ArticleLiterature Review

Vipassana Meditation: Systematic Review of Current Evidence

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Abstract

Vipassana meditation (VM) is one of the most ancient and diffused types of meditative practices belonging to the pole of mindfulness. Despite the growing interest toward the neurobiological and clinical correlates of many meditative practices, no review has specifically focused on current evidence on neuro-imaging and clinical evidence about VM. A literature search was undertaken using MEDLINE,((R)) ISI web of knowledge, the Cochrane database, and references of retrieved articles. Controlled and cross-sectional studies with controls published in English up to March 2009 were included. Seven (7) mainly poor-quality studies were identified. Three (3) neuro-imaging studies suggested that VM practice could be associated with the activation of the prefrontal and the anterior cingulate cortex during meditative periods, and with increased thickness in cortical areas related to attention as well as increased subcortical gray matter in right insula and hippocampus in long-term meditators. Three (3) clinical studies in incarcerated populations suggested that VM could reduce alcohol and substance abuse but not post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in prisoners. One (1) clinical study in healthy subjects suggested that VM could enhance more mature defenses and copying styles. Current studies provided preliminary results about neurobiological and clinical changes related to VM practice. Nonetheless, few and mainly low-quality data are available especially for clinical studies and current results have to be considered with caution. Further research is needed to answer critical questions about replications, self-selection, placebo, and long-term effects of VM.

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... In recent years there has been a great deal of interest in Mindfulness Meditation (MM), particularly in healthcare (Chiesa, 2010). Originating from the spiritual traditions of India, Tibet, China, and Japan over 5000 years ago (Chiesa, 2010), MM is a multidimensional construct described as "mental and emotional control practices" (Thomas and Cohen, 2014, p. 1); and "the simple act of carefully paying attention, of experiencing one's life in the present moment" (Roth and Creaser, 1997, p. 154). ...
... In recent years there has been a great deal of interest in Mindfulness Meditation (MM), particularly in healthcare (Chiesa, 2010). Originating from the spiritual traditions of India, Tibet, China, and Japan over 5000 years ago (Chiesa, 2010), MM is a multidimensional construct described as "mental and emotional control practices" (Thomas and Cohen, 2014, p. 1); and "the simple act of carefully paying attention, of experiencing one's life in the present moment" (Roth and Creaser, 1997, p. 154). MM is frequently referred to as a mind-body therapy that promotes health, aids recovery, and results in a sense of peace and stillness (Hassed and Chambers, 2015). ...
Article
Background: A growing body of literature has identified a range of beneficial physiological and psychological outcomes from the regular practice of mindfulness meditation. For healthcare professionals, mindfulness meditation is claimed to reduce stress, anxiety and burnout, and enhance resilience. Objective: The objective of this integrative review was to critically appraise the literature that related to the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation programs for nurses and nursing students. Design: This review was conducted using Whittemore and Knafl's framework for integrated reviews. Data sources: Using the terms mindfulness, mindfulness-based-stress reduction, Vipassana, nurses, and nurse education a comprehensive search of the following electronic databases was conducted: CINAHAL, Medline, PsycINFO, EMBASE. EMCARE, ERIC and SCOPUS. Review methods: The initial search located 1703 articles. After screening and checking for eligibility 20 articles were critically appraised using the Critical Appraisal Skills Program checklist for qualitative papers and McMaster's Critical appraisal form for quantitative papers. The final number of papers included in the review was 16. Results: The results of this review identified that mindfulness meditation has a positive impact on nurses' and nursing students' stress, anxiety, depression, burnout, sense of well-being and empathy. However, the majority of the papers described small scale localised studies which limits generalisability. Conclusion: Contemporary healthcare is challenging and complex. This review indicated that mindfulness meditation is an effective strategy for preventing and managing the workplace stress and burnout, which so often plague nursing staff and students. Further studies with larger sample sizes using rigorous research methods would be useful in extending this work.
... Present moment awareness is often taught through mindfulness-based interventions such as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and acceptance-based behavioral therapy (Evans et al. 2008;Kabat-Zinn 1990, 2003Roemer et al. 2008;Segal et al. 2001;Teasdale et al. 2000). These interventions include training in formal mindfulness meditation and in informal mindfulness practice (Chiesa 2010, Kabat-Zinn 1990, 2003. Mindfulnessbased interventions have shown both short-and longterm efficacy with anxious patients (Evans et al. 2008;Lau et al. 2006;Miller et al. 1995;Toneatto and Nguyen 2007). ...
... Mindfulness is a type of present moment awareness (Chiesa 2010;Kabat-Zinn 1990). When in a mindfully aware state, individuals are both curious about whatever thoughts, feelings, and reactions arise (aka, Bcuriosity^) and approach these as temporary events in the mind rather than reflections of reality (aka, Bdecentering^;Feldman et al. 2010;Lau et al. 2006). ...
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High levels of worry are a common phenomenon in undergraduate populations, with 28 to 40% of undergraduates in introductory psychology courses classified as “high worriers.” Worry is characterized by a pervasive neglect of the present moment and persistent thoughts about the future. Various methods of increasing present moment focus have been devised. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of two brief present moment awareness training paradigms—Mindfulness Meditation and Present Moment Joy—in high worriers. Although both paradigms seek to increase present moment awareness, the processes by which each does so are different and potentially contradictory. Prior studies have not compared these two paradigms, and the field has yet to examine Present Moment Joy as an independent technique. Ninety-seven high worriers completed two, 20-minute training sessions across 2 days of either Mindfulness Meditation or Present Moment Joy. Participants rated levels of state mindfulness (curiosity and decentering), affect, and anxiety before and after each session. Both conditions increased curiosity and decentering, but Mindfulness Meditation led to greater decentering changes on day 2 than did Present Moment Joy. Both conditions decreased anxiety and negative affect. Only Present Moment Joy increased positive affect. Results suggest that, although Mindfulness Meditation and Present Moment Joy operate via different mechanisms, both increase present moment awareness and reduce anxiety and negative affect; however, when one’s goal is also to increase positive affect, Present Moment Joy may be the more effective intervention.
... Over the past ten years, scientific studies have begun to focus on one of the main open awareness or mindfulness meditations, named Vipassana meditation (VM) [10]. VM is a Buddhist practice that consists in focusing on the sensory awareness of the moment with a mental condition of calm and nonreactivity [11,12]. ...
... After correction for multiple comparisons between areas, the right hippocampus of meditators showed a higher degree in the theta band. This result is in line with previous evidence showing the central role of the hippocampus in meditative practices [10,66,67]. The higher degree implies that meditators have more link incident upon the right hippocampus as compared to controls. ...
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It has been suggested that the practice of meditation is associated to neuroplasticity phenomena, reducing age-related brain degeneration and improving cognitive functions. Neuroimaging studies have shown that the brain connectivity changes in meditators. In the present work, we aim to describe the possible long-term effects of meditation on the brain networks. To this aim, we used magnetoencephalography to study functional resting-state brain networks in Vipassana meditators. We observed topological modifications in the brain network in meditators compared to controls. More specifically, in the theta band, the meditators showed statistically significant ( p corrected = 0.009) higher degree (a centrality index that represents the number of connections incident upon a given node) in the right hippocampus as compared to controls. Taking into account the role of the hippocampus in memory processes, and in the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease, meditation might have a potential role in a panel of preventive strategies.
... MBSR and MBCT don't go beyond the initial MG4 practices associated with decentering and one of the pressing questions in the secular mindfulness field is how the repertoire of secular MG4 could be expanded further toward more advanced MG4 practices. In the traditional Theravada Buddhist context, some of the vipassana practices can be included in MG4 (Chiesa, 2010;Dunne, 2015). These could serve as a basis for expanding the MG4 practice in the secular mindfulness context. ...
... In contemporary scientific literature, vipassana or open monitoring practices are often referred to as advanced mindfulness practices. Moreover, studies of long-term practitioners often refer to a range of traditional Buddhist practitioners as mindfulness meditators creating confusions (e.g., Lykins and Baer, 2009;Chiesa, 2010;Manna et al., 2010;van den Hurk et al., 2010;Chiesa and Malinowski, 2011;Ferrarelli et al., 2013;Ataria et al., 2015;Laneri et al., 2016;Kral et al., 2018). For example, a recent highly cited review of neural correlates of mindfulness made integrative inferences across studies ranging from MBSR, to Vipassana, Zen Buddhism and Dzogchen (Tang et al., 2015). ...
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When considering the numerous mindfulness-based and mindfulness-informed programs that have flourished in the past decades it is not always clear that they all refer to the same “mindfulness. ” To facilitate more clarity and precision in describing, researching and teaching mindfulness in the secular settings, we propose a classification framework of mindfulness practices, intentions behind them and the experiential understandings the practices may aim to develop. Accordingly, the proposed framework, called the Mindfulness Map, has two axes. The first axis outlines mindfulness practices (and associated instructions) classified into four groups (MGs), e.g. the MG1 focuses on cultivating attention to the present moment somatic and sensory experience while the MG4 focuses on cultivating the ability to recognize and deconstruct perceptual, cognitive and emotional experiences and biases. The second axis outlines possible intentions (INTs) to cultivate particular experiential understanding (EU) via teaching and practicing the MGs, e.g., the INT1 designates the intention to gain EU of how our relationship to experience contributes to wellbeing, the INT2 refers to the intention to gain EU of the changing nature of body, mind and external phenomenon. We suggest that the same MG can lead to different EUs outcomes based on the specific INTs applied in their teaching or practice. The range of INTs and EUs included here is not exhaustive, there are further types the Map could be expanded toward. Aside from encouraging more fine-grained distinctions of mindfulness practices, the proposed Map aims to open discussions about interactions between MGs, INTs, EUs and practice outcomes. The Map may facilitate more nuanced and precise approaches to researching the range of outcomes cultivated by mindfulness practices, help bridge contradictory findings, and catalyze further debate and research into ethical aspects of mindfulness. The Map also highlights the need for further teaching development and research on longer-term trajectories of mindfulness practice. While the proposed Mindfulness Map organises the mindfulness practice territory along two axes, it is aimed as a starting point for further discussion and can be further revised and/or expanded by other axes.
... Much research into the benefits of Vipassana (mindfulness), and other types of meditation practice, has taken place over in recent years [7,8] . Studies demonstrate beneficial results for practitioners in general, and in more specific groups such as those suffering various psychiatric disorder [9]. ...
... Prison populations are increasingly being exposed to mindfulness meditation in order to rehabilitate [9,41] and reduce stress, aggression, and substance abuse [42,43,44]. Virtual reality based practice may further increase participation among prisoners. ...
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Benefits arising from meditation practice gamification are not overtly obvious. Desires to achieve and progress to higher levels, which are common to gaming, seem diametrically opposed to the ethos underlying traditional meditation practice. We propose, however, that a motivation to gain greater wellbeing and enlightenment via mindfulness meditation practice shares more with the motivation to progress through a game than is initially apparent. We begin by explaining how gamification techniques may be employed in meditation practice with a focus on mitigating the five hindrances to successful practice as described in the Theravada tradition. We then highlight the utility of employing virtual reality as a medium for such simulations. We discuss the potential for beneficial therapeutic applications in patients with mental health disorders and prison populations. We conclude by summarising our position and urging increased attention in this increasingly relevant area of research.
... [9][10][11] Buddhist meditation can be classified into two main methods according to the mental skills that exercise during meditation practice as follows; 1) Focused Attention (FA) in which the practitioner requires to attend or focus onto the selected object, such as breathing or candlelight, and to avoid mind wandering for a period of practice, 12,13 and 2) Open Monitoring (OM)in which the practitioner requires to maintain awareness of their mental, interoceptive, and exteroceptive experiences, and without any object to focusing on. [14][15][16] These two types of meditation have been reported to affect brain function differently. For example, FA improves sustained attention associated with increased activity in the dorsolateral PFC (DLPFC). ...
... VM is the meditation practice that focuses on the monitoring of clear awareness of oneself exactly what is happening as it happens. 15,16 Usually, the VM starts by focusing attention (FA) on to the selected object (such as the breath) and then broadens the focus to the sensory or mental stimuli (OM). Therefore, VM practice uses both FA and OM in order to stay in the monitoring state to any experiences that may arise without selecting, judging, or avoiding the affective responses to that stimuli. ...
Article
Objective: Vipassana meditation (VM) is a traditional Buddhist meditation practice that focuses on monitoring of clear awareness of oneself exactly what is happening as it happens, without judging. Executive functions (EF) are the high-level cognitive processes that facilitate goal-directed behaviors. It is well known that VM has significant effects on various affective states of the mind, such as relaxation, reduce stress and anxiety; however, less is known about the effect of VM on the executive function. This study aims to examine the effects of VM practice on the performance of the executive function in the adult meditators. Methods: Forty adult participants, age range between 25-50 year-olds, were recruited to this study. They were divided into three groups; the control group (N=20, mean age = 40.5 ± 5.8 years), Short-term VM group (N=6, mean age = 38.0±9.1 years), and Long-term VM group (N=14, mean age = 37.7±7.3 years). All participants were examined by 1) State-trait anxiety inventory (STAI); 2) Philadelphia mindfulness scale (PHLMS); 3) Digit span task of WAIS-IV, 4) Tower of Hanoi (ToH), and 5) Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST-CV4). The mean scores of all task performance were statistically analyzed and compared between groups. Alpha values of .05 were considered significant throughout. Results: Both short-term and long-term VM has common benefits to decreased anxiety and increased mindfulness score as compared with the non-meditator group. Although short-term VM shows some benefits to the performance of several EF tasks, the discrepancy was not significant when compared with the control group. In contrast, long-term VM had a significant benefit to the performance of working memory, planning, and shift/cognitive flexibility, when compared with the non-meditator group. Our results indicated that long-term VM practice not only reduces anxiety and improves mindfulness, but the benefit also extends to improve the performance of the executive function in adult practitioners. Conclusion: In conclusion, our results suggest that continued practice of VM is highly effective for enhancing EF in healthy individuals. Long-term VM practice not only reduce stress and improve mindfulness but also enhance the performance of EF tasks of the practitioners.
... Although numerous studies have addressed the nonspecific benefits of clinician-patient interaction, ie, placebo, few studies have evaluated the interpersonal physiologic effects of meditation. [51][52][53][54] The data from this small study suggest that in addition to inducing a state of relaxed alertness in the practitioner, 10,11,[55][56][57][58][59] meditation can also affect someone else, even if that other person is unaware that the practitioner is meditating, shifting parasympathetic balance toward greater parasympathetic activity, accompanied by a greater sense of well-being. The observed impact was generally greater for tactile than nontactile interventions. ...
... Various studies have been used to review the process [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18]. ...
... The present study aims to extend Hölzel et al.'s (2006) qualitative study in two ways. Firstly, given that systematic reviews of Vipassana meditation (Chiesa 2010;Shonin et al. 2013) indicate that research has predominantly focused on VG meditation, this study investigates a novel group of experienced VM meditation practitioners in order to provide new insights into the effects and mechanisms of extended mindfulness training. Secondly, the present study employs interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) (Smith et al. 2009) to conduct a rigorous and systematic analysis of the accounts of particular individuals within a well-defined context, which affords a more in-depth and fine-grained examination of lived experiences compared to other qualitative methods such as grounded theory (Glaser and Strauss 1967). ...
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Research into the effects and mechanisms of mindfulness training draws predominantly on quantitative research. There is a lack of understanding about the subjective experiences of experienced mindfulness meditators, which may provide additional insights into the effects, processes and context of mindfulness training. This qualitative study explored the lived experiences of a novel group of experienced mindfulness meditators who practise Vipassana Mahasi (VM) meditation. The study aimed to understand how experienced VM practitioners make sense of the effects of practice and what processes they ascribe to it. Participants attended semistructured interviews, and their responses were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Results yielded overarching themes including (a) improvements in hedonic and eudaimonic well-being; (b) insights into self, others and perception of reality; (c) attaining equanimity; and (d) physical and interpersonal difficulties. Participants perceived VM as a ‘cleansing’ process whereby maladaptive responses were eliminated through mindfulness, other supportive mental qualities, decentering and nonattachment. The findings revealed a complex and dynamic set of interdependent outcomes and processes, which are reinforced by Buddhist teachings and ethical practices. This study highlights the need for additional interdisciplinary research into topics such as insight generation and supportive mental qualities cultivated during VM, novel states of well-being informed by Buddhist constructs and interpersonal difficulties related to long-term practice. Findings also suggest that incorporating Buddhist teachings and ethics into mindfulness-based interventions may enhance practitioner understanding and implementation of meditation techniques.
... Vipassana, or insight meditation, is the oldest Buddhist meditation practice and involves the gradual cultivation of mindfulness or awareness. Some evidence suggests that Vipassana may be useful clinically although more research is indicated (Chiesa, 2010). With insight meditation, the meditator's attention is focused on certain aspects of her or his own experience through observation of the flow of life experiences moment to moment. ...
... Research looking at the effects of mindfulness has primarily focused on programs that implement formal meditation practices, including meditation retreats and group psychological interventions. Meditation retreats are often taught in the Insight, or Vipassana, meditation tradition, which is most commonly implemented through an intensive 10-day silent residential retreat, requiring multiple hours of meditation per day (Chiesa 2010). Some of the more thoroughly researched psychological interventions include mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR; Kabat-Zinn 1990) and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT; Segal et al. 2012), which usually require weekly group sessions and 45 min of formal at-home meditation per day over the course of 8 weeks. ...
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Objectives: Most research on mindfulness and meditation has focused on structured therapeutic interventions, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction, or meditation retreats. Such programs have received moderate empirical support for improving psychological outcomes in clinical and nonclinical populations, but there remains a paucity of research on intensive or long-term mindfulness or meditation programs for experienced practitioners, especially those that incorporate Buddhist teachings. The purpose of the current study was to investigate the effects of a long-term integrated mindfulness/meditation and Buddhism program, Dharma in Daily Life (DIDL). Methods: Well-being, quality of life, valued living, and theorized processes of change were measured using a naturalistic, quasi-experimental design over the course of the 2-year program and 6-month follow-up. Participants included 17 individuals enrolled in the program and 14 individuals recruited from community meditation groups. Results: Participation in the program predicted increases in subjective well-being and mindfulness over time compared to the control group. Regardless of condition, frequency of meditation predicted lower psychological inflexibility and higher mindfulness, well-being, and progress toward values. Length of meditation session predicted a greater ability to observe experience, and prior meditation experience predicted greater non-reactivity to experience. Conclusions: Although preliminary, results suggest that participation in a long-term integrated mindfulness/meditation and Buddhism program may positively impact mindfulness and general well-being. Frequency of meditation sessions appears to be a particularly important variable. These findings warrant further investigation of such programs and practice parameters, as well as how each may affect key outcomes.
... Meditation is also increasingly an object of scientific enquiry (Suchday et al., 2014). Attempts have been made to evaluate its effects on the brain using neuroimaging (Chiesa, 2010;Fox et al., 2014;Hazari & Sarkar, 2014) and to examine psychological variables to better understand how meditation works (Sedlmeier et al., 2012). This literature has focussed particularly on the positive effects of meditation on mental health such as enhanced psychological well-being (Josefsson et al., 2011), reduced anxiety (Chen et al., 2012;Goyal et al., 2014), stress and negative mood (Lane et al., 2007), and as a support to those who experience more severe mental health difficulties (Chadwick, 2005;Cramer et al., 2013;Shonin et al., 2014a;Shonin et al., 2014b;Shannahoff-Khalsa, 2004). ...
Article
Meditation is becoming increasingly popular in the West and research on its effects is growing. While studies point to various benefits of meditation on mental and physical health, reports of extreme mental states in the context of meditation have also been published. This study employed Foucauldian discourse analysis to examine how the experience of extreme mental states has been constructed in case reports and what kind of practices were employed to address them. The study analyses how extreme mental states associated with meditation are framed within the scientific literature and how such differential framings may affect the meaning making and help-seeking of persons experiencing these states. A systematic scientific literature search identified 22 case studies of extreme mental states experienced by practitioners of various types of meditation. The analysis suggests a discursive divide between two dominant framings: a biomedical discourse which constructs such experiences as psychiatric symptoms and an alternative discursive, which understands them as spiritual emergencies. Both approaches offered distinct therapeutic avenues. This divide maps onto the disciplinary divides within the mental health field more generally, which may obscure a better understanding of these experiences. However, the two discourses are not necessarily mutually exclusive and authors of three articles chose to blend them for their case reports. A supportive environment could help those experiencing extreme state integrate them into their lives. Our findings encourage collaboration between clinicians, therapists and spiritual teachers in order to make a range of approaches available.
... However, many practices actually harness both modes of activity. For instance, mindfulness sittings often begin with a period of focused attention (e.g., on the breath) in order to stabilize practitioners' awareness before the more expansive phase of open monitoring (Chiesa, 2010). ...
Chapter
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This chapter offers an overview of the intricate connections between meditation and emotion. It begins by outlining a framework for understanding meditation, whereby practices can be classified according to four key parameters: behaviors of mind; object; attitude; and form. It also introduces some basic ideas around the nature of emotions, and affective experience more broadly. After that, the chapter has two main sections. The first explores direct interactions between meditation and emotion, where practices specifically target or elicit certain emotions. We shall look at four clusters of emotions: dysphoric; compassionate; reverential; and ambivalent. The second part then examines indirect interactions, in which the emotional effects of meditation are mediated by other processes. There we consider three such processes: physiology; cognition; and self-transcendence. Although the presentation is necessarily brief, the chapter gives an indication of the ways in which meditation may impact upon emotional experience. The chapter concludes by outlining directions for future research.
... Bernardi MLD, Amorim MHC, Salaroli LB, Zandonade E Essas relações entre práticas meditativas e o aumento da atenção são mais esclarecidas por meio de estudos que investigam indivíduos mais experientes em técnicas meditativas, com tempo de prática adequado e instrumentos mais sofisticados que apontam alterações morfofisiológicas no sistema nervoso dos indivíduos. 33,34 Desse modo, tais práticas apresentam influência protetora ao processo de envelhecimento e efeitos deletérios do estresse, favorecendo a longevidade dos praticantes. 32 A presente pesquisa apresentou limitações quanto ao recrutamento de participantes, o que gerou a exclusão de muitos indivíduos por fatores variados, tais como: presença de muitos cuidadores em revezamento para assistir a criança ou adolescente com incerteza de um retorno regular; internações de pacientes transferidos de outros hospitais com o diagnóstico definido previamente; internações com comprometimento avançado e irreversível do quadro clínico do paciente (cuidados paliativos); além da recusa de alguns indivíduos em participar do estudo por proibição religiosa ou ainda sem justificativa. ...
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Objective: To assess the effects of a Hatha Yoga intervention on anxiety, subjective well-being, and attention levels of caregivers of children and adolescents with cancer, admitted to a public hospital in the city of Vitória, state of Espírito Santo, Brazil. Methods: A randomized controlled trial was performed. Thirty-six volunteers were allocated to clinical (participated in 4 to 6 Hatha Yoga practices) or control groups and answered the questionnaires State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Subjective Well-Being Scale, and Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale before and after the intervention period. Mann-Whitney and Wilcoxon nonparametric analyses were performed to compare the groups to each other and at different moments. Results: The individuals' moderate anxiety state decreased in the clinical (p = 0.001) and control (p = 0.014) groups so that while the control group continued to present moderate anxiety, the clinical group presented low anxiety after the intervention. Positive affects increased, and adverse effects decreased in the clinical group (p <0.05). There were no relevant changes in satisfaction with life and attention levels in the two groups (p> 0.05). Conclusion and implications for practice: Hatha Yoga is a useful tool for healthcare professionals and caregivers in short-term hospital care to reduce anxiety and improve subjective well-being.
... However, doing informal mindfulness exercises was more stable, with most participants reporting doing them 'sometimes' (35%, 33% and 33% at post intervention, exam period and 1-year follow-up, respectively). After 1 year, at least 33 (11%) SAU participants had practised more than 10 hours of any type of meditation (all of them either mindfulness or vipassana 24 ...
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Background: There is concern that increasing demand for student mental health services reflects deteriorating student well-being. We designed a pragmatic, parallel, single-blinded randomised controlled trial hypothesising that providing mindfulness courses to university students would promote their resilience to stress up to a year later. Here we present 1-year follow-up outcomes. Methods: University of Cambridge students without severe mental illness or crisis were randomised (1:1, remote software-generated random numbers), to join an 8-week mindfulness course adapted for university students (Mindfulness Skills for Students (MSS)), or to mental health support as usual (SAU). Results: We randomised 616 students; 53% completed the 1-year follow-up questionnaire. Self-reported psychological distress and mental well-being improved in the MSS arm for up to 1 year compared to SAU (p<0.001). Effects were smaller than during the examination period. No significant differences between arms were detected in the use of University Counselling Service and other support resources, but there was a trend for MSS participants having milder needs. There were no differences in students' workload management; MSS participants made more donations. Home practice had positive dose-response effects; few participants meditated. No adverse effects related to self-harm, suicidality or harm to others were detected. Conclusion: Loss to follow-up is a limitation, but evidence suggests beneficial effects on students' average psychological distress that last for at least a year. Effects are on average larger at stressful times, consistent with the hypothesis that this type of mindfulness training increases resilience to stress. Trial registration number: ACTRN12615001160527.
... For instance, recent decades have seen a Running head: THE DYNAMICS OF SPIRITUALITY 17 burgeoning interest in mindfulness (Kabat-Zinn, 2003)a contemporary term based on the Sanskrit concept of smṛti (स्मृ सत)which is often regarded as a variant of vipaśyanā (more commonly known by its Pāli cognate vipassanā). However, in actuality, many mindfulness practices begin with a period of focussed attention (e.g., on the breath) in order to stabilise practitioners' awareness before the more expansive phase of open monitoring (Chiesa, 2010). ...
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The notion of spirituality is increasingly prominent in academic and cultural discourse alike. However, it remains a nebulous concept, capable of diverse interpretations, particularly cross-culturally. In the interest of exploring this diversity, yet also with the aim of identifying common themes, an enquiry was conducted into conceptualizations of spirituality across cultures. Specifically, the enquiry focused on so-called untranslatable words, i.e., which lack an exact equivalent in another language (in this case, English). Through a quasi-systematic search, together with conceptual snowballing, over 200 relevant terms were located. A grounded theory analysis identified three key dimensions: the sacred, contemplative practice, and self-transcendence. Based on these, a conceptualization of spirituality was formulated that may be valid cross-culturally, namely: engagement with the sacred, usually through contemplative practice, with the ultimate aim of self-transcendence.
... Uncited References: (Carsley et al., 2018, Chiesa, 2010, Costa et al., 2019, *Cox et al., 2019, Diener, 2000, *Flett et al., 2019, Ioannidis et al., 2007, Khoury et al., 2015, Lengacher et al., 2018, *Möltner et al., 2018, *Bostock et al., 2018, Nolan, 2019, Pospos et al., 2018, Borenstein et al., 2011, Tirch et al., 2015, *Walsh et al., 2019, Zhu et al., 2014 ...
Article
Background Mindfulness applications are popular tools for improving well-being, but their effectiveness is unclear. We conducted a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that employed a mindfulness meditation app as the main intervention to improve users’ well-being and mental-health related outcomes. Methods A systematic search was conducted in PsycINFO, PubMed, Web of Science, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global, the Cochrane Library, Open Grey and ResearchGate through June, 2020. Effects were calculated as standardized mean difference (Hedges’ g) between app-delivered mindfulness interventions and control conditions at post-test and pooled with a random-effects model. Results From 2637 records, we selected 34 trials (N = 7566). Significant effect sizes were found at post-test for perceived stress (n = 15; g = 0.46, 95% CI [0.24, .68], I2= 68%), anxiety (n = 15; g = 0.28, 95% CI [0.16, .40], I2= 35%), depression (n = 15; g = 0.33, 95% CI [0.24, .43], I2= 0%), and psychological well-being (n = 5; g = 0.29, 95% CI [0.14, .45], I2= 0%). No significant effects were found for distress at post-test (n = 6; g = 0.10, 95% CI [-0.02, .22], I2= 11%) and general well-being (n = 5; g = 0.14, 95% CI [-0.02, 0.29], I2 = 14%). Conclusion and limitations Mindfulness apps seem promising in improving well-being and mental-health, though results should be interpreted carefully due to the small number of included studies, overall uncertain risk of bias and heterogeneity.
... Vipassana expert meditators had bilateral activation in the rostral anterior cingulate cortex and in the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex [30][31][32]. • Zen meditation is reported to lead to increased alpha and theta activity in many brain regions, including the frontal cortex, and decreases in the Default Mode Network [33][34][35]. • Network analysis of imaging data from 12 experienced Zen meditators and 12 controls during an attention to breathing protocol reported extensive connections of frontoparietal circuits with early visual and executive control areas [36]. ...
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Three broad organizing strategies have been used to study meditation practices: (1) consider meditation practices as using similar processes and so combine neural images across a wide range of practices to identify the common underlying brain patterns of meditation practice, (2) consider meditation practices as unique and so investigate individual practices, or (3) consider meditation practices as fitting into larger categories and explore brain patterns within and between categories. The first organizing strategy combines meditation practices defined as deep concentration, attention to external and internal stimuli, and letting go of thoughts. Brain patterns of different procedures would all contribute to the final averages, which may not be representative of any practice. The second organizing strategy generates a multitude of brain patterns as each practice is studied individually. The rich detail of individual differences within each practice makes it difficult to identify reliable patterns between practices. The third organizing principle has been applied in three ways: (1) grouping meditations by their origin—Indian or Buddhist practices, (2) grouping meditations by the procedures of each practice, or (3) grouping meditations by brain wave frequencies reported during each practice. Grouping meditations by their origin mixes practices whose procedures include concentration, mindfulness, or effortless awareness, again resulting in a confounded pattern. Grouping meditations by their described procedures yields defining neural imaging patterns within each category, and clear differences between categories. Grouping meditations by the EEG frequencies associated with their procedures yields an objective system to group meditations and allows practices to “move” into different categories as subjects’ meditation experiences change over time, which would be associated with different brain patterns. Exploring meditations within theoretically meaningful categories appears to yield the most reliable picture of meditation practices.
... Meditation is popularly known for its healing and spiritual aspects and is derived from ancient traditions of India and the martial arts of China [1]. Recognized branches of meditation today are mantra (Transcendental Meditation and Benson's Relaxation Response) and Mindfulness Meditation [2], Yoga [3], and the practices of Tai Chi & Qi Gong [2]. These forms of meditation are increasingly used as a complementary mind/body therapeutic strategy for chronic diseases like hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and substance abuse; cancer patient's constitutional symptoms and a variety of stresses of modern life have also been addressed with meditative approaches [2]. ...
... These traditions, recognizing the busy mind, prized attaining a sense of choice and improving internalized control. In Western cultures, mindfulness is practiced as a spiritual exercise of Buddhism, but more commonly, as either a complementary psychotherapy for certain clinical conditions (i.e., treatment) or as secular attitudinal training for enhancing psychological functioning and relieving stress (i.e., prevention) (Chiesa, 2010). To date, no clear operational definition of "mindfulness" exists and terms like "meditation" and "mindful attention" are used interchangeably. ...
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Empirical evidence suggested that mind-body interventions can be effectively delivered online. This study aimed to examine whether preventive online mindfulness interventions (POMI) for non-clinical populations improve short- and long-term outcomes for perceived-stress (primary) and mindfulness (secondary). Systematic search of four electronic databases, manuscript reference lists, and journal content lists was conducted in 2016, using 21 search-terms. Eight randomized controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating effects of POMI in non-clinical populations with adequately reported perceived-stress and mindfulness measures pre- and post-intervention were included. Random-effects models utilized for all effect-size estimations with meta-regression performed for mean age and %females. Participants were volunteers (adults; predominantly female) from academic, workplace, or community settings. Most interventions utilized simplified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction protocols over 2–12week periods. Post-intervention, significant medium effect found for perceived-stress (g=0.432), with moderate heterogeneity and significant, but small, effect size for mindfulness (g=0.275) with low heterogeneity; highest effects were for middle-aged individuals. At follow-up, significant large effect found for perceived-stress (g=0.699) with low heterogeneity and significant medium effect (g=0.466) for mindfulness with high heterogeneity. No publication bias was found for perceived-stress; publication bias found for mindfulness outcomes led to underestimation of effects, not overestimation. Number of eligible RCTs was low with inadequate data reporting in some studies. POMI had substantial stress reduction effects and some mindfulness improvement effects. POMI can be a more convenient and cost-effective strategy, compared to traditional face-to-face interventions, especially in the context of busy, hard-to-reach, but digitally-accessible populations.
... Previous reviews included a few studies using intensive meditation or retreats without focusing explicitly on the effects of meditation retreats. For example, a systematic review of three clinical studies in incarcerated populations [38] found that VM reduced alcohol and substance abuse but not post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms among prisoners. A meta-analysis [18] examined meditation programs globally including transcendental meditation, mindfulness-based interventions, and traditional MM, but did not separately report outcomes of traditional MM programs. ...
... Meditation has garnered considerable attention from neuroscientists in recent years, and studies have begun to reveal a link between meditation and diminished tissue decline over time, consistent with a decelerated ageing process (Kurth et al., 2017c;Laneri et al., 2016;Lazar et al., 2005;Luders et al., 2015Pagnoni & Cekic, 2007). One brain region that is often observed to be recruited during meditation is the cingulate cortex, especially the anterior section thereof (Chiesa, 2010;Fox et al., 2016;Gotink et al., 2016;Jindal et al., 2013;Zsadanyi et al., 2021). The anterior cingulate cortex is part of the default mode network and is also involved in a multitude of specialized tasks ranging from cognitive, to emotional, to autonomic processing (Devinsky et al., 1995;Palomero-Gallagher et al., 2015;Smith et al., 2019;Touroutoglou & Dickerson, 2019). ...
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Accumulating evidence suggests that meditation practices have positive effects on brain ageing overall. The cingulate is known to be recruited during meditation, but research into possible effects of meditation on the ageing of the cingulate is currently missing. Thus, the present study was designed to help close this knowledge gap, with particular focus on the subgenual cingulate, a region involved in emotional regulation and autonomic and endocrine functions, making it potentially relevant for meditation. Here, we investigated differences in age-related gray matter loss between 50 long-term meditation practitioners (28 male, 22 female), aged between 24 and 77, and 50 age- and sex-matched controls. Areas of interest were four subregions of the subgenual cingulate gyrus (areas 25, 33, s24, and s32) defined as per the Julich-Brain atlas. Our study revealed a significant age-related decline in all subregions in both meditators and controls, but with significantly lower rates of annual tissue loss in meditators, specifically in left and right area s32 and right area 25. These regions have been shown to play a role in mood regulation, autonomic processing, and the integration of emotion and cognitive processes, which are all involved in and impacted by meditation. Overall, the results add further evidence to the emerging notion that meditation may slow the effects of ageing on the brain.
... The Calm app is a commercially available mindfulness meditation app. Calm provides general guided meditations (e.g., 10-min Daily Calm, various individual and series meditations, and sleep-specific meditations) grounded in mindfulness-based stress reduction and Vipassana meditation and Sleep Stories, grounded in sensory immersion and present moment awareness (Chiesa, 2010;Kabat-Zinn, 2003). The Calm app also has a section dedicated to children called Calm Kids. ...
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Background In the United States, 68% of children do not get the recommended nine hours of sleep, which can lead to many negative health outcomes (e.g., mental health). Mindfulness meditation mobile apps may be an option for improving children’s sleep and mental health outcomes; however, there is limited research on how children across different ages access these types of apps, the content they prefer, and the benefits they experience.Objective The purpose of this study was to describe parents’ reports of how and why their children use the Calm mindfulness meditation app and how using Calm may impact their sleep and mental well-being across age and gender.Method This study was a cross-sectional survey of Calm subscribers (N = 2437) with children who used Calm. Participants were asked how their child accessed content, why their child used Calm, and the benefits of Calm for their child’s sleep and mental well-being.ResultsApproximately half of the parents reported that they used Calm with their child. Older children (13–17 years) were more likely to use Calm independently, preferred content outside of Calm Kids, and were more likely to use Calm to manage emotions. Younger children (2–12 years) most commonly used Calm with their parents and on a parent’s device and preferred Calm Kids Sleep Stories.Conclusion To our knowledge, this is the first study to explore parents’ perceptions of children’s use of a commercial mindfulness meditation app across ages. Children use Calm differently based on their.
... During voluntary apnea the breath-holder showed an involvement of the same cortical areas, yet connectivity in motor areas and the cerebellum decreased. Furthermore, our fMRI findings show a striking similarity with observations during mindfulness (Tang et al. 2015) and Vipassana meditation (Chiesa 2010), including alterations of thalamo-cortical dynamics. Specifically, the thalamus, caudate, amygdala, precuneus, medial and lateral frontal and lateral occipital cortex show increased functional connectivity during apnea. ...
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Voluntary apnea showcases extreme human adaptability in trained individuals like professional free divers. We evaluated the psychological and physiological adaptation and the functional cerebral changes using electroencephalography (EEG) and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to 6.5 min of dry static apnea performed by a world champion free diver. Compared to resting state at baseline, breath holding was characterized by increased EEG power and functional connectivity in the alpha band, along with decreased delta band connectivity. fMRI connectivity was increased within the default mode network (DMN) and visual areas but decreased in pre- and postcentral cortices. While these changes occurred in regions overlapping with cerebral signatures of several meditation practices, they also display some unique features that suggest an altered somatosensory integration. As suggested by self-reports, these findings could reflect the ability of elite free divers to create a state of sensory dissociation when performing prolonged apnea.
... These traditions, recognizing the busy mind, prized attaining a sense of choice and improving internalized control. In Western cultures, mindfulness is practiced as a spiritual exercise of Buddhism, but more commonly, as either a complementary psychotherapy for certain clinical conditions (i.e., treatment) or as secular attitudinal training for enhancing psychological functioning and relieving stress (i.e., prevention) (Chiesa, 2010). To date, no clear operational definition of " mindfulness " exists and terms like " meditation " and " mindful attention " are used interchangeably. ...
... In the Theravada tradition alone, there are over fifty methods for developing mindfulness and forty for developing concentration, while in the Tibetan tradition, there are thousands of visualization meditations(Goldstein, 2003). Further research is needed to answer critical questions about replications, self-selection, placebo, and long-term effects of VM.(Chiesa, 2010) Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) training in patients with social anxiety disorder (SAD) may reduce emotional reactivity while enhancing emotion regulation. These changes might facilitate a reduction in SAD-related avoidance behaviors, clinical symptoms, and automatic emotional reactivity to negative self-beliefs in adults with SAD.(Goldin & Gross 2010) Clinical psychology has focused primarily on the diagnosis and treatment of mental disease, and only Electronic copy available at: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3848408 ...
... In the Theravada tradition alone, there are over fifty methods for developing mindfulness and forty for developing concentration, while in the Tibetan tradition, there are thousands of visualization meditations(Goldstein, 2003). Further research is needed to answer critical questions about replications, self-selection, placebo, and long-term effects of VM.(Chiesa, 2010) Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) training in patients with social anxiety disorder (SAD) may reduce emotional reactivity while enhancing emotion regulation. These changes might facilitate a reduction in SAD-related avoidance behaviors, clinical symptoms, and automatic emotional reactivity to negative self-beliefs in adults with SAD.(Goldin & Gross 2010) Clinical psychology has focused primarily on the diagnosis and treatment of mental disease, and only Electronic copy available at: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3848408 ...
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Humankind faces many problems like terrorism, crime, the collapse of the family unit,drug abuse, war, theft, etc. I suggest delusional thoughts and decisions, which are declined of intelligence, mainly cause by psychological mind viruses (MV) that impact psychological, physical, and social well-being. Such MV might scan by healthy mind viruses (HMV). The intelligent learning, training (meditation), and decisions might play a significant role in HMV. In addition to the nature and nurture human brain, a another microscopic, unknown matter be there, which I call X-ultra quantum conscious particle genome (X-UQCPG); all these three factors seem to be interdepended. The X-UQCPGmight bond with the X-ultra quantum unique conscious particle (X-UQUCP) that might not impact on nature and nurture . Here, I show the unearthed core of early Buddhistteachings, training (meditation), and decisions inclusive of the 8-fold path may be an efficient methodology for Intelligence evolution. The human intelligence evolution,psychological well-being might represent a theoretical 3D graph[SDKL1] of nature, nurture, X-UQCPG. If life after death occurs, the clinical death of a person's finally evolved level of the key (X-ultra-quantum consciousness particle genome) X- UQCPG (+X- UQCUP) might be the crucial natural transmission. And bond with a matching vacant zygote/early embryo of its X-ultra quantum particles and its new conscious state might depend on the lastly evolve genome of the X-UQCPG. However, there are many more mysterious issues to be solved in future researches, so this might not be a theory of everything on the central theme.
... The Calm app is a meditation app that is commercially available. Calm provides general guided meditation (eg, 10-minute Daily Calm, various individual and series meditations, and sleep-specific meditations) grounded in mindfulness-based stress reduction [17] and Vipassana meditation [18] and Sleep Stories, grounded in sensory immersion and present moment awareness. The Daily Calm meditations are 10 minutes in length and include topics that change daily targeted for both the beginner and advanced meditator (eg, karma, distraction, self-compassion). ...
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Background Mindfulness meditation smartphone apps may improve mental health but lack evidence-based behavioral strategies to encourage their regular use for attaining mental health benefits. In October 2019, the Calm mindfulness meditation app introduced a mood check-in feature, but its effects on participation in meditation have yet to be tested. Objective The objective of this study was to investigate how a mood check-in feature impacts meditation behavior in Calm app subscribers. Methods This was a retrospective longitudinal analysis of mobile app usage data from a random sample of first-time subscribers to the Calm app (n=2600) who joined in summer 2018 or summer 2019. The mood check-in feature allows users to rate their mood using an emoji after completing a meditation session and displays a monthly calendar of their past mood check-ins. Regression analyses were used to compare the rate of change in meditation behavior before and after the introduction of mood check-ins and to estimate how usage of mood check-ins was associated with individuals’ future meditation behavior (ie, intent-to-treat effects). Additional regression models examined the heterogenous effect of mood check-ins between subscribers who were active or inactive users prior to the introduction to mood check-ins (ie, above or below the median number of weeks with any meditation within their cohort). In order to confirm the specific associations between mood check-ins and meditation engagement, we modeled the direct relationship between the use of mood check-ins in previous weeks and subsequent meditation behavior (ie, treatment on the treated effects). ResultsDuring the first 9 months of their subscription, the 2019 cohort completed an average of 0.482 more sessions per week (95% CI 0.309 to 0.655) than the 2018 cohort; however, across both cohorts, average weekly meditation declined (–0.033 sessions per week, 95% CI –0.035 to –0.031). Controlled for trends in meditation before mood check-ins and aggregate differences between the 2018 and 2019 samples, the time trend in the number of weekly meditation sessions increased by 0.045 sessions among the 2019 cohort after the introduction of mood check-ins (95% CI 0.039 to 0.052). This increase in meditation was most pronounced among the inactive subscribers (0.063 sessions, 95% CI 0.052 to 0.074). When controlled for past-week meditation, use of mood check-ins during the previous week was positively associated with the likelihood of meditating the following week (odds ratio 1.132, 95% CI 1.059 to 1.211); however, these associations were not sustained beyond 1 week. Conclusions Using mood check-ins increases meditation participation in Calm app subscribers and may be especially beneficial for inactive subscribers. Mobile apps should consider incorporating mood check-ins to help better engage a wider range of users in app-based meditation, but more research is warranted.
... Hence, the neural signature of voluntary apnea does not seem to overlap with the signature of harmful, obstructive apnea. Actually, our fMRI ndings show a striking similarity with observations during mindfulness (Tang et al. 2015) and Vipassana meditation (Chiesa 2010), including alterations of thalamo-cortical dynamics. Speci cally, the thalamus, caudate, amygdala, precuneus, medial and lateral frontal and lateral occipital cortex show increased functional connectivity during apnea. ...
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Voluntary apnea showcases extreme human adaptability in trained individuals like professional free divers. We evaluated the physiological and psychological adaptation and the functional cerebral changes using EEG and fMRI to 6.5 minutes of dry static apnea performed by a world champion free diver. Compared to resting state at baseline, apnea was characterized by increased EEG power and functional connectivity in the alpha band, along with decreased delta band connectivity. fMRI connectivity was increased within the DMN and visual areas but decreased in pre- and postcentral cortices. While these changes occurred in regions overlapping with cerebral signatures of several meditation practices, they also display some unique features that suggest an altered somatosensory integration. As suggested by the self-reported phenomenology, these findings could reflect the ability of elite free divers to create a (functional) dissociation between the body and the mind when performing prolonged apnea.
... Meditation has positive effects on attentional patterns (Brefczynski-Lewis, Lutz, Schaefer, Levinson, & Davidson, 2007;Lutz, Slagter, Dunne, & Davidson, 2008;Lutz et al., 2009), emotional reactivity (Guendelman, Medeiros, & Rampes, 2017;Zeng, Oei, & Liu, 2014), empathetic and compassionate response to others (Rosenberg et al., 2015;Weng, Fox, Hessenthaler, Stodola, & Davidson, 2015), introspective capacity Garrison et al., 2013) and other qualities of cognition. Vipassana meditation is a widely practiced contemporary form of contemplative practice (Chiesa, 2010;Goenka, 1997;Szekeres & Wertheim, 2015) that consists of cultivation of a series of attentional and self-regulatory skills, including focused attention on the breath, body scanning, and generation of benevolent and compassionate attitude towards others (metta, or loving-kindness). Little is known, however, about the effect of meditation on dream content and laboratory studies of dreams in meditation practitioners are lacking. ...
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Vipassana meditation is characterized by observing bodily sensations, developing emotional and attentional stability and promoting pro-social qualities. Whether these qualities are also reflected in dream content is not currently known. Evidence relating dream content with sleep-depending learning is mixed: some studies suggest that dreaming of a task is beneficial for improvement, while others find no such effect. This study aimed at investigating whether meditators have qualitatively different dreams than controls; whether meditators incorporate a procedural learning task more often than controls; and whether dreaming about the task is related to better post-sleep performance on the task. 20 meditators and 20 controls slept for a daytime nap at the laboratory. Prior to sleep and upon awakening they completed a procedural learning task. Dream reports were collected at sleep onset and upon awakening (REM/N2 sleep). Dreams were then scored for qualities associated with meditation practice and for incorporations of the procedural task and of the laboratory. Meditators had longer dreams, slightly more references to the body and friendlier and more compassionate interactions with dream characters. Dreams of meditation practitioners were not more lucid than those of controls. Meditators did not incorporate the learning task or laboratory into dream content more often than controls, and no relationship was found between dream content and performance on a procedural task. In control participants, in contrast, incorporating task or laboratory in REM/N2 dreams was associated with improvement on the task, but incorporations at sleep onset were associated with slightly worse performance on the task.
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Objectives We performed a citation analysis of the literature about mindfulness aimed at describing the most significant topics and the impact of more relevant papers. Methods We classified 128 systematic reviews about mindfulness-based intervention retrieved in Scopus according to their object, the population included and the type of mindfulness proposed. The citation counting was reported. The cumulative citation numbers per chronological years and article life were analyzed thorough a linear regression model. Results 1) We observed a general increase in the number of reviews published from 2003 to 2016; 2) two reviews collected the 33% of the overall citations; 3) citation counting for clinical and mixed population collected the 90% of total citations; 4) clinical reviews had higher cumulative citation per publication/year growth. Conclusions As mindfulness research advances, higher attention should be given to the mechanisms by which mindfulness interventions work so as to provide fruitful insights for future research.
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Achtsame Erziehung sowie Achtsame Kommunikation sind thematische Ankerpunkte, an denen sich eines der größten menschlichen Grundbedürfnisse, nämlich das sich aufeinander Einlassen aus den unterschiedlichsten Motiven, konkret erhellen lässt. Der Konferenzband nähert sich einem Thema an, das geprägt ist von Vorurteilen, Mythen und oft unreflektierten Datenlagen: Achtsamkeit oder Mindfulness oder auch Contemplative Pedagogy. Inhaltlich ist der Band zweigeteilt: Mindfulness in Education fokussiert Möglichkeiten und wissenschaftliche Evidenzen achtsamer Pädagogik in erzieherischen Kontexten, wobei Konzentration und Meditation ernstzunehmende und zentrale Rollen spielen. Im zweiten Teil des Bandes wird die Erkenntnis der ersten Tagung, dass sich Achtsamkeit zuvorderst in Mindful Communication realisiert, aufgegriffen.
Article
Purpose Modern life is characterized by its hectic life-style, which invariably leads to high levels of stress having negative consequences for the mind-body. Thus, people are seeking for natural ways to achieve a sense of equilibrium and peace. Neuroscience has identified beneficial findings from contemplative practices like meditation, prayers and fasting. Within the Islamic framework, these practices were found to be beneficial for both the body and the mind. However, comparatively little research has been carried out on Islamic contemplative practices. Thus, there is a dire need to carry out further research, where the focus needs to be more on the inward aspects of Islam especially the contemplative practices. Design/methodology/approach The study took an integrated approach, whereby, objective experimental data from various sources were combined with the religious narratives from the Qur’an and the Hadiths or the practice of the Prophet in Islam. This was augmented by the subjective experiences of the participants of the study and all of these woven to present a case for Islamic contemplative practices. Findings Worship, be it Yogic, Buddhist and Islamic, seems to have positive mental and physical benefits for individuals. Much has been documented within the field of Yoga and Buddhist practices, and it is only recently that Islamic practices are beginning to be studied and are yielding similar results. It has been found that Islamic ritual prayers, fasting and meditation (dhikr) have an impact on the well-being of the worshipper. The communities of practice commonly known as “tariqas” and other religio-spiritual orders can serve as a vehicle to further these practices. This opens the door for more extensive research in this direction. Research limitations/implications This study clearly indicates that Islamic practices have positive benefits; however, the number of studies are limited. Moreover, there are a whole system of practices as the contemplative tree in this paper points out, which needs more robust as well as longitudinal studies to outline more conclusive evidence to this effect. Practical implications Muslims have been looking at other traditions like Yoga and Buddhist meditation to find ways of improving their physical and mental health. This meta-study indicates that Islamic contemplative practices have positive benefits, and thus, there are a variety of practices like ritual prayers, fasting and meditation, which is found to demonstrate positive health benefits. Thus, it has direct practical reasons to pursue these practices and derive the innate benefits from them. Social implications The data from the various neuroscience studies have demonstrated the neurological and physiological impact on individuals directly relating to worship. However, the studies on the Islamic ritual prayer ( salat ) cited in this study points out to its social implications, where congregational prayers was found to be more beneficial than the individual prayers. Thus, this indicates the social implications that collective worship can have. Further research is needed in terms of understanding the social impact on the various collective contemplative practices. Originality/value The originality of this literature review and analysis is bringing together the various strands of neuroscience and health data to demonstrate the positive impact of worship emanating from others faiths, while building a case for Islamic contemplative practices. This is further augmented by its integrated approach of weaving hard and soft data and synthesizing it to present health benefits of worship.
Chapter
The assessment of personality and its disorders is a core feature of person-centered medicine (PCM), because it allows the promotion of health by stimulating greater self-awareness and thereby promoting the integration of all aspects of a person’s life. Growth in self-awareness leads to greater flexibility and resilience in the individual and thus is at the root of sustainable well-being. Personality disorder (PD) is the primary psychiatric illness observed in most patients with psychosocial complaints, and such patients constitute the majority of patients seeking treatment in primary care. Reliable diagnosis of PD can be made in routine clinical practice by brief assessment of two essential features of a person’s character—low self-directedness and low cooperativeness—that indicate reduced ability to work and to get along with other people. Subtypes can be distinguished in terms of configurations of temperament traits measuring a person’s emotional drives for immediate gratification. Improved self-regulation through development of character strengths, virtues, and greater plasticity can promote greater physical, mental, social, and spiritual well-being even in cases of severe PD. The strengths and weaknesses of both DSM and ICD classifications are discussed in relation to a scientifically grounded psychobiological model that allows a coherent systematic approach to rating the level of a person’s healthy character strengths and the qualitative diagnostic features of their styles of emotional expression and mental self-government.
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Meditation, an ancient Eastern spiritual practice, is increasingly being practised in the West where its benefits for mental and physical health have been established. Extreme mental states that can be encountered in the context of meditation have also been reported and often have been labelled as psychosis or spiritual emergency. This study aimed for more nuanced understanding of the phenomena. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was employed to explore the meaning-making of three meditation teachers from different philosophical traditions. The teachers described phenomenology of various extreme mental states, explained their nature according to their traditions and discussed ways of helping persons who experience these. Significance was given to having a spiritual teacher to provide guidance and support. The study highlights the importance of acknowledging the diverse understandings of the phenomena and cultivating a non-judgemental attitude towards it, which could help clinicians and meditation teachers work together to support persons experiencing these.
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On the base of analysis of psychotherapeutic practice, archaic therapeutic systems and basic methods of psychotherapy the author formulates the general three-component structural-dynamic theory of psychotherapy, describes its components, formulates the connecting scrip’s concept for psychotherapy. The description of sociopsychological component of psychotherapy is based on “models of the disease and therapy” of the mass consciousness, its structure and dynamics. The psychological component includes the learning and intrapsychic subcomponents. The intrapsychic subcomponents contain the mechanisms of reactivation and the formation of the personal system of psychological adaptation. The biological component of psychotherapy is discussed from the perspective of mechanisms of learning, readaptation and neurogenesis. The method of positive-dialog psychotherapy (PDP) of anxiety disorders is based on the above theory of psychotherapy and describes the process of psychotherapy as a multidimensional staged dialog between the psychotherapist and the patient. PDP is realized as a serial resolution of the patient’s systemic request for psychotherapy, which presents a set of consistently manifested, resolving stage requests of the patient (reflects in reverse order the history and biopsychosocial mechanisms of the formation of the disorder). PDP includes the method of universal hypnotherapy, which demonstrates mindfulness effect, and is effective in evidence-based research.
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A multiple single case research design (SCRD) was used to examine two mindfulness interventions (MBSR and Vipassana meditation). Impacted symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), psychological distress, mindfulness, and treatment satisfaction in college students were examined via single subject and group analyses. Results indicated that 57% of the seven-person sample evidenced decreases in ADHD symptoms, 72% decreased in distress, 72% increased on the trait measure of mindfulness, and treatment satisfaction was high. Clinical implications and future directions are discussed.
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Der Konferenzbeitrag setzt das Thema Achtsamkeit in Bezug zu neurowissenschaftlichen Forschungen. Es wird ein umfassender Überblick über Studien gegeben, die die Wirkung von Achtsamkeitsübungen auf das menschliche Gehirn hinsichtlich Anatomie und Aktivität erforschen und belegen. Es wird gezeigt, dass aus neurodidaktischer Perspektive der Schluss zugelassen werden kann, wie sehr Achtsamkeitsübungen als mentale und physische Gesundheitsvorsorge gelten können.
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The aim of this research is to investigate how spiritual retreat tourism influences tourist satisfaction and intention to revisit a destination. A quantitative approach was employed and a self-administered survey was used to collect data. A multiple regression analysis was used to analyze data. The results revealed that push factors including novelty, relaxation, transcendence, self-esteem, physical appearance and escape influence spiritual retreat tourist satisfaction; while pull factors, especially authentic experiences, natural settings, peaceful atmosphere, far from the usual places and historical significance, influence spiritual retreat tourist satisfaction, in turn leading to intention to revisit the same destination.
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Background: Mindfulness interventions aim to foster greater attention and awareness of present moment experiences. Uptake of mindfulness programs in the workplace has grown as organizations look to support employee health, wellbeing and performance. Objective: In support of evidence-based decision making in workplace contexts, we created an evidence map summarizing physical and mental health, cognitive, affective, and interpersonal outcomes from systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of mindfulness interventions. Methods: We searched nine electronic databases to July 2017, dually-screened all reviews, and consulted topic experts to identify systematic reviews on mindfulness interventions. The distribution of evidence is presented as an evidence map in a bubble plot. Results: In total, 175 systematic reviews met inclusion criteria. Reviews included a variety of mindfulness-based interventions. The largest review included 109 randomized controlled trials. The majority of these addressed general health effects, psychological variables, chronic illness, pain, and substance use. Twenty-six systematic reviews assessed studies conducted in workplace settings and with healthcare professionals, educators and caregivers. The evidence map shows the prevalence of research by the primary area of focus. An outline of promising applications of mindfulness interventions is included. Conclusions: The evidence map provides an overview of existing mindfulness research. It shows the body of available evidence to inform policy and organizational decision-making supporting employee wellbeing in work contexts.
Article
This study explores whether, and how, mindfulness mediates the relationship between spiritual leadership and human engineering. Based on data from a sample of 335 members of faculty and administrative staff from Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University in Saudi Arabia, the paper provides insights into how mindfulness affects the relationship between spiritual leadership and human engineering. The authors believe that it is the first time that mindfulness as a mediator in this relationship has been studied. They also believe that it is the first time such a study has been conducted in an Arab environment. By studying the relationship between spiritual leadership and human engineering, and by studying mindfulness as a mediating variable in this relationship in a non‐Western environment, the study expands the external validity of the notions of spiritual leadership and human engineering. The results indicate a significant relationship between spiritual leadership and human engineering, and show that mindfulness has an indirect effect on this relationship. The article highlights the implications for dealing with stress in the work environment by using mindfulness as a driver for developing spiritual leadership, as well as understanding and practicing the values of spiritual leadership in promoting spirituality.
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The positive effects of meditation have been shown to be helpful to a variety of client populations and counselors in practice. Researchers analyzed the journals of 60 counselor education students who volunteered to learn Jyoti meditation (JM) over a 6‐week period. Analysis revealed 5 major themes: (a) the scheduling of time for meditation, (b) issues with concentrating, (c) environment for meditation, (d) effects on wellness, and (e) adherence to daily practice. These themes suggest avenues for how counselor educators and supervisors can help student counselors integrate JM as a self‐care strategy.
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Objective Respiratory abnormalities are a hallmark of anxiety symptomatology and may serve as clinically useful modifiers for alleviating anxiety symptoms. However, gold-standard anxiety treatments (e.g., cognitive-behavioral interventions) often do not directly address respiratory components despite their theoretical utility and clinical accessibility. This review examined the clinical effectiveness of respiratory interventions, interventions that directly target respiration abnormalities and processes, in treating trait anxiety symptoms. Methods The final analysis included 40 randomized controlled trials including at least one measure of trait anxiety, a respiratory-focused intervention group, and a non-respiratory control-group (active or inactive treatment). Overall effects of respiratory focused interventions were examined, as well as the effect of hypothesized moderators. Results Respiratory component interventions yielded significantly greater improvements (moderate to large effect) in anxiety symptoms than controls, with the stronger effects observed in comparison to inactive, rather than active, control conditions. Significant heterogeneity in findings suggests that variability in intervention design, population, and control comparison may obfuscate interpretation of findings. Conclusions Evidence supports the clinical utility of respiratory interventions as either an independent anxiety treatment, or as an adjunct to other interventions. Clinical and research implications of findings along with recommendations for ongoing investigations in this domain are discussed.
Chapter
In order to put things into perspective and for the ease of the reader, a thematic map has been developed. Three main themes are outlined, which have their respective sub-themes, namely, the organisational features, spiritual leadership, and the workings of the Order and transformation of its seekers.
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Introduction: Interventions based on Yogic Breathing Practices (IB-YBP) have shown promising results for substance use disorders (SUD). Research in this area is methodologically heterogeneous and only a few, but restricted, systematic reviews are available. The current systematic review aims to assess the effectiveness of IB-YBP for SUD. Materials and Methods: PubMed, Cochrane's Library, EBSCO-Medline, and Google Scholar databases were searched for the randomized- (RCTs) and quasi-randomized trials. Research involving participants with SUD, of either gender or any age, assessing the effectiveness of the IB-YBP either as a standalone intervention or as an adjuvant to standard treatment versus standard pharmacological/non-pharmacological treatment or no-intervention control were included. Studies having participants with co-morbid psychiatric illness and interventions not having IB-YBP as the predominant component were excluded. Results: The initial literature search yielded 396 articles and upon screening, only 14 studies were found eligible for this review. Most studies have researched IB-YBP as an adjunct to the standard treatment for SUD. Evidence for the effectiveness of IB-YBP is mostly available for tobacco and opioid use disorders, though only for short-term outcomes; however, literature is scarce for alcohol- and cocaine-use disorders. This review documented the effectiveness of the IB-YBP for substance use-related outcome parameters such as abstinence, quality of life (QoL), mood, craving, and withdrawal symptoms. Conclusion: IB-YBP may be an effective adjuvant to standard treatment for various SUD. However, more research is required to compare its effectiveness with standard treatment, and assessing its long-term efficacy, for it to be strongly recommended as a treatment strategy.
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Meditation is an essential component of mind–body medicine. The mind sound resonance technique (MSRT) is a unique technique that uses sound as a stimulus to induce relaxation. Several studies have been done to assess the effects of MSRT on various aspects of health. The current article compiles qualitative research done using MSRT as an intervention. Approximately 700 articles were found in Google Scholar and PubMed. After screening, 13 articles were included in the review. Evidence shows that MSRT is beneficial for the physiological and psychological dimensions of health. More specifically, the technique has improved varied aspects of cognition in different populations. Thus, MSRT can be implemented as an add-on to conventional treatment of several conditions. It can also be included in school curricula to improve cognitive function and total health. However, further research should be conducted with large sample sizes and good study designs to ascertain the benefits.
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Introduction: Poor insight, or unawareness of morbid changes in cognition, emotional states, or behavior, is commonly observed among people with schizophrenia. Poor insight represents a persistent barrier to wellness because it interferes with treatment and self-direction. Paradoxically, good insight may also be a barrier to health when awareness of these changes leads to depression or self-stigma. Areas covered: This paper builds upon this previous work by exploring these issues in schizophrenia separately as they have appeared in published research over the last three years in three different kinds of insight: clinical, cognition, and introspective accuracy. Specifically, studies are reviewed that address: the adverse effects of poor insight, the paradoxical effects of good insight, correlates with other forms of cognition, and emerging treatments. Expert opinion: The evidence continues to offer a nuanced picture of the complex effects of good insight in schizophrenia. Incremental improvements were also found in the development of novel integrative treatment approaches. This work also highlights the intricacy of the concept of insight, the need for further exploration of the effects of culture, and conceptual work that distinguishes the points of convergence and divergence of these forms of insight.
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Tai chi chuan (TCC) is a Chinese conditioning exercise and is well known for its slow and graceful movements. Recent investigations have found that TCC is beneficial to cardiorespiratory function, strength, balance, flexibility, microcirculation and psychological profile. The long-term practice of TCC can attenuate the age decline in physical function, and consequently it is a suitable exercise for the middle-aged and elderly individuals. TCC can be prescribed as an alternative exercise programme for selected patients with cardiovascular, orthopaedic, or neurological diseases, and can reduce the risk of falls in elderly individuals. The exercise intensity of TCC depends on training style, posture and duration. Participants can choose to perform a complete set of TCC or selected movements according to their needs. In conclusion, TCC has potential benefits in health promotion, and is appropriate for implementation in the community.
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Background Performing music requires fast auditory and motor processing. Regarding professional musicians, recent brain imaging studies have demonstrated that auditory stimulation produces a co-activation of motor areas, whereas silent tapping of musical phrases evokes a co-activation in auditory regions. Whether this is obtained via a specific cerebral relay station is unclear. Furthermore, the time course of plasticity has not yet been addressed. Results Changes in cortical activation patterns (DC-EEG potentials) induced by short (20 minute) and long term (5 week) piano learning were investigated during auditory and motoric tasks. Two beginner groups were trained. The 'map' group was allowed to learn the standard piano key-to-pitch map. For the 'no-map' group, random assignment of keys to tones prevented such a map. Auditory-sensorimotor EEG co-activity occurred within only 20 minutes. The effect was enhanced after 5-week training, contributing elements of both perception and action to the mental representation of the instrument. The 'map' group demonstrated significant additional activity of right anterior regions. Conclusion We conclude that musical training triggers instant plasticity in the cortex, and that right-hemispheric anterior areas provide an audio-motor interface for the mental representation of the keyboard.
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Preparation for the role of therapist can occur on both professional and personal levels. Research has found that therapists are at risk for occupationally related psychological problems. It follows that self-care may be a useful complement to the professional training of future therapists. The present study examined the effects of one approach to self-care, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), for therapists in training. Using a prospective, cohort-controlled design, the study found participants in the MBSR program reported significant declines in stress, negative affect, rumination, state and trait anxiety, and significant increases in positive affect and self-compassion. Further, MBSR participation was associated with increases in mindfulness, and this enhancement was related to several of the beneficial effects of MBSR participation. Discussion highlights the potential for future research addressing the mental health needs of therapists and therapist trainees. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Developed from 608 undergraduates' responses to the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale, (MCSDS) 3 short forms of 11, 12, and 13 items. The psychometric characteristics of these forms and 3 other short forms developed by R. Strahan and K. C. Gerbasi (see record 1973-28133-001) were investigated. Internal consistency reliability, item factor loadings, short form with MCSDS total scale correlations, and correlations between MCSDS short forms and the Edwards Social Desirability Scale were conducted. Results indicate that the 13-item short form can be used as a viable substitute for the regular 33-item MCSDS. (16 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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After mindfulness is defined, a brief history of the research on the topic to date is reviewed. This work essentially falls into three categories: health, business, and education. Considerations of mindlessness as a social issue are then addressed. A brief introduction to the articles in this issue follows. These articles speak to mindfulness as it relates to potential solutions to social problems.
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A three-stimulus auditory oddball series was presented to experienced Vipassana meditators during meditation and a control thought period to elicit event-related brain potentials (ERPs) in the two different mental states. The stimuli consisted of a frequent standard tone (500 Hz), an infrequent oddball tone (1000 Hz), and an infrequent distracter (white noise), with all stimuli passively presented through headphones and no task imposed. The strongest meditation compared to control state effects occurred for the distracter stimuli: N1 amplitude from the distracter was reduced frontally during meditation; P2 amplitude from both the distracter and oddball stimuli were somewhat reduced during meditation; P3a amplitude from the distracter was reduced during meditation. The meditation-induced reduction in P3a amplitude was strongest in participants reporting more hours of daily meditation practice and was not evident in participants reporting drowsiness during their experimental meditative session. The findings suggest that meditation state can decrease the amplitude of neurophysiologic processes that subserve attentional engagement elicited by unexpected and distracting stimuli. Consistent with the aim of Vipassana meditation to reduce cognitive and emotional reactivity, the state effect of reduced P3a amplitude to distracting stimuli reflects decreased automated reactivity and evaluative processing of task irrelevant attention-demanding stimuli.
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Mindfulness meditators practice the non-judgmental observation of the ongoing stream of internal experiences as they arise. Using voxel-based morphometry, this study investigated MRI brain images of 20 mindfulness (Vipassana) meditators (mean practice 8.6 years; 2 h daily) and compared the regional gray matter concentration to that of non-meditators matched for sex, age, education and handedness. Meditators were predicted to show greater gray matter concentration in regions that are typically activated during meditation. Results confirmed greater gray matter concentration for meditators in the right anterior insula, which is involved in interoceptive awareness. This group difference presumably reflects the training of bodily awareness during mindfulness meditation. Furthermore, meditators had greater gray matter concentration in the left inferior temporal gyrus and right hippocampus. Both regions have previously been found to be involved in meditation. The mean value of gray matter concentration in the left inferior temporal gyrus was predictable by the amount of meditation training, corroborating the assumption of a causal impact of meditation training on gray matter concentration in this region. Results suggest that meditation practice is associated with structural differences in regions that are typically activated during meditation and in regions that are relevant for the task of meditation.
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1. Adult owl monkeys were trained to detect differences in the frequency of a tactile flutter-vibration stimulus above a 20-Hz standard. All stimuli were delivered to a constant skin site restricted to a small part of a segment of one finger. The frequency-difference discrimination performance of all but one of these monkeys improved progressively with training. 2. The distributed responses of cortical neurons ("maps") of the hand surfaces were defined in detail in somatosensory cortical area 3b. Representations of trained hands were compared with those of the opposite, untrained hand, and to the area 3b representations of hands in a second set of monkeys that were stimulated tactually in the same manner while these monkeys were attending to auditory stimuli (passive stimulation controls). 3. The cortical representations of the trained hands were substantially more complex in topographic detail than the representations of unstimulated hands or of passively stimulated control hands. 4. In all well-trained monkeys the representations of the restricted skin location trained in the behavioral task were significantly (1.5 to greater than 3 times) greater in area than were the representations of equivalent skin locations on control digits. However, the overall extents of the representations of behaviorally stimulated fingers were not larger than those of control fingers in the same hemisphere, or in opposite hemisphere controls. 5. The receptive fields representing the trained skin were significantly larger than receptive fields representing control digits in all but one trained monkey. The largest receptive fields were centered in the zone of representation of the behaviorally engaged skin, but they were not limited to it. Large receptive fields were recorded in a 1- to 2-mm-wide zone in the area 3b maps of trained hands. 6. Receptive-field sizes were also statistically significantly larger on at least one adjacent, untrained digit when compared with the receptive fields recorded on the homologous digit of the opposite hand. 7. There was an increase in the percent overlaps of receptive fields in the cortical zone of representation of the trained skin. A significant number of receptive fields were centered on the behaviorally trained skin site. 8. The effects of increased topographic complexity, increased representation of the trained skin location, increased receptive-field size, and increased receptive-field overlap were not observed in the representations of the untrained hands in these same monkeys. Only modest increases in topographic complexity were recorded in the representations of passively stimulated hands, and no effects on receptive-field size or overlap were noted.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
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This article reviews 24 studies on the benefits of Transcendental Meditation (TM) in treating and preventing misuse of chemical substances. Studies cover noninstitutionalized users, participants in treatment programs, and prisoners with histories of heavy use. All the studies showed positive effects of the TM program. Some of the survey-type studies were unable to exclude the possibility of self-selection or responder biases. However, longitudinal, random-assignment studies with objective measures also showed positive results. Taken together, these and other studies indicate the program simultaneously addresses several factors underlying chemical dependence, providing not only immediate relief from distress but also long-range improvements in well-being, self-esteem, personal empowerment, and other areas of psychophysiological health.
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Two studies were conducted to assess variables related to the social determinants of alcohol consumption. In Study 1, moderate- and heavy-drinking male undergraduates were paired with confederates who behaved in a sociable or unsociable manner while modeling either light or heavy consumption. Modeling occurred in the sociable conditions but not in the unsociable conditions, where subjects tended to drink heavily. In Study 2, a similar group of subjects was exposed to one of three social status conditions crossed with light versus heavy consumption. The results indicated a modeling effect in all social status conditions. These studies provide further support for the existence of a modeling effect that can be disrupted by a lack of rapport between drinking partners. This latter finding has implications for the etiology of problem drinking because it suggests that increased alcohol consumption may serve as a strategy for coping with aversive social interactions.
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This article describes a scale measuring dispositional optimism, defined in terms of generalized outcome expectancies. Two preliminary studies assessed the scale's psychometric properties and its relationships with several other instruments. The scale was then used in a longitudinal study of symptom reporting among a group of undergraduates. Specifically, respondents were asked to complete three questionnaires 4 weeks before the end of a semester. Included in the questionnaire battery was the measure of optimism, a measure of private self-consciousness, and a 39-item physical symptom checklist. Subjects completed the same set of questionnaires again on the last day of class. Consistent with predictions, subjects who initially reported being highly optimistic were subsequently less likely to report being bothered by symptoms (even after correcting for initial symptom-report levels) than were subjects who initially reported being less optimistic. This effect tended to be stronger among persons high in private self-consciousness than among those lower in private self-consciousness. Discussion centers on other health related applications of the optimism scale, and the relationships between our theoretical orientation and several related theories.
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The inability to cope successfully with the enormous stress of medical education may lead to a cascade of consequences at both a personal and professional level. The present study examined the short-term effects of an 8-week meditation-based stress reduction intervention on premedical and medical students using a well-controlled statistical design. Findings indicate that participation in the intervention can effectively (1) reduce self-reported state and trait anxiety, (2) reduce reports of overall psychological distress including depression, (3) increase scores on overall empathy levels, and (4) increase scores on a measure of spiritual experiences assessed at termination of intervention. These results (5) replicated in the wait-list control group, (6) held across different experiments, and (7) were observed during the exam period. Future research should address potential long-term effects of mindfulness training for medical and premedical students.
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Tai Chi Chuan (TCC) is a Chinese conditioning exercise and is well known for its slow and graceful movements. Recent investigations have found that TCC is beneficial to cardiorespiratory function, strength, balance, flexibility, microcirculation and psychological profile. The long-term practice of TCC can attenuate the age decline in physical function, and consequently it is a suitable exercise for the middle-aged and elderly individuals. TCC can be prescribed as an alternative exercise programme for selected patients with cardiovascular, orthopaedic, or neurological diseases, and can reduce the risk of falls in elderly individuals. The exercise intensity of TCC depends on training style, posture and duration. Participants can choose to perform a complete set of TCC or selected movements according to their needs. In conclusion, TCC has potential benefits in health promotion, and is appropriate for implementation in the community.
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Processing of rapidly successive acoustic stimuli can be markedly improved by sensory training. To investigate the cortical mechanisms underlying such temporal plasticity, we trained rats in a 'sound maze' in which navigation using only auditory cues led to a target location paired with food reward. In this task, the repetition rate of noise pulses increased as the distance between the rat and target location decreased. After training in the sound maze, neurons in the primary auditory cortex (A1) showed greater responses to high-rate noise pulses and stronger phase-locking of responses to the stimuli; they also showed shorter post-stimulation suppression and stronger rebound activation. These improved temporal dynamics transferred to trains of pure-tone pips. Control animals that received identical sound stimulation but were given free access to food showed the same results as naive rats. We conclude that this auditory perceptual learning results in improvements in temporal processing, which may be mediated by enhanced cortical response dynamics.
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Because of growing evidence for stress as a major factor contributing to cardiovascular disease (CVD), techniques of meditation are being increasingly used. The Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique is distinct from other techniques of meditation not only in its origin and procedure, but also in the amount and breadth of research testing it. Evidence for its ability to reduce traditional and novel risk factors for CVD includes: 1) decreases in blood pressure, 2) reduced use of tobacco and alcohol, 3) lowering of high cholesterol and lipid oxidation, and 4) decreased psychosocial stress. Changes expected to result from reducing these risk factors, namely, reversal of atherosclerosis, reduction of myocardial ischemia and left ventricular hypertrophy, reduced health insurance claims for CVD, and reduced mortality, also have been found with TM practice. Research on mechanisms suggests that some of the CVD-related benefits as a result of this technique could arise from normalization of neuroendocrine systems whose function has been distorted by chronic stress. Further randomized clinical trials are in progress with a focus on underserved minority populations.
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A self-report inventory for the assessment of mindfulness skills was developed, and its psychometric characteristics and relationships with other constructs were examined. Participants included three samples of undergraduate students and a sample of outpatients with borderline personality disorder Based on discussions of mindfulness in the current literature, four mindfulness skills were specified: observing, describing, acting with awareness, and accepting without judgment. Scales designed to measure each skill were developed and evaluated. Results showed good internal consistency and test-retest reliability and a clear factor structure. Most expected relationships with other constructs were significant. Findings suggest that mindfulness skills are differentially related to aspects of personality and mental health, including neuroticism, psychological symptoms, emotional intelligence, alexithymia, experiential avoidance, dissociation, and absorption.
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Although yoga is historically a spiritual discipline, it has also been used clinically as a therapeutic intervention. A bibliometric analysis on the biomedical journal literature involving research on the clinical application of yoga has revealed an increase in publication frequency over the past 3 decades with a substantial and growing use of randomized controlled trials. Types of medical conditions have included psychopathological (e.g. depression, anxiety), cardiovascular (e.g. hypertension, heart disease), respiratory (e.g. asthma), diabetes and a variety of others. A majority of this research has been conducted by Indian investigators and published in Indian journals, particularly yoga specialty journals, although recent trends indicate increasing contributions from investigators in the U.S. and England. Yoga therapy is a relatively novel and emerging clinical discipline within the broad category of mind-body medicine, whose growth is consistent with the burgeoning popularity of yoga in the West and the increasing worldwide use of alternative medicine.
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Part III of the study on mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) describes qualitative data and discusses the implications of the findings. Study analysis revealed that nurses found MBSR helpful. Greater relaxation and self-care and improvement in work and family relationships were among reported benefits. Challenges included restlessness, physical pain, and dealing with difficult emotions.
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Previous research indicates that long-term meditation practice is associated with altered resting electroencephalogram patterns, suggestive of long lasting changes in brain activity. We hypothesized that meditation practice might also be associated with changes in the brain's physical structure. Magnetic resonance imaging was used to assess cortical thickness in 20 participants with extensive Insight meditation experience, which involves focused attention to internal experiences. Brain regions associated with attention, interoception and sensory processing were thicker in meditation participants than matched controls, including the prefrontal cortex and right anterior insula. Between-group differences in prefrontal cortical thickness were most pronounced in older participants, suggesting that meditation might offset age-related cortical thinning. Finally, the thickness of two regions correlated with meditation experience. These data provide the first structural evidence for experience-dependent cortical plasticity associated with meditation practice.
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The authors examine the facet structure of mindfulness using five recently developed mindfulness questionnaires. Two large samples of undergraduate students completed mindfulness questionnaires and measures of other constructs. Psychometric properties of the mindfulness questionnaires were examined, including internal consistency and convergent and discriminant relationships with other variables. Factor analyses of the combined pool of items from the mindfulness questionnaires suggested that collectively they contain five clear, interpretable facets of mindfulness. Hierarchical confirmatory factor analyses suggested that at least four of the identified factors are components of an overall mindfulness construct and that the factor structure of mindfulness may vary with meditation experience. Mindfulness facets were shown to be differentially correlated in expected ways with several other constructs and to have incremental validity in the prediction of psychological symptoms. Findings suggest that conceptualizing mindfulness as a multifaceted construct is helpful in understanding its components and its relationships with other variables.
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Neuroelectric and imaging studies of meditation are reviewed. Electroencephalographic measures indicate an overall slowing subsequent to meditation, with theta and alpha activation related to proficiency of practice. Sensory evoked potential assessment of concentrative meditation yields amplitude and latency changes for some components and practices. Cognitive event-related potential evaluation of meditation implies that practice changes attentional allocation. Neuroimaging studies indicate increased regional cerebral blood flow measures during meditation. Taken together, meditation appears to reflect changes in anterior cingulate cortex and dorsolateral prefrontal areas. Neurophysiological meditative state and trait effects are variable but are beginning to demonstrate consistent outcomes for research and clinical applications. Psychological and clinical effects of meditation are summarized, integrated, and discussed with respect to neuroimaging data.
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Despite the availability of various substance abuse treatments, alcohol and drug misuse and related negative consequences remain prevalent. Vipassana meditation (VM), a Buddhist mindfulness-based practice, provides an alternative for individuals who do not wish to attend or have not succeeded with traditional addiction treatments. In this study, the authors evaluated the effectiveness of a VM course on substance use and psychosocial outcomes in an incarcerated population. Results indicate that after release from jail, participants in the VM course, as compared with those in a treatment-as-usual control condition, showed significant reductions in alcohol, marijuana, and crack cocaine use. VM participants showed decreases in alcohol-related problems and psychiatric symptoms as well as increases in positive psychosocial outcomes. The utility of mindfulness-based treatments for substance use is discussed.
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Developed, on the basis of responses from 608 undergraduate students to the 33-item Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale, three short forms of 11, 12, and 13 items. The psychometric characteristics of these three forms and three other short forms developed by Strahan and Gerbasi (1972) were investigated and comparisons made. Results, in the form of internal consistency reliability, item factor loadings, short form with Marlowe-Crowne total scale correlations, and correlations between Marlowe-Crowne short forms and the Edwards Social Desirability Scale, indicate that psychometrically sound short forms can be constructed. Comparisons made between the short forms examined in this investigation suggest the 13-item form as a viable substitute for the regular 33-item Marlowe-Crowne scale.
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To enhance psychological adjustment, Vipassana meditation assists individuals to perceive the transitory nature of the self Because the consequences of this potentially troubling insight are not well understood, changes in self-concept and ego defense mechanisms of two cohorts (N-1 = 222, N-2 = 216) of young (M = 18.03 years) Thai participants who attended separate seven-day Vipassana meditation retreats and a nontreated control group (N = 281) were compared Multivariate statistical analysis revealed positive gains in all areas of self-representation among meditators relative to controls (p < .001). Ego defense mechanisms of the meditation participants also underwent significant change (p < .0001) with coping becoming characterized by greater maturity and tolerance of common stressors. Increases in Buddhist beliefs were significantly correlated with heightened self-esteem and less impulsiveness (ps < .001). Theoretical and applied implications of the findings are discussed.
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The theory of ironic processes of mental control holds that both the most and the least desired effects of attempts to control one's own mental states accrue from two processes: an intentional operating process (a conscious, effortful search for mental contents that will produce a desired state of mind) and an ironic monitoring process (an unconscious, automatic search for mental contents that signal a failure to produce the desired state of mind). Although the monitoring process usually functions just to activate the operating process, during stress, distraction, time urgency, or other mental load, the monitor's effects on mind can supersede those of the operator, producing the very state of mind that is least desired. An individual's attempts to gain mental control may thus precipitate the unwanted mental states they were intended to remedy.
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Contends that the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program provides a holistic, natural, and effective treatment that impacts social, environmental, physiological, psychological, and spiritual factors that can influence addictive behavior. The problem of substance dependence and the limitations of current drug treatment approaches are described. A theoretical framework, the Vedic psychology of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and supporting research for understanding how TM may be used to address the multiple causes of addiction are provided. A qualitative review and statistical meta-analysis of 19 studies summarize the effects of TM on alcohol, cigarette, and illicit drug use and compare the outcomes of TM with relaxation and standard treatments. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Objective To provide a comprehensive review and evaluation of the psychological and neurophysiological literature pertaining to mindfulness meditation. Methods A search for papers in English was undertaken using PsycINFO (from 1804 onward), MedLine (from 1966 onward) and the Cochrane Library with the following search terms: Vipassana, Mindfulness, Meditation, Zen, Insight, EEG, ERP, fMRI, neuroimaging and intervention. In addition, retrieved papers and reports known to the authors were also reviewed for additional relevant literature. Results Mindfulness-based therapeutic interventions appear to be effective in the treatment of depression, anxiety, psychosis, borderline personality disorder and suicidal/self-harm behaviour. Mindfulness meditation per se is effective in reducing substance use and recidivism rates in incarcerated populations but has not been specifically investigated in populations with psychiatric disorders. Electroencephalography research suggests increased alpha, theta and beta activity in frontal and posterior regions, some gamma band effects, with theta activity strongly related to level of experience of meditation; however, these findings have not been consistent. The few neuroimaging studies that have been conducted suggest volumetric and functional change in key brain regions. Conclusions Preliminary findings from treatment outcome studies provide support for the application of mindfulness-based interventions in the treatment of affective, anxiety and personality disorders. However, direct evidence for the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation per se in the treatment of psychiatric disorders is needed. Current neurophysiological and imaging research findings have identified neural changes in association with meditation and provide a potentially promising avenue for future research.
Article
This article addresses the question: How should mindfulness be understood? Three views are considered. The first is that mindfulness should be understood as a cognitive ability. According to this view, people differ in their capacity to think in a mindful way, much as people differ in memory or intelligence. The second view is of mindfulness as a personality trait. According to this view, mindfulness is a stable disposition, much as would be extraversion or neuroticism. The third view is of mindfulness as a cognitive style. According to this view, mindfulness represents a preferred way of thinking. Mindfulnesshas characteristics of all three but seems closest to being a cognitive style. Construct validation is needed in order to address this and related questions.
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There has been substantial interest in mindfulness as an approach to reduce cognitive vulnerability to stress and emotional distress in recent years. However, thus far mindfulness has not been defined operationally. This paper describes the results of recent meetings held to establish a consensus on mindfulness and to develop conjointly a testable operational definition. We propose a two-component model of mindfulness and specify each component in terms of specific behaviors, experiential manifestations, and implicated psychological processes. We then address issues regarding temporal stability and situational specificity and speculate on the conceptual and operational distinctiveness of mindfulness. We conclude this paper by discussing implications for instrument development and briefly describing our own approach to measurement.
Article
Baer's review (2003; this issue) suggests that mindf ulness-based interventions are clinically efficacious, but that better designed studies are now needed to substantiate the field and place it on a firm foundation for future growth. Her review, coupled with other lines of evidence, suggests that interest in incorporating mindfulness into clinical interventions in medicine and psychology is growing. It is thus important that professionals coming to this field understand some of the unique factors associated with the delivery of mindfulness-based interventions and the potential conceptual and practical pitfalls of not recognizing the features of this broadly unfamiliar landscape. This commentary highlights and contextualizes (1) what exactly mindfulness is, (2) where it came from, (3) how it came to be introduced into medicine and health care, (4) issues of cross-cultural sensitivity and understanding in the study of meditative practices stemming from other cultures and in applications of them in novel settings, (5) why it is important for people who are teaching mind-fulness to practice themselves, (6) results from 3 recent studies from the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society not reviewed by Baer but which raise a number of key questions about clinical applicability, study design, and mechanism of action, and (7) current opportunities for professional training and development in mindfulness and its clinical applications.
Article
There is increasing evidence for the utility of mindfulness training as a clinical intervention. Most of this research has examined secular-based mindfulness instruction. The current study examined the effects of a 10-day Buddhist mindfulness meditation course on the psychological symptoms of 53 participants. A repeated-measures analysis of variance indicated reductions in overall psychological distress from the pre-course baseline to a 3-month follow-up. Correlation analyses indicated that the reported reduction in psychological distress was not influenced by social desirability bias and that the effect was not dependent on daily meditation between course completion and follow-up. Issues regarding modality of mindfulness training (secular versus Buddhist) are discussed.
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A scale measuring locus of control in relation to drinking behavior found significant differences between alcoholics and nonalcoholics, while a scale measuring locus of control in gerneral did not.
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Verbal report procedures, such as interviews, tests and questionnaires, have become the dominant method to obtain clinical data on alcohol abuse and its modification through treatment. The extent to which this method provides reliable and valid information for research purposes, and how its accuracy and usefulness can be enhanced, is examined. A review of methodological studies in the alcohol literature shows that although the information obtained from alcoholics and heavy drinkers tends to be reliable and valid, there can be considerable variability in accuracy, depending on the sensitivity of the information sought, the specificity of the validation criteria, the personal characteristics of the respondents and the demand characteristics of the task. It is suggested that the question of whether verbal report procedures are valid or invalid is less important than the issue of how they can be improved to the point that confidence can be placed in their findings. To facilitate this process, methodological techniques likely to enhance validity are reviewed.
Article
Synopsis This is an introductory report for the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), a brief psychological self-report symptom scale. The BSI was developed from its longer parent instrument, the SCL-90-R, and psychometric evaluation reveals it to be an acceptable short alternative to the complete scale. Both test-retest and internal consistency reliabilities are shown to be very good for the primary symptom dimensions of the BSI, and its correlations with the comparable dimensions of the SCL-90-R are quite high. In terms of validation, high convergence between BSI scales and like dimensions of the MMPI provide good evidence of convergent validity, and factor analytic studies of the internal structure of the scale contribute evidence of construct validity. Several criterion-oriented validity studies have also been completed with this instrument
Article
It has been suggested that the quality of clinical trials should be assessed by blinded raters to limit the risk of introducing bias into meta-analyses and systematic reviews, and into the peer-review process. There is very little evidence in the literature to substantiate this. This study describes the development of an instrument to assess the quality of reports of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) in pain research and its use to determine the effect of rater blinding on the assessments of quality. A multidisciplinary panel of six judges produced an initial version of the instrument. Fourteen raters from three different backgrounds assessed the quality of 36 research reports in pain research, selected from three different samples. Seven were allocated randomly to perform the assessments under blind conditions. The final version of the instrument included three items. These items were scored consistently by all the raters regardless of background and could discriminate between reports from the different samples. Blind assessments produced significantly lower and more consistent scores than open assessments. The implications of this finding for systematic reviews, meta-analytic research and the peer-review process are discussed.
Article
The use of behavioural self-reports of drug users is widespread among studies of illicit drug use. Despite widespread use, concerns about the accuracy of these reports continue to be raised. The current paper critically reviews the literature on the reliability and validity of self-reported drug use, criminality and HIV risk-taking among injecting drug users. The literature shows respectable reliability and validity of self-reported behaviours when compared to biomarkers, criminal records and collateral interviews. It concludes that the self-reports of drug users are sufficiently reliable and valid to provide descriptions of drug use, drug-related problems and the natural history of drug use.
Article
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a clinical program, developed to facilitate adaptation to medical illness, which provides systematic training in mindfulness meditation as a self-regulatory approach to stress reduction and emotion management. There has been widespread and growing use of this approach within medical settings in the last 20 years, and many claims have been made regarding its efficacy. This article will provide a critical evaluation of the available state of knowledge regarding MBSR and suggestions for future research. A review of the current literature available within the medical and social sciences was undertaken to provide an evaluation regarding what we know about the construct of mindfulness, the effectiveness of MBSR, and mechanisms of action. There has been a paucity of research and what has been published has been rife with methodological problems. At present, we know very little about the effectiveness of this approach. However, there is some evidence that suggests that it may hold some promise. The available evidence does not support a strong endorsement of this approach at present. However, serious investigation is warranted and strongly recommended.
Article
Mindfulness is an attribute of consciousness long believed to promote well-being. This research provides a theoretical and empirical examination of the role of mindfulness in psychological well-being. The development and psychometric properties of the dispositional Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) are described. Correlational, quasi-experimental, and laboratory studies then show that the MAAS measures a unique quality of consciousness that is related to a variety of well-being constructs, that differentiates mindfulness practitioners from others, and that is associated with enhanced self-awareness. An experience-sampling study shows that both dispositional and state mindfulness predict self-regulated behavior and positive emotional states. Finally, a clinical intervention study with cancer patients demonstrates that increases in mindfulness over time relate to declines in mood disturbance and stress.
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Meditation is a complex mental process involving changes in cognition, sensory perception, affect, hormones, and autonomic activity. Meditation has also become widely used in psychological and medical practices for stress management as well as a variety of physical and mental disorders. However, until now, there has been limited understanding of the overall biological mechanism of these practices in terms of the effects in both the brain and body. We have previously described a rudimentary neuropsychological model to explain the brain mechanisms underlying meditative experiences. This paper provides a substantial development by integrating neurotransmitter systems and the results of recent brain imaging advances into the model. The following is a review and synthesis of the current literature regarding the various neurophysiological mechanisms and neurochemical substrates that underlie the complex processes of meditation. It is hoped that this model will