Mindfulness Reduces the Impact of Cyber-Ostracism on Adolescents

Mindfulness Reduces the Impact of Cyber-Ostracism on Adolescents

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“The current studies support the relevance of mindfulness in addressing the substantial problem of ostracism. Among other benefits, fostering mindfulness in a variety of contexts may help reduce personal and social costs associated with this type of incivility.” – Alex Ramsey

 

Humans are social animals. This is a great asset for the species as the effort of the individual is amplified by cooperation. In primitive times, this cooperation was essential for survival. But in modern times it is also essential, not for survival but rather for making a living and for the happiness of the individual. This deep need for positive social interactions heightens the pain of social rejection and ostracism. Cyber-ostracism is defined as the experience of being ignored and excluded by peers or groups on the Internet. “Ostracism, or being excluded and ignored, is a detrimental experience for the target of ostracism because it harms the target’s relational needs of belonging, self-esteem, meaningful existence, and control, along with worsening the target’s mood” (Jones et. Al. 2019).

 

Mindfulness has been found to increase prosocial behaviors such as altruism, compassion and empathy and reduce antisocial behaviors such as violence and aggression. Mindfulness affects the individual’s tendency to reject and ostracize others. There is a need to examine how mindfulness affects the effects of cyber-ostracism.

 

In today’s Research News article “Different Roles of Rumination and Mindfulness among Cyber-Ostracized Adolescents’ Psychological Well-Being.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8834701/ ) Li and colleagues recruited adolescents from the 7ty to 9th middle school grades and had them complete a questionnaire at the beginning of the spring semester and 3 months later measuring cyber-ostracism, rumination, mindfulness, and psychological well-being.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the levels of cyber-ostracism and rumination and the higher the levels of well-being and the higher the levels of cyber-ostracism the lower the levels of well-being and the higher the levels of rumination. Employing structural modelling they found that cyber-ostracism was associated with lower well-being directly and indirectly by increasing rumination which in turn decreased well-being. Mindfulness moderated both paths reducing both the direct and indirect paths between cyber-ostracism and psychological well-being.

 

Being ostracized on line damages the psychological well-being of adolescents. It hurts to be ignored and shunned, especially during the vulnerable teen years. But mindfulness can help and reduce the harm caused by the ostracism. This suggests that mindfulness practices may help adolescents weather difficulties in participating in online intercourse.

 

Ostracism (i.e., the phenomenon of being rejected or neglected by an individual or a group) brings suffering to individuals. Mindfulness is conducive to emotional regulation and coping with stress, which may play a beneficial role in alleviating ostracism.” – Jing Chen

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Li, X., Mu, W., Wang, Y., Xie, P., Zhang, Y., & Liu, T. (2022). Different Roles of Rumination and Mindfulness among Cyber-Ostracized Adolescents’ Psychological Well-Being. International journal of environmental research and public health, 19(3), 1222. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031222

 

Abstract

Previous research has confirmed the harmful effects of cyber-ostracism on adolescents. However, research that has investigated the effect of cyber-ostracism on adolescents’ psychological well-being and the underlying mechanisms of this influence remains scarce. Using a sample of 421 Chinese adolescents, this study examined the short-term effect of cyber-ostracism on adolescents’ psychological well-being, along with the mediating effect of rumination. Mindfulness is considered as a moderator influencing this underlying mechanism. Questionnaires regarding cyber-ostracism, rumination, and mindfulness were administered at the beginning of the spring semester. Psychological well-being was assessed three months later. The study found that cyber-ostracism significantly and negatively predicted adolescents’ psychological well-being. As shown by the mediation analysis, rumination partly mediated the effect of cyber-ostracism on adolescents’ psychological well-being. Moderated mediation analysis indicated that mindfulness played a moderating role in the relationship between cyber-ostracism and adolescents’ psychological well-being as well as the relationship between cyber-ostracism and rumination. Specifically, mindfulness would decrease the negative impact of cyber-ostracism on adolescents’ psychological well-being. This study uncovers the short-term effect of cyber-ostracism on adolescents’ psychological well-being and accentuates the underlying mechanisms of this effect, which has substantial implications for interventions and practices to reduce the detrimental effects of cyber-ostracism among adolescents.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8834701/

 

Improve Worker Psychological Well-Being with Mindfulness

Improve Worker Psychological Well-Being with Mindfulness

 

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.

 

In today’s Research News article “Calm Down and Enjoy It: Influence of Leader-Employee Mindfulness on Flow Experience.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9005140/ ) Feng recruited workers and leaders from Chinese companies and had them complete measures of mindfulness, rumination, problem solving pondering and flow.

 

They found that the higher the levels of both worker and leader mindfulness the lower the levels of rumination and the higher the levels of and flow. The higher the levels of flow the lower the levels of rumination and the higher the levels of problem-solving pondering problem-solving pondering. The higher the levels of leader mindfulness the stronger the relationship of worker mindfulness and rumination.

 

Flow refers to a state of mind that is characterized by a complete absorption with the task at hand, often resulting in enhanced performance. It appears that this experience in the workplace is positively associated with mindfulness of both the worker and the leader, with problem-solving pondering, and negatively with rumination. These results are correlative and future research should manipulate the variables to establish causation.

 

Mindfulness appears to be associated with greater psychological well-being at work.

 

One way mindfulness can help is simply by allowing us to improve our focus. 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

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Feng X. (2022). Calm Down and Enjoy It: Influence of Leader-Employee Mindfulness on Flow Experience. Psychology research and behavior management, 15, 839–854. https://doi.org/10.2147/PRBM.S360880

 

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate the effect of mindfulness on flow at the organizational and individual levels. Based on perseverative cognition theory, we introduced work-related rumination (affective rumination and problem-solving pondering) as the transmitter in these processes.

Methods

This study conducted a three-wave longitudinal survey. The data of 458 employees and 114 leaders were collected from three software parks in China. Multilevel structural equation modeling and the Markov Chain Monte Carlo method were adopted to test all hypotheses.

Results

Employee mindfulness and leader mindfulness help reduce affective rumination by employees and increase their problem-solving pondering and flow experiences. Affective rumination and problem-solving pondering partially mediate the relationship between leader and employee mindfulness and flow. Leader mindfulness moderates the effects of employees’ mindfulness on their affective rumination and problem-solving pondering.

Conclusion

Our findings contribute to the current literature on mindfulness, work-related rumination and flow experience and extend the understanding of the effect boundary of mindfulness. This study also helps guide organizations to better design and carry out mindfulness and flow interventions.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9005140/

 

Mindfulness Changes Neural Activity and Improves Major Depressive Disorder

Mindfulness Changes Neural Activity and Improves Major Depressive Disorder

 

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

 

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. It is not known how MBCT produces its effects on major depression.

 

One way to observe the effects of MBCT on neural activity is to measure changes in the electroencephalogram (EEG), the rhythmic electrical activity that can be recorded from the scalp. The recorded activity can be separated into frequency bands. Delta activity consists of oscillations in the 0.5-3 cycles per second band. Theta activity in the EEG consists of oscillations in the 4-8 cycles per second band. Alpha activity consists of oscillations in the 8-12 cycles per second band. Beta activity consists of oscillations in the 15-25 cycles per second band while Gamma activity occurs in the 35-45 cycles per second band. Changes in these brain activities can be compared during different depths of meditation.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy in Recurrent MDD Patients With Residual Symptoms: Alterations in Resting-State Theta Oscillation Dynamics Associated With Changes in Depression and Rumination.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8936084/ ) Wang and colleagues recruited patients with major depressive disorder being treated with drugs but with residual symptoms. They were provided with an 8-week program of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Before and after training they were measured for mindfulness, depression, and rumination and had their resting state electroencephalogram (EEG) recorded.

 

After completing Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) there were significant reductions in depression which produced an 88% remission rate. There were also significant increases in mindfulness and reductions in brooding rumination. In addition, there was a significant increase in the theta rhythm power in the electroencephalogram (EEG). Finally, the greater the increase in theta power the greater the reductions in depression and rumination.

 

Hence, they found that Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is effective in treating depression even in patients under treatment with drugs. They also found that these improvements were related to increased theta power in the electroencephalogram (EEG). So, MBCT appears to change brain activity along with depression. The changes in the neural activity may be a mechanism by which MBCT helps improve depression symptoms.

 

mindfulness is added to the standard depression treatment protocols, relapse rates decline.” – Sara Altshul

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Wang, J., Ren, F., Gao, B., & Yu, X. (2022). Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy in Recurrent MDD Patients With Residual Symptoms: Alterations in Resting-State Theta Oscillation Dynamics Associated With Changes in Depression and Rumination. Frontiers in psychiatry, 13, 818298. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2022.818298

 

Abstract

Many patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) suffer from residual symptoms. Rumination is a specific known risk factor for the onset, severity, prolongation, and relapse of MDD. This study aimed to examine the efficacy and EEG substrates of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) in alleviating depression and rumination in an MDD population with residual symptoms. We recruited 26 recurrent MDD individuals who had residual symptoms with their current antidepressants to participate in the 8-week MBCT intervention. We evaluated the efficacy and changes in the dynamics of resting-state theta rhythm after the intervention, as well as the associations between theta alterations and improvements in depression and rumination. The participants showed reduced depression, enhanced adaptive reflective rumination, and increased theta power and phase synchronization after MBCT. The increased theta-band phase synchronizations between the right occipital regions and the right prefrontal, central, and parietal regions were associated with reduced depression, while the increase in theta power in the left parietal region was associated with improvements in reflective rumination. MBCT could alleviate depression and enhance adaptive, reflective rumination in recurrent MDD individuals with residual symptoms through the modulation of theta dynamics in specific brain regions.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8936084/

 

Mindfulness May Produce Its Benefits by Improving Self-Related Processes

Mindfulness May Produce Its Benefits by Improving Self-Related Processes

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindful people might be happier because they have a better idea of who they are.” – Kira M. Newman

 

Meditation leads to concentration, concentration leads to understanding, and understanding leads to happiness” – This wonderful quote from the modern-day sage Thich Nhat Hahn is a beautiful pithy description of the benefits of mindfulness practice. Mindfulness allows us to view our experience and not put labels on it, not make assumptions about it, not relate it to past experiences, and not project it into the future. Rather mindfulness lets us experience everything around and within us exactly as it is arising and falling away from moment to moment including the self and psychological processes related to the self.

 

mindfulness training has been shown to increase psychological well-being and happiness and help to relieve mental illness. A number of mechanisms of how mindfulness produces these benefits have been proposed. Many of the proposed mechanisms involve self-relate processes which require “one to evaluate or judge some feature in relation to one’s perceptual image or mental concept of oneself,” such as self-efficacy, decentering, and self-regulation. There has accumulated a large volume of research. So, it is important to examine the findings and what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “From Self-Esteem to Selflessness: An Evidence (Gap) Map of Self-Related Processes as Mechanisms of Mindfulness-Based Interventions.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8645694/ ) Britton and colleagues review and summarize the published research on the role of self-related processes in the beneficial effects of mindfulness-based interventions. They examine 3 categories of self-related processes, self-regulation skills, and embodied self-regulation processes.

 

They report that the published research found that alterations self-related processes in part mediate the beneficial effects of mindfulness-based interventions. These include reductions in negative self-evaluations including rumination and dysfunctional attitudes and increases in positive self-evaluations including self-compassion and self-esteem. Self-regulation skills also appear in part to mediate the beneficial effects of mindfulness-based interventions. These include increases in self-efficacy and decentering. Finally, embodied self-regulation processes appear in co-occur with the beneficial effects of mindfulness-based interventions but have not been conclusively established as mediators. These include increases in interoception, selflessness, and self-transcendence.

 

These findings suggest that mindfulness-based interventions produce beneficial effects by at least in part altering how the individual views and processes ideas of the self. Mindfulness training involves focusing on the present moment and this focus may reduce the influence of the past and projections of the future on the individual’s psychological well-being. Most negative views of the self are past and future based. So, mindfulness training may improve the ideas of self by focusing on the present and seeing the self as processes occurring in the now, a more grounded and realistic view of the self. Obviously more research is needed on this promising area of potential mindfulness mediators.

 

So, mindfulness may produce its benefits by improving self-related processes.

 

“[Mindfulness] encourages people to simply observe the contents of their mind. In this way, I think that mindfulness allows for greater self-insight.” – Rimma Tepper

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Britton, W. B., Desbordes, G., Acabchuk, R., Peters, S., Lindahl, J. R., Canby, N. K., Vago, D. R., Dumais, T., Lipsky, J., Kimmel, H., Sager, L., Rahrig, H., Cheaito, A., Acero, P., Scharf, J., Lazar, S. W., Schuman-Olivier, Z., Ferrer, R., & Moitra, E. (2021). From Self-Esteem to Selflessness: An Evidence (Gap) Map of Self-Related Processes as Mechanisms of Mindfulness-Based Interventions. Frontiers in psychology, 12, 730972. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.730972

 

Abstract

Self-related processes (SRPs) have been theorized as key mechanisms of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs), but the evidence supporting these theories is currently unclear. This evidence map introduces a comprehensive framework for different types of SRPs, and how they are theorized to function as mechanisms of MBIs (target identification). The evidence map then assesses SRP target engagement by mindfulness training and the relationship between target engagement and outcomes (target validation). Discussion of the measurement of SRPs is also included. The most common SRPs measured and engaged by standard MBIs represented valenced evaluations of self-concept, including rumination, self-compassion, self-efficacy, and self-esteem. Rumination showed the strongest evidence as a mechanism for depression, with other physical and mental health outcomes also supported. Self-compassion showed consistent target engagement but was inconsistently related to improved outcomes. Decentering and interoception are emerging potential mechanisms, but their construct validity and different subcomponents are still in development. While some embodied self-specifying processes are being measured in cross-sectional and meditation induction studies, very few have been assessed in MBIs. The SRPs with the strongest mechanistic support represent positive and negative evaluations of self-concept. In sum, few SRPs have been measured in MBIs, and additional research using well-validated measures is needed to clarify their role as mechanisms.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8645694/

 

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/