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Chapter 10

Chapter 10.docx

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Richard B Day

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Chapter 10 - Mindfulness, Flow and Spirituality • Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results (Einstein and B. Franklin) • Why engage in same behaviour again and again if outcome is negative? o Passive habits are easy to establish and hard to break • Example - watch "nothing" on TV for hours  Habitual, mind-numbing experience may have some short- lived, stress-relieving benefits but distracts us from what is happening in our worlds  Mindless pursuit of less-than-meaningful goals/unchallenging ones leave people feeling bored and empty  Conversely, intentional, moment-to-moment searches for optimal experiences give us joy and fulfillment • Positive pursuits bring sanity in daily life that is grounded in competence and happiness • Believe too many of us walk through everyday life unaware and out of sync with significance of our experiences and with our emotional selves Moment-to-Moment Searches • Each moment is accessible (can be captured) and has untapped potentials - all part of search for optimal experiences • Kahneman - values currency that is time and understands relationship between individual moments and broader experience of life (page 244) • Potential each moment holds reflected in thoughts, feelings and physiological forces connected to each moment • Positive psychology perspective - a day presents 20, 000 opportunities for engagement, overcoming negative and pursuing positive Mindfulness: In Search of Novelty • Best examples of mindfulness are manifested in everyday behaviours of people • Wrzesniewski - interested in how people function optimally at work (page 245) • Langer - made sense out of mindfulness behaviour by observing everyday behaviour of people from all walks of life (students, businesspeople, retirees) o Research study that examined effects of perceived control on older adults in residential care facility • Langer - also conducted studies showing that being mindful about various aspects of our lives can have great health and well-being benefits o Age-related declines and maladies partly related to type of mindset that elderly develop as a result of negative stereotypes about older groups o Being more mindful about not accepting stereotypes, we age better and have shown results to effect o Tuning out what they are supposed to do and tuning in what they are doing • Older adults may be more realistic and potentially less pathological views of themselves • Have effect of improving well-being and possibly overall health Mindfulness as a State of Mind • Mindfulness (considered new-age concept) comparable to age-old process of cultivating awareness (of everyday happenings and physiological and psychological sensations) in Buddhist traditions and to modern therapeutic technique of increasing attention in order to identify distorted thinking (aspect of cognitive and cognitive-behavioural therapies) • Mindfulness is a common psychological phenomenon but not well understood • Langer's definition of mindfulness (after conducted study with elderly residents of residential care facility) - page 246 • Mindfulness is an active search for novelty • Mindless involves passively zoning out to everyday life o "automatic pilot" is a form of mindfulness that is attributable to the repetition of behaviours Drawing novel distinctions (being mindful) requires us: 1. To overcome desire to reduce uncertainty in daily life 2. To override a tendency to engage in automatic behaviour 3. To engage less frequently in evaluations of self, others and situations • Regarding uncertainty - Langer argues that aspects of our culture currently lead us to try to reduce uncertainty o Our desire to control surroundings by reducing uncertainty often leads to more uncertainty o Example (page 247) - the more the child attempts to hold the pet still, the more it tries to wiggle away • Life is not static o Langer - we should exploit uncertainty o Proposes that mindfulness makes clear that things change and loosens the grip of our evaluative mind-sets so that these changes need not be feared • Uncertainty keeps us grounded in present and awareness of all that I happening in the present creates more uncertainty • Automaticity of behaviour provides quick, well-honed responses to familiar situations o Example (page 247) - automatically picking up the phone • Automaticity of behaviour relies on assumption that the quick, well-rehearsed behaviour is the easiest behaviour in which to engage • Experiment (page 247) • Making evaluations requires us to cast judgement on ourselves, others and life situations o Events do not come with evaluations; we impose them on our experiences - thus create experience of the event • Mindfulness battles evaluative nature o Leads us to make fewer unnecessary judgements (even positive ones) • Here and now living requires a refined ability to discriminate between subtleties and this does not lead to an evaluation o Example - no active need/benefit for you to mindlessly activate your criteria for artwork (statue at the park) • Reducing tendency to make evaluations of external events - Langer's conceptualization of mindfulness • Miller (How to Want What You Have) - defines attention (his term for mindfulness) as intention to avoid unnecessary value judgements about your own experience (internal and external) o Focused on avoiding evaluation of internal events as well as external events • So did Bishop & colleagues  Similar to Langer's but does discourage continued evaluation of self and it draws more attention to the cognitive and emotional components of mindful engagement  Two component system • Self-regulated attention - honed on personal experience • Emotional openness - facilitates acceptance and appreciation of internal experiences  Mindfulness from this perspective involves metacognition and emotional awareness • Mindfulness in practice community is described as attending nonjudgmentally to all stimuli in internal and external environments • In moments of mindfulness, some mindfulness qualities come into consciousness (table on page 249) • Page 250-251 The Benefits of Mindfulness • Deliberative practice of mindfulness takes form of mindfulness meditation • Aim of mindfulness meditation - the development of deep insight into nature of mental processes, consciousness, identity, reality and development of optimal states of psychological well-being and consciousness through "opening up" • Results of studies examining effects of mindfulness mediation - considers the potential benefits of intentionally searching for novelty • Body of research has been criticized because few rigorous, randomized, controlled studies have been published • Zinn - adapted ancient Eastern meditation practices and created a form of mindfulness meditation that has been used in successful treatment of chronic pain and anxiety • Study - mindfulness-based stress reduction program (MSBR) on stress hardiness (commitment, control, challenge) and sense of coherence (ability to find world meaningful and manageable) in hospital patients o Improvement in hardiness an coherence over time o Largest improvements (in coherence) made biggest gains in psychological and physical symptom reduction o Follow-up • Initial gains maintained • Further improvement made (in regards to considering world manageable) • Randomized controlled study - tested effects of mindfulness meditation on premedical and medical students o Results (in meditation group compared to control group) • Increased levels of empathy • Decreased levels of anxiety and depression • Clinical intervention study with cancer patients o Target increase in positive emotional states and decreased anxiety o Increases in mindfulness over time related to declines in mood disturbances and stresses • Stress reduction technique (based on mindfulness) with adolescents dealing with various psychiatric diagnoses o Results • Decreases in depressive and anxious symptomatology • Decreased somatic complaints • Increases in quality of sleep and positive feelings about themselves • Study demonstrated that affiliative trust (trust, openness and caring) and oneness motivation (sense of being part of something larger than one's self) increased over course of mindfulness intervention • Study - mindful parenting that includes "moment to moment awareness" of parent-child relationship with goal of interacting with more compassion towards children • Study - increases in spiritual experience after mindfulness meditation interventions in a group of undergraduate students • Study - higher scores obtained on measure of spiritual experience in a meditation group as compared to a control group o Results were replicated wen control group received the same intervention • Study - counseling students were taught arts of hatha yoga, qigong (meditation and movement from Chinese tradition) and sitting meditation o They were then assessed for changes in their lives (open-ended interview questions) o Students who engaged in mindfulness-inducing techniques reported positive changes in interpersonal, physical, cognitive and affective arenas and felt types of changes enhanced their abilities as counselors • Study - higher degree of mindfulness in counseling psychology trainees predicted higher levels of counseling self-efficacy and empathy in students o Effects of mindfulness on counseling self-efficacy mediated by attention • Mindfulness - interest in looking at development of "cultural intelligence (CQ)" - what Thomas calls it o Thomas discusses use of mindfulness as primary ingredient in developing construct o Similar to emotional and social intelligence - defines CQ as the ability to interact effectively with people who are culturally different • Concept connects behaviour and knowledge with mindfulness • Sees latter component as link between knowledge and behaviou
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