Aherne, C., Morgan, A. P., & Lonsdale, C. (2011). The effect of mindfulness training on athletes’ flow: An initial investigation. Sport Psychologist, 25(2), 177-189.

This study investigated the relationship between mindfulness training (a nonjudgmental attentional training technique) and flow experiences in athletes. Participants were 13 university athletes (M = 21 years), assigned either to a control group or an experimental group. Flow experiences were assessed before and after the intervention. ANOVA (group x time) of global scores on the Flow State Scale-2 (FSS-2; Jackson & Eklund, 2004) showed a significant interaction (F =11.49, p < .05). Follow-up t tests indicated no significant difference (p > .05) between the experimental and control groups’ FSS-2 global scores at the baseline training session, but a large difference (p < .05, d = 1.66) at a follow-up training session. Significant interaction effects were also observed for FSS-2 subscales scores for the flow dimensions of “Clear Goals” (F =18.73, p < .05) and “Sense of Control”(F = 14.61, p < .05). Following an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses ofthis study, the theoretical significance of the results is assessed and the promise for the application of mindfulness training in performance enhancement is discussed.

 

Baer, R. A. (2003). Mindfulness training as a clinical intervention: A conceptual and empirical review. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 12(2), 125-143. doi: 10.1093/clipsy/bpg015

Interventions based on training in mindfulness skills are becoming increasingly popular. Mindfulness involves intentionally bringing one’s attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, and is often taught through a variety of meditation exercises. This review summarizes conceptual approaches to mind-fulness and empirical research on the utility of mindfulness-based interventions. Meta-analytic techniques were incorporated to facilitate quantification of findings and comparison across studies. Although the current empirical literature includes many methodological flaws, findings suggest that mindfulness-based interventions may be helpful in the treatment of several disorders. Methodologically sound investigations are recommended in order to clarify the utility of these interventions.

Keywords

mindfulness;
meditation;
meta-analysis;
treatment outcome
Brown, K. W., & Ryan, R. M. (2003). The benefits of being present: Mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 8(4), 822-848. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.84.4.822.

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

 

Davidson, R. J., Kabat-Zinn, J., Schumacher, J., Rosenkranz, M., Muller, D., Santorelli, S. F., … & Sheridan, J. F. (2003). Alterations in brain and immune function produced by  mindfulness meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65(4), 564-570.

The underlying changes in biological processes that are associated with reported changes in mental and physical health in response to meditation have not been systematically explored. We performed a randomized, controlled study on the effects on brain and immune function of a well‐known and widely used 8‐week clinical training program in mindfulness meditation applied in a work environment with healthy employees. We measured brain electrical activity before and immediately after, and then 4 months after an 8‐week training program in mindfulness meditation. Twenty‐five subjects were tested in the meditation group. A wait‐list control group (N = 16) was tested at the same points in time as the meditators. At the end of the 8‐week period, subjects in both groups were vaccinated with influenza vaccine. We report for the first time significant increases in left‐sided anterior activation, a pattern previously associated with positive affect, in the meditators compared with the nonmeditators. We also found significant increases in antibody titers to influenza vaccine among subjects in the meditation compared with those in the wait‐list control group. Finally, the magnitude of increase in left‐sided activation predicted the magnitude of antibody titer rise to the vaccine. These findings demonstrate that a short program in mindfulness meditation produces demonstrable effects on brain and immune function. These findings suggest that meditation may change brain and immune function in positive ways and underscore the need for additional research.

 

Garland, E. L. (2015). Mindfulness training promotes upward spirals of positive affect and cognition: Multilevel and autoregressive latent trajectory modeling analysis. Frontiers in Psychology: Emotion Research,. 6(15), 1-46. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00015.

Recent theory suggests that positive psychological processes integral to health may be energized through the self-reinforcing dynamics of an upward spiral to counter emotion dysregulation. The present study examined positive emotion–cognition interactions among individuals in partial remission from depression who had been randomly assigned to treatment with mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT; n = 64) or a waitlist control condition (n = 66). We hypothesized that MBCT stimulates upward spirals by increasing positive affect and positive cognition. Experience sampling assessed changes in affect and cognition during 6 days before and after treatment, which were analyzed with a series of multilevel and autoregressive latent trajectory models. Findings suggest that MBCT was associated with significant increases in trait positive affect and momentary positive cognition, which were preserved through autoregressive and cross-lagged effects driven by global emotional tone. Findings suggest that daily positive affect and cognition are maintained by an upward spiral that might be promoted by mindfulness training.

Keywords:

·       mindfulness training

·       positive emotion

·       broaden-and-build

·       emotion regulation

·       latent growth curve analysis

 

Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go there you are. New York: Hyperion.

Mindfulness is considered the heart of Buddhist meditation. But its essence is universal and of deep practical benefit to everyone. In Wherever You Go, There You Are, Jon Kabat-Zinn maps out a simple path for cultivating mindfulness in our lives, and awakening us to the unique beauty and possibilities of each present moment.

 

Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based interventions in context: Past, present, and future. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10(2), 144-156. doi: 10.1093/clipsy/bpg016

Baer’s review (2003; this issue) suggests that mindfulness-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.

 

Williams, M., & Penman, D. (2011). Mindfulness: An eight-week plan for finding peace in a frantic world. Rodale.

Jon Kabat-Zinn writes the foreword and does a lovely job of setting the stage for Mark Williams and Danny Penman’s Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World.  In the foreword, as in the rest of the book, everything is stated in a clear and friendly manner, explaining the organization and intention of the book as well as giving a small preview to the idea of mindfulness.  Kabat-Zinn uses the term “embodied engagement” to help explain mindfulness and how it is essentially a new type of awareness.  He writes that Williams and Penman think of mindfulness as a “practice” in order to remind us that it is “a way of being” and not a fad.

Mark Williams is a cofounder of MBCT and his coauthor for this book is Danny Penman, who is a journalist at the UK’s Daily Mail.  Together, Williams and Penman, with their varied backgrounds, created this “very practical and pragmatic guide to mindfulness and its cultivation,” as Kabat-Zinn says.  MBCT is centered around mindfulness meditation and in this book they give a detailed description of an eight-week program to help get you centered.  This method has been proven in people with diagnosed depressive disorders, but this book is written for anyone to make use of and enjoy.

Zeidan, F., Johnson, S. K., Diamond, B. J., David, Z., & Goolkasian, P. (2010). Mindfulness meditation improves cognition: Evidence of brief mental training. Consciousness and Cognition, 19(2), 597-605. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2010.03.014.

Although research has found that long-term mindfulness meditation practice promotes executive functioning and the ability to sustain attention, the effects of brief mindfulness meditation training have not been fully explored. We examined whether brief meditation training affects cognition and mood when compared to an active control group. After four sessions of either meditation training or listening to a recorded book, participants with no prior meditation experience were assessed with measures of mood, verbal fluency, visual coding, and working memory. Both interventions were effective at improving mood but only brief meditation training reduced fatigue, anxiety, and increased mindfulness. Moreover, brief mindfulness training significantly improved visuo-spatial processing, working memory, and executive functioning. Our findings suggest that 4 days of meditation training can enhance the ability to sustain attention; benefits that have previously been reported with long-term meditators.

Keywords

Mindfulness;
Meditation;
Cognition;
Working memory;
Mood;
Attention;
Meta-awareness