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Interoception refers to the conscious perception of body signals. Mindfulness is a meditation practice that encourages individuals to focus on their internal experiences such as bodily sensations, thoughts, and emotions. In this study, we selected a behavioral measure of interoceptive sensitivity (heartbeat detection task, HBD) to compare the effect of meditation practice on interoceptive sensitivity among long term practitioners (LTP), short term meditators (STM, subjects that completed a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program) and controls (non-meditators). All participants were examined with a battery of different tasks including mood state, executive function and social cognition tests (emotion recognition, empathy and theory of mind). Findings Compared to controls, both meditators? groups showed lower levels of anxiety and depression, but no improvement in executive function or social cognition performance was observed (except for lower scores compared to controls only in the personal distress dimension of empathy). More importantly, meditators? performance did not differ from that of nonmeditators regarding cardiac interoceptive sensitivity. Conclusion Results suggest no influence of meditation practice in cardiac interoception and in most related social cognition measures. These negative results could be partially due to the fact that awareness of heartbeat sensations is not emphasized during mindfulness/vipassana meditation and may not be the best index of the awareness supported by the practice of meditation.
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Yoga is associated with reduced stress and increased well-being, although the molecular basis for these benefits is not clear. Mounting evidence implicates the immune response, with current studies focused on protein immune markers (such as cytokines) in clinical populations. To explore the molecular impact, this pilot study uses a subsample (n=28) from a randomised waitlist control trial investigating the impact of an 8-week yoga intervention in a community population of women reporting psychological distress (N=116). We measured interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumour necrosis factor (TNF) and C-reactive protein (CRP) protein levels, and the DNA methylation of these genes and the global indicator, LINE-1. Correlations between these and psychological variables were explored, identifying moderate correlations with CRP protein levels, and methylation of IL-6, CRP and LINE-1. Many cytokine samples were below detection, however a Mann-Whitney U demonstrated a trend of moderate between-group effect for elevated IL-6 in the yoga group. Methylation analyses applied cross-sectional and non-controlled longitudinal analyses. Waist-to-height ratio and age were covaried. We demonstrated reduced methylation of the TNF region in the yoga group relative to the waitlist control group. No other genes demonstrated a significant difference. Longitudinal analysis further supported these results. This study is one of the first to explore yoga and immunological markers in a non-clinical population, and is the first study to explore DNA methylation. These findings indicate that further research into molecular impact of yoga on markers of immune function is warranted, with larger studies required.

OBJECTIVES:This study evaluated the feasibility and initial efficacy of a 12-week group mindfulness-based intervention tailored for persons with social anxiety disorder (MBI-SAD). The intervention includes elements of the standard mindfulness-based stress reduction program, explicit training in self-compassion aimed at cultivating a more accepting and kinder stance toward oneself, and use of exposure procedures to help participants practice responding mindfully to internal experiences evoked by feared social situations. METHODS: Participants were randomly assigned to the MBI-SAD (n = 21) or a waitlist (WL) (n = 18) control group. Feasibility was assessed by the number of participants who completed at least 75% of the 12 weekly group sessions. Primary efficacy outcomes were clinician- and self-rated measures of social anxiety. Other outcomes included clinician ratings of illness severity and self-rated depression, social adjustment, mindfulness, and self-compassion. RESULTS: The MBI-SAD was acceptable and feasible, with 81% of participants attending at least 75% of sessions. The MBI-SAD fared better than WL in improving social anxiety symptom severity (p ≤ 0.0001), depression (p ≤ 0.05), and social adjustment (p ≤ 0.05). The intervention also enhanced self-compassion (p ≤ 0.05), and facets of mindfulness (observe and aware; p ≤ .05). MBI-SAD treatment gains were maintained at 3-month follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: These preliminary findings suggest that an MBI that integrates explicit training in self-compassion and mindful exposure is a feasible and promising intervention for social anxiety disorder. The next step is to compare the MBI-SAD to the gold standard of cognitive-behavior therapy to determine equivalence or noninferiority and to explore mediators and moderators of treatment outcome.

This exploratory study evaluated a short-term (6–8 weeks) psychoeducation and support group for teachers focused on stress prevention and mindfulness (labeled SPAM group). A total of 4 groups were implemented in different schools, and evaluation was conducted with quantitative (pre- and post-measures of teacher vulnerability to stress, job satisfaction, and mindfulness) and qualitative (post-intervention interviews) elements using a quasi-experimental mixed methods design. Members reported higher mindfulness scores than participants in the comparison condition, which consisted of teachers in the same school who did not complete the group, and qualitative analyses were supportive of teachers’ satisfaction.

Mindfulness-based intervention with adults has been found to be highly effective and as such it has been the subject of much research in the past few decades. However, the study of mindfulness-based approaches with adolescents, especially in the Asian context, is still under-explored. This paper reports findings from a pilot controlled trial assessing preliminary outcomes of a mindfulness-based programme in schools in Hong Kong. Fourteen to 16-year-old adolescents with low academic performance from two secondary schools were invited to take part in intervention and control groups (n = 48). It was hypothesised that a six-week mindfulness-based programme would increase well-being, reduce stress and symptoms of depression. Well-being, stress and depressive symptoms of both intervention and control groups were assessed at baseline and post-intervention. The findings showed that there was a significant decrease in symptoms of depression and a significant increase in one dimension of well-being among both groups. Qualitative data reflected that the mindfulness programme was beneficial and feasible to adolescents at schools. The results support conducting a randomised controlled trial with a larger sample and a long term follow-up.
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Mindfulness-based intervention with adults has been found to be highly effective and as such it has been the subject of much research in the past few decades. However, the study of mindfulness-based approaches with adolescents, especially in the Asian context, is still under-explored. This paper reports findings from a pilot controlled trial assessing preliminary outcomes of a mindfulness-based programme in schools in Hong Kong. Fourteen to 16-year-old adolescents with low academic performance from two secondary schools were invited to take part in intervention and control groups (n = 48). It was hypothesised that a six-week mindfulness-based programme would increase well-being, reduce stress and symptoms of depression. Well-being, stress and depressive symptoms of both intervention and control groups were assessed at baseline and post-intervention. The findings showed that there was a significant decrease in symptoms of depression and a significant increase in one dimension of well-being among both groups. Qualitative data reflected that the mindfulness programme was beneficial and feasible to adolescents at schools. The results support conducting a randomised controlled trial with a larger sample and a long term follow-up.

Prenatal mental illness is a significant public health issue with intergenerational consequences. Caring for Body and Mind in Pregnancy (CBMP) is an Australian, 8-week mindful parenting program. The primary aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of CBMP in reducing pregnant women’s levels of depression, anxiety, perinatal depression, perinatal anxiety and stress. The sample consisted of 109 pregnant women at-risk for perinatal depression and anxiety. The mean age of the sample was 33.52 years (SD = 4.90), ranging from 21 to 45 years. A within group, pre-post research design was used to examine whether CBMP improves participants’ scores on outcome measures. Wilcoxon Signed Rank test results indicated that CBMP significantly reduced depression, anxiety, perinatal depression, perinatal anxiety and general stress scores, while significantly increasing self-compassion and mindfulness with moderate to strong effect sizes. The double mediation hypothesis was supported with self-compassion t (71) = −2.23, p < 03, b2 = −1.96, SE = 88, 95% CI = −3.71, −.20, having a stronger influence in reducing perinatal depression than mindfulness t (71) = −2.68, p < .01, b3 = −.07, SE = .03, 95% CI = −.13, −.02. Further research, using a randomized controlled design with appropriate control conditions, is needed to establish the effectiveness of CBMP in reducing psychological distress amongst pregnant women at risk of developing depression, anxiety or stress.

Objective: Several authors have suggested demands and requirements for teaching mindfulness and meditation. In the scientific literature there is however a lack of evaluation of mindfulness teachers and how to teach mindfulness meditation effectively. This study aims at providing deeper insight of the importance of the teachers in the field of mindfulness and meditation and it investigates how mindfulness and meditation teachers describe the prerequisites for teaching mindfulness and meditation. Method: The method of Thematic Analysis, TA, was utilized to analyse the data from semi-structured interviews conducted with twelve experienced teachers, from different mindfulness and meditation traditions. The participants are mindfulness and meditation teachers from either within the Buddhist, secular or both Buddhist and secular contexts. Results: The analysis resulted in three main themes and nine subthemes, such as for example the main theme; Teacher qualification with subthemes; Becoming teacher, Being teacher, Pedagogic skills and Social skills. The results suggest a flexible and pragmatic view on how mindfulness and meditation teaching should be provided. Instead of a fixed set of requirements for the teacher and the student, what makes mindfulness and meditation teaching effective has to do with the ability to recognize the potential in every unique situation with an understanding of the impermanent and interdependent relationship between teacher, student and context. Conclusion: Being and becoming a teacher is a continuous process and anyone can assume the role of mindfulness and meditation teacher. It is dependent on the students and the context. A formalized education is not a prerequisite but what is required is sufficient compassion and insight. For the teacher s compassion and insight to ripen and for the student to learn, non-ideal conditions and suffering, is required and it is helpful with supportive fellow practitioners, teachers, especially if they themselves practice what they teach and share what they know.

This chapter explores various methods for incorporating yoga into a psychotherapy treatment regimen to help psychotherapists achieve short-term symptom relief for their clients as well as long-term solutions for mental health and balance. The philosophical underpinnings of yoga, as they relate to the therapeutic process, are briefly described before current research on the psychological effects of yoga is addressed. Methods for using yoga classes in conjunction with traditional psychotherapy to enrich the therapeutic process and facilitate growth (e.g., enhanced self-awareness, self-understanding, self-acceptance), along with guidelines for its introduction to clients, are outlined. Next, the methods of Iyengar yoga, kundalini yoga meditation, and Sudarshan Kriya yoga are explored as potential techniques psychotherapists can learn to use during and in between psychotherapy sessions to help clients reduce anxiety and depression and address other psychological and psychiatric disorders. Finally, this chapter examines the utility of yoga for psychotherapists seeking professional development and burnout prevention strategies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

This article articulates a theory of ‘presence’ in teaching and seeks to establish a theoretical foundation for presence that can serve as a platform for further research. It seeks to address the current educational climate that sees teaching as a check list of behaviors, dispositions, measures, and standards, and to articulate the essential but elusive aspect of teaching we call presence. Presence is defined as a state of alert awareness, receptivity, and connectedness to the mental, emotional, and physical workings of both the individual and the group in the context of their learning enviroments, and the ability to respond with a considered and compassionate best next step. The article is divided into four sections and explores existing conceptions of presence: presence as self‐awareness, presence as connection to students, and presence as connection to subject matter and pedagogical knowledge. Within each section the role that context plays in a teacher’s ability to be present is also explored. The authors draw upon papers and stories from student teachers, interview data from children and experienced teachers, and stories from a study group of experienced educators that explored the notion of presence on three different occasions. They conclude by connecting presence to the essential purpose of teaching and learning, the creation of a democratic society.
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We examined whether social anxiety severity at pre-treatment would moderate the impact of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) or aerobic exercise (AE) for generalized social anxiety disorder. MBSR and AE produced equivalent reductions in weekly social anxiety symptoms. Improvements were moderated by pre-treatment social anxiety severity.PRACTITIONER POINTS: Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and aerobic exercise (AE) are effective in reducing symptoms of social anxiety. Pre-treatment social anxiety severity can be used to inform treatment recommendations. Both MBSR and AE produced equivalent reductions in weekly levels of social anxiety symptoms. MBSR appears to be most effective for patients with lower pre-treatment social anxiety symptom severity. AE appears to be most effective for patients with higher pre-treatment social anxiety symptom severity.

BackgroundNurses are at risk for symptoms of Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS). The role of social support and mindfulness in predicting STS is important among nurses. This study was performed to determine the prevalence of the symptoms of STS and the role of mindfulness and social support in predicting the STS in Iranian nurses in Malayer. Methods Using a cross-sectional analytic research design, we selected 173 participants among the nurses working in public hospitals of Malayer, Iran. Secondary Traumatic Stress Scale (STSS), Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory-14 (FM I-14), and Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS) were used for collecting the data. Results The obtained results indicated that 39.9% of the nurses had symptoms of STS and that the severity of symptoms in emergency nurses and non-emergency nurses was 41.5% and 37.9%, respectively. There was a negative correlation between mindfulness and social support (significant other, family and friends) with STS; social support (from family) negatively predicted the STS in hospital nurses. Conclusion Based on the obtained results, the relationship between mindfulness, social support and STS and the role of social support from family in predicting the STS in Malayer nurses were confirmed. Thus, it is necessary to develop support systems for nurses who are at risk for STS.

This study evaluated mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), a group intervention designed to train recovered recurrently depressed patients to disengage from dysphoria-activated depressogenic thinking that may mediate relapse/recurrence. Recovered recurrently depressed patients ( n = 145) were randomized to continue with treatment as usual or, in addition, to receive MBCT. Relapse/recurrence to major depression was assessed over a 60-week study period. For patients with 3 or more previous episodes of depression (77% of the sample), MBCT significantly reduced risk of relapse/recurrence. For patients with only 2 previous episodes, MBCT did not reduce relapse/recurrence. MBCT offers a promising cost-efficient psychological approach to preventing relapse/recurrence in recovered recurrently depressed patients.

The present studies examined how observers infer moral attributes and beliefs from nonverbal pride displays. Pride is a self-focused positive emotion triggered by appraisals of the self's success, status, and competence. We hypothesized that when a target emits nonverbal cues of pride, he or she will be viewed by observers as higher in self-interest and therefore more likely to endorse ideologies that would benefit the self-specifically, merit-based resource distributions (meritocracy) as opposed to equality-based resource distributions (egalitarianism). Across studies, experimentally manipulated pride displays (Studies 1 and 3) and naturally occurring expressions of pride (Study 4) led observers to infer heightened support for meritocracy as opposed to egalitarianism. Analyses also revealed that people intuitively associate higher self-interest with enhanced support for meritocracy as opposed to egalitarianism (Study 2), and this association mediates the pathway from pride displays to inferences of heightened support for meritocracy and reduced support for egalitarianism (Studies 3 and 4). Across studies, we compare pride to expressions of joy or no emotion and demonstrate these effects using thin slices as well as static images.
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ABSTRACT: The 1995 publication of Goleman's Emotional Intelligence triggered a revolution in mental health promotion. Goleman's examination of Gardner's work on multiple intelligences and current brain research, and review of successful programs that promoted emotional health, revealed a common objective among those working to prevent specific problem behaviors: producing knowledgeable, responsible, nonviolent, and caring individuals. Advances in research and field experiences confirm that school-based programs that promote social and emotional learning (SEL) in children can be powerful in accomplishing these goals. This article reviews the work of the Collaborative to Advance Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), its guidelines for promoting mental health in children and youth based on SEL, key principles, and examples of exemplary programs.
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Temperamentally anxious individuals can be identified in childhood and are at risk to develop anxiety and depressive disorders. In addition, these individuals tend to have extreme asymmetric right prefrontal brain activity. Although common and clinically important, little is known about the pathophysiology of anxious temperament. Regardless, indirect evidence from rodent studies and difficult to interpret primate studies is used to support the hypothesis that the amygdala plays a central role. In previous studies using rhesus monkeys, we characterized an anxious temperament endophenotype that is associated with excessive anxiety and fear-related responses and increased electrical activity in right frontal brain regions. To examine the role of the amygdala in mediating this endophenotype and other fearful responses, we prepared monkeys with selective fiber sparing ibotenic acid lesions of the amygdala. Unconditioned trait-like anxiety-fear responses remained intact in monkeys with >95% bilateral amygdala destruction. In addition, the lesions did not affect EEG frontal asymmetry. However, acute unconditioned fear responses, such as those elicited by exposure to a snake and to an unfamiliar threatening conspecific were blunted in monkeys with >70% lesions. These findings demonstrate that the primate amygdala is involved in mediating some acute unconditioned fear responses but challenge the notion that the amygdala is the key structure underlying the dispositional behavioral and physiological characteristics of anxious temperament.
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This is the first English-language translation of one of the most revered texts in Tibetan Buddhism. A part of the rDzogs-chen or Ati tradition, 'Primordial Experience' was written by Manjusrimitra, an Indian disciple of the first teacher of Ati yoga. Legend has it that the teacher, in a debate about the Buddhist doctrine of cause adn effect, opened his student's eyes to the reality of Ati yoga, the state of pure and total presence. This book is the result of that encounter. what is presented is a learned discourse on the relation of the Ati teachings to other systems of Indian thought - Buddhist and Hindu - through an examination of the key concept of 'bodhicitta', or enlightened mind. Included is a preface by Namkhai Norbu that places this text in the Ati tradition, as well as a substantial introduction about the theory of translation, the history of the text and its author, philosophical questions about the relation of Ati yoga to "Buddhist Idealism," and the meditation practice linked with this text.
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This conceptual article presents a review of the research concerning the stress level of principals over the past three decades, with emphasis on the occupational stress that principals encounter because of heightened accountability and expectations for student achievement. Mindfulness meditation, as a stress management intervention, provides the theoretical background for this article; the scientific evidence concerning benefits of mindfulness meditations are reviewed. Finally, the author presents suggestions for the prevention and reduction of stress for principals.

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