Mindfulness Research: Meditation for Healthcare Workers

MBSR helps to reduce stress

The health care industry is notoriously stressful, fast-paced and of a high burnout rate. Many people who work in the industry spend a tremendous amount of time and energy caring for the well-being of others, so it can be unsurprising that their ability to also care for themselves is diminished. In this 2005 study, “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Health Care Professionals: Results from a Randomized Study” research was done on a group of 38 health care professionals actively involved in clinical work, between the ages of 18-65. Using a control group, and a group that actively participated in an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program, the aim of the study was to examine the effects of mindfulness on a population deemed high stress. Growing from the hypothesis that “the stress inherent in health care negatively impacts health care professionals, leading to increased depression, decreased job satisfaction, and psychological distress” the intent of this research was to find a meaningful way to alleviate some of these symptoms for a population who is also very important in the ability of others to maintain their health.

MBSR training increases quality of life

The MBSR training used in this research is a tried and true approach to educating participants about the ability of and techniques behind the ability of mindfulness to lead to increased quality of life in many ways. It is an education-based program steeped in Eastern philosophy, and how these methods may be applied to contemporary life in practical ways. In this study, mindfulness is defined as “a form of mental training intended to enhance awareness and the ability to disengage from maladaptive patterns of mind that make one vulnerable to stress responses and psychopathology.” In eight weekly 2 hour sessions, the participants learned a variety of meditation techniques from body scanning, to loving kindness, to hatha yoga. The results were astonishing: 88% of the participants improved their stress scores, and 90% demonstrated increases in self-compassion. Overall, those who participated reported greater satisfaction with life, decreased job burnout, and decreased distress.

Image Source: Jeannie Debs

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Latest update: July 21, 2017
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