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.

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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.

Health practitioners and self-compassion

Egan, H., Mantzios, M., & Jackson, C. (2016). Health Practitioners and the Directive Towards Compassionate Healthcare in the UK: Exploring the Need to Educate Health Practitioners on How to be Self-Compassionate and Mindful Alongside Mandating Compassion Towards Patients. Health Professions Education. Online Oct 4, 2016

Concerns have been periodically raised about care that lacks compassion in health care settings. The resulting demands for an increase in consistent compassionate care for patients have frequently failed to acknowledge the potentially detrimental implications for health care professionals including compassion fatigue and a failure to care for oneself.

This communication suggests how mindfulness and self-compassion may advance means of supporting those who care for a living and extends the call for greater compassion to include people working within a contemporary health care setting in the United Kingdom. The potential benefits for both health professionals and patients is implied, and may well help to create a healthier, more authentically compassionate environment for all.

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Significant reductions in rumination and loneliness

Thamboo, P. A. (2016). The Effects of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Feelings of Loneliness and Ruminative Thinking. MA thesis, The College at Brockport: State University of New York. Full text

From the Abstract: Loneliness is a very distressing experience provoked by perceived deficiencies in interpersonal social contact. In recent years, considerable attention has been oriented towards the transformative changes associated with the practice of mindfulness. Thus, many mindfulness based interventions have emerged and demonstrated efficacy for ameliorating various forms of psychological distress. However, few studies have examined whether the therapeutic benefits are applicable for alleviating loneliness.

Prior research has suggested that the mechanisms of change underlying mindfulness may occur via reductions in rumination, which has been implicated in prolonged feelings of loneliness. The present study concerns the effects of a randomized controlled trial … a mindfulness-based group intervention on self-reported changes in mindfulness, rumination, and loneliness.

Participants (N=82) were randomly assigned to either a treatment or wait-list control group, all of which were assessed at two time periods, pre-intervention and post-intervention. The results revealed that participants in the treatment groups reported significant increases in mindfulness in addition to reductions in rumination and loneliness from pre- to post-intervention in comparison to those in the wait-list control groups. The effect of the intervention on loneliness remained significant even after statistically controlling for self-reported depressive symptoms.

Cultivating teacher mindfulness

Crain, T. L., Schonert-Reichl, K. A., & Roeser, R. W. (2016). Cultivating Teacher Mindfulness: Effects of a Randomized Controlled Trial on Work, Home, and Sleep Outcomes. Full text ahead of inclusion in an issue.

From the abstract: The effects of randomization to a workplace mindfulness training (WMT) or a waitlist control condition on teachers’ well-being (moods and satisfaction at work and home), quantity of sleep, quality of sleep, and sleepiness during the day were examined in 2 randomized, waitlist controlled trials (RCTs).

The combined sample of the 2 RCTs, conducted in Canada and the United States, included 113 elementary and secondary school teachers (89% female). Measures were collected at baseline, postprogram, and 3-month follow-up; teachers were randomly assigned to condition after baseline assessment.

Results showed that teachers randomized to WMT reported less frequent bad moods at work and home, greater satisfaction at work and home, more sleep on weekday nights, better quality sleep, and decreased insomnia symptoms and daytime sleepiness.