Effect of online mindfulness intervention on well-being

Bailey, N. W., et al. (2018). Effect on Well-Being from an Online Mindfulness Intervention: “Mindful in May”. Mindfulness, 1-11. First online March 18, 2018. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-018-0910-7.

Abstract (excerpt). Mindfulness has been shown to improve mental health and well-being both in clinical populations and in healthy controls. However, while most mindfulness interventions have been assessed in a research context, demonstrating efficacy, the majority of mindfulness interventions in the public sphere are not assessed, and there has been little research examining the effectiveness of these interventions in the public context.

As such, this study explored whether a public online mindfulness intervention providing 10-min daily guided meditations was associated with improvements in well-being, and whether these improvements were related to the number of days participants practiced mindfulness meditation. Two hundred and nineteen participants took part in the study. Participants were aged 22–75, and the majority of participants were female. The majority of participants undertook mindfulness practice on 25+ days.

Participants completed both baseline and post-intervention assessments of perceived stress, positive and negative affect, mindfulness, flourishing, and self-compassion. Results indicated that all measures improved from baseline to post-intervention and that number of days practiced predicted increased mindfulness, and increased mindfulness predicted improvements in positive affect. These results suggest that online mindfulness interventions may be effective at improving mental health in the general population.

Spiritual roots of mindfulness meditation

Hyland, T. (2015). The Limits of Mindfulness: Emerging Issues for Education. British Journal of Educational Studies, (ahead-of-print), 1-21.

Abstract. Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) are being actively implemented in a wide range of fields – psychology, mind/body health care and education at all levels – and there is growing evidence of their effectiveness in aiding present-moment focus, fostering emotional stability, and enhancing general mind/body well-being.

However, as often happens with popular innovations, the burgeoning interest in and appeal of mindfulness practice has led to a reductionism and commodification – popularly labelled ‘McMindfulness’ – of the underpinning principles and ethical foundations of such practice which threatens to subvert and militate against the achievement of the original aims of MBIs in general and their educational function in particular.

It is argued here that mindfulness practice needs to be organically connected to its spiritual roots if the educational benefits of such practice are to be fully realised.

Relationship between mindfulness and well-being

Chang, J. H., Huang, C. L., & Lin, Y. C. (2014). Mindfulness, Basic Psychological Needs Fulfillment, and Well-Being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 1-14.

From the Abstract. The positive relationship between mindfulness and well-being has been demonstrated to a great extent in prior studies; however, the underlying psychological mechanism relating mindfulness to well-being is not fully understood. Based on determination theory, this article proposed the basic psychological needs fulfillment (i.e., autonomy, relatedness, and competence) as the key mechanisms that account for the relationship between mindfulness and well-being.

The results of our two studies revealed that mindfulness, basic psychological needs fulfillment, hedonic (Study 1) and eudaimonic well-being (Study 2) are correlated with each other. In addition, the positive relationships between mindfulness and both hedonic (Study 1) and eudaimonic well-being (Study 2) can be mediated via basic psychological needs fulfillment. The implications of these findings are discussed.

Single-session meditation in oncology outpatient clinic

Chaoul, A., et al. (2014). An Analysis of Meditation Consultations in an Integrative Oncology Outpatient Clinic. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 20(5), A86-A86.

From the Abstract. The majority of cancer patients use some complementary medicine modality. Mind-body practices, and especially meditation, are amongst the most utilized. Research shows that they help cancer patients manage psychological distress and control symptoms such as pain, nausea, and sleep disturbances. However, the effects of a single meditation session on self-reported symptoms, including physical, psychological and symptom distress in an outpatient setting, are largely unknown.

All patients [received] an individual meditation consultation (60 minute initial visits, and 30 minute follow-up visits). Our analysis included 81 meditation visits for 121 participants over 32 months. The [results] revealed a significant reduction from pre- to post-meditation session in physical, psychological, and symptom distress component scores. The greatest mean reductions for individual symptoms were for: Anxiety, Fatigue, Distress, Well Being, Sleep, and Pain; all changes reaching statistically and clinically significant thresholds.

Further research with a larger sample size is needed to better understand the symptoms that meditation can help control and the frequency of self-practice outside of the clinic to help maintain the long-term benefits.

Effects of Vipassana meditation on stress and well-being

Szekeres, R. A., & Wertheim, E. H. (2014). Evaluation of Vipassana Meditation Course Effects on Subjective Stress, Well‐being, Self‐kindness and Mindfulness in a Community Sample: Post‐course and 6‐month Outcomes. Stress and Health. Online Version of Record published before inclusion in an issue.

Abstract. Residential Vipassana meditation courses, which teach mindfulness skills, are widely available globally but under-evaluated. This study examined effects of a standardized, community-based Vipassana course, on subjective stress, well-being, self-kindness and trait mindfulness in a community sample. Participants completed self-report measures of these variables at pre-course and post-course (n = 122), and outcomes were compared to a control group of early enrollers (EEs) (n = 50) who completed measures at parallel time points before course commencement.Six-month follow-up was undertaken in the intervention group (n = 90).

Findings, including intention-to-complete analyses, suggested positive effects of the Vipassana course in reducing subjective stress and increasing well-being, self-kindness and overall mindfulness (present-moment awareness and non-reaction). Although some reductions in post-course gains were found at follow-up, particularly in stress, follow-up scores still showed improvements compared to pre-course scores. Mindfulness change scores between pre-course and 6-month follow-up were moderately to highly correlated with outcome variable change scores, consistent with the idea that effects of the Vipassana course on stress and well-being operate, at least partially, through increasing mindfulness.

Decreases burnout and improves well-being among healthcare providers

Goodman, M. J., & Schorling, J. B. (2012). A mindfulness course decreases burnout and improves well-being among healthcare providers. The International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, 43(2), 119-128.

From the Abstract: Healthcare providers are under increasing stress and work-related burnout has become common. Mindfulness-based interventions have a potential role in decreasing stress and burnout. The purpose of this study was to determine if a continuing education course based on mindfulness-based stress reduction could decrease burnout and improve mental well-being among healthcare providers, from different professions.

Design: This was a pre-post observational study conducted in a university medical center. A total of 93 healthcare providers, including physicians from multiple specialties, nurses, psychologists, and social workers who practiced in both university and community settings, participated. The intervention was a continuing education course based on mindfulness-based stress reduction that met 2.5 hours a week for 8 weeks plus a 7-hour retreat. The classes included training in four types of formal mindfulness practices, including the body scan, mindful movement, walking meditation and sitting meditation, as well as discussion focusing on the application of mindfulness at work.

A continuing education course based on mindfulness-based stress reduction was associated with significant improvements in burnout scores and mental well-being for a broad range of healthcare providers.

Mindfulness, self-compassion, and gender as predictor of stress and well-being

Soysa, C. K., & Wilcomb, C. J. (2013). Mindfulness, Self-compassion, Self-efficacy, and Gender as Predictors of Depression, Anxiety, Stress, and Well-being. Mindfulness, 1-10. Abstract.

We examined facets of mindfulness (describing, awareness, non-judging, and non-reactivity), three dimensions of negative self-compassion (self-judgment, isolation, and overidentification), self-efficacy, and gender as predictors of depression, anxiety, stress, and well-being among 204 undergraduates in the USA.

Excerpts: Although there is overlap across these phenomena, previous research has not examined them together. Describing, non-judging, and awareness (inversely), as well as isolation and self-judgment, predicted depression. Only mindful non-judging and non-reactivity predicted anxiety (inversely). Non-judging, awareness, and non-reactivity (inversely), as well as isolation, predicted stress. Mindful describing and non-judging, together with self-efficacy and gender, predicted well-being. After accounting for self-efficacy, self-compassion, and gender, facets of mindfulness contributed unique variance in predicting depression, anxiety, stress, and well-being.

We confirmed the importance of mindful non-judging in predicting distress (inversely) and well-being and identified the particular contributions of mindful describing for depression (inversely) and well-being. We established the value of mindful non-reactivity (inversely) for anxiety and stress. Additionally, we confirmed the relevance of self-judgment and isolation for depression and of isolation for stress. Finally, we established self-efficacy and gender as predictors of well-being.