Article

Shonin, E., Van Gordon, W., Compare, A., Zangeneh, M., & Griffiths, M. D. (2015). Buddhist-derived loving-kindness and compassion meditation for the treatment of psychopathology: A systematic review. Mindfulness, 6, 1161-1180.

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  • Awake to Wisdom Centre for Meditation, Mindfulness & Psychological Research
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Abstract

Although clinical interest has predominantly focused on mindfulness meditation, interest into the clinical utility of Buddhist-derived loving-kindness meditation (LKM) and compassion meditation (CM) is also growing. This paper follows the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analysis (PRISMA) guidelines and provides an evaluative systematic review of LKM and CM intervention studies. Five electronic academic databases were systematically searched to identify all intervention studies assessing changes in the symptom severity of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (text revision fourth edition) Axis I disorders in clinical samples and/or known concomitants thereof in subclinical/healthy samples. The comprehensive database search yielded 342 papers and 20 studies (comprising a total of 1,312 participants) were eligible for inclusion. The Quality Assessment Tool for Quantitative Studies was then used to assess study quality. Participants demonstrated significant improvements across five psychopathology-relevant outcome domains: (i) positive and negative affect, (ii) psychological distress, (iii) positive thinking, (iv) interpersonal relations, and (v) empathic accuracy. It is concluded that LKM and CM interventions may have utility for treating a variety of psychopathologies. However, to overcome obstacles to clinical integration, a lessons-learned approach is recommended whereby issues encountered during the (ongoing) operationalization of mindfulness interventions are duly considered. In particular, there is a need to establish accurate working definitions for LKM and CM.

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... Kindness-and compassion-based interventions (KCBIs) have been shown to improve adults' health, psychological wellbeing, and interpersonal relationships (Galante et al., 2014;Shonin et al., 2015) and to impact positively on prosociality in non-clinical adult samples, for example, improving affective empathy, perspective-taking, empathic accuracy, empathic concern, compassion, altruism, and prosocial behaviour (e.g. Böckler et al., 2018;Mascaro et al., 2013). ...
... Recent systematic reviews of research on KCBIs have reported benefits including enhanced emotional wellbeing, mindfulness, compassion, self-compassion, and interpersonal skills, in both clinical and non-clinical populations (Galante et al., 2014;Kirby et al., 2017;Shonin et al., 2015). The reviews by Galante et al. (2014) and Kirby et al. (2017) were limited to adult populations, and although Shonin et al. (2015) included both adults and children in their review, only two of the 20 studies included in their review examined effects on children and the authors did not offer distinct conclusions for adults and children, making it difficult to draw conclusions about the effects of KCBIs on wellbeing in children. ...
... Recent systematic reviews of research on KCBIs have reported benefits including enhanced emotional wellbeing, mindfulness, compassion, self-compassion, and interpersonal skills, in both clinical and non-clinical populations (Galante et al., 2014;Kirby et al., 2017;Shonin et al., 2015). The reviews by Galante et al. (2014) and Kirby et al. (2017) were limited to adult populations, and although Shonin et al. (2015) included both adults and children in their review, only two of the 20 studies included in their review examined effects on children and the authors did not offer distinct conclusions for adults and children, making it difficult to draw conclusions about the effects of KCBIs on wellbeing in children. ...
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Objectives Interventions involving kindness- and compassion-based meditation (KCBM) have been shown to have various benefits for adults, and there is growing interest in using KCBMs with children. This systematic review explores the effects of KCBM on wellbeing, prosociality, and cognitive functioning in children and adolescents. Methods Studies were eligible if they examined interventions that contained a proportion of KCBM above a set threshold, included child participants only, used any or no control group, and included at least one outcome measure related to wellbeing, prosociality, or cognitive functioning. Studies were assessed for quality using the Quality Assessment Tool for Quantitative Studies, and findings were synthesised narratively. Results A systematic literature search of 11 databases up to February 2020 identified 3,073 papers. Ten studies were eligible for inclusion in the review, including 807 children. There was evidence of improvements in wellbeing in 47% of wellbeing outcome measures (including stress, anxiety, depression, negative affect, markers of inflammation, mindfulness, and self-compassion). Prosociality and cognitive functioning (visual perception and motor accuracy) were examined in 1 study each, and there was evidence of improvements in both outcomes. Effect sizes ranged from small to large. There was some evidence that interventions were more effective with younger, non-clinical populations and where intervention teachers were experienced. Study quality was generally weak. Conclusions There was no strong evidence base for positive effects of KCBM with children. However, the findings of the review are encouraging given the early stage of development of the field, and further research is warranted. Recommendations for future research include more robust methodological design, improved reporting, and a focus on developmental mechanisms of change. Systematic Review Registration PROSPERO CRD42014013065.
... In spite of their distinct features, the terms of LKM and CM are often overlapped and used interchangeably in academic literature (Gilbert et al. 2019;Shonin et al. 2015). Such overlapping creates considerable difficulties in conducting metaanalyses comparing effects of these meditations (Shonin et al. 2015). ...
... In spite of their distinct features, the terms of LKM and CM are often overlapped and used interchangeably in academic literature (Gilbert et al. 2019;Shonin et al. 2015). Such overlapping creates considerable difficulties in conducting metaanalyses comparing effects of these meditations (Shonin et al. 2015). Loving-kindness and compassion are often said to be "two sides of the same coin" (Dalai Lama and Ekman 2008;Wallace 2001, p. 11) or "inextricably linked" with each other (Wallace 2007, p. 121). ...
... While some authors did not differentiate between LKM and CM in their meta-reviews (e.g., Rao and Kemper 2017;Stefan and Hofmann 2019), others put emphasis on differences between them (e.g., Graser and Stangier 2018). As a differential approach towards LKM and CM can promote a more accurate integration of these practices into the clinical field, future meta-reviews may be encouraged to follow it (Shonin et al. 2015). According to the Graser and Stangier's meta-review, compassion-based interventions were effective for treating patients with a wide range of disorders, including affective disorders with psychotic features (Braehler et al. 2013), major depressive disorder (Lv et al. 2020;Noorbala et al. 2013), eating disorders (Kelly et al. 2017), as well as for patients with suicide attempts in the past year (Johnson et al. 2017). ...
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Objectives: Despite being often overlapped and used interchangeably in academic literature, loving-kindness meditation (LKM) and compassion meditation (CM) are also seen to have their distinct features. As a differential approach towards LKM and CM can promote a more accurate integration of these practices into the clinical field, it is worth studying their differential effects. The present pre-registered study, thus, aimed to experimentally compare effects of single-session LKM and CM on first-time practitioners’ emotions. Methods: Two hundred and one university students were randomly allocated to three (LKM, CM and control) groups. The self-reported emotions were measured twice, before and after completing an assigned task. Results: (1) Both LKM and CM significantly increased other-focused positive emotions compared with the control condition; (2) Both LKM and CM increased happiness and overall positive emotions, and decreased sadness; however, the effect sizes of LKM were consistently larger compared to those of CM; (3) Both LKM and CM significantly increased low arousal positive emotions compared with the control condition. Conclusions: LKM and CM represent two theoretically different practices. However, as they belong to the same tradition of meditation, they are similar in their intention of forming positive wishes towards self and others, and this appeared to have a positive effect on practitioners’ emotional experience. At the same time, LKM was found to be more effective in evoking positive emotions in first-time practitioners, compared to CM.
... In addition, it is suggested that compassion is the main intermediary of the effect of mindfulness training in prevention depression (Kuyken et al., 2010). Conversely, empirical evidence proves that practicing compassion is effective in reducing negative emotions such as anxiety (Birnie et al., 2010;Demorest, 2019;Hofmann, Grossman & Hinton, 2011;Jazaieri et al., 2014;Shonin et al., 2015), albeit to a lesser extent than mindfulness (Fulton & Cashwell, 2015). ...
... Results also showed that greater compassion toward others is related to greater well-being and decline in indicators of anxiety. These findings relate to others that showed how positive emotions promote well-being and relieve psychological distress (Demorest, 2019;Shonin et al., 2015). However, Demorest (2019) points out that compassion reduces anxiety to a lesser extent than other positive emotions such as happiness and love. ...
... The difference lies in the fact that compassion may substantially differ from love and happiness. While compassion is the result of the suffering of others or negative emotions of the self, happiness and love share a previous history (such as the positive consideration of the other) and consequences (for example, smiling and hugging others), which allows them to be equally effective against anxiety (Demorest, 2019;Hofmann et al., 2011;Shonin et al., 2015). In fact, it is possible that self-compassion, when compared with compassion for others, might have a stronger relationship with lesser presence of negative emotions (Neff, 2003). ...
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The Santa Clara Brief Compassion Scale (SCBCS) is a brief measure of compassion, created in English and translated into Brazilian Portuguese. Nonetheless, to date, no study has assessed the psychometric evidence of its Spanish translation. This study examines the evidence of validity, reliability, and factorial invariance according to the gender of a Spanish version of the SCBCS. Participants included 273 Peruvian university students (50.9% women) with an average age of 21.23 years (SD = 3.24); divided into two groups of men and women to conduct the invariance factor analysis. Other measures of mindfulness, well-being, empathy, and anxiety were applied along with the SCBCS. The Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) indicated that a unifactorial model adjusted significantly to the data (χ2 = 12,127, df = 5, p = .033, χ2 /df = 2.42, CFI = .998, RMSEA = .072 [CI90% .019, .125]; SRMR = .030, WRMR = .551) and presented good reliability (α = .90 [95% .88–.92]; ω = .91). Moreover, correlations between the SCBCS and other measures of mindfulness (r = .53, p < .05, cognitive empathy (r = 55; p < .05), affective empathy (r = .56, p < .05), well-being (r = .55, p < .05), and anxiety (r = −.46; p < .05) supported the convergent and discriminant validity. Likewise, the multiple-group CFA supported the factorial invariance according to the gender of the SCBCS. Results indicate that the SCBCS possesses evidence of validity, reliability, and invariance between men and women for measuring compassion toward others in Peruvian undergraduate students. SCBCS is expected to be used by researchers, healthcare professionals, teachers, and others as a useful measure of compassion in college students.
... The Dalai Lama identifies yet a third stage of compassion practice at which dissipates a practitioner's feeling that he/she is separate from all others, and as such he/she will always be fully engaged in the welfare of others (Barad 2007, p. 22). [2] A compassion practice of this kind is integral to the ideal of the bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism (Shonin et al. 2015(Shonin et al. , p. 1162Silk 2017;The Dalai Lama 2009, p. 118;Wong 2009, pp. 151-152). ...
... 151-152). A bodhisattva is an enlightened individual who practices compassion to save all sentient beings from suffering (Shonin et al. 2015(Shonin et al. , p. 1162Wong 2009, p. 151) (Silk 2017), but it is also one of three dominant Chinese philosophies, along with Confucianism and Daoism, that constitute the cornerstones of Chinese cultural beliefs (Palko and Xiang 2020;Wong 2009, pp. 149-152]. ...
... 209-210;Martin et al. 2015, p. 240;Neff 2003, p. 85, p. 96;Seppala et al. 2013, p. 422, pp. 428-429;Shonin et al. 2015Shonin et al. , p. 1162The Dalai Lama 1999, p. 127, 2009. This is best presented in a famous aphorism by the Dalai Lama, "If you want others to be happy practice compassion; if you want to be happy practice compassion." ...
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In an extraordinarily willing and swift fashion, the top leader of Shanxi Province in China, Tao Lujia [陶鲁笳, (1917–2011)], gave permission to the Red Flag Canal Project in 1960. Why was he so willing and swift to greenlight a project that would divert water from his home province to benefit the people in a neighbor province? We explored this question through a bipartite investigation. First, we dug into the empirical literature, the literature based on experience and/or observation, in search of his motivations for the action. Second, for a more systematic, deeper understanding, we examined the instance via a lens of compassion practice, an eclectic collection of theoretical constructs on compassion practice through which one can examine an individual’s behavior and performance for new insights. This article reports the second part of our research. It is a sequel to Why was Tao Lujia so willing and swift to greenlight the Red Flag Canal Project in 1960? The instance and his motivations which reports the first part of our research and is also published in this journal. Both articles are part of the SEPR mini-series on the Red Flag Canal, one of the best kept secrets in the world history of socio-ecological practice.
... 9 Compassion training has been found to be associated with decreased psychological distress and increased overall well-being. [10][11][12][13] However, evidence-based programs for the effectiveness in the prevention of psychological distress for informal caregivers of people with mental illness are lacking. ...
... Two systematic reviews demonstrated that compassion training may promote mental health. 11,12 However, the compassion interventions varied from 7 minutes to 8 weeks, with very few of the interventions being manualized, and not all included studies were randomized clinical trials (RCTs). 11,12 A meta-analysis on compassion-based interventions with 21 RCTs, 13 including either healthy adults or adults with a physical or mental illness, suggested a moderate effect size on measures of mindfulness, compassion, and self-compassion and decreased depression, anxiety, and psychological distress scores. ...
... 11,12 However, the compassion interventions varied from 7 minutes to 8 weeks, with very few of the interventions being manualized, and not all included studies were randomized clinical trials (RCTs). 11,12 A meta-analysis on compassion-based interventions with 21 RCTs, 13 including either healthy adults or adults with a physical or mental illness, suggested a moderate effect size on measures of mindfulness, compassion, and self-compassion and decreased depression, anxiety, and psychological distress scores. Significant moderate effects were also found for well-being. ...
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Importance Caregivers of people with mental illness are at increased risk of developing depression, anxiety, and stress. Objective To investigate the effect of a compassion cultivation training (CCT) program on decreasing caregiver psychological distress. Design, Setting, and Participants This waitlist-controlled randomized clinical trial was conducted in 2 different community settings in Denmark. Caregivers were excluded if they had a diagnosed and untreated mental illness, addiction, meditation practice, or current psychotherapeutic treatment. Enrollment occurred between May 2018 and March 2019. A repeated measurement model was used to examine the impact of the intervention. The primary analysis was based on the intention-to-treat principle. Data analysis was conducted from June 4 to July 7, 2020. Interventions Participants were randomized 1-to-1 to an 8-week CCT course or waitlist control. Block randomization was used with 40 participants in each block. Main Outcomes and Measures The main outcome was reduction in psychological distress, as measured by the Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scale (DASS). Baseline, postintervention, and 3- and 6-month follow-up measurements were collected. Results Among 192 participants assessed for eligibility, 161 participants were included in the study (mean [SD] age, 52.6 [12.5] years; 142 [88.2%] women), with 79 participants randomized to the CCT intervention and 82 participants in the waitlist control group. At baseline, the mean (SD) DASS scores for the intervention vs control groups were 10.89 (8.66) vs 10.80 (8.38) for depression, 6.89 (6.48) vs 6.68 (5.33) for anxiety, and 14.96 (7.90) vs 15.77 (7.40) for stress. The CCT group experienced statistically significant improvement in the primary outcome in mean change from baseline vs the control group at postintervention (adjusted mean difference: depression, –4.16 [95% CI, –6.75 to –1.58]; P = .002; anxiety, –2.24 [95% CI, –3.99 to –0.48]; P = .01; stress, –4.20 [95% CI, –6.73 to –1.67]; P = .001), the 3-month follow-up (adjusted mean difference: depression, –3.78 [95% CI, –6.40 to –1.17]; P = .005; anxiety, –2.50 [95% CI, –4.27 to –0.73]; P = .006; stress, –3.76 [95% CI, –6.32 to –1.21]; P = .004), and the 6-month follow-up (adjusted mean difference: depression: –4.24 [95% CI, –6.97 to –1.52]; P = .002; anxiety, –2.12 [95% CI, –3.96 to –0.29]; P = .02; stress: –3.79 [95% CI, –6.44 to –1.13]; P = .005). Conclusions and Relevance These findings suggest that CCT was superior to the waitlist control in supporting caregivers’ mental health. Statistically and clinically significant reductions in psychological distress were found and sustained at the 6-month follow-up. The improvements noted in this randomized clinical trial could serve to encourage implementation of future evidence-based programs for caregivers. Trial Registration ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03730155
... One of the most common CM/LKM techniques employed in clinical psychotherapy (e.g., cognitive-based compassion training, compassion cultivation training) is derived from Tibetan lojong (meaning mind training) Buddhist teachings (Shonin et al., 2015). The lojong teachings include instructions on a meditation technique known as the tonglen method (meaning giving and taking or sending and receiving). ...
... The lojong teachings include instructions on a meditation technique known as the tonglen method (meaning giving and taking or sending and receiving). The tonglen method involves synchronizing the visualization practice of taking others' suffering (i.e., compassion) and giving one's own happiness (i.e., loving-kindness) with the in-breath and out-breath, respectively (Shonin et al., 2015). ...
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Many loving-kindness and compassion meditation methods used in psychological research are derived from Theravada and Tibetan Buddhism. Zhiyi (智顗), a representative figure of Chinese Buddhism, proposed a different meditation method, namely, imagination-based loving-kindness and compassion meditation. The current article introduces the imagination-based loving-kindness and compassion meditation proposed by Zhiyi and compares it with meditation methods from Theravada and Tibetan Buddhism. Zhiyi’s method limits the content of imagination during meditation, which can be an essential supplement to the free association method derived from Theravada Buddhism. Zhiyi’s method of helping others entirely through imagination differs significantly from the tonglen method derived from Tibetan Buddhism and may be more suitable for participants without religious beliefs. Based on Zhiyi’s source text and previous psychological studies, a mental-health training program for imagination-based loving-kindness and compassion meditation is proposed. The limitations of Zhiyi’s method and the future directions for empirical research on Zhiyi’s method are also discussed. The differences between Zhiyi’s method and other methods in terms of effects and applicable populations need to be examined in future studies.
... 113 While the history of the Eightfold Path and Buddhist psychology dates back 2600 years, only recently has there has been an increase in the evidence base for the implementation of "third-wave" cognitive behavioral approaches, which are rooted in Buddhist and other eastern philosophies, for the treatment of psychopathology. 86,[114][115][116] Mindfulness and meditation are the most well established aspects of these cognitive behavioral approaches, but are only a small component of Buddhist psychology. Buddhist principles of compassion, lovingkindness, and non-self have also risen to areas of interest for research. ...
... Buddhist principles of compassion, lovingkindness, and non-self have also risen to areas of interest for research. 86 Shonin et al. 115 found that Buddhist-derived lovingkindness and compassion meditation can improve: psychological distress, levels of positive and negative affect, the frequency and intensity of positive thoughts and emotions, interpersonal skills, and empathic accuracy, all of which have implications for recovery from SUDs. However, considering that there has been no unified system for the effective clinical operationalization of Buddhist principles and practices within clinical settings, 116 it is challenging to measure Buddhist psychology as a treatment for SUDs. ...
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Evidence indicating the relationship between trauma and substance use disorders (SUDs), in addition to relapse and treatment retention rates for this population, suggests there is a need for a trauma-focused solution to treat SUDs. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy has been studied extensively as an effective approach for treating trauma and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The research evaluating its treatment for other mental health disorders such as SUDs is promising. Merging mindfulness and ethical mindfulness practices with EMDR therapy lends additional evidence-based elements to make the case for this integrative system of treatment to be studied as a trauma-focused primary psychotherapy to treat SUDs. The resulting treatment, the MET(T)A Protocol (Mindfulness and EMDR Treatment Template for Agencies), has been created to address the need for a trauma-focused solution to treat SUDs. Procedures of the MET(T)A Protocol as applied in each of the 8 phases of EMDR therapy are described in detail. Clinical examples are provided to explain the application of the MET(T)A Protocol.
... Loving-Kindness Meditation (LKM) has been one of the primary and effective practices that are depicted in mindfulness-and compassion-based programs. The effectiveness has been described in three reviews (Lippelt et al., 2014;Shonin et al., 2015;Zeng et al., 2015), and much research has followed since then indicating the positive outcomes of LKM. While other types of meditation -such as mindfulness breathing meditation -have benefitted from alternative and/or shorter practices (Czerwinski et al., 2020;Hanley et al., 2015;Hussein et al., 2017;Mantzios & Giannou, 2018a;Mantzios & Wilson, 2014), LKM has not been given comparable attention by researchers and practitioners in developing several alternative practices. ...
... For example, LKM was found to help treat patients with chronic back pain and associated psychological distress (Carson et al., 2005). Shonin et al. (2015) summarized the research conducted through a systematic review and point out that there were improvements in psychopathological relevant outcomes, such as improvements in positive and negative affect, psychological distress, positive thinking, interpersonal relations, and empathic accuracy. Simultaneously, Zeng et al. (2015) conducted a meta-analytic review and found LKM to be effective in increasing positive emotions. ...
Article
Loving-kindness meditation has been recognized as a valuable form of meditation practice and features in most mindfulness programs. The present research explored the potential of an alternative non-meditative loving-kindness practice; namely, loving-kindness coloring. University students (N= 180) were randomly assigned to the loving-kindness coloring condition or the meditation condition. Both loving-kindness meditation and loving-kindness coloring were explored by measuring state mindfulness, pre-, and post-intervention. Results indicated that both conditions similarly increased in-state mindfulness and self-compassion, and decreased state anxiety, while there were non-significant differences between the practices. We concluded that there are similar levels of effectiveness to loving kindness meditation when introducing loving kindness coloring. Future implications on the applicability of loving-kindness practices are discussed.
... Such research has largely focused on compassion meditation and loving-kindness meditation following a Buddhist model (e.g., Navarro-Gil et al., 2020). Findings (including from active controlled RCTs) demonstrate applications for improving, for example, attachment style, fibromyalgia, interpersonal skills, and affective processing (Shonin et al., 2015). Techniques focusing on cultivating selfcompassion have also demonstrated applications for improving mental health outcomes in clinical and healthy populations (Wilson et al., 2019). ...
... A key challenge for contemplative psychology is the need to strengthen methodological rigor. Methodological issues typically identified include (a) the overuse of self-selected samples, (b) shortage of long-term followup assessments, (c) overreliance on self-report assessments, (d) inappropriate blinding procedures, and (e) poorly defined intervention protocols (e.g., Field, 2011;Riskowski & Almeheyawi, 2019;Shonin et al., 2013Shonin et al., , 2015Van Dam et al., 2018). A further issue relates to inappropriate control conditions that are inadequately matched on factors such as practice duration or intensity (Shonin et al., 2013). ...
Article
Contemplative psychology is concerned with the psychological study of contemplative processes and practices, such as meditation, mindfulness, yoga, introspection, reflection, metacognition, self-regulation, self-awareness, and self-consciousness. Although contemplative psychology borders with other psychological and nonpsychological disciplines, some of its underlying assumptions distinguish it from other remits of psychological and scholarly inquiry, as do its component areas of empirical focus, conceptual nuances, and challenges. Furthermore, the discipline has tended to be somewhat disparate in its approach to investigating the core techniques and principles of which it is composed, resulting in a need for greater intradisciplinary and interdisciplinary awareness of the commonalities and differences of core contemplative psychology attributes. As a remedy to these issues, in this article, we adopt a whole-discipline perspective and aim to explicate contemplative psychology’s history, breadth, key assumptions, challenges, and future directions.
... Loving-kindness meditation (LKM; metta), compassion meditation (CM; karuna), sympathetic joy (muditā), and equanimity (upekkha) are the four immeasurables that can be cultivated during meditation practice. Practices of both LKM and CM are inherent to all Buddhist traditions, but have particular prominence in Mahayana Buddhist schools [2]. The main aim of LKM is to develop benevolence and warmth toward all sentient beings, whereas CM includes techniques to cultivate a deep, genuine sympathy for those that are suffering, together with a commitment to alleviate and prevent suffering [3][4][5][6]. ...
... The main aim of LKM is to develop benevolence and warmth toward all sentient beings, whereas CM includes techniques to cultivate a deep, genuine sympathy for those that are suffering, together with a commitment to alleviate and prevent suffering [3][4][5][6]. LKM and compassion-based interventions (CBIs) have been shown to be effective for treating a considerable range of mental health issues in both clinical and healthy adult and non-adult populations [2]. ...
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A recent study has supported the efficacy of Attachment-Based Compassion Therapy (ABCT) compared to relaxation (REL) for the management of fibromyalgia (FM). The main objective of this paper is to examine the cost-utility of ABCT compared to REL in terms of effects on quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) as well as healthcare costs. Forty-two Spanish patients with FM received 8 weekly group sessions of ABCT or REL. Data collection took place at pre- and 3-month follow-up. Cost-utility of the two treatment groups (ABCT vs REL) was compared by examining treatment outcomes in terms of QALYs (obtained with the EQ-5D-3L) and healthcare costs (data about service use obtained with the Client Service Receipt Inventory). Data analyses were computed from a completers, ITT, and per protocol approach. Data analysis from the healthcare perspective revealed that those patients receiving ABCT exhibited larger improvements in quality of life than those doing relaxation, while being less costly three months after their 8-week treatment program had ended [completers: incremental cost M, 95%CI= €-194.1 (-450.3 to 356.1); Incremental effect M, 95%CI= 0.023 QALYs (0.010 to 0.141)]. Results were similar using an ITT approach [incremental cost M, 95%CI= €-256.3 (-447.4 to -65.3); Incremental effect M, 95%CI= 0.021 QALYs (0.009 to 0.033)]. A similar pattern of results were obtained from the per protocol approach. This RCT has contributed to the evidence base of compassion-based interventions and provided useful information about the cost-utility of ABCT for FM patients when compared to relaxation. However, the small sample size and short follow-up period limit the generalizability of the findings.
... Although some studies demonstrate LKM also contributes to reduced negative emotions (Galante et al., 2016;2014;Carson et al., 2005), other studies find no such effect (Fredrickson et al., 2008(Fredrickson et al., , 2017, suggesting the influence of LKM on negative emotions appears to be less robust or perhaps population-dependent. Conceivably, for instance, LKM may reduce negative emotions to a greater degree in sub-populations that typically show elevated negative affectivity, such as those with lower SES or higher attachment insecurity (Gallo & Matthews, 2003;Mikulincer & Shaver, 2019). Researchers have suggested that the cultivation of warmth and compassion may be useful even during challenging times, so that practitioners become more likely to approach challenging experiences with warmth and compassion (Shonin et al., 2015). Thus, the limited research on LKM has primarily investigated improvements in well-being by focusing on enhanced positive emotions and compassion toward the self and others (Galante et al., 2014;Zeng et al., 2015). ...
... The construct of compassion and self-compassion derives from Buddhist psychology, wherein compassion (Sanskrit, karunā), as described by Shonin et al. (2015), means "the wish for all sentient beings to be free from suffering and its causes" (p. ...
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Anger and shame are individually explicated through intrapsychic, interpersonal, and emotional-motivational processes. The phenomenon of shame-rage, a common psychological defensive strategy, is described and illuminated as an unconscious avoidance mechanism that involves maladaptive expressions of anger and shame separately. Shame-rage strategies are empirically found in individuals who exhibit vulnerable narcissistic traits; this population is selected to discuss the development and consequences of shame-rage strategies. Compassion is suggested as a necessary therapeutic framework to support individuals suffering from shame-rage related afflictions. Affective neuroscientific concepts are embedded throughout this thesis to link shame-rage phenomenology to the evolutionary and empirical study of neuroscience in an effort to support therapeutic endeavours.
... These components make self-compassion a robust predictor of positive well-being. Many studies have found plausible associations between self-compassion and measures of psychological well-being, such as forgiveness, positive thinking, positive affect, and empathy (Barnard and Curry 2011;Shonin et al. 2015;Wu et al. 2019). Research also has repeatedly found that self-compassion can promote healthcare professionals' emotional intelligence, overall resilience, compassion toward others, and perspective-taking (Heffernan et al. 2010;Kemper et al. 2015;Lutz et al. 2008;Gustin and Wagner 2013). ...
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Objectives This study aimed to examine the association between caregiver burden and depression among Chinese cancer caregivers, and to identify the buffering role of self-compassion in the relationship between caregiver burden and depressive symptoms. In China, family caregivers perform major tasks and responsibilities on behalf of cancer patients because of unique Chinese norms regarding family obligations and the underdeveloped healthcare system. The caregiver burden has become a major challenge facing family members, and it could elicit depressive symptoms, but the protective factors buffering the effects of caregiver burden on depression are understudied.MethodsA convenience sample of 208 family caregivers of cancer patients visiting a hospital in Tianjin City was surveyed. Data on depression, caregiver burden, and self-compassion were collected using reliable established scales. A series of linear regression models was estimated to determine the statistical relationships among the variables and the moderation effect of self-compassion.ResultsCaregiving burden was positively associated with depression, and the hierarchical multiple regressions revealed that self-compassion was associated with a reduction in the negative influence of caregiver burden on depression.Conclusions This correlational study, which found an association between caregiving burden and depression, provides the basis for a longitudinal study that examines whether there is a causal relationship between caregiving burden and depression among Chinese caregivers of individuals with cancer.
... This effect might be partially due to depressive symptoms going beyond the sensation of negative affect. In addition, LKM training might lead to further improvements in daily life, such as closer interpersonal relationships (e.g., Cohn & Fredrickson, 2010) or psychological distress (e.g., Shonin et al., 2015). These improvements might also be associated with a further reduction of depressive symptoms. ...
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Objectives Loving-kindness meditation (LKM) has been shown to improve wellbeing and positive emotions in clinical and non-clinical populations. The main goal of the present study was to examine whether LKM might be an effective intervention to promote positive mental health using the Positive Mental Health Scale (PMH) and to decrease depression, anxiety, and stress in university students.Methods The sample (n = 110) consisted of university students in Germany. One half of them (n = 55) underwent LKM intervention. They were compared with a matched control group (n = 55) which did not receive treatment. All participants completed positive and negative mental health measures at baseline and 1-year follow-up assessments. LKM participants additionally completed the same measures before and after treatment. Multiple analyses of variance were conducted to test for short- and long-term effects of LKM on positive and negative mental health measures.ResultsA significant short-term effect of LKM on anxiety and PMH was found. Long-term analyses revealed a significant decrease of depression, anxiety, and stress for LKM completers, and a significant increase of depression, anxiety, and stress for the control group.Conclusions The results suggest that LKM enhances mental health in university students.
... range of mental health difficulties (e.g., Barnard & Curry, 2011;MacBeth & Gumley, 2012). Treatments that address compassion, such as compassion-focused therapy (Gilbert, 2010;Gilbert, 2014), mindful self-compassion (Neff & Germer, 2013), and Buddhist-derived loving-kindness and compassion meditations, have been found to improve psychological well-being (e.g., Leaviss & Uttley, 2015;Neff & Germer, 2013;Shonin, Van Gordon, Compare, Zangeneh, & Griffiths, 2015). ...
Article
Objectives Fear of receiving compassion from others, expressing compassion to others, and being compassionate towards oneself have been identified as potentially important factors in the persistence of depression, stress disorders, and eating disorders. There is good reason to expect that these fears may play a role in anxiety and related difficulties, but there is little available information on the extent to which they are present and associated with symptom severity. Methods This study compared the severity of the three fears of compassion (receiving, expressing to others, and showing to oneself) in those with a principal diagnosis of depression (n = 34), obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD; n = 27), social anxiety disorder (SAD; n = 91), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD, n = 43), and a control sample with no mental health difficulties (n = 212). Results Those with depression, OCD, SAD, and GAD exhibited greater fear of receiving compassion and fear of self‐compassion than controls, and the differences between anxious and control groups remained significant even when controlling for depressed mood. Whereas fears of compassion did not predict symptom severity over and above depressed mood in people with GAD, fear of receiving compassion uniquely predicted SAD symptom severity, and fear of expressing compassion for others uniquely predicted OCD symptom severity in those high on fear of self‐compassion. Conclusions Fear of compassion is higher in those with anxiety and related disorders than non‐anxious controls. Although further research is needed, clinicians may benefit from assessing fear of compassion and addressing it in treatment. Practitioner points • Those with anxiety and related disorders may fear receiving compassion from others or expressing compassion for themselves, even when controlling for depression. • It may be informative to assess for fear of compassion and incorporate discussions about these fears into treatment, as these fears may interfere with treatment progress.
... Many empirical studies support the proposition that understanding and practicing cultural heritages leads to good mental health. For instance, many recent findings related to Buddhism show that mindfulness [20,21], compassion [22][23][24] and meditation [25][26][27] cause increases in attention, positive emotion and subjective well-being. These effects can be primarily explained by the self-nature concept of the nonself. ...
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No matter where you live and what culture you belong to, you may encounter the four big questions of human existence. Where do I come from? Why am I in this life situation? Why do I suffer? How do I find salvation? Our cultural heritages store wisdom for how we can successfully cope with these four questions and become an ideal person with the most optimal self functioning. Accordingly, the theories, objectives, and methods of mental health intervention might be profoundly influenced by our cultural wisdoms and their origins. The formal Mandala Model of Self (MMS) was developed to describe the well-functioning self in various cultures. The MMS is suitable for elucidating the relationship between cultural heritages and mental health through its four concepts: biology, the ideal person, knowledge or wisdom, and action. It is based on the Psychodynamic Model of Self-Nature (PMS), as well as the assumption that the psychodynamic process of transitioning from the self to the self-nature exists in all cultures. The self-nature is defined by its own culture, entirely oriented toward the good of wholeness, the well-functioning self with full potential. The self-nature implications for psychotherapy include the therapeutic goal, the achievement of which has four steps and requirements for the therapist. A conclusion with suggestions for future research is provided. Specifically, I address the effort needed to analyze cultural heritages to develop their formal and substantive structures. I describe the epistemological strategy for analyzing cultural heritages and include three successful examples of its application.
... For example, compassion meditation is an effective strategy for racial and ethnic groups to release feelings of fear and anger and decrease suffering by cultivating compassion and unconditional regard toward self, others, and the universe (Germer & Neff, 2015). Compassion meditation represents a culturally relevant strategy that may promote overall psychological wellness (Hoffman et al., 2011;Shonin et al., 2015) and may be especially applicable for Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) who experience COVID-19-related racial discrimination (Litam, 2020). ...
Article
The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) exacerbated existing disparities in the United States that marginalize racial and ethnic groups who bear the brunt of deaths, hospitalizations, and financial consequences. Counselors must consider the ways that the pandemic has affected clients based on their social positioning. During pandemics, clients may report concerns related to housing insecurity, financial stressors, and increased exposure to sickness from working jobs deemed essential. These experiences may contribute to mental health issues and feelings of grief and loss. Action oriented and direct interventions that incorporate aspects of crisis management and help clients establish a sense of normalcy may be particularly applicable for clients who seek counseling for COVID-19 related stressors. Counselors can also instill hope in their clients by promoting sociopolitical development. As the impact of COVID-19 will be felt for years, it is crucial that counselors be prepared to address the needs of those disproportionally impacted.
... However, the extent to which self-compassion reflects an entirely Buddhist-derived construct is currently unclear (Author et al. 2014). For example, the self-kindness component of self-compassion primarily refers to happiness for oneself, whereas Buddhism emphasises happiness for others, particularly in the context of the core Buddhist teaching on the four immeasurable attitudes of (i) loving-kindness, (ii) compassion, (iii) appreciative joy, and (iv) equanimity for all beings (Peng and Shen 2012;Shonin et al., 2015). ...
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Objectives: Self-compassion is a relatively new psychological construct, associated with better mental health outcomes in diverse populations, including workers. However, evidence relating to the applications of self-compassion interventions in work-related contexts has not been systematically reviewed to date. Therefore, this systematic review aimed to synthesise and evaluate the utility of self-compassion interventions for improving work-related wellbeing, as well as assess the methodological quality of studies conducted to date. Methods: Eligible articles were identified from academic research databases including ProQuest, PsycINFO, Science Direct, and Google Scholar. The quality of non-randomised trials and randomised controlled trials (RCTs) was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale and the Quality Assessment Table, respectively. Results: The literature search yielded 3,387 titles from which ten studies met all of the inclusion criteria (nine non-randomised studies and one RCT). All studies reported promising effects of self-compassion training for improving work-related wellbeing. The quality of these studies was medium. All studies recruited workers in a caring field and were mostly conducted in Western countries. The Self-Compassion Scale (SCS) or its short form was used in almost all studies. Conclusions: Findings indicate that self-compassion training can improve self-compassion and other work-related wellbeing outcomes in working populations. However, in general, there is need for greater methodological quality in self-compassion intervention studies to advance understanding regarding the applications and limitations of this technique in work contexts. Furthermore, future studies should focus on a broader range of employee groups, including non-caring professions as well as individuals working in non-Western countries.
... Research in the ethical mindfulness theme concerns the fundamental values and practices of mindfulness (e.g. [9,117,118]). Different to Stage 1's mindfulness perspectives domain, the ethical mindfulness theme does not include research on mindfulness-based interventions or Langerian mindfulness. The key terms in this theme link mindfulness to Buddhist traditions but also to compassion and meditation, as well as yoga, mindfulness practice, and the development of mindfulness. ...
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There are ongoing debates about what is and is not 'mindfulness'. These debates are stifling rigorous academic research as scientific precision is a precursor to shared meaning. While mindfulness is a growing field of research, these divergent and conflated meanings are limiting deeper interdisciplinary research. Interventions designed in one practice context may not be useful in other contexts because meaning is not transferred between settings. This review clarifies the various research domains that study mindfulness and the conceptual and operational definitions in each domain. This two-stage study comprises a scoping review of mindfulness classifications and a comparative content mapping of mindfulness studies from 2015 to 2021. The initial comprehensive search strategy followed the preferred reporting items for scoping reviews and meta-analysis (PRISMA) method. The comparative analysis was conducted using Leximancer. Findings illustrate a complex growing research corpus on mindfulness that is somewhat confused. The results from the scoping review show three shared domains in mindfulness classifications: short-term effects of mindful-ness, long-term effects of mindfulness, and mindfulness practices. The results from the content mapping show four domains of mindfulness research: mental health, behavioural change, cognitive neuroscience, and ethical mindfulness. Operational definitions of mindful-ness are not articulated clearly in these domains. Conceptual and operational definitions in the 'ethical mindfulness' domain are not yet developed. To enhance scientific progress in mindfulness research, further investigations of mindfulness classifications need to be developed. Content mapping and semantic typology is a potential candidate for future classification. More attention should be paid to developing operational definitions according to specific research domains. Scholars in the ethical mindfulness domain will need solid conceptual and operational definitions to support their research efforts.
... Increasing one's empathy for others and tolerance for distress may help to manage interpersonal hostility. Some studies have shown that mindfulness-based compassion meditations focused on fostering empathy for others can reduce interpersonally hostile behaviours and increase interpersonal relations (Shonin et al., 2015). Some studies also have shown that an increased capacity for distress tolerance (i.e., the capability to experience and endure negative emotional states) predicts lower levels of hostility and anger (Matheny et al., 2017), such that emotional exposure and behavioural practice can increase tolerance for distress and reduce depression and anxiety symptoms (Wright et al., 2020). ...
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Perfectionism is linked to a variety of mental health conditions in university students. Guided by the Perfectionism Social Disconnection Model, the purpose of the current mixed methods feasibility study was to evaluate the acceptability and potential effectiveness of a brief online intervention designed to reduce the negative consequences of perfectionism in university students. Seventy university students (83.9% female; Mage = 19) reporting moderate to extreme levels of perfectionism completed the two hour ‘Intentional Imperfection Program’ (IIP). The IIP includes techniques to increase mindfulness, compassion for self and others, distress tolerance, and social skills. Participants completed self-report measures at baseline and at a two-week follow-up. Quantitative data showed statistically significant small to moderate reductions in self-oriented perfectionism (d = −0.48, p < .001), socially-prescribed perfectionism (d = 0.40, p < .001), hostility (r = 0.53, p < .001), rejection sensitivity (d = 0.37, p < .001), depression (r = −0.47, p < .001), and anxiety (r = −0.33, p = .010) and a small increase in perceived social support (r = −0.29, p = .023). Thematic analyses of qualitative data indicated that participants found the IIP feasible, enjoyable, and useful. A brief online intervention may be a feasible way of reducing the negative consequences of perfectionism among university students. A randomised control trial is warranted to further evaluate the efficacy of the IIP. This research was registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (no. ACTRN12620000574943).
... Buddhism emphasizes avoiding attachments that override good intentions and which lead to suffering based on the Four Noble Truths (Sanskrit: catvāri āryasatyāni; Pali: cattāri ariyasaccāni). Suffering is prevalent in life (Shonin et al., 2015) and arises when individuals perceive that there is an ultimate state of self and reality (Gampopa, 1998). At the individual level, Buddhist mindfulness is part of the eight principles of the Noble Eightfold Path (Pali: ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo; Sanskrit: āryāṣṭāṅgamārga) (right action, right intention, right view, right effort, right livelihood, right concentration, right speech and right mindfulness). ...
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Despite the literatures on spirituality and social capital development remaining largely disconnected, we address how right mindfulness encourages organizational-level social capital. We connect the philosophical foundations of 'right mindfulness' to bonding and bridging social capital, and the structural, relational and cognitive dimensions of social capital. We conclude that a skilful approach to right mindfulness, coupled with organizational learning heuristics, has much to offer the conversation on social capital development, and yet its potential has not been fully recognized. Despite this promise, we draw attention to a 'dark side' to the co-optation by organizations of mindfulness practices and draw some further boundary conditions. We argue that a secular interpretation of right mindfulness limits its potential in organizational contexts. We conclude with managerial implications and pathways for future research.
... Because 20 h of instruction were provided to CBCT participants (the CBCT standard), some scholars suggest that encouraging enacted compassion, without a more lengthy focus on equanimity and coping with the pain that can come when empathizing with others' suffering, may not be enough training to prevent the possibility of compassion burnout (Shonin et al. 2015). As Shonin et al. point out, those who engage in compassion meditation often practice equanimity and recognition of their own suffering for years prior to taking on alleviation of others' suffering. ...
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Objectives Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT) aims to cultivate participants’ compassion and enhance their well-being. CBCT was developed for college students and has been adapted for several unique populations, such as children in foster care, but it has only recently been used with parents of infants and young children. This analysis of data from a preliminary efficacy study examined effects of CBCT on parenting interactions and early empathy in infants and young children (aged 9 months to 5 years, 4 months). The study also examined the perceived benefits and challenges of participating in a 20-h CBCT intervention for parents. Methods Thirty-nine families from university-affiliated preschools participated in this study; 25 parents were in the CBCT group and 14 parents were in a wait list control group. Parents were evaluated before and after the intervention, as well as after each session on their impressions of the class and experience with the assignments. Families were evaluated at pre- and post-intervention on observed parent-child interactions and child empathy. Results Parents found that participating in CBCT was a positive, even life-changing experience for them, though finding time to practice the guided meditations was difficult. However, CBCT did not improve sensitive and responsive interactions between parents and children or young children’s empathy assessed in a lab setting. Conclusions CBCT for parents was viewed positively by participants but it did not change their observed parenting interactions or young children’s observed empathy across a 3-month period.
... For each category, the meditator holds relevant images of self or others engaging in the respective behavior. They include, for example, being kind to self or others (mettā), hugging those experiencing distress (karunā), rejoicing in the client's accomplishment (muditā), and staying calm while learning about the other's suffering (upekkhā) (Shonin, Van Gordon, Compare, Zangeneh, & Griffiths, 2015). These cognitive-interpersonal practices of LMK parallel the principles elucidated recently in the polyvagal theory (Porges, 2017). ...
Article
Hypnosis has long been successfully used in the treatment of trauma and related disorders. In this paper, I describe a hypnosis-informed approach to PTSD using mindfulness. The Mindfulness-Based Phase-Oriented Traumatic Therapy (MB-POTT) follows the phase-oriented tradition that was originally proposed by Pierre Janet, later expanded by Daniel Brown and Erika Fromm using clinical hypnosis. MB-POTT comprises four distinct, yet recursive, stages: (1) therapeutic alliance building and symptom stabilization, (2) formation of a narrative about the trauma, (3) re-creation of meaning of life after trauma, and (4) future symptom management. In explaining these categories, I delineate the nature of mindfulness, both similarities and dissimilarities to hypnosis, with an emphasis on techniques that resemble hypnotic approaches (e.g., ego state therapy, ego-strengthening). Finally, I provide a case study in which MB-POTT was implemented with a client who suffered from PTSD after a near-fatal industrial accident.
... Possible improvements with other outcome variables should be balanced with potentially harmful effects (Hirshberg et al., 2021;Van Dam & Galante, 2020). For this, it is crucial to use well-defined and standardized LKM intervention protocols (Kreplin et al., 2018;Shonin et al., 2015) to test whether a specific LKM intervention or a different mental technique is most effective. ...
Article
The present study employed a quasi-experimental design, in which the experimental group ( n = 13) practiced a loving-kindness meditation (LKM) via a single in-person workshop and via an app, whereas the active control group ( n = 20) practiced progressive muscle relaxation (PMR). Both interventions lasted 1 week and were executed in the respective soccer academy. The groups completed a pre- and posttest measuring compassion, fairness, and team cohesion. In contrast to our hypothesis, we did not find an interaction effect. LKM athletes did not demonstrate greater cohesion, fairness, and compassion after the intervention than the PMR athletes. By comparing user engagement and user rating between LKM and PMR, we conclude that LKM is as accepted as PMR by the study cohort. We suggest implementing future LKM interventions with substantial interaction parts and considering specific person-by-context interactions.
... 1.1.3. Several recent meta-analyses demonstrate that LKM is effective in reducing negative emotions, including depression, and improving positive emotions and outcomes such as compassion towards self and others in clinical and nonclinical populations, when compared with controls [16][17][18] . Loving-kindness meditation has been shown to produce more robust benefits than other types of meditation, which lead to lasting positive feelings which remain even after being in a meditative state. ...
Article
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Peer navigators (PNs), including trained cancer survivor volunteers, can be an important resource to the cancer care team in reducing barriers to screening, treatment, and psychosocial care among underserved communities through their roles in outreach, education, advocacy, and peer support. As cancer centers face growing patient demand and evidence for integrating complementary therapies into conventional care, opportunities to envision new roles for PN arise. Based on psychosocial assessments conducted at an academic cancer center serving the low-income population of Bronx, NY, we found strong interest in both providing (44%) and receiving (76%) peer support, as well as in (76%) mind-body practices (e.g., meditation). In research, these mind-body modalities and peer support have both been found to improve many aspects of physical and emotional outcomes in cancer patients, but none has looked at PNs as a potential resource for delivering such mind-body interventions. Towards this end, we conducted two pilot studies to train PN from an onsite peer navigation program called the BOLD Buddy Program, to deliver a well-defined, easy to learn, and culturally-aligned mind-body practice, i.e., Loving Kindness (LK) Meditation, to each other and to patients. Incorporating comparison to professional meditation instructors, our pilot work demonstrated that peer-lead LKM was associated with benefits to emotional well-being, relaxation, satisfaction, and perceived usability and that PNs were equally well-received in delivering LK as their professional counterparts. Evaluating 8 domains of feasibility using standardized measures, we were able to demonstrate that peer-lead LK was: in demand, acceptable, implementable, practical, adaptable, adoptable, expandable, and promising in efficacy.
... There is solid empirical evidence that positive levels of self-compassion improve mental health [32][33][34][35][79][80][81][82] and lessen the negative consequences of psychological parameters such as stress, anxiety, and depression [28,31,34,[83][84][85][86][87][88][89]. A review of the literature on epidemics that occurred in the last two decades shows that compassion is a positive strategy to deal with the negative impacts of these diseases [61]. ...
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Previous data support that mental health is affected during pandemic and lockdown situations. Yet, little is known about the positive factors that protect mental health during a lockdown. This study analyzed mental health status—particularly emotional problems—and the role of several sociodemographic and clinical variables; it also explored whether there is a positive relationship between self-compassion and better mental health status. A cross-sectional study was carried out in Spain with the participation of 917 fluent Spanish-speaking residents in a survey conducted approximately midway through the COVID-19 lockdown. The survey tested for anxiety, depression, and stress using the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21), the Self-Compassion Scale (SCS) to measure self-compassion values, and the Perceived Vulnerability to Disease Questionnaire (PVDQ) to assess the degree of risk perceived by participants. Around 30% of the individuals surveyed (recruited by snowball sampling) showed clinically significant levels of anxiety, depression, and stress. The variables most frequently associated with anxiety, depression, and stress were low levels of self-compassion, age, gender, previous physical symptoms, a previous mental disorder, being a student, and perceived vulnerability to disease. We discuss the hypothetical protective role against anxiety, depression, and stress of certain skills such as self-compassion and the possibility that increasing self-compassion may be used to promote better mental health in similar situations.
... Recent meta-analyses have shown that loving-kindness meditation (LKM) improves mindfulness, compassion, self-compassion, and positive affect (Galante et al., 2014). In addition, LKM has significant benefits in psychosocial outcomes such as reduced psychological distress, increased positive thinking, improved relationships (Shonin et al., 2015), and enhanced positive feelings and emotions for oneself (Zeng et al., 2015). Furthermore, in a systematic review, self-compassion was shown to prompt more adaptive emotion regulation (Krieger et al., 2013) and increase parasympathetic activity, measured through heart rate variability, indicating more rapid recovery from stress (Svendsen et al., 2016). ...
Article
The youth corrections system is in need of reform. Emerging work from the field of positive criminology is working to shift the focus from retribution and risk management to strengths building and positive youth development. Research suggests, targeted strategies from positive psychology can provide youth with opportunities to counteract the potentially deleterious effects of incarceration, especially as adolescent neurobehavioral development offers a ripe opportunity for positive interventions that enhance wellbeing. Strengths-based compassion, the proposed positive intervention described within, uses mindfulness, character strengths, and the cultivation of compassion to improve self-regulation and self-discipline, increase self-esteem, improve social skills, and reduce recidivism. The proposed eight-week program is designed through a trauma-responsive lens that has been adapted for youth in a correctional facility and creates the potential for revolutionary change in the hearts and minds of young offenders. This change positions youth on a productive path in which they desist from future criminal activity and increase pathways for flourishing in their lives after incarceration.
... It is of relevance, in line with a current critique within the mindfulness research, to note that the current MQW intervention falls more into a second-generation mindfulness-based intervention (SG-MBI) than a first generation mindfulness-based intervention (FG-MBI) as described by Van Gordon, Shonin and Griffiths (Van Gordon et al., 2015;Van Gordon & Shonin, 2020). Key differences relevant to the MQW and its focus on quality of life is that, in line with SG-MBIs, practitioners employ not only 'non-judge-mental' awareness (a key FG-MBI mindfulness descriptor), but also encourage an active participation in the present moment and to respond in an adaptive manner. ...
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Due to the multi-factorial nature of the self-report of happiness, an enhancement program was designed that focused on mental style (subjective processes), and relationships, work, money, health, and leisure (objective life domains). An examination of interventions revealed mindfulness training (subjective factors) and goal setting (objective factors) as effective change modalities. To address this, the Mindfulness-based Quality of Life and Well-being Program (MQW) was developed and evaluated against the Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale, Quality of Life Index, Personal Wellbeing Index–Adult, Positive and Negative Affect Scale, the Satisfaction with Life scale, and the newly developed Clinical Quality of Life Scale (CLINQOL). To explore training protocol effects, the program was delivered in a graduated (6 weekly sessions x 2 hours) and intensive (2 consecutive days x 6 hours) format. Using a randomized trial, participants were allocated across these conditions and a control. A total of 191 participants completed the study and were assessed at pre, post and follow up time points. Increases in mindfulness, quality of life, subjective well-being, and positive and negative affect (not life satisfaction), were greater in treated (combined formats) than control participants at post-test, and for mindfulness at follow up. Other than an increase in mindfulness for the 2 day condition at follow up, changes were similar in both intervention formats. Finally, to investigate what unique difference the MQW might have in comparison to teaching just mindfulness, the full version of the program was compared to an expanded section of the mindfulness component of the program. A total of 74 subjects began the program and filled out assessments across the three time periods. There was no difference between groups or an interaction between group and time. Overall, the findings provide preliminary evidence that a multi-dimensional training approach, using mindfulness and goal setting, may be a beneficial intervention model to enhance subjective and objective components in the perception of quality of life and well-being. However, further investigation into its added benefit to mindfulness alone is required.
... However, the extent to which self-compassion reflects an entirely Buddhist-derived construct is currently unclear (Author et al. 2014). For example, the self-kindness component of self-compassion primarily refers to happiness for oneself, whereas Buddhism emphasises happiness for others, particularly in the context of the core Buddhist teaching on the four immeasurable attitudes of (i) loving-kindness, (ii) compassion, (iii) appreciative joy, and (iv) equanimity for all beings (Peng and Shen 2012;Shonin et al., 2015). ...
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Self-compassion, sharing some commonalities with positive psychology 2.0 approaches, is associated with better mental health outcomes in diverse populations, including workers. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is heightened awareness of the importance of self-care for fostering mental health at work. However, evidence regarding the applications of self-compassion interventions in work-related contexts has not been systematically reviewed to date. Therefore, this systematic review aimed to synthesize and evaluate the utility of self-compassion interventions targeting work-related wellbeing, as well as assess the methodological quality of relevant studies. Eligible articles were identified from research databases including ProQuest, PsycINFO, Science Direct, and Google Scholar. The quality of non-randomized trials and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale and the Quality Assessment Table, respectively. The literature search yielded 3,387 titles from which ten studies met the inclusion criteria. All ten studies reported promising effects of self-compassion training for work-related wellbeing. The methodological quality of these studies was medium. All ten studies recruited workers in a caring field and were mostly conducted in Western countries. The Self-Compassion Scale (SCS) or its short-form was used in almost all instances. Findings indicate that self-compassion training can improve self-compassion and other work-related wellbeing outcomes in working populations. However, in general, there is need for greater methodological quality in work-related self-compassion intervention studies to advance understanding regarding the applications and limitations of this technique in work contexts. Furthermore, future studies should focus on a broader range of employee groups, including non-caring professions as well as individuals working in non-Western countries.
... Future research can examine whether there is an association between the negative dimension of the Self-Compassion Scale and psychopathology among the undergraduate population. If so, it will indicate a potential for self-compassion interventions, such as compassion-based interventions (Kirby et al., 2017) as well traditional Buddhist-based self-compassion meditation practices (Shonin et al., 2015), which target a reduction in self-critical and self-rejecting attitudes, to improve the mental health of this population. ...
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Self‐compassion has been associated with a host of psychological benefits, including subjective happiness. It appears that gender may affect the association between self‐compassion and subjective happiness, although this relationship is not well understood. This study aimed to culturally adapt versions in Sinhala of the Self‐Compassion Scale and Subjective Happiness Scale, to create validated instruments for measuring these constructs in Sri Lankan undergraduates, and to explore the moderating role of gender on the relationship between self‐compassion and subjective happiness. As part of a larger study, the scales were administered to 1,331 undergraduates at a state university in Sri Lanka. The results indicated that self‐compassion is high among the study participants, for which the potential psycho‐socio‐cultural reasons are discussed. The results also indicated the importance of self‐compassion in subjective happiness, and that gender plays a significant and nuanced role—where the association between a lack of self‐compassion and subjective happiness was greater for women.
... Those who were identified as having a severe case of anhedonia may need extra help with and facilitation for experiencing enjoyment. Mindfulness activities and savouring techniques are known to boost the feeling of activity enjoyment (Shonin et al., 2015). If a practitioner has an extended period of time working with their client, a more comprehensive approach to anhedonia named positive affect treatment might be appropriate (Craske et al., 2019). ...
Article
Leisure experience has particularly positive impacts on people’s health and well-being when it is perceived as meaningful. Research also suggests that mental health conditions, such as depression, inhibit people from deriving meaningfulness from their leisure. However, it remains underexplored what in depression has this negative effect on leisure-based meaning-making. Anhedonia, one of the depression’s key symptoms that undermines one’s ability to experience enjoyment, may be an underlying mechanism. This is consistent with recent evidence that positive affect plays a significant role in experiencing meaning in life. The current study examined the relationship between depression, anhedonia, and leisure-based meaning-making. A total of 155 community-living individuals with depression participated in a cross-sectional online survey. Pearson’s correlation analysis suggested that leisure-based meaning-making was negatively associated with both depression and anhedonia. However, the following mediation analyses found that the relationship between depression and leisure-based meaning-making was fully mediated by anhedonia, making depression’s direct effect non-significant. Similar patterns were observed in sub-dimensions of leisure-based meaning-making: connection/belonging and identity. The findings suggest that the hedonic factor plays a role in leisure-based meaning making.
... Recently, scientific interest has turned toward the cultivation of compassion. Evidence is accumulating that compassion-focused interventions yield benefits for the self and others in community samples (Galante et al., 2014;Quaglia et al., 2020), mitigate burnout in medical providers (Van Berkhout and Malouff, 2015) and improve symptoms and functioning in several patient populations (Hofmann et al., 2011;Gilbert, 2014;Darnall, 2015;Shonin et al., 2015;Berry et al., 2020). ...
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Compassion meditation (CM) is a promising intervention for enhancing compassion, though its active ingredients and neurobiological mechanisms are not well understood. To investigate these, we conducted a three-armed placebo-controlled randomized trial (N = 57) with longitudinal functional MRI (fMRI). We compared a four-week CM program delivered by smartphone application to i) a placebo condition, presented to participants as the compassion-enhancing hormone oxytocin, and ii) a condition designed to control for increased familiarity with suffering others, an element of CM which may promote compassion. At pre- and post-intervention, participants listened to compassion-eliciting narratives describing suffering others during fMRI. CM increased brain responses to suffering others in the medial orbitofrontal cortex (mOFC) relative to the familiarity condition, p < .05 family-wise error rate corrected. Among CM participants, individual differences in increased mOFC responses positively correlated with increased compassion-related feelings and attributions, r = 0.50, p = .04. Relative to placebo, the CM group exhibited a similar increase in mOFC activity at an uncorrected threshold of p < .001 and 10 contiguous voxels. We conclude that the mOFC, a region closely related to affiliative affect and motivation, is an important brain mechanism of CM. Effects of CM on mOFC function are not explained by familiarity effects and are partly explained by placebo effects.
... The second generation of MBIs, which have emerged in recent years, encompasses a group of intervention programs characterized by the explicit training of self-compassion and compassion for others, defined as the desire for self and others to be free from suffering. Research has shown that this second generation of MBIs may promote mental health, social connection, and prosocial behavior (Kirby et al., 2017;Shonin et al., 2015Shonin et al., , 2017. Interestingly, some studies have shown self-compassion may promote mental health by reducing psychological stress (Luo et al., 2019) and facilitating adaptive emotion regulation (Inwood & Ferrari, 2018). ...
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Objectives The COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a global mental health challenge that has disrupted the lives of millions of people, with a considerable effect on university students. The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility of a brief online Mindfulness and Compassion-based Intervention to promote mental health among first year university students during COVID-19 home confinement.Methods Participants (n=66) were first-year psychology students from a university in Spain with no prior meditation experience. Intervention lasted for 16 days and was designed ad-hoc. Using a pre–post within-subjects design, feasibility was assessed in five domains (acceptability, satisfaction, implementation, practicality, and limited efficacy testing). Participants completed both baseline and post-intervention assessments of perceived stress, anxiety, and self-compassion.ResultsThe intervention showed to be feasible in all domains evaluated. It was implemented as planned with constrained resources, and limited efficacy testing showed promising results. After the intervention, stress and anxiety levels decreased significantly (p<0.001, Hedges’s g=0.5146; p<0.001, Hedges’s g=0.6068, respectively) whereas self-compassion levels were augmented significantly (p<0.001, Hedges’s g=0.6968).Conclusions Our findings suggest that a brief online mindfulness and compassion intervention may be a feasible way of promoting mental health among university students during COVID-19 lockdown. Further studies are required to address the limitations of the present study. We conclude that online interventions may constitute a promising pathway to buffer the mental health burden derived from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chapter
Mindfulness is an attentional process of being continuously directed towards the present moment-to-moment experience embedded in an accepting and nonjudging attitude. Closely related to this is the concept of compassion. It involves mindfully perceiving the suffering of another combined with the desire to alleviate or protect the other from suffering. A growing body of evidence indicates that mindfulness- and compassion-based interventions lead not only to self-reported well-being and life satisfaction but also reveal multiple benefits for physiological and psychological health. In this chapter, I introduce the concepts and programs and review the evidence base on mindfulness and compassion in relational contexts. Its benefits for relationships are examined, highlighting interpersonal and communication aspects and underlying processes, including co-regulation and relationship quality. Next, specific considerations when working with couples, children, and families are addressed. This chapter concludes by illustrating program examples, discussing communalities and divergences between Buddhist-rooted approaches and systemic thinking.
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Objectives An estimated 30%–40% of women attending infertility tertiary care facilities experience clinically significant depression and anxiety. However, current psychological interventions for infertility are only modestly effective in this population. In this study, we aimed to identify the specific psychological components of infertility-related distress to assist in the development of a more targeted and effective therapeutic intervention. To our knowledge, this study is the first of its kind to include the views and opinions of mental health professionals who specialise in the field of infertility and the first to explore therapies currently used by mental health professionals. Design A qualitative approach using semistructured individual interviews and focus group interviews with women who have experience with infertility and also mental health professionals specialising in the field of infertility. Thematic analysis was used to identify patterns and themes emerging from the data. Participants Twenty-one women (aged 25–41 years) struggling to conceive for ≥12 months and 14 mental health professionals participated in semistructured interviews about the psychological challenges related to infertility. Results Five themes, each divided into subthemes, emerged from the data and these were developed into a model of infertility-related distress. These five themes are: (1) anxiety, (2) mood disturbance, (3) threat to self-esteem, identity and purpose, (4) deterioration of the couple and (5) weakened support network. In addition, therapeutic techniques used by mental health professionals were identified. Conclusions The results of this study suggest specific clinical targets that future interventions treating infertility-related distress should address.
Article
Introduction: Effective, scalable interventions to address depression and loneliness and improve the quality of social relationships are needed for public health in pandemic and non-pandemic contexts. Towards this end, a randomized, controlled trial tested a mobile-based intervention, derived from social psychological and relationship science, for improving relational well-being and decreasing depression and loneliness. Methods: Participants were randomly assigned to either intervention (n = 719) or assessment only (n = 701) conditions and completed daily diary surveys for 28 days in the midst of the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the middle 14 days of the study, intervention participants received daily text-message suggestions for improving relational and mental well-being. Results: Results indicated that the intervention decreased depression and loneliness and improved relationships during the intervention period but these changes were not sustained when the intervention ceased. Discussion: Results are encouraging in that evidence-based suggestions can be scaled effectively but additional efforts are required to sustain improvements over time.
Article
Objectives: CaringBridge (CB) is an online health community for people undergoing challenging health journeys. Loving Kindness Meditation (LKM) is a systemized mind-body approach developed to increase loving acceptance and has previously been reported to increase resilience in the face of adversity. Materials and Methods: Results of a randomized controlled trial of immediate compared with deferred 21-day LKM intervention in an online community are reported. The deferred group received LKM intervention after a waiting period of 3 weeks. Inclusion criteria were >18 years old, ability to understand English, willingness to participate in a mind-body practice, and use of CB for a cancer journey. Change in perceived stress, self-compassion, social connectedness and assurance, and compassionate love scales from baseline to 21 days was assessed. Results: Of the 979 participants included in the study, 649 (66%) provided 3-week follow-up data and 330 (49%) self-reported engaging in the LKM practice 5 or more days/week. Participants in the immediate LKM group reported medium effect size improvement in stress (0.4), self-compassion (0.5), and social connectedness (0.4) compared with the deferred LKM group. Changes in perceived stress and self-compassion were larger in magnitude and increased with more frequent engagement in LKM. Conclusions: The immediate LKM group showed improvements in stress, self-compassion, and social connectedness compared with the deferred control group. Differential study retention rates by treatment arm and self-reported engagement in LKM subject the results to selection bias. Future research of similar interventions within online health communities might pay greater attention to promoting intervention adherence and engaging a more diverse economic and racial/ethnic population. ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT05002842).
Article
Adhering to the basic principles of transformative learning in education for sustainable development, socioemotional competencies are fundamental for the promotion of sustainability; however, they are difficult to nurture. There is initial evidence that mindfulness practice may promote the enhancement of such competencies, but a comprehensive analysis of how mindfulness practices could be nurtured and a measurement of its effectiveness in developing this set of competencies are missing. This paper aims to fill this gap by synthesizing the findings of current research on the effectiveness of mindfulness programs for the promotion of socioemotional competencies. By performing a systematic review and a meta-analysis, this paper shows that mindfulness practices, although they have a weak effect, could be an effective method to positively influence three outcomes of socioemotional competencies: emotional regulation, empathy and social connectedness, and resilience with differential effects. Guidance is also offered to implement mindfulness practices to successfully enhance ESD.
Article
The cultivation of compassion through meditation training is of increasing interest to scientists, health-care providers, educators, and policymakers as an approach to help address challenging personal and social issues. Yet people encounter critical inner psychological barriers to compassion that limit the effectiveness of compassion training—including the lack of a secure base, aversion to suffering, feeling alone in suffering, and reductive impressions of others. These barriers emerge, in part, from a lack of relational support and are exacerbated by modernist conceptions that present meditation as an autonomous, self-help practice. This article proposes a solution centered on relationality that is derived from the integration of diverse areas of psychology with contemplative traditions. Theories and findings from social, developmental, and health psychology can inform meditation programs and help recover important relational elements of compassion training from traditional cultures that address common barriers to compassion and thus promote more sustainable and inclusive care. In so doing, this article illustrates the value of psychological theories for translating important contextual elements from contemplative traditions into diverse modern settings.
Article
Culinary-based self-care programs are innovative and increasingly utilized models for catalyzing behavior change and improving health and well-being. The content, duration, and delivery of existing programs vary considerably. Between January and August 2019, we developed a teaching kitchen and self-care curriculum, which was administered as part of a year-long worksite well-being program to employees at an academic healthcare system. The curriculum domains included culinary skills, nutrition, physical activity, yoga, stress management, mindful eating, and ethnobotany. An informal systematic literature search was performed to assemble and evaluate key principles and practices related to self-care domains, learning methodologies, and programmatic design considerations. Here, we provide a qualitative summary of the evidence-informed development of the curriculum intervention.
Thesis
A recurring problem for the study of the neural correlates of conscious experience states is the lack of continuous measures for first-person reports. In this thesis, I introduce Temporal Experience Tracing as a method for capturing continuous subjective experiences. This method requires participants to retrospectively graph the intensity of an experience along several phenomenological dimensions over time. I present the results from two groups practising three styles of mindfulness meditation in either a 3-day Retreat setting, or over several months in their own homes. The traces revealed common experience states with transition dynamics shared between the participant groups. We found both meditation style-specific experience states, as well as a cluster of difficulties experienced with the practice. From low-density portable EEG recordings, 98 neural features were computed, including spectral features, connectivity measures and information theoretic measures. These features enabled classification of the data-driven experience clusters in unseen meditation sessions from known participants in both meditation groups, while the meditation style could only be classified in the more experienced participant group, the Home meditation group. Finally, using univariate classifications, the neural features enabling correct binary classifications of experience states are studied. Supporting the idea of inter-individual phenomenological similarity, neural markers associated with high classification accuracies strongly overlapped between the two groups. Furthermore, we did not find an effect of mindfulness training on the classification accuracy of subjective experience states, suggesting that this method can capture aspects of the true underlying experiences even in untrained participants. This study is the first of its kind, combining a quantitative analysis of phenomenological structures in time with a data-driven approach to the study of neural correlates of mental states. Future applications of temporal experience tracing are discussed, including the study of temporal dynamics of continuous states of consciousness and the integration of the experience dynamics with neural dynamics.
Article
Objective: Compassion training seems to be a promising intervention for couples to improve individual psychopathology and relationship quality. Beyond studying the efficacy of training such as Cognitively-Based Compassion Training for Couples (CBCT-fC), it is important to gain insights into the putative mechanisms along the process. Methods: Theoretically derived presumed mechanisms of compassion training (clarification of values, self-regulation, decentering, and exposure) and additional therapeutic factors (emotional bond, social learning, and clarification of meaning) were studied over the course of a 10-session-long group-based CBCT-fC among women with depressive disorders. Results: Dyadic growth curve models indicated that emotional bond, social learning, and clarification of meaning increase over time in both partners. In decentering and clarification of values, women who suffered from depression showed a larger increase than men, while men had higher values at the start of the training. Conclusions: Women with depression seem to benefit from CBCT-fC in terms of an increase in decentering and value clarification, important mechanisms of compassion training. This study is the first to show that theoretically derived mechanisms of compassion and additional therapeutic factors can describe the process along secular contemplative training sessions, which are increasingly implemented in the health care system. Future studies should explore the relationship of mechanisms and the outcome along the process of the training. Study Registration: Trial registration number NCT03080025.
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Objectives Research demonstrates that meditation interventions tend to positively influence social well-being. Yet, prior research has exclusively examined meditation in relation to average levels of social outcomes (e.g., social connectedness), despite other work demonstrating variability or fluctuations in social functioning play a distinct role in contributing to well-being. This study examined the hypothesis that training in mindfulness meditation and loving-kindness meditation would predict lower variability in social connectedness, even accounting for their positive influence on average levels of social connectedness. Moreover, this study also examined the hypothesis that lower variability in positive and negative emotions would mediate the link between training in meditation and reduced variability in social connectedness. Methods These hypotheses were tested using a randomized study of 224 mid-life adults. Participants received training in either mindfulness or loving-kindness meditation for 6 weeks. They reported their daily social connectedness and emotions for 2 weeks prior to the training, 6 weeks during the training, and 3 weeks after the training. Results Consistent with hypotheses, results demonstrated that participants in both meditation groups reported lower variability in social connectedness across the course of the intervention, even accounting for average levels of connectedness. Moreover, lower positive and negative affective variability partially mediated the association between time (training in meditation) and reduced variability in social connectedness. Conclusions These results suggest that (a) meditation may help to smooth social ups and downs across time and that (b) it may do so via its association with reduced affective variability.
Article
Objectives: Caring for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be gratifying as well as stressful. Professional staff employed as caregivers often report compromised mental and physical wellbeing due to the stressful nature of working with clients who exhibit aggressive and destructive behaviors. Prolonged work-related stress results in diminished quality of life for the caregivers. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the comparative effects of three programs—mindfulness program, psychoeducational program, and inservice training-as-usual—on the quality of life of professional caregivers who provide services to adolescent and adult clients with ID and ASD. Methods: Professional caregivers (N¼216) were randomized into three experimental conditions, and trained in mindfulness, psychoeducation, and inservice training-as-usual. The effects of the training on the caregivers’ quality of life were assessed in terms of perceived stress, compassion satisfaction, compassion fatigue (i.e. burnout, secondary traumatic stress), and symptoms of depression at the end of 32 weeks of implementation. Results: Perceived stress, burnout, and secondary traumatic stress decreased significantly in the mindfulness condition, followed by psychoeducation, but not in the inservice training-as-usual condition. Compassion satisfaction increased significantly in the mindfulness condition, followed by psychoeducation, but not in the inservice training-as-usual condition. Symptoms of depression, which were rated in the borderline clinical range prior to intervention, decreased significantly to within normal levels in the mindfulness condition, decreased minimally in the psychoeducation condition, and showed no change in the training-as usual condition. Conclusions: A 3-day training in mindfulness meditations and associated contemplative practices provides a better basis for enhancing caregivers’ quality of life than psychoeducation or inservice training-as-usual.
Article
As the socio-ecological crisis keeps deepening, consumer societies are being pushed towards a paradigm change involving the reconceptualization of authentic human existence. While meditative mindfulness and destination liminoidity have both been proven to catalyze inner transformation, the possible synergistic interplay between them is unexplored. Also, no conceptual model has yet been offered to demonstrate how the liminoidity structure of the destination and meditative mindfulness fit into a conceptual framework of Systemic Existential Authenticity. The main research aim of the paper is to start filling these research gaps. It employs a mixed method approach involving critical literature review, synthesis, exploratory conceptual model building and typological discussion of concepts. In a conceptual framework of systemic authenticity based on Main Horizons of Significance, tourism, as a predominantly capitalist venture is unsustainable. Tourism have to be reinvented based on the destination’s inherent liminoid potential to assist in transforming the consumer mindset. Contributions to literature include a Multi-Level Liminoidity Model embracing the importance of meditative mindfulness and a broader model to demonstrate Tourism’s Contribution to Authentic Existence.
Chapter
The chapter introduces Buddhist Self-Enlightenment Psychotherapy (BSEP) and has three sections. The first section introduces a brief biography of the founder of Buddhism. The second section is the background of theory. On the basis of Buddhism, the nature of the self and human is that the self can be changeable. This is because the self does not possess permanent and independent characters or nature. For this reason, we have the opportunity to change ourselves, which is the most important assumption of BSEP. Clinging to or being obsessed with the delusional self is the major cause of suffering. The cultivating self-enlightenment form the self nonself provides the solution to diminish or eradicate mental disturbances or suffering. The theoretic foundation of BSEP is the three-level Buddhist Self-Enlightenment Model (BSEM) presented to elucidate the complete Buddhist wisdom and its deep self-enlightenment structure. This three-level BSEM was used to develop Nonself Theory (NT), along with its psychological process from the self to nonself leading to authentic-durable happiness. The third section introduces BSEP psychotherapeutic process. There are three therapeutic goals. There are 24 kinds of clinging to or being obsessed with the delusional self that can be used to assess the sources to cause the mental disturbances or suffering. The therapeutic process has five steps. The third step is the act and it contains five levels. There are nine wisdom techniques to conquer 24 kinds of clinging to or being obsessed with the delusional selves. (1) The requirements for living environment. (2) Twenty-four kinds of clinging to or being obsessed with the delusional self can be weaken or extinguished by strengthening the 11 kinds of good self. (3) The wisdom truth of death. (4) Death contemplation. (5) Asubha meditation. (6) The focused attention meditation contains the nine stepwise levels. The nine stepwise levels are also systemic and comprehensive training and practice for self-awareness, along with six wisdom techniques. (7) The compassion (bodhicitta) technique has two methods. But before cultivating compassion, one needs to cultivate equanimity. The first method is the seven dependent originations (causality) compassion, including seven steps and the other method is Tonglen compassion, inclusive of five methods. (8) Good deeds. (9) Teaching Buddhist wisdom. The requirements for a therapist and the relationships between a therapist and a client are offered. The relationships and applications among mindfulness technique, Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Gestalt Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Naikan Therapy, and BSEP are provided. In the end, how to select an authentic Buddhist teacher is discussed.
Article
This research aimed to study the effects of self-compassion on the four immeasurables and happiness among volunteers in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region. A total of 441 participants in public and private sector organisations took part in this research by volunteer sampling. The research instruments comprised the Self-Compassion Survey, the Four Immeasurables Survey, and the Happiness Survey. A casual structure was used as the statistical treatment. The research results revealed that the influence model of self-compassion affected the four immeasurables (Buddhist virtues) and the happiness of volunteers. Of these, self-compassion had the highest effect on the happiness of volunteers, with a .58 path coefficient. Additionally, self-compassion, together with the four immeasurables, could predict the happiness variance at 78%, and that the higher the self-compassion level that individuals had, the more physical, psychological and spiritual well-being volunteers also experienced.
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Objectives The 26-item Self-Compassion Scale (SCS) and its short 12-item version (SCS-SF) were reported to have acceptable psychometric properties, and both scales are widely used to assess self-compassion in individuals. However, recent investigations were inconsistent regarding factor structure of the SCS, and psychometric properties of the scale were not tested for consistency with principles of fundamental measurement using appropriate methodology such as Rasch analysis. Methods A partial credit Rasch model was used to evaluate psychometric properties of the SCS and SCS-SF with the sample of 743 respondents randomly divided into two equal subsamples (A and B) to replicate the results for the purpose of robustness. Results Initially, there were no misfitting items but the local dependency between various items affected Rasch model fit. This issue was resolved by combining locally dependent items into four super-items resulting in the best fit to the Rasch model of both SCS and SCS-SF, with evidence of unidimensionality and an excellent sample targeting. Although both scale versions had strong reliability satisfactory for individual and group assessment, the original SCS demonstrated superior psychometric properties reflected by higher reliability indicated by Person Separation Index (PSI) of 0.90 compared to the SCS-SF (PSI = 0.85). These analyses were replicated with the sample B for both scale versions, resulting in equally good fit. This permitted generating ordinal-to-interval conversion tables based on Rasch model estimates. Conclusions The current study supported the reliability and internal validity of both the SCS and SCS-SF. Accuracy of these assessment instruments can be further improved by using the ordinal-to-interval conversion tables published here.
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Systematic reviews and meta-analyses have become increasingly important in health care. Clinicians read them to keep up to date with their field [1],[2], and they are often used as a starting point for developing clinical practice guidelines. Granting agencies may require a systematic review to ensure there is justification for further research [3], and some health care journals are moving in this direction [4]. As with all research, the value of a systematic review depends on what was done, what was found, and the clarity of reporting. As with other publications, the reporting quality of systematic reviews varies, limiting readers' ability to assess the strengths and weaknesses of those reviews. Several early studies evaluated the quality of review reports. In 1987, Mulrow examined 50 review articles published in four leading medical journals in 1985 and 1986 and found that none met all eight explicit scientific criteria, such as a quality assessment of included studies [5]. In 1987, Sacks and colleagues [6] evaluated the adequacy of reporting of 83 meta-analyses on 23 characteristics in six domains. Reporting was generally poor; between one and 14 characteristics were adequately reported (mean = 7.7; standard deviation = 2.7). A 1996 update of this study found little improvement [7]. In 1996, to address the suboptimal reporting of meta-analyses, an international group developed a guidance called the QUOROM Statement (QUality Of Reporting Of Meta-analyses), which focused on the reporting of meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials [8]. In this article, we summarize a revision of these guidelines, renamed PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses), which have been updated to address several conceptual and practical advances in the science of systematic reviews (Box 1). Box 1: Conceptual Issues in the Evolution from QUOROM to PRISMA Completing a Systematic Review Is an Iterative Process The conduct of a systematic review depends heavily on the scope and quality of included studies: thus systematic reviewers may need to modify their original review protocol during its conduct. Any systematic review reporting guideline should recommend that such changes can be reported and explained without suggesting that they are inappropriate. The PRISMA Statement (Items 5, 11, 16, and 23) acknowledges this iterative process. Aside from Cochrane reviews, all of which should have a protocol, only about 10% of systematic reviewers report working from a protocol [22]. Without a protocol that is publicly accessible, it is difficult to judge between appropriate and inappropriate modifications.
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In the last five years, scientific interest into the potential applications of Buddhist-derived interventions (BDIs) for the treatment of problem gambling has been growing. This paper reviews current directions, proposes conceptual applications, and discusses integration issues relating to the utilisation of BDIs as problem gambling treatments. Method:Aliterature search and evaluation of the empirical literature for BDIs as problem gambling treatments was undertaken. Results: To date, research has been limited to cross-sectional studies and clinical case studies and findings indicate that Buddhist-derived mindfulness practices have the potential to play an important role in ameliorating problem gambling symptomatology. As an adjunct to mindfulness, other Buddhist-derived practices are also of interest including: (i) insight meditation techniques (e.g., meditation on ‘emptiness’) to overcome avoidance and dissociation strategies, (ii) ‘antidotes’ (e.g., patience, impermanence, etc.) to attenuate impulsivity and salience- related issues, (iii) loving-kindness and compassion meditation to foster positive thinking and reduce conflict, and (iv) ‘middle-way’ principles and ‘bliss-substitution’ to reduce relapse and temper withdrawal symptoms. In addition to an absence of controlled treatment studies, the successful operationalisation of BDIs as effective treatments for problem gambling may be impeded by issues such as a deficiency of suitably experienced BDI clinicians, and the poor provision by service providers of both BDIs and dedicated gambling interventions. Conclusions: Preliminary findings for BDIs as problem gambling treatments are promising, however, further research is required.
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The immediate outcomes of mindfulness meditation (MM) and loving-kindness meditation (LKM) on experimental measures of explicit and implicit self- and other-referential processing (SRP-ORP) have not been investigated previously. In this study, undergraduate students (n = 104) were randomized to a single-session practice of MM, LKM, or reading control and completed self-report measures of decentering and positive affect directed toward self and other. Participants also completed an experimental measure of valenced SRP-ORP. Practice of both meditations was associated with increased decentering and positive affect relative to reading control, although self-reported response to MM and LKM did not significantly differ. Following the meditation, whereas participants randomized to MM evidenced an expected self-positivity bias in positive affective response and reaction time during an experimental SRP-ORP task, participants randomized to LKM did not. LKM, as uniquely involving the intentional cultivation of positive emotion toward both self and other, may be associated with a relative normalization of the self-positivity bias. Individual differences in response to SRP-ORP were also examined as a function of traits related to mindfulness and loving-kindness, in addition to as a function of variability in experiential response to MM and LKM. Study limitations and future research directions are also discussed.
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Mindfulness has been practiced in the Eastern world for over twenty-five centuries but has only recently become popular in the West. Today, interventions such as “Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy” are used within the Western health setting and have proven to be successful techniques for reducing psychological distress. However, a limitation of such interventions is that they tend to apply the practices of mindfulness in an “out of context” manner. To overcome this, a newly formed Meditation Awareness Training (MAT) program focusses on the establishment of solid meditative foundations and integrates various support practices that are traditionally assumed to effectuate a more sustainable quality of well-being. The aim of this pilot study was to assess the feasibility and effectiveness of MAT for improving psychological well-being in a sub-clinical sample of higher education students with issues of stress, anxiety, and low mood. Utilizing a controlled design, participants of the study (n=14) undertook an 8-week MAT program and comparisons were made with a control group (n=11) on measures of self-assessed psychological well-being (emotional distress, positive affect, and negative affect) and dispositional mindfulness. Participants who received MAT showed significant improvements in psychological well-being and dispositional mindfulness over controls. MAT may increase emotion regulation ability in higher education students with issues of stress, anxiety, and low mood. Individuals receiving training in mindfulness meditation may benefit by engendering a broader, more ethically informed, and compassionate intention for their mindfulness practice.
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Whenever we are travelling or teaching in the West and we meet new people, they invariably initially respond in one of three ways. The first way is to immediately state or exclaim that ‘you are monks’. We haven’t quite worked out yet whether this is supposed to be a manner of greeting, an expression of shock or just a statement of fact. The second response—which also happens to be the one we prefer most—is for people to either shake our hands or to put their palms together before all parties gently bow. The third response that we frequently encounter— which brings us onto the subject of this article—is for people to forgo even saying hello and to straightaway ask the question ‘What lineage are you?’ We don’t encounter people asking this question quite so much when we are in the East, but in theWest, people seem to place a great deal of importance on establishing which particular lineage a person ‘belongs’ to.
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Although empirical interest in meditation has flourished in recent years, few studies have addressed possible downsides of meditation practice, particularly in community populations. In-depth interviews were conducted with 30 male meditators in London, UK, recruited using principles of maximum variation sampling, and analysed using a modified constant comparison approach. Having originally set out simply to inquire about the impact of various meditation practices (including but not limited to mindfulness) on men’s wellbeing, we uncovered psychological challenges associated with its practice. While meditation was generally reported to be conducive to wellbeing, substantial difficulties accounted for approximately one quarter of the interview data. Our paper focuses specifically on these issues in order to alert health professionals to potential challenges associated with meditation. Four main problems of increasing severity were uncovered: Meditation was a difficult skill to learn and practise; participants encountered troubling thoughts and feelings which were hard to manage; meditation reportedly exacerbated mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety; and in a few cases, meditation was associated with psychotic episodes. Our paper raises important issues around safeguarding those who practise meditation, both within therapeutic settings and in the community.
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Objective: Kindness-based meditation (KBM) is a rubric covering meditation techniques developed to elicit kindness in a conscious way. Some techniques, for example, loving-kindness meditation and compassion meditation, have been included in programs aimed at improving health and well-being. Our aim was to systematically review and meta-analyze the evidence available from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing the effects of KBM on health and well-being against passive and active control groups in patients and the general population. Method: Searches were completed in March 2013. Two reviewers applied predetermined eligibility criteria (RCTs, peer-reviewed publications, theses or conference proceedings, adult participants, KBM interventions) and extracted the data. Meta-analyses used random-effects models. Results: Twenty-two studies were included. KBM was moderately effective in decreasing self-reported depression (standard mean difference [Hedges's g] = -0.61, 95% confidence interval [CI] [-1.08, -0.14]) and increasing mindfulness (Hedges's g = 0.63, 95% CI [0.22, 1.05]), compassion (Hedges's g = 0.61, 95% CI [0.24, 0.99]) and self-compassion (Hedges's g = 0.45, 95% CI [0.15, 0.75]) against passive controls. Positive emotions were increased (Hedges's g = 0.42, 95% CI [0.10, 0.75]) against progressive relaxation. Exposure to KBM may initially be challenging for some people. RESULTS were inconclusive for some outcomes, in particular against active controls. The methodological quality of the reports was low to moderate. RESULTS suffered from imprecision due to wide CIs deriving from small studies. Conclusions: KBM showed evidence of benefits for the health of individuals and communities through its effects on well-being and social interaction. Further research including well-conducted large RCTs is warranted.
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Work-related mental health issues such as work-related stress and addiction to work impose a significant health and economic burden to the employee, the employing organization, and the country of work more generally. Interventions that can be empirically shown to improve levels of work-related mental health—especially those with the potential to concurrently improve employee levels of work performance—are of particular interest to occupational stakeholders. One such broad-application interventional approach currently of interest to occupational stakeholders in this respect is mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs). Following a brief explication of the mindfulness construct, this paper critically discusses current research directions in the utilization of mindfulness in workplace settings and assesses its suitability for operationalization as an organization-level work-related mental health intervention. By effecting a perceptual-shift in the mode of responding and relating to sensory and cognitive-affective stimuli, employees that undergo mindfulness training may be able to transfer the locus of control for stress from external work conditions to internal metacognitive and attentional resources. Therefore, MBIs may constitute cost-effective organization-level interventions due to not actually requiring any modifications to human resource management systems and practises. Based on preliminary empirical findings and on the outcomes of MBI studies with clinical populations, it is concluded that MBIs appear to be viable interventional options for organizations wishing to improve the mental health of their employees.
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Body dissatisfaction is a major source of suffering among women of all ages. One potential factor that could mitigate body dissatisfaction is self-compassion, a construct that is garnering increasing research attention due to its strong association with psychological health. This study investigated whether a brief 3-week period of self-compassion meditation training would improve body satisfaction in a multigenera-tional group of women. Participants were randomized either to the meditation intervention group (N=98; M age=38.42) or to a waitlist control group (N=130; M age=36.42). Results sug-gested that compared to the control group, intervention par-ticipants experienced significantly greater reductions in body dissatisfaction, body shame, and contingent self-worth based on appearance, as well as greater gains in self-compassion and body appreciation. All improvements were maintained when assessed 3 months later. Self-compassion meditation may be a useful and cost-effective means of improving body image in adult women.
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Research into the clinical utility of Buddhist-derived interventions (BDIs) has increased greatly over the last decade. Although clinical interest has predominantly focused on mindfulness meditation, there also has been an increase in the scientific investigation of interventions that integrate other Buddhist principles such as compassion, loving kindness, and “non-self.” However, due to the rapidity at which Buddhism has been assimilated into the mental health setting, issues relating to the misapplication of Buddhist terms and practices have sometimes arisen. Indeed, hitherto, there has been no unified system for the effective clinical operationalization of Buddhist principles. Therefore, this paper aims to establish robust foundations for the ongoing clinical implementation of Buddhist principles by providing: (i) succinct and accurate interpretations of Buddhist terms and principles that have become embedded into the clinical practice literature, (ii) an overview of current directions in the clinical operationalization of BDIs, and (iii) an assessment of BDI clinical integration issues. It is concluded that BDIs may be effective treatments for a variety of psychopathologies including mood-spectrum disorders, substance-use disorders, and schizophrenia. However, further research and clinical evaluation is required to strengthen the evidence-base for existent interventions and for establishing new treatment applications. More important, there is a need for greater dialogue between Buddhist teachers and mental health clinicians and researchers to safeguard the ethical values, efficacy, and credibility of BDIs.
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Mindfulness is a form of meditation that originates from Buddhist practice and was first introduced into Western clinical settings in the 1970s. The practice of mindfulness is fundamentally concerned with developing and open and unbroken awareness of present moment cognitive-effective and sensory experience. According to Shonin et al (2013a), mindfulness effectuates a greater perceptual distance from distorted cognitive and affective processes and this meta-awareness facilitates the regulation (i.e., via the non-reactive observance) of habitual maladaptive responses. During the last two decades, a credible evidence base has emerged supporting the utilisation of mindfulness meditation in the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders, and a mindfulness interventional approach (known as Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy [MBCT]) is now advocated by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence [NICE] and the American Psychiatric Association for the treatment of specific forms of depression. Accordingly, in recent years, clinical attention has begun to focus on the utility of mindfulness for treating other psychopathologies including psychotic disorders. Psychotic experiences are typified by different degrees of reality distortion as well as deficits in orientating response (e.g., circumstance, place, and identity) and perceptual skills (Chadwick et al., 2005). Meditation is a subtle process in which, whether effectuated by direct means (i.e., meditative analysis) or indirect means (i.e., present-moment observance), the meditation practitioner is ultimately compelled to question not only the nature of reality, but also their ontological stance (i.e., how, or even whether the ‘self’ actually exists) (Shonin et al., 2013b). Given that this subtle process can be extremely challenging and confusing even for people of “healthy” clinical status, the question arises whether it is prudent to utilise a meditation-based recovery model for people with psychosis. To date, empirical evidence relating to this question has differed considerably. This paper provides: (i) a concise review and appraisal of empirical findings supporting or opposing the operationalisation of mindfulness for the treatment of psychotic disorders, (ii) a discussion of whether mindfulness should be deployed as a treatment for psychosis, and (iii) recommendations for practice and research.
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We compared the relative effects of 5 weeks of either concentration or loving-kindness meditation (CM, LKM) on mindfulness (including two subscales—presence and acceptance) and affect using a multiple baseline ABA design. Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) indicated that 48–71 % of the total variance was attributable to individual differences. While meditating, CM practitioners experienced progressive increases in mindfulness and acceptance, while LKM practitioners exhibited increases in mindfulness, presence, and positive affect. When practitioners ceased meditation, those in the CM condition declined in mindfulness, acceptance, and positive affect throughout the cessation period. Individuals in the LKM group showed a progressive decrease in presence and a singular drop in negative affect immediately following meditation. There was a dissociation between acceptance and presence, with CM influencing the former and LKM the latter. Because mindfulness and positive affect did not decrease after the meditation period for the LKM group, these results suggest that LKM may induce more enduring changes in these variables. However, while meditation-specific HLMs indicated differences between meditation types, a combined HLM with both meditation conditions showed no group differences in the meditation or cessation phases of the study. More substantial were individual differences in response to meditation; these point to the necessity of using either large sample sizes in group means testing for meditation research or techniques permitting individual-based analysis such as HLM and single-subject designs.
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Research on meditation has examined many variables across a wide range of techniques. Research on loving-kindness meditation has investigated its impact on affective variables, but has not yet investigated its impact on cognition. The present study investigated the impact of loving-kindness meditation on an affective variable not yet examined in the literature—affective learning—as well as cognition. Participants were randomly assigned to a control condition or a three-session, loving-kindness meditation training. Our results suggest that the beginning stages of loving-kindness meditation training impact the tendency to learn to associate positivity with neutral stimuli and cognitive control. We discuss the implications of our findings and potential directions for future research.
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Thesis
This dissertation explored the concept of extending moral concern to all life from both theoretical and empirical perspectives. In the theoretical chapter, I defined expanding circle morality (ECM) as a dynamic lifelong sustainable commitment to expand our circle of caring to include all sentient beings as a core guiding principle in life and reviewed the existing psychological literature that addressed this concept. Next, in three datasets I identified proxy measures for ECM and tested the hypothesis that higher levels of ECM are associated with higher levels of individual well-being and greater concern for others than lower levels of ECM. In addition, I tested the hypothesis that individuals volunteering frequently would have greater well-being when they had high, but not low, levels of ECM. Finally, in an experimental study, I tested the hypothesis that loving-kindness meditation (i.e., a spiritual practice to broaden one's circle of caring) would reduce judgment of moral transgressors especially when those individuals were exposed to death awareness as described by Terror Management Theory. Data for the first three studies were drawn from two large longitudinal studies of child and adolescent development and one longitudinal study of adult women. ANOVA analyses largely supported the predictions. Proxy measures of ECM included spiritual importance, an implicit measure of social and civic concern and a measure of social responsibility motivation. Higher scores on each of these three measures were associated with better individual well-being as well as greater concern for the well-being of others. In addition, individuals with higher levels of ECM reported greater well-being when volunteering frequently than individuals with low levels of ECM. In the final experimental study, loving-kindness meditation participants reported more positive emotion, and specifically more compassion, than partipcants in the control condition (i.e., a progressive relaxation exercise). Although the means trended in the predicted direction, participants in the loving-kindness and death salience condition did not judge moral transgressors less harshly. The possibility that increased compassion does not necessarily result in increased tolerance of behaviors that harm others is discussed. In sum, ECM is associated with individual well-being and the well-being of an expanded circle of others.