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A Mindfulness-Based Music Intervention to Decrease Anxiety and Depression in Cancer Patients



The purpose of this paper is to outline and describe the development and implementation of a mindfulness-based music intervention (MBM) for decreasing depression and anxiety in patients with a cancer diagnosis. The development of the intervention is based on a translation of mindfulness practices, research, and function of particular musical elements within mindfulness practice. Initial client responses and comments about the MBM intervention are also provided. The use of mindfulness-based interventions is a prevalent offering for cancer patients in oncology settings often addressing the distress of depression and anxiety. Mindfulness helps decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression by decreasing mental rumination through acceptance of present-moment experience. Music listening and playing can facilitate mindfulness, whereby music assists with improving attention and memory, and increasing positive emotions, acceptance, and motivation. Development and limitations of the outlined intervention, recommendations for future studies, and additional clinical applications are explored.
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... Recent studies have included examination of the impact of mindfulness preferred-music listening on relaxation [34]. Britton [35] designed a music mindfulness program that consisted of breathing with music, music listening, body scan to music, and movement to music. He outlined three ways in which music listening and playing instruments supports mindfulness practice: music as primary object of attention, music as facilitator, and music as a nonspecific memory cue. ...
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Problems with attention and symptom distress are common clinical features reported by women who receive adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer. Mindfulness practice significantly improves attention and mindfulness programs significantly reduce symptom distress in patients with cancer, and, more specifically, in women with breast cancer. Recently, a pilot investigation of a music therapy program, built on core attitudes of mindfulness practice, reported significant benefits of enhanced attention and decreased negative mood and fatigue in women with breast cancer. This paper delineates the design and development of the mindfulness-based music therapy (MBMT) program implemented in that pilot study and includes clients’ narrative journal responses. Conclusions and recommendations, including recommendation for further exploration of the function of music in mindfulness practice are provided.
There has been an increasing focus on determining the psychological mechanisms underlying the broad effects of mindfulness on psychological health. Mindfulness has been posited to be related to the construct of reperceiving or decentering, defined as a shift in perspective associated with decreased attachment to one’s thoughts and emotions. Decentering is proposed to be a meta-mechanism that mobilizes four psychological mechanisms (cognitive flexibility, values clarification, self-regulation, and exposure), which in turn are associated with positive health outcomes. Despite preliminary support for this model, extant studies testing this model have not examined distinct facets of mindfulness. The present study used a multidimensional measure of mindfulness to examine whether this model could account for the associations between five facets of mindfulness and psychological symptoms (depressive symptoms, stress, anxiety symptoms, alcohol-related problems) in a sample of college students (N = 944). Our findings partially support this model. We found significant double-mediated associations in the expected directions for all outcomes (stress, anxiety symptoms, and depressive symptoms) except alcohol-related problems, and for each of the facets of mindfulness except observing. However, decentering and the specific mechanisms did not fully mediate the associations among mindfulness facets and psychological health outcomes. Experimental and ecological momentary assessment designs are needed to understand the psychological processes that account for the beneficial effects of mindfulness.
To explore the efficacy of mindfulness- based music therapy (MBMT) to improve attention and decrease mood distress experienced by women with breast cancer receiving adjuvant chemotherapy. . Quantitative, descriptive, longitudinal approach. . A comprehensive cancer hospital and a university in southern Florida. . 15 women with a diagnosis of breast cancer, stages I-III, receiving adjuvant chemotherapy. . Participants individually received MBMT for one hour per week for four weeks. The sessions consisted of varied music activities accompanied by mindfulness attitudes, or mental strategies that enhance moment-to-moment awareness, and weekly homework. Demographic information was collected at baseline. . Attention was measured using Conners' Continuous Performance Test II. Mood was measured using the Profile of Mood States-Brief Form. Narrative comments collected from the homework assignments served to reinforce quantitative data. . Repeated measures analysis of variance showed that attention improved significantly over time. Although all mood states significantly improved from the beginning to the end of each MBMT session, the mood state of fatigue decreased significantly more than the other mood states. . MBMT enhances attention and mood, particularly the mood state of fatigue, in women with breast cancer receiving adjuvant chemotherapy. . A preferred music listening and mindfulness exercise may be offered to women with breast cancer who experience attention problems and mood distress. .
Music listening is highly pleasurable and important part of most people's lives. Because music has no obvious importance for survival, the ubiquity of music remains puzzling and the brain processes underlying this attraction to music are not well understood. Like other rewards (such as food, sex, and money), pleasurable music activates structures in the dopaminergic reward system, but how music manages to tap into the brain's reward system is less clear. Here we propose a novel framework for understanding musical pleasure, suggesting that music conforms to the recent concept of pleasure cycles with phases of “wanting/expectation,” “liking,” and “learning.” We argue that expectation is fundamental to musical pleasure, and that music can be experienced as pleasurable both when it fulfills and violates expectations. Dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain represent expectations and violations of expectations (prediction errors) in response to “rewards” and “alert/incentive salience signals.” We argue that the human brain treats music as an alert/incentive salience signal, and suggest that the activity of dopamine neurons represents aspects of the phases of musical expectation and musical learning, but not directly the phase of music liking. Finally, we propose a computational model for understanding musical anticipation and pleasure operationalized through the recent theory of predictive coding. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)