Reduce Adolescent Internalizing Symptoms, and Impulsivity with Mindfulness

Reduce Adolescent Internalizing Symptoms, and Impulsivity with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness appears to be a way of engaging with our internal and external environment and approaching emotion that is an asset for avoiding excessively heightened internalizing symptoms.” – Sarah Clear

 

Adolescence is a time of mental, physical, social, and emotional growth. But it can be a difficult time, fraught with challenges. During this time the child transitions to young adulthood; including the development of intellectual, psychological, physical, and social abilities and characteristics. There are so many changes occurring during this time that the child can feel overwhelmed and unable to cope with all that is required. This can lead to emotional and behavioral problems. Indeed, up to a quarter of adolescents suffer from internalizing symptoms such as depression or anxiety disorders, and an even larger proportion struggle with subclinical symptoms. Mindfulness training has been shown to improve emotion regulation and to benefit the psychological and emotional health of adolescents

 

In today’s Research News article “Longitudinal Associations between Internalizing Symptoms, Dispositional Mindfulness, Rumination and Impulsivity in Adolescents.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8416885/ ) Royuela-Colomer and colleagues recruited healthy adolescents (aged 11 to 17 years) and had them complete measures of mindfulness, rumination, impulsivity, and internalizing symptoms, including anxiety, depression, and perceived stress. The measures were completed again one year later.

 

They found that adolescent boys had significantly lower levels of rumination, impulsivity, and internalizing symptoms and higher levels of mindfulness than girls. They also found that at both measurement periods the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the levels of all dependent variables. They further found that the higher the levels of mindfulness at the first measurement the lower the levels of depression, perceived stress, and impulsivity a year later. This latter finding was true both for boys and girls.

 

These findings are correlational. So, no conclusions about causation can be made. But in previous controlled studies mindfulness has been found to improve the psychological well-being of adolescents and to produce lower levels of depression, perceived stress, and impulsivity. So, the correlations obtained here likely occurred due to causal connections between the variables. These results then suggest that mindfulness may be protective against internalizing symptoms and impulsivity in adolescents. This further suggests that mindfulness training should be made part of the education of adolescents to improve their psychological well-being and reducing their destructive tendencies toward impulsive behavior.

 

So, reduce adolescent internalizing symptoms, and impulsivity with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness not only directly impacted on adolescents’ internalizing problems, but also indirectly improved their anxious and depression emotions via the reduction of rumination and the increase of acceptance.” – Meng Yu

 

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

 

Royuela-Colomer, E., Fernández-González, L., & Orue, I. (2021). Longitudinal Associations between Internalizing Symptoms, Dispositional Mindfulness, Rumination and Impulsivity in Adolescents. Journal of youth and adolescence, 50(10), 2067–2078. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-021-01476-2

 

Abstract

Mindfulness has been associated with fewer negative mental health symptoms during adolescence, but fewer studies have examined longitudinal associations between mindfulness and symptoms in conjunction with two vulnerability factors for psychopathology with mindfulness: rumination and impulsivity. This study examined longitudinal associations between internalizing symptoms (depression, anxiety, stress), mindfulness, rumination, and impulsivity over a one-year period among 352 Spanish adolescents (57.4% girls; M = 14.47, SD = 1.34). Participants completed self-reported measures of symptoms, mindfulness, rumination, and impulsivity at two time points. Mindfulness negatively predicted stress and depressive symptoms, and a bidirectional negative association was found between mindfulness and impulsivity. Impulsivity positively predicted stress, and anxiety positively predicted depressive symptoms, stress, and rumination. This study highlights the importance of mindfulness as a protective factor and impulsivity and anxiety as risk factors for internalizing symptoms throughout adolescence. These findings build on previous studies that examined longitudinal associations between mindfulness and symptoms by including rumination and impulsivity’s roles.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8416885/

 

Decrease Burnout in Parents During Covid-19 Lockdown with Mindfulness

Decrease Burnout in Parents During Covid-19 Lockdown with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness can lower stress and anxiety, help with sleep and increase wellbeing. There are also specific benefits of mindfulness for anyone providing care to others.” – Naomi Stoll

 

Parenting can be difficult in the best of times but within a pandemic induced lockdown the pressures on the parents are substantially increased. Burnout can result from the continuing stress. Being mindful or engaging in mindfulness practices can be helpful in coping with the physical and psychological manifestations of stress.  In addition mindfulness can help build empathyself-compassionpatience, and flexibility that are so important for parenting, resilience to withstand the stresses, and the ability to effectively cope with the strong emotions. Indeed, Mindfulness practices has been shown to help parents cope with the physical and psychological demands of parenting.

 

In today’s Research News article “Self-Compassion and Rumination Type Mediate the Relation between Mindfulness and Parental Burnout.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8393602/ ) Paucsik and colleagues recruited online parents with children during the Covid-19 lockdown. They completed measures twice, separated by a month, of mindfulness practice, mindfulness, self-compassion, rumination, and parental burnout.

 

They found that at time 1 and 2 the higher the levels of parental mindfulness the higher the level of self-compassion and the lower the levels of burnout and rumination and the higher the levels of self-compassion the lower the levels of burnout and rumination. They further show that the higher the levels of mindfulness and self-compassion at time 1 the lower the levels of burnout at time 2 and the higher the levels of rumination at time 1 the higher the levels of burnout at time 2. Mindfulness at time 1 was found to be both directly associated with lower burnout at time 2 and also indirectly by being associated with higher self-compassion and lower ruminations at time 1 which were in turn associated with lower burnout.

 

These results are correlative and as such causation cannot be determined. But past research has demonstrated causal connections between mindfulness and burnout and self-compassion and burnout. So, the current results likely occurred also due to causal connections. Preventing the stress of the Covid-19 lockdown from debilitating parenting and producing burnout is highly important. The present study suggests that mindfulness and self-compassion can perform that role. This further suggests that mindfulness and self-compassion training would be helpful to parents in general and especially helpful during times of stress on the family.

 

So, decrease burnout in parents during Covid-19 lockdown with mindfulness.

 

Practicing mindfulness is a way to focus on the present, rather than worrying about the past or the future. This is especially important when you’re spending a lot of your time in a caregiving role—you need time to relax your mind and your body.” – Karen Gagliatre

 

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

 

Paucsik, M., Urbanowicz, A., Leys, C., Kotsou, I., Baeyens, C., & Shankland, R. (2021). Self-Compassion and Rumination Type Mediate the Relation between Mindfulness and Parental Burnout. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(16), 8811. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168811

 

Abstract

The COVID-19 lockdown increased the day-to-day challenges faced by parents, and thereby may have increased parental burnout risk. Therefore, identifying parental burnout protection factors is essential. This study aimed to assess the protective role of the following factors which can be increased through mindfulness practice: trait mindfulness, self-compassion, and concrete vs. abstract ruminations. A total of 459 parents (Mage = 40; 98.7% female) completed self-reported questionnaires at two-time points to assess the predictive role of mindfulness on parental burnout, self-compassion and rumination type, and the mediating role of self-compassion and rumination type in the relation between mindfulness and parental burnout. Results showed that trait mindfulness, self-compassion, and rumination type at Time 1 predicted levels of parental burnout at Time 2. Self-compassion (indirect effects: b = − 22, 95% CI = [−38, −05], p < 0.01), concrete ruminations (indirect effects: b = −20, 95% CI = [−32, −09], p < 0.001), and abstract ruminations (indirect effects: b = −0.54, 95% CI = [−71, −37], p < 0.001) partially mediated the relation between trait-mindfulness and parental burnout. These findings showed that trait mindfulness, self-compassion, and concrete (vs. abstract) ruminations may help prevent parental burnout in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. These results contribute to the field of research on parental burnout prevention and will allow for the development of effective approaches to mental health promotion in parents.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8393602/

Better Mental Health During the Covid-19 Pandemic is Associated with Exercise and Meditation

Better Mental Health During the Covid-19 Pandemic is Associated with Exercise and Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Introducing a mindfulness and meditation practice during this pandemic has the potential to complement treatment and is a low-cost beneficial method of providing support with anxiety for all.” C. Behan

 

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 frontline workers but also for people simply isolating at home. Mindfulness is known to decrease the psychological and physical responses to stress. So, meditation may be helpful in coping with the mental and physical challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effect of Meditation and Physical Activity on the Mental Health Impact of COVID-19-Related Stress and Attention to News Among Mobile App Users in the United States: Cross-sectional Survey.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8045775/ ) Green and colleagues recruited adult participants online who used the meditation app “Calm” and had them complete a questionnaire measuring worry regarding Covid-19, meditation, exercise, and health related behaviors. They also had them complete measures of habits, perceived stress, anxiety, depression, and PTSD symptoms.

 

There were 8,392 responses. They reported a significant increase in meditation and exercise during Covid-19. But the greater the worry about Covid-19, the lower the levels of meditation and exercise and the greater the levels of perceived stress and PTSD symptoms.  They found that the Covid-19 worry was associated with lower the levels of meditation and exercise and these decreases were in turn associated with higher levels of perceived stress, PTSD symptoms, anxiety and depression. Hence, worry about Covid-19 appears to be detrimental to mental health as a result of decreases meditation and exercise.

 

These results are correlational, and caution must be exercised in concluding causation. In addition, the sample was composed of users of a meditation app and thus the results may not be predictive of the responses of non-meditators. But the associations are clear. Worry about the pandemic is associated with decreases in meditation and exercise which are in turn associated with poorer mental health.

 

This suggests that methods to support continued meditation practice and exercise during the pandemic may be helpful in improving mental health during the pandemic. They may mitigate the detrimental effects of worry about the pandemic. Indeed, previous research has found that mindfulness training improves mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

So, better mental health during the covid-19 pandemic is associated with exercise and meditation.

 

certain meditation, yoga asana (postures), and pranayama (breathing) practices may possibly be effective adjunctive means of treating and/or preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection” – William Bushell

 

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

 

Green, J., Huberty, J., Puzia, M., & Stecher, C. (2021). The Effect of Meditation and Physical Activity on the Mental Health Impact of COVID-19-Related Stress and Attention to News Among Mobile App Users in the United States: Cross-sectional Survey. JMIR mental health, 8(4), e28479. https://doi.org/10.2196/28479

 

Abstract

Background

The COVID-19 pandemic has been declared an international public health emergency, and it may have long-lasting effects on people’s mental health. There is a need to identify effective health behaviors to mitigate the negative mental health impact of COVID-19.

Objective

The objectives of this study were to (1) examine the regional differences in mental health and COVID-19–related worry, attention to news, and stress, in light of the state-level prevalence of COVID-19 cases; (2) estimate the associations between mental health and COVID-19–related worry, attention to news, and stress and health behavior engagement (ie, physical activity, mindfulness meditation); and (3) explore the mediating effect of health behavior engagement on the associations between mental health and COVID-19–related worry, attention to news, and stress.

Methods

A cross-sectional survey was distributed to a sample of US adult paying subscribers to the Calm app (data were collected from April 22 to June 3, 2020). The survey assessed COVID-19–related worry, attention to news, and stress; health behavior engagement; and mental health (ie, perceived stress, posttraumatic stress disorder, and anxiety and depression). Statistical analyses were performed using R software. Differences in COVID-19–related worry, attention to news, and stress and mental health by location were assessed using t tests and chi-square tests. Logistic and ordinary least squares models were used to regress mental health and health behavior on COVID-19–related worry, attention to news, and stress; moreover, causal mediation analysis was used to estimate the significance of the mediation effects.

Results

The median age of the respondents (N=8392) was 47 years (SD 13.8). Participants in the Mid-Atlantic region (New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania) reported higher levels of stress, more severe depression symptoms, greater worry about COVID-19, paying more attention to COVID-19–related news, and more stress related to social distancing recommendations than participants living in other regions. The association between worry about COVID-19 and perceived stress was significantly mediated by changes in physical activity (P<.001), strength of meditation habit (P<.001), and stopping meditation (P=.046). The association between worry about COVID-19 and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms was significantly mediated by changes in physical activity (P<.001) and strength of meditation habit (P<.001).

Conclusions

Our findings describe the mental health impact of COVID-19 and outline how continued participation in health behaviors such as physical activity and mindfulness meditation reduce worsening of mental health due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These data have important implications for public health agencies and health organizations to promote the maintenance of health habits to reduce the residual mental health burden of the COVID-19 pandemic.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8045775/

 

Mindfulness is Associated with Better Cognition and Shooting Performance in Archers

Mindfulness is Associated with Better Cognition and Shooting Performance in Archers

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Once you can direct your mind toward your senses, you can walk through the steps of your shooting process while aware of every sensation of your body.” – Azurebolt

 

Athletic performance requires the harmony of mind and body. Excellence is in part physical and in part psychological. That is why an entire profession of sports psychology has developed. “In sport psychology, competitive athletes are taught psychological strategies to better cope with a number of demanding challenges related to psychological functioning.” They use a number of techniques to enhance performance including mindfulness training. It has been shown to improve attention and concentration and emotion regulation and reduces anxiety and worry and rumination, and the physiological and psychological responses to stress. As a result, mindfulness training has been employed by athletes and even by entire teams to enhance their performance.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effects of Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Shooting Performance and Cognitive Functions in Archers.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.661961/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1670080_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210629_arts_A ) Wu and colleagues recruited healthy adult competitive archery athletes. They were provided a 60 minute, twice per week, for 4 weeks Mindfulness-Based Peak Performance program including daily homework that was adapted from the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program and targeted at athletes. They were measured before, after 2 weeks, and after the program for shooting performance, information processing speed, selective attention, and inhibitory control, mindfulness, mindfulness in sport, and rumination.

 

They found that after training there was a significant improvement in the shooting performance, information processing speed, selective attention, and inhibitory control. They also found significant growth in mindfulness and mindfulness in sport and reductions in rumination from baseline to the midpoint, to the end of training. The greater the increase in mindfulness in sport the greater the increase in shooting performance.

 

This study was a pre to post comparison and did not contain a control condition, so it is open to a variety of potential contaminants including placebo effects, experimenter bias, and practice effects. But better controlled previous research has shown that mindfulness training produces significant improvements in athletic performance, cognitive function, and reductions in rumination. So, the current results probably reflect the effect of mindfulness training on the archery athletes.

 

Stress, strong emotions, such as anxiety, and physiological and psychological activation interfere with fine motor skills like are needed in archery. Mindfulness training is known to reduce stress effects, improve the control of emotions, including anxiety, and increase physiological and psychological relaxation. These may be the mechanisms whereby mindfulness training improves archery performance, Future research should repeat the experiment with an active control condition and incorporate measurement of stress, emotion regulation, anxiety and arousal.

 

So, mindfulness is associated with better cognition and shooting performance in archers.

 

Most great archers say that archery is 90% mental. “ Rachel SNG

 

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

 

Wu T-Y, Nien J-T, Kuan G, Wu C-H, Chang Y-C, Chen H-C and Chang Y-K (2021) The Effects of Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Shooting Performance and Cognitive Functions in Archers. Front. Psychol. 12:661961. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.661961

 

This study investigated the effects of a mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) called mindfulness-based peak performance (MBPP) on athletic performance and cognitive functions in archers, as well as the role of psychological status and the dose-response relationship of MBPP in archery performance. Twenty-three archers completed a simulated archery competition and the Stroop task prior to and after MBPP training, which consisted of eight sessions over four weeks, while the mindfulness and rumination levels of the archers were assessed at three time points, namely, before, at the mid-point of, and after the MBPP program. The results revealed that the MBPP program significantly improved the shooting performance (p = 0.002, d = 0.27), multiple cognitive functions (ps < 0.001, d = 0.51~0.71), and mindfulness levels of the archers on the post-test, compared to the pre-test (p = 0.032, ηp2 = 0.15 for general; p = 0.004, ηp2 = 0.22 for athletic). Additionally, negative ruminations level was decreased from the pre-test to the middle-test and post-test (ps < 0.001, ηp2 = 0.43). These findings provide preliminary evidence to support the view that MBPP could serve as a promising form of training for fine motor sport performance, cognitive functions, and specific psychological status, such that it warrants further study.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.661961/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1670080_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210629_arts_A

 

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) Plus Loving-Kindness Mediation is highly Effective in Depressed Patients

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) Plus Loving-Kindness Mediation is highly Effective in Depressed Patients

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“MBCT can provide a viable relapse prevention intervention for people with a history of recurrent depression.” – Catherine Crane

 

Clinically diagnosed depression is the most common mental illness, affecting over 6% of the population. Major depression can be quite debilitating. Depression can be difficult to treat and is usually treated with anti-depressive medication. But, of patients treated initially with drugs, only about a third attained remission of the depression. After repeated and varied treatments including drugs, therapy, exercise etc. only about two thirds of patients attained remission. But drugs often have troubling side effects and can lose effectiveness over time. In addition, many patients who achieve remission have relapses and recurrences of the depression. Even after remission some symptoms of depression may still be present (residual symptoms). So, it is important that other treatments be identified that can relieve the suffering.

 

Mindfulness training is 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 failMindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) was specifically developed to treat depression. MBCT involves mindfulness training, containing sitting, walking and body scan meditations, and cognitive therapy that attempts to teach patients to distinguish between thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, and behaviors, and to recognize irrational thinking styles and how they affect behavior. MBCT has been found to be effective in treating depression.

 

Loving Kindness Meditation (LKM) is designed to develop kindness and compassion to oneself and others. The individual systematically pictures different individuals from self, to close friends, to enemies and wishes them happiness, well-being, safety, peace, and ease of well-being. Although LKM has been practiced for centuries, it has received very little scientific research attention. But it may be effective in counteracting the effects of stress and self-criticism. It is not known how effective the combination of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Loving Kindness Meditation might be in treating depression.

 

In today’s Research News article “A study on the effects of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and loving-kindness mediation on depression, rumination, mindfulness level and quality of life in depressed patients.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8205847/ ) Wang and colleagues recruited adult patients with depression and randomly assigned them to receive either regular care or to receive 1 hour once per day for 1 week Loving Kindness Meditation followed by 8 weeks, once per week of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) also with Loving Kindness Meditation practice. Regular care consisted of “basic knowledge of depression, common drugs, possible adverse drug reactions, and prevention of adverse reactions . . . Face-to-face communication with patients was conducted regularly to understand their thoughts, evaluate the depression degrees of patients, so as to provide psychological support for depressed patients, and care for patients in daily life.” They were measured at baseline and at 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks for mindfulness, depression, rumination, quality of life, self-acceptance, and sense of stigma.

 

They found that both groups significantly decreased in depression, sense of stigma, and rumination and increased in mindfulness, self-acceptance and quality of life over the 8 weeks. But the intervention group improved significantly more than the control group on all measures.

 

Previous research has shown that mindfulness training produces significant decreases in depression and rumination and increases in self-acceptance and quality of life. What is new here is that they found that the combination of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Loving Kindness Meditation was significantly more effective than the conventional psychological intervention. This is important but must be followed up to see if the improvements in the patients with depression are sustained over longer periods of time.

 

So, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) plus Loving-Kindness Mediation is highly effective in depressed patients.

 

MBCT leads to a decrease in depressive symptoms, reduction in depression relapse rate and improvement in terms of mindfulness.” – Zulkiflu ArgunguMusa

 

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

 

Wang, Y., Fu, C., Liu, Y., Li, D., Wang, C., Sun, R., & Song, Y. (2021). A study on the effects of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and loving-kindness mediation on depression, rumination, mindfulness level and quality of life in depressed patients. American journal of translational research, 13(5), 4666–4675.

 

Abstract

Objective: To analyze the effects of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) plus loving-kindness mediation (LKM) in depressed patients. Methods: A total of 125 depressed patients diagnosed in the Department of Psychiatry of our hospital were selected as the research subjects and were randomly divided into a control group (n=62) and an observation group (n=63). The control group was treated with conventional psychological intervention, while the observation group was treated with MBCT plus LKM. The therapeutic outcomes were compared between the two groups. Results: At 2, 4, 6 and 8 weeks after intervention, the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD) scores and the scores for introspection and deliberation, forced thinking, rumination of symptoms, treatment, ability and social relationships in the observation group were lower than those in the control group, while Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) scores and the scores for psychology, environment, physiology, social relations, self-acceptance, and self-evaluation in the observation group were higher than those in the control group (P < 0.05). Conclusion: MBCT plus LKM can effectively improve depression, rumination, mindfulness level, quality of life, the sense of stigma and degree of self-acceptance in depressed patients.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8205847/

 

Improve Depression with Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

Improve Depression with Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“MBCT encourages individuals with [Major Depressive Disorder] to become more aware of their internal events (ie, thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations) and to change the ways in which they relate to these thoughts. For example, individuals are encouraged to view their thoughts as passing events in the mind, rather than treat them as reality. Disengaging from automatic negative cognitive patterns, such as rumination, reduces the future risk of relapse.” – Meagan MacKenzie

 

Clinically diagnosed depression is the most common mental illness, affecting over 6% of the population. Major depression can be quite debilitating. Depression can be difficult to treat and is usually treated with anti-depressive medication. But, of patients treated initially with drugs only about a third attained remission of the depression. After repeated and varied treatments including drugs, therapy, exercise etc. only about two thirds of patients attained remission. But drugs often have troubling side effects and can lose effectiveness over time. In addition, many patients who achieve remission have relapses and recurrences of the depression. Even after remission some symptoms of depression may still be present (residual symptoms).

 

Being depressed and not responding to treatment or relapsing is a terribly difficult situation. The patients are suffering and nothing appears to work to relieve their intense depression. Suicide becomes a real possibility. So, it is imperative that other treatments be identified that can relieve the suffering. Mindfulness training has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression and its recurrence and even in the cases where drugs fail.

 

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 has been shown to be as effective as antidepressant drugs in relieving the symptoms of depression and preventing depression reoccurrence and relapse. In addition, it appears to be effective as either a supplement to or a replacement for these drugs. The research has been accumulating. So, it is reasonable to take an overall look at what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy in patients with depression: current perspectives.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6018485/ ) MacKenzie and colleagues review and summarize the published research on the effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for depression.

 

They report that the published research studies demonstrate that Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) produces significant decreases in current depression in patients with major depressive disorder and also significantly reduces the reoccurrence of depression in patients in remission. the research also found that MBCT produces these improvements in depression by increasing mindfulness, positive emotions and self-compassion and reducing rumination, negative emotions, and cognitive and emotional reactivity.

 

Hence, the published research has built a compelling case that Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a safe and effective treatment for depression and its reoccurrence. It does so by altering a number of intermediaries that directly effect depression. MBCT should be recommended as a front-line treatment.

 

So, improve depression with Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).

 

meta-analyses have demonstrated the efficacy of MBCT for reducing depression symptoms in patients with current depression . . . MBCT has been shown to perform as well as other comparable evidence-based treatments.” – Alice Tickell

 

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

 

MacKenzie, M. B., Abbott, K. A., & Kocovski, N. L. (2018). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy in patients with depression: current perspectives. Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment, 14, 1599–1605. https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S160761

 

Abstract

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) was developed to prevent relapse in individuals with depressive disorders. This widely used intervention has garnered considerable attention and a comprehensive review of current trends is warranted. As such, this review provides an overview of efficacy, mechanisms of action, and concludes with a discussion of dissemination. Results provided strong support for the efficacy of MBCT despite some methodological shortcomings in the reviewed literature. With respect to mechanisms of action, specific elements, such as mindfulness, repetitive negative thinking, self-compassion and affect, and cognitive reactivity have emerged as important mechanisms of change. Finally, despite a lack of widespread MBCT availability outside urban areas, research has shown that self-help variations are promising. Combined with findings that teacher competence may not be a significant predictor of treatment outcome, there are important implications for dissemination. Taken together, this review shows that while MBCT is an effective treatment for depression, continued research in the areas of efficacy, mechanisms of action, and dissemination are recommended.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6018485/

 

Reduce Stress and Anxiety about Covid-19 with Mindfulness

Reduce Stress and Anxiety about Covid-19 with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Even as states move forward with re-opening, the psychological consequences of coronavirus will be long-lasting. Mindfulness can be cultivated by anyone as one way to improve mental health amidst the uncertainty.” – Julie Dunn

 

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 frontline 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 coping with the mental and physical challenges resulting from the stress produced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

In today’s Research News article “Trait mindfulness is negatively associated with distress related to COVID-19.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8062409/ ) Dillard and colleagues in their first study conducted during the Covid-19 pandemic, recruited healthy college students who had never been diagnosed with Covid-19 and had them complete measures of mindfulness, perceived stress, anxiety, worry about coronavirus, and their anticipated negative reactions to Covid-19 infection.

 

They found that the higher the levels of students’ mindfulness the lower the levels of perceived stress, anxiety, worry about coronavirus, and anticipated negative reactions to Covid-19 infection. These relationships were still significant even after accounting for the general health of the students.

 

In their second study conducted during the Covid-19 pandemic, they recruited healthy community adults aged between 25 and 73 years. They had them complete the same measures as in study 1, along with additional measures of depression and coping strategies. Similar to study 1, they found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the levels of perceived stress, anxiety, worry about coronavirus, and anticipated negative reactions to Covid-19 infection and additionally, depression levels. These relationships were still significant even after accounting for the general health of the adults. They also found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the greater the use of positive coping strategies and the lower the use of negative coping strategies. Such as substance abuse and denial.

 

In many ways the present results replicate previous findings that mindfulness is associated with lower the levels of perceived stress, anxiety, depression, and worry and greater use of positive coping strategies, and better mental health during Covid-19. The present study finds these relationships between mindfulness and mental health specifically linked to Covid-19. They also suggest that mindfulness may produce better coping and this may be responsible for the better mental health.

 

The studies, however, were correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that mindfulness training may be helpful in producing better coping mechanisms to the stress of the pandemic, reducing the resultant mental health problems of both college students and older adults.

 

So, reduce stress and anxiety about Covid-19 with mindfulness.

 

With COVID-19 front and center of nearly every aspect of life . . . under the surface, many people are grieving the loss of their former lives. “It’s not just the kind of grief you feel when a loved one dies—it’s grief created by so much uncertainty. We liked the way things were.” – Yale Medicine

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Dillard, A. J., & Meier, B. P. (2021). Trait mindfulness is negatively associated with distress related to COVID-19. Personality and individual differences, 179, 110955. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2021.110955

 

Abstract

Research suggests that mindfulness is associated with psychological health including a healthier response to stressors.

Objective

This research tested associations between trait mindfulness and mental health factors related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Methods

Two studies (Study 1 N = 248 college students; Study 2 N = 300 U.S adults) assessed trait mindfulness, perceived stress and anxiety, worry about the coronavirus, and anticipated negative affect of a coronavirus diagnosis. Additionally, Study 2 assessed depressive symptoms and coping with the coronavirus.

Results

In both studies, findings indicated that individuals higher in trait mindfulness reported less stress and anxiety. Higher mindfulness in both studies was also associated with less worry about the virus and anticipating less negative affect if one gets the virus. In Study 2, trait mindfulness was negatively related to depression, and numerous associations between mindfulness and coping emerged, showing higher trait mindfulness was associated with healthier strategies in coping with coronavirus.

Conclusions

These data are consistent with research that has revealed that those who think and act more mindfully are less stressed and anxious. By revealing these associations with mindfulness in the context of a real-world, novel stressor, this research makes an important contribution to the literature.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8062409/

 

Improve Anxiety and Depression with an Abbreviated Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy

Improve Anxiety and Depression with an Abbreviated Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

People at risk for depression are dealing with a lot of negative thoughts, feelings and beliefs about themselves and this can easily slide into a depressive relapse. MBCT helps them to recognize that’s happening, engage with it in a different way and respond to it with equanimity and compassion.” – Willem Kuyken

 

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness, affecting 40 million adults in the U.S., or 18% of the population. Depression affects over 6% of the population. And anxiety and depression often co-occur. Anxiety and depression are generally treated with drugs. But there are considerable side effects and these drugs are often abused. There are a number of psychological therapies for anxiety and depression. But, about 45% of the patients treated do not respond to the therapy. So, there is a need to develop alternative treatments.

 

Recently, it has been found that mindfulness training can be effective for anxiety disorders. Mindfulness has also been shown to be effective for depressionMindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) was specifically developed to treat depression and has been shown to be very effective. MBCT, however, is an 8-week program delivered in relatively small groups. It is not clear if a briefer program to larger groups might also be effective.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Brief Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) Intervention as a Population-Level Strategy for Anxiety and Depression.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8057287/ )  Burgess and colleagues recruited adult patients with an anxiety or mood disorders and provided them with 5 weekly 2-hour group based session of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) with daily home practice. The group size was larger than the typical MBCT program (i.e., 16–20 participants rather than 12 participants) and meditation practice was reduced to 10-15 minutes compared to the traditional 40 minutes. They were measured before and after training for anxiety, depression, self-compassion, perceived stress, mental well-being, and disability.

 

They found that after Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) there was significant reductions in anxiety, depression, worry, and acute distress, and significant increases in self-compassion and mental well-being. There were large clinically significant changes such that 50% of the patients had remissions of depression and 20% had remissions of anxiety.

 

It should be noted that there was no control condition in the present study. But previous controlled studies have routinely demonstrated that Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) produces significant improvements in anxiety, depression, worry, distress, self-compassion, and mental well-being. So, the present results are unlikely to be due to confounding factors. The present study demonstrates that the significant benefits of MBCT can be produced with an abbreviated program delivered to a large group. This reduces the amount of time clinicians have to devote to the program, thereby reducing cost. It would also be likely that the abbreviated program would improve adherence to the program requirements and reduce drop-outs. This allows more patients at lower cost to have their suffering reduced.

 

So, improve anxiety and depression with an abbreviated Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy.

 

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is designed to help people who suffer repeated bouts of depression and chronic unhappiness. It combines the ideas of cognitive therapy with meditative practices and attitudes based on the cultivation of mindfulness. The heart of this work lies in becoming acquainted with the modes of mind that often characterize mood disorders while simultaneously learning to develop a new relationship to them.” – MBCT.com

 

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

 

Emilee E. Burgess, Steven Selchen, Benjamin D. Diplock, Neil A. Rector. A Brief Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) Intervention as a Population-Level Strategy for Anxiety and Depression. Int J Cogn Ther. 2021 Apr 20 : 1–19. doi: 10.1007/s41811-021-00105-x

 

Abstract

Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) have emerged as clinically effective interventions for anxiety and depression although there are significant barriers to their access in the general population. The present study examined the effectiveness of a 5-week abbreviated mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) intervention for a physician-referred, treatment-seeking, community sample (N = 54) with mood and/or anxiety symptom burden. Treatment effects demonstrated significant reductions in mood and anxiety symptom severity and significant increases in general well-being. Observed effect sizes were generally large, with high response and remission rates. The present study offers preliminary support that an abbreviated MBCT protocol can offer large treatment effects for decreasing mood and anxiety symptoms and could potentially offer an effective population-level strategy to improve cost-effectiveness and access to care.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8057287/

 

Mindfulness is Associated with Forgiveness and Reduced Anger Rumination

Mindfulness is Associated with Forgiveness and Reduced Anger Rumination

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Forgiveness demands presence, reminding us that we are not the same as the feelings we possess in a given situation, nor is the person who we’ve harmed or who has harmed us.” – Sharon Salzberg.

 

Forgiveness is important to happiness and psychological well-being. It allows one to move beyond anger and resentment. It is an adaptive ability to move beyond a perceived transgression by another, not by ignoring or denying it, but by reframing it so the response moves away from negativity. This is true not only of others but also the self. Self-forgiveness is essential for psychological well-being. There is emerging research on forgiveness but much has yet to be explored regarding the processes that lead to and improve forgiveness. Mindfulness has been found to be associated with higher levels of forgiveness. So, it makes sense to explore the processes by which mindfulness is associated with forgiveness.

 

In today’s Research News article “Anger Rumination and Mindfulness: Mediating Effects on Forgiveness.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7967311/ ) de la Fuente-Anuncibay and colleagues recruited university students who practiced mindfulness informally and those who were naïve to mindfulness practice. They completed measures of mindfulness, forgiveness, including self-forgiveness, forgiveness towards others and situation-forgiveness subscales, and anger, including angry or rage memories, understanding the causes of the anger, thoughts after the anger and thoughts of revenge subscales.

 

They found that the students who practiced mindfulness had significantly higher levels of forgiveness that those who didn’t. Further they found that mindfulness was associated with higher levels of forgiveness directly and also indirectly by being associated with lower levels of anger rumination which was in turn were associated with smaller reductions in forgiveness. Further analysis using the anger rumination subscales revealed that mindfulness was associated with decreased levels of anger revenge as opposed to anger memories.

 

This study is correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. Nevertheless, the associations are clear. Mindful people are more forgiving than less mindful people, and they also have a lower need for revenge for transgressions This lower revenge is also associated with forgiveness. Future research should investigate the effects of mindfulness training on anger and forgiveness to determine causation.

 

The results demonstrate as has previous research, that mindful people are forgiving people. This makes them better at social interactions as they are less likely to hold grudges. But importantly mindful people are also self-forgiving. This is extremely important for the mental health of the individual. Everyone is imperfect and makes mistakes. If this can be realized and the imperfections forgiven mental well-being can be vastly improved. Hence, mindful forgiveness is an important contributor to the overall happiness and well-being of the individual.

 

So, mindfulness is associated with forgiveness and reduced anger rumination.

 

the more you practice mindfulness, the more you strengthen your capacity for forgiveness.” – Stefanie Goldstein

 

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 la Fuente-Anuncibay, R., González-Barbadillo, Á., Ortega-Sánchez, D., Ordóñez-Camblor, N., & Pizarro-Ruiz, J. P. (2021). Anger Rumination and Mindfulness: Mediating Effects on Forgiveness. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(5), 2668. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052668

 

Abstract

(1) Background: Different investigations relate mindfulness practice as a strategy to cope with and improve negative repetitive thinking states and forgiveness. (2) Methods: The aim is to analyze the mediating processes of mindfulness as a trait and the changes in the anger rumination on forgiveness. This sample comprised 264 undergraduate students (M = 24.13 years, SD = 11.39). The instruments used were the Anger Rumination Scale (ARS), the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) and the Heartland Forgiveness Scale (HFS). For data analysis, the spillover effect was calculated using 10,000 bootstrap samples for the bootstrap confidence intervals (CI). (3) Conclusions: The results confirm that the relationship between mindfulness practice and forgiveness is mediated by changes in mindfulness trait and anger rumination. Given the results obtained, it is considered appropriate to extend the study to samples from other countries, as well as to contexts of depressive rumination or anxiety.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7967311/

 

rjpizarro@ubu.es

Mindfulness is Associated with Lower Stress and Improved Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms

Mindfulness is Associated with Lower Stress and Improved Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“By training your mind to be present, you can feel the benefits in your everyday life. It can be particularly helpful when facing challenges that Parkinson’s brings.” – Parkinson’s UK

 

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is an incurable progressive degenerative disease of the central nervous system. The condition is caused by the death of nerve cells in the brain that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine. There are around seven million people worldwide and one million people in the U.S. living with PD and about 60,000 people are diagnosed with PD every year. PD is associated with aging as the vast majority of patients are diagnosed after age 50. In fact, it has been speculated that everyone would eventually develop PD if they lived long enough.

 

Its physical symptoms include resting tremor, slow movements, muscle rigidity, problems with posture and balance, loss of automatic movements, and slurring of speech. PD itself is not fatal but is often associated with related complications which can reduce life expectancy, such as falls, choking, and cardiovascular problems. PD also has psychological effects, especially cognitive decline, anxiety, and depression. Balance is a particular problem as it effects mobility and increases the likelihood of falls, restricting activity and reducing quality of life.

 

There are no cures for Parkinson’s Disease (PD) or even treatments to slow its progression. There are only treatments that can produce symptomatic relief. So, there is a need to discover new and different treatments. Mindfulness training has been found to improve the psychological symptoms and the quality of life with PD patients.  If mindfulness is indeed a help to PD patients, then the relationship between mindfulness and PD symptoms should be present in everyday, real world, patients.

 

In today’s Research News article “Stress and mindfulness in Parkinson’s disease – a survey in 5000 patients.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7813889/ ) van der Heide and colleagues sent online surveys to Parkinson’s Disease (PD) patients and normal control participants. The surveys contained measures of mindfulness, self-compassion, perceived stress, rumination, Parkinson’s anxiety, and additional questions about PD symptoms, stress, and other factors associated with the disease.

 

They found that the Parkinson’s Disease (PD) patients in comparison to controls had significantly lower levels of mindfulness and significantly higher levels stress, and depression. They also found that the higher the levels of stress that the PD patients reported the lower the levels of mindfulness, self-compassion and quality of life and the higher the levels of rumination and disease severity. When the patients were asked what strategies, they used to reduce stress they reported that they used exercise and mindfulness most often. The patients reported that mindfulness improved all of their symptoms, including tremor, gait, slowness of movement, dyskinesia, anxiety, depression, and sleeping problems. In addition, the more the patients used mindfulness, the better their symptoms.

 

These are interesting but correlational findings, so causation cannot be determined. But previous studies have shown the mindfulness training reduces stress and improves the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease (PD). So, the present associations are probably due to causal connections between mindfulness, stress, and PD symptoms. It appears that stress exacerbates PD symptoms and mindfulness reduces stress and PD symptoms. This further suggests that mindfulness practices should be taught to PD patients. This potentially would improve their well-being and reduce their suffering.

 

So, mindfulness is associated with lower stress and improved Parkinson’s Disease symptoms.

 

well-structured mindfulness programs have been proven to be quite effective in areas that directly affect Parkinson’s, such as reducing stress levels, combating depression, and refining body image.” – Matt Zepelin

 

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

 

van der Heide, A., Speckens, A., Meinders, M. J., Rosenthal, L. S., Bloem, B. R., & Helmich, R. C. (2021). Stress and mindfulness in Parkinson’s disease – a survey in 5000 patients. NPJ Parkinson’s disease, 7(1), 7. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41531-020-00152-9

 

Abstract

Many Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients notice that motor symptoms worsen during stress, and experience stress-related neuropsychiatric symptoms such as anxiety and depression. Here we investigated which personal and disease characteristics are associated with perceived stress in PD, which PD symptoms are sensitive to stress, and we assessed self-reported benefits of stress-reducing strategies such as mindfulness. We sent an online survey to the Fox Insight cohort (n = 28,385 PD patients, n = 11,413 healthy controls). The survey included specific questions about the influence of stress on PD symptoms, use of stress-reducing strategies, and several validated scales measuring perceived stress, anxiety, dispositional mindfulness, rumination, and self-compassion. We received completed surveys from 5000 PD patients and 1292 controls. Patients perceived more stress than controls. Among patients, stress was correlated with increased rumination (R = 0.65), lower quality of life (R = −0.56), lower self-compassion (R = −0.65), and lower dispositional mindfulness (R = −0.48). Furthermore, patients indicated that stress significantly worsened both motor symptoms – especially tremor – and non-motor symptoms. Physical exercise was most frequently used to reduce stress (83.1%). Mindfulness was practiced by 38.7% of PD respondents, who noticed improvement in both motor and non-motor symptoms. Among non-users, 43.4% were interested in gaining mindfulness skills. We conclude that PD patients experience greater levels of stress than controls, and that stress worsens both motor and non-motor symptoms. Mindfulness may improve PD symptom severity, with the strongest effects on anxiety and depressed mood. These findings justify further controlled studies to establish the merits of mindfulness and other stress-alleviating interventions.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7813889/