while you’re doing it, as well as managing your mental and emotional state.” – Shamash Alidina

 

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

 

Bartlett L, Buscot M-J, Bindoff A, Chambers R and Hassed C (2021) Mindfulness Is Associated With Lower Stress and Higher Work Engagement in a Large Sample of MOOC Participants. Front. Psychol. 12:724126. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.724126

 

Objective: This study aimed to understand the associations between mindfulness, perceived stress, and work engagement in a very large sample of English-speaking adults, from 130 different countries. It also aimed to assess participants’ self-reported changes following a 6-week mindfulness massive open online course (MOOC).

Methods: Participants in the 6-week MOOC were invited to complete pre-post online surveys. Cross-sectional associations were assessed using univariate linear models, followed by structural equation models to test mediation pathways in baseline data (N = 16,697). Self-reported changes in mindfulness, stress and engagement following training were assessed using paired t-tests (n = 2,105).

Results: Each standard deviation unit increase in mindfulness was associated with a 0.52 standard deviation unit decrease in perceived stress, and with 0.06 standard deviation unit increment in work engagement. 73% of the influence of mindfulness on engagement was direct. Following the mindfulness MOOC, participants reported higher mindfulness (d = 1.16), reduced perceived stress (d = 1.00) and a small improvement in work engagement (d = 0.29).

Conclusions: Mindfulness was associated with lower perceived stress and higher work engagement in both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses. These findings support mindfulness as a potentially protective and modifiable personal resource. The MOOC format offers a low cost, highly accessible means for extending the reach and potential benefits of mindfulness training to large numbers of people.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.724126/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1735535_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210921_arts_A

 

Spirituality (Meaningfulness) is Related to Lower Work Burnout

Spirituality (Meaningfulness) is Related to Lower Work Burnout

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“the use of spiritual beliefs and practices can reduce the effects of burnout.” – Andrew Jacob Godoy

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. 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 and mental health. Spirituality may be viewed as a search for meaning in one’s life. Hence, there is a need to investigate the relationships of spirituality (meaningfulness) with burnout in work environments.

 

In today’s Research News article “An Empirical Investigation of the Relationship Between Spirituality, Work Culture, and Burnout: The Need for an Extended Health and Disease Model.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.723884/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1735535_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210921_arts_A ) Listopad and colleagues recruited employed adults online and had them complete measures of burnout, work engagement, meaningfulness of work, and homeliness in the organization. They operationally define spirituality as meaningfulness which in this study translates to meaningfulness of work.

 

They found that the lower the levels of work engagement, meaningfulness of work, and homeliness the greater the level of burnout. They also found that the subscales of the meaningfulness of work measure were negatively related to burnout especially positive meaning of work and were also positively related to work engagement. Additionally, they found that the subscales of the homeliness in the organization measure were negatively related to burnout especially needs fulfillment, group membership, and emotional connection and were also positively related to work engagement.

 

The study is correlative and as such caution must be exercised in reaching conclusions regarding causation. Nevertheless, the results demonstrate that spirituality (meaningfulness) is related to lower burnout. The results suggest that greater meaningfulness of work (spirituality) and t connection of the worker to the organization (homeliness) the lower the levels of burnout and the higher the levels of engagement in the work. The search for meaning (spirituality) is ubiquitous in humans. Hence, in part, burnout is more likely to occur when there is a lack of meaningfulness. When meaning is missing it is more likely that work will unsatisfying and burnout can occur.

 

So, spirituality (meaningfulness) is related to lower work burnout.

 

spirituality may have a positive impact on the experience of and ability to manage workplace stress . . . spirituality may have positive impacts on job burnout.” – Jessica L. Lueck

 

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

 

Listopad IW, Esch T and Michaelsen MM (2021) An Empirical Investigation of the Relationship Between Spirituality, Work Culture, and Burnout: The Need for an Extended Health and Disease Model. Front. Psychol. 12:723884. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.723884

 

Apart from biological, psychological, and social factors, recent studies indicate that spirituality and work culture also play an important role in the onset of burnout. Hence, the commonly applied bio-psycho-social model of health and disease might not be sufficient to comprehensively explain and describe burnout. This study empirically investigates the relationship between spirituality (operationalized by perceived meaningfulness of work) and work culture (operationalized by sense of homeliness of the working environment) with burnout risk and work engagement. For this purpose, an anonymous cross-sectional data collection with fully standardized questionnaires and selected socio-demographic and work-related items was conducted among working adults (n = 439) from different industries via social media and local health service centers. For all scales and subscales, we found significant moderate to strong correlations. Furthermore, positive meaning within the perceived meaningfulness of work scale was the largest beta coefficient for burnout (β = −0.65) and work engagement (β = 0.62). Within sense of homeliness, the largest beta coefficient for burnout was needs fulfillment (β = −0.34) and work engagement emotional connection (β = 0.36). The strong associations suggest that the current health and disease model needs to be expanded to a bio-psycho-socio-spirito-cultural model to be able to sufficiently describe burnout. The perceived meaningfulness of work and a sense of homeliness should be adequately considered when examining the onset of burnout, describing burnout as a concept, and explaining work engagement.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.723884/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1735535_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210921_arts_A

 

Improve Well-Being of Healthy Individuals with Mindfulness

Improve Well-Being of Healthy Individuals with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“engaging in mindfulness meditation cultivates our ability to both focus and broaden our attention, which is a practical way to elicit psychological well-being.” – Jennifer Wolkin

 

The primary focus of the majority of research on mindfulness has been on its ability to treat mental illness and 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.

 

The most commonly used mindfulness technique for the treatment of depression is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).  MBCT involves mindfulness training, containing sitting and walking meditation and body scan, and cognitive therapy to alter how the patient relates to the thought processes that often underlie and exacerbate psychological symptoms. MBCT was developed to treat mental illness. So, it is not known if it can improve the well-being of healthy individuals.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Improving Subjective and Eudaimonic Well-Being in Healthy Individuals: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.700916/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1714167_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210831_arts_A ) Kosugi and colleagues recruited healthy adults and randomly assigned them to either a wait-list control condition or to receive 8 weekly, 2-hour group sessions of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). They were measured before, during, and after training and 8 weeks later for satisfaction with life, flourishing, positive and negative experiences, self-esteem, mindfulness, self-compassion, resilience, anxiety, depression, perceived stress, presenteeism, interoceptive awareness, and quality of life.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control group, the group that received Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) had significant increases in satisfaction with life, interoceptive awareness, mindfulness, self-compassion, resilience, and work productivity that were maintained 8 weeks after the end of training. Hence, MBCT produced significant improvements in the psychological states of healthy adults. So, MBCT is not only effective in improving the mental health of individuals with mental problems but also can increase the positive psychological states in healthy individuals.

 

This study had a passive comparison (control) condition. This leaves open the possibility that the results were affected by participant expectancies (placebo), experimenter bias, or attentional (Hawthorne) effects. Future research should compare Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) treatment to an active control condition, e.g. exercise to eliminate the possible confounding variables.

 

So, improve well-being of healthy individuals with mindfulness.

 

The practice of mindfulness is an effective means of enhancing and maintaining optimal mental health and overall well-being, and can be implemented in every aspect of daily living.” – Rezvan Ameli

 

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

 

Kosugi T, Ninomiya A, Nagaoka M, Hashimoto Z, Sawada K, Park S, Fujisawa D, Mimura M and Sado M (2021) Effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Improving Subjective and Eudaimonic Well-Being in Healthy Individuals: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Front. Psychol. 12:700916. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.700916

 

Objectives: Better subjective and eudaimonic well-being fosters better health conditions. Several studies have confirmed that mindfulness-based interventions are effective for improving well-being; however, the samples examined in these studies have been limited to specific populations, and the studies only measured certain aspects of well-being rather than the entire construct. Additionally, few studies have examined the effect of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy on well-being. The present study examines the feasibility of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and its effectiveness for improving subjective and eudaimonic well-being among community residents.

Methods: The study design featured an 8-week randomized, waiting-list controlled, parallel-group study. 8 weekly mindfulness classes, followed by 2 monthly classes, were provided for healthy individuals aged 20–65 years who had a Satisfaction with Life Scale score of ≤ 24 indicating average to low cognitive aspect of subjective well-being. This trial was registered with the University Hospital Medical Information Network Clinical Trials Registry (ID: UMIN000031885, URL: https://upload.umin.ac.jp/cgi-open-bin/ctr_e/ctr_view.cgi?recptno=R000036376).

Results: The results showed that cognitive aspect of subjective well-being and mindfulness skills were significantly improved at 8 weeks, and this effect was enhanced up to the end of the follow-up period. Positive affective aspect of subjective and eudaimonic well-being were significantly improved at 16 weeks.

Conclusions: Eight weeks of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy with a 2-month follow-up period improves cognitive and affective aspects of subjective and eudaimonic well-being in healthy individuals. The order of improvement was cognitive, positive affective, and eudaimonic well-being. To verify these findings, multi-center randomized controlled trials with active control groups and longer follow-up periods are warranted.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.700916/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1714167_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210831_arts_A

 

Decrease Burnout in Healthcare Workers During Covid-19 with Mindfulness

Decrease Burnout in Healthcare Workers During Covid-19 with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Healthcare professionals have been going above and beyond in order to safeguard everyone’s health and well-being during the coronavirus pandemic. Many have been stretched to capacity—and it’s not as if all the pre-COVID pressures have magically disappeared. Mindfulness can help healthcare professionals look after themselves and their colleagues during this time and beyond.” – Mindful

 

For healthcare professionals the Covid-19 pandemic has produced a number of difficult issues that may be helped by mindfulness practice. Being mindful or engaging in mindfulness practices can be helpful in coping with the physical and psychological manifestations of stress produced by long hours of working with very sick people with a highly infectious disease, the depression resulting from separation from family and loved ones, the post-traumatic stress disorder that can be produced by repeated exposure to suffering and death, and burnout that can result from the overwhelming quantity and seriousness of the symptoms. In addition mindfulness can help build empathycompassionpatience, and flexibility that are so important for the treatment of the patients, resilience to withstand the stresses, and the ability to effectively cope with the strong emotions produced.

 

In today’s Research News article “Synchronous Mindfulness in Motion Online: Strong Results, Strong Attendance at a Critical Time for Health Care Professionals (HCPs) in the COVID Era.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.725810/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1709299_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210824_arts_A ) Klatt and colleagues recruited healthcare professionals and delivered to them a mindfulness training program, Mindfulness in Motion (MIM), either in person or over the internet and before the Covid-19 Pandemic or after. They were measured before and after training for resilience, perceived stress, work engagement, and burnout, including subscales of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment.

 

They found that after the mindfulness training there were significant reductions in burnout and perceived stress, and significant increases in resilience and work engagement regardless of whether it was delivered before or after the Covid-19 Pandemic. After Covid there were significantly higher levels of emotional exhaustion, but the mindfulness training produced significantly greater reductions in emotional exhaustion and perceived stress. There were no significant differences between the effects of the training delivered virtually over the internet or in person.

 

These results demonstrate that mindfulness training improves the psychological health of healthcare workers regardless of whether it’s delivered in person or over the internet or whether it was delivered before or after the onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Although there weren’t control comparison conditions present, prior controlled research has demonstrated that mindfulness training produces significant decreases in burnout and perceived stress and increases in resilience and work engagement. So, the present results likely are due to the mindfulness training program.

 

These are important findings as healthcare workers, particularly during the Covid-19 Pandemic are under severe stress which makes burnout likely. In addition, these workers have little available time for training, so being able to deliver the program over the internet makes it more readily available. Hence, mindfulness training appears to be able to buffer the healthcare professionals from burnout and improve their psychological well-being even during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

 

So, decrease burnout in healthcare workers during Covid-19 with mindfulness.

 

There is no doubt that the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic is causing a high level of stress and distress, particularly among health care workers due to our unique role in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. During a pandemic like this, our capacity to stay calm, present, and compassionate is more important than ever.” – Dzung Vo

 

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

 

Klatt M, Bawa R, Gabram O, Westrick A and Blake A (2021) Synchronous Mindfulness in Motion Online: Strong Results, Strong Attendance at a Critical Time for Health Care Professionals (HCPs) in the COVID Era. Front. Psychol. 12:725810. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.725810

 

Mindfulness in Motion (MIM) is an organizationally-sponsored mindfulness program for employees at a large academic health center that consistently produces significant reductions in burnout and perceived stress, alongside significant increases in work engagement and resilience. This study compared outcome measures of a synchronous virtual delivery of MIM, necessitated by COVID-19, to traditional in-person delivery of MIM. Outcome measures from the virtual COVID (AU20, WI21, SP21) MIM cohorts (n = 99) were compared with the in-person Pre-COVID (SP19, AU19, WI20) MIM cohorts (n = 124). Both Pre-COVID and COVID cohorts had similar attendance rates with an average attendance of 84 and 80%, respectively. Qualitative analysis of COVID cohorts reported community support during COVID as a substantial intervention benefit, which was important at a time when isolation dominated the healthcare professional experience. Total burnout was determined by scores on the subscales of the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI). There were no significant differences in depersonalization (p = 0.3876) and personal accomplishment (p = 0.1519) changes between Pre-COVID and COVID cohorts, however there was a significant difference in emotional exhaustion (p = 0.0315), with COVID cohorts improving more. In both Pre, and COVID cohorts, the percentage of people meeting burnout criteria from pre to post between groups were similar, yielding a non-significant difference (p = 0.2950). The Connor Davidson Resiliency Scale (CDRS) and Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES) also produced no significant differences between groups (p = 0.4259, p = 0.1984, respectively). The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) though yielded significant differences in reduction between groups (p = 0.0405), again with COVID cohorts showing greater improvement. Results of the first synchronous, virtually delivered MIM cohorts reflect that participants achieved very similar results and that MIM created a community in a time when it was greatly needed due to pandemic healthcare professional stress.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.725810/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1709299_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210824_arts_A

 

Mindfulness is Associated with Positive Personality Characteristics and Greater Safety Behavior

Mindfulness is Associated with Positive Personality Characteristics and Greater Safety Behavior

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

By making mindfulness an accessible practice, and giving workers the tools they need to keep it up, safety professionals can significantly change lives – and not just in the workplace.” – American Association of Safety Professionals

 

Working in construction is dangerous. In the U.S. an average of 2 construction workers die each day. In fact, while only 6% of workers are in the construction industry, 20% of workplace fatalities are construction related. Injury rates in construction are 71% higher than injury rates across all industries on average. The top causes of construction related fatalities are falls, being struck-by an object, electrocution, and being caught between objects.

 

A loss of attention and concentration can lead to many construction-related injuries. Mindfulness on the other hand is related to improved attention, reduced numbers of falls, reduced mind wandering, and a reduction in impulsivity. So, mindfulness may be related to workplace safety. Trait mindfulness of workers, then is likely to be related to construction safety.

 

In today’s Research News article “Examining the Relationship between Mindfulness, Personality, and National Culture for Construction Safety.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8125938/ ) Soloman and Esmaeili recruited construction workers and civil engineering students and had them complete measures of mindfulness, personality characteristics: including extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness, and national culture including: power distance, individualism vs. collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, and masculinity vs. femininity.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the higher the levels of the personality traits of conscientiousness and agreeableness and the national cultural variable of uncertainty avoidance. They also found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the levels of the personality trait of neuroticism.

 

These results are correlative, so causation can not be determined, But previous manipulative research has established the mindfulness causes increases in conscientiousness and agreeableness and decreases in neuroticism. This suggests that mindfulness is associated with and can improve positive personality traits. A new finding here is that mindfulness is also associated with uncertainty avoidance. From the perspective of the construction worker this would suggest that mindful workers pay more attention to their situation and don’t take risks but work to make sure they understand the situation they’re in. This should greatly improve safety. In addition, they are more conscientious, and this too would predict greater attention to safety.

 

The results are interesting and should be followed up with controlled manipulative studies. Nevertheless, the results suggest that mindfulness should improve worker safety and that certain personality types should be earmarked for attention to their safety. Neurotic, less conscientious, and low mindfulness workers may need to be identified and exposed to greater training including training in mindfulness.

 

So, mindfulness is associated with positive personality characteristics and greater safety behavior.

 

there are great opportunities for low-dose mindfulness to positively impact workplace safety, potentially saving individuals from harm and organizations from costly accidents.” – Connell Nolan

 

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

 

Solomon, T., & Esmaeili, B. (2021). Examining the Relationship between Mindfulness, Personality, and National Culture for Construction Safety. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(9), 4998. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18094998

 

Abstract

The construction industry still leads the world as one of the sectors with the most work-related injuries and worker fatalities. Considering that one of the barriers to improving construction safety is its stressful working environment, which increases risk of inattentiveness among construction workers, safety managers seek practices to measure and enhance worker focus and reduce stress, such as mindfulness. Considering the important role of mindfulness in curbing frequency and severity of incidents, researchers are interested in understanding the relationship between mindfulness and other common, more static human characteristics. As a result, this study examines the relationship between mindfulness and such variables as personality and national culture in the context of construction safety. Collecting data from 155 participants, this study used elastic net regression to examine the influence of independent (i.e., personality and national culture) variables on the dependent (i.e., mindfulness) variable. To validate the results of the regression, 10-fold cross-validation was conducted. The results reveal that certain personality traits (e.g., conscientiousness, neuroticism, and agreeableness) and national cultural dimensions (e.g., uncertainty avoidance, individualism, and collectivism) can be used as predictors of mindfulness for individuals. Since mindfulness has shown to increase safety and work performance, safety managers can utilize these variables to identify at-risk workers so that additional safety training can be provided to enhance work performance and improve safety outcomes. The results of this study will inform future work into translating personal and mindfulness characteristics into factors that predict specific elements of unsafe human behaviors.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8125938/

 

Improve Executives’ Attitudes Toward Work with a Mindfulness App

Improve Executives’ Attitudes Toward Work with a Mindfulness App

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindful working means applying focus and awareness to everything you do from the moment you enter the office. Focus on the task at hand and recognize and release internal and external distractions as they arise. In this way, mindfulness helps increase effectiveness, decrease mistakes, and even enhance creativity.” –  Rasmus Hougaard

 

Work is very important for our health and well-being. We spend approximately 25% of our adult lives at work. Indeed, the work environment has even become an important part of our social lives, with friendships and leisure time activities often attached to the people we work with. But work-related stress is epidemic in the western workplace. Almost two thirds of workers reporting 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. These mindfulness practices have been shown to markedly reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress.

 

The vast majority of the mindfulness training techniques, however, require a trained teacher. The participants must be available to attend multiple sessions at particular scheduled times that may or may not be compatible with busy employee schedules and at locations that may not be convenient. As an alternative, apps for smartphones have been developed. These have tremendous advantages in decreasing costs, making training schedules much more flexible, and eliminating the need to go repeatedly to specific locations. But the question arises as to the effectiveness of these apps in inducing mindfulness and reducing stress and improving psychological well-being in executives in real-world work settings.

 

In today’s Research News article “An App-Based Workplace Mindfulness Intervention, and Its Effects Over Time.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8101632/ ) Lu and colleagues recruited working executives who had signed up for an 8-week mindfulness program on the Awakened Mind® platform. The App contained 8 weekly mindfulness meditation sessions. They were measured before, weekly during, and after training for mindfulness, emotional exhaustion, work engagement, and job satisfaction.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness, the higher the levels of work engagement, and job satisfaction and the lower the levels of emotional exhaustion. They also found that over time mindfulness grew stronger which in turn produced greater levels of work engagement, and job satisfaction and lower levels of emotional exhaustion. These effects grew throughout the 8 weeks of training but the rate of change was greatest early in training slowing later in training. Hence, the app increases mindfulness over time and this in turn improves workplace attitudes.

 

One problem encountered was that participation rates decreased over the 8 weeks of training such that by the end of training only 54% of the original participants were still using the app. This might suggest that experimental mortality could account for the results. But the fact that the effects were present early in the program when participation rates were high suggests that use of the app and not a confounding variable was responsible for the effects.

 

The results suggest that business executives benefit from using a mindfulness meditation app and further suggest that the app increases mindfulness which is responsible for the improved attitudes toward work. Mindfulness has been previously shown to reduce burnout at work. This suggests that this simple, convenient, and inexpensive mindfulness training should be recommended for business executives.

 

So, improve executives’ attitudes toward work with a mindfulness App.

 

a brief two-week mindfulness training app can change a person’s biological response to stress.” – Emily K. Lindsay

 

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

 

Lu, Y., Remond, J., Bunting, M., Ilies, R., Tripathi, N., & Narayanan, J. (2021). An App-Based Workplace Mindfulness Intervention, and Its Effects Over Time. Frontiers in psychology, 12, 615137. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.615137

 

Abstract

We investigated the week-to-week effects of a mindfulness intervention on emotional exhaustion, work engagement, and job satisfaction in a field study involving 218 participants who participated and reported their weekly outcomes during the 8-week program. To examine how mindfulness impacted work outcomes, we used intraindividual modeling of the 8-week data. Mindfulness increased over time, and time also had indirect effects on emotional exhaustion, work engagement, and job satisfaction, through mindfulness. Supplementary growth curve analyses on the improvement of mindfulness over time showed a slight decrease in the positive effect of time on mindfulness.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8101632/