Incorporating mindfulness into leadership

Mohapel, P. (2018). The neurobiology of focus and distraction: The case for incorporating mindfulness into leadership. In Healthcare Management Forum (p. 0840470417746414). SAGE Publications.

Abstract. Increasingly health leaders are experiencing greater demands and pressures, which require the need for better focus while limiting unwarranted distractions. This article offers a neurobiological explanation of how the brain focuses and becomes distracted, in order to help health leaders gain insight into their own effectiveness.

Two main neural circuits are contrasted: the mind-wandering default mode circuit and the attentional central executive system. These two systems act in an antagonistic pairing, where the degree of toggling between systems is associated with the degree a person can sustain focus and filter out unwarranted distractions. Excessive multitasking appears to compromise the neural switch of these two systems, thereby diminishing our focus and concentration. In contrast, mindfulness practice is shown to have the opposite effect by enhancing the neural switch, thereby enhancing leadership focus that can lead to greater flexibility, foresight, regulation, and creativity.

To conclude, leaders who are excessively distracted, such as with multitasking, may be compromising cognitive brain functioning, while engaging in mindfulness may replenish the brain and thereby enhance leaders’ ability to sustain focus and tap into higher cognitive functioning.

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Interpersonal mindfulness

Pratscher, S. D., et al. (2017). Interpersonal Mindfulness: Investigating Mindfulness in Interpersonal Interactions, co-Rumination, and Friendship Quality. Mindfulness, pp. 1-10, https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-017-0859-y. Abstract and references only.

Abstract. There is growing interest in understanding the ways in which mindfulness influences interpersonal relationships. Two studies investigated the relationship between a newly proposed construct, interpersonal mindfulness, and the quality of a best or close friend.

Interpersonal mindfulness is conceptualized as mindfulness during interpersonal interactions and includes awareness of self and others, accompanied with the qualities of nonjudgmental and nonreactive presence. Study 1 showed that interpersonal mindfulness was correlated with friendship quality, while accounting for trait mindfulness. Study 2 replicated and extended these findings by identifying and testing three possible mediators (i.e., perspective taking, basic psychological need satisfaction, and empathy) of the association between interpersonal mindfulness and friendship quality. Interrelations with co-rumination, or excessive talk about problems, were examined as well. Investigation of the psychometrics of the interpersonal mindfulness scale provided initial support for the reliability and validity.

Results suggest that (1) interpersonal mindfulness is uniquely associated with the interpersonal outcome of friendship quality (controlling for trait mindfulness), whereas trait mindfulness is uniquely associated with the intrapersonal outcomes of depression and anxiety (while controlling for interpersonal mindfulness), (2) interpersonal mindfulness moderates the association of co-rumination and friendship quality, and (3) the association of interpersonal mindfulness and friendship quality is mediated by perspective taking and psychological need satisfaction.

Sleep problems among older adults

MacLeod, S., et al. Practical non-pharmacological intervention approaches for sleep problems among older adults. Geriatric Nursing. In Print. Full article

Abstract. Poor sleep is common among older adults, often caused by multiple underlying factors such as chronic stress. Poor sleep is subsequently associated with negative health outcomes including higher morbidity and mortality.

Our primary purpose is to explore practical non-pharmacological intervention approaches integrating stress management to improve sleep quality among older adults. In doing so, we highlight approaches that appear to hold promise in real-world settings with older individuals.

We conducted a tailored literature review specifically on approaches to improve sleep quality among older adults, with emphasis on those integrating stress management. Online search engines were reviewed to identify research in these areas.

Various non-pharmacological intervention approaches, such as mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy, have shown promise in improving sleep quality and health outcomes within this population. Those integrating chronic stress management appear to be particularly successful. Thus further development of multidimensional sleep interventions integrating stress management with seniors is warranted.

Cultivating emotional balance: two case studies

Weininger, Radhule, et al. “The Mindful Pause: Cultivating Emotional Balance through Mindfulness.” No date. Full text.

Abstract. The Buddhist technique named Mindfulness has become widespread in clinical
practice as a way to approach mental and emotional well being. The mindful pause is described as a way to interrupt habitual reactivity and engage compassionately.

It forms a step in the Emotional Awareness Process (EAP) and the Compassionate
Choice Process (CCP), which have been developed as therapeutic techniques
grounded in both Buddhist and neuroscientific contexts.

Two case examples of application of the processes illustrate how these new therapeutic interventions may prove beneficial in clinical practice. Lastly, more potential applications are proposed, and possible limitations, future projects and research noted.

Mindfulness at work: being while doing

Lyddy, Christopher, and Darren J. Good. “Being While Doing: An Inductive Model of Mindfulness at Work.” Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 7, 2017, pp. 1-18. Full text.

Abstract. Mindfulness at work has drawn growing interest as empirical evidence increasingly supports its positive workplace impacts. Yet theory also suggests that mindfulness is a cognitive mode of “Being” that may be incompatible with the cognitive mode of “Doing” that undergirds workplace functioning. Therefore, mindfulness at work has been theorized as “being while doing,” but little is known regarding how people experience these two modes in combination, nor the influences or outcomes of this interaction.

Drawing on a sample of 39 semi-structured interviews, this study explores how professionals experience being mindful at work. The relationship between Being and Doing modes demonstrated changing compatibility across individuals and experience, with two basic types of experiences and three types of transitions. We labeled experiences when informants were unable to activate Being mode while engaging Doing mode as Entanglement, and those when informants reported simultaneous coactivation of Being and Doing modes as Disentanglement. This combination was a valuable resource for offsetting important limitations of the typical reliance on the Doing cognitive mode.

Overall our results have yielded an inductive model of mindfulness at work, with the core experience, outcomes, and antecedent factors unified into one system that may inform future research and practice.

Reducing adverse effects of childhood Stress and trauma

Ortiz, Robin, and Erica M. Sibinga. “The Role of Mindfulness in Reducing the Adverse Effects of Childhood Stress and Trauma.” Children, vol. 4, no. 3, 2017, pp. 16. Full text.

Abstract. Research suggests that many children are exposed to adverse experiences in childhood. Such adverse childhood exposures may result in stress and trauma, which are associated with increased morbidity and mortality into adulthood.

In general populations and trauma-exposed adults, mindfulness interventions have demonstrated reduced depression and anxiety, reduced trauma-related symptoms, enhanced coping and mood, and improved quality of life. Studies in children and youth also demonstrate that mindfulness interventions improve mental, behavioral, and physical outcomes.

Taken together, this research suggests that high-quality, structured mindfulness instruction may mitigate the negative effects of stress and trauma related to adverse childhood exposures, improving short- and long-term outcomes, and potentially reducing poor health outcomes in adulthood. Future work is needed to optimize implementation of youth-based mindfulness programs and to study long-term outcomes into adulthood.

Mindfulness interventions in the workplace

Hafenbrack, Andrew C. “Mindfulness Meditation as an On-The-Spot Workplace Intervention.” Journal of Business Research, vol. 75, June 2017, pp. 118-29.

Abstract. This article introduces the concept of mindfulness meditation as an on-the-spot intervention to be used in specific workplace situations. It presents a model of when, why, and how on-the-spot mindfulness meditation is likely to be helpful or harmful for aspects of job performance.

The article begins with a brief review of the mindfulness literature and a rationale for why mindfulness could be used on-the-spot in the workplace. It then delineates consequences of on-the-spot mindfulness interventions on four aspects of job performance – escalation of commitment, counterproductive work behaviors, negotiation performance, and motivation to achieve goals.

The article closes with three necessary conditions for an on-the-spot mindfulness intervention to be effectively used, as well as suggestions for how organizations, managers, and employees can facilitate the fulfillment of these necessary conditions. Possible negative consequences of mindfulness and which types of meditation to use are considered. Taken together, these arguments deepen our understanding of state mindfulness and introduce a new manner in which mindfulness can be used in the workplace.