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! Turn On, Tune In, Chill Out : Explorations of Mindfulness Practices and Their Relationships with Rumination and Psychological Resilience By Michael Gonzalez A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Psychology New College o f Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Steven Graham Sarasota, Florida May, 201 3
" !! Dedication For Armando, Your love and warmth made our lives fuller. Thank you for making her ha ppily frustrated f or as long as you did. Breathe easy hermano.
" !!! Acknowledgements I'd like to thank my friends and my family for keeping me sane and being there to remind me of who I am whenever I'd forget. I love you. Thank you Jen for takin g time out of your busy schedule to help me, you made the biggest difference. Thank you Duff Cooper for your wisdom, humor, patience, and loud music. I would like to thank Professors Steven Graham, Heidi Harley, Michelle Barton, and Gordon Bauer for t he support and patience they've shown, as well as for their lessons, academic and otherwise. Thank you Helen for opening up my heart and my world to the beauty of yoga. I love you bunny!
" !# TABLE OF CONTENTS DEDICATION ii A CKNOWLEDGEMENTS iii TA BLE OF CONTENTS iv ABSTRACT v i INTRODUCTION 1 Stress and Rumination 3 Mindfulness 10 Meditation 14 Yoga 19 Resilience 2 4 CURRENT STUDY 28 METHOD 30 Participants 30 Materials 30 Procedure 3 4 RESULTS 3 5
" # DISCUSSION 40 CONCLUSION 4 5 REFERENCES 4 7 APPENDIX 5 9
#! Turn On, Tune In, Chill Out: Explorations of Mindfulness Practices and Their Relationships with Rumination and Psychological Resilience Michael Gonzalez New College of Florida, 2012 ABSTRACT The c urrent study examined the relationships between the constructs of mindfulness, rumination, and psychological resilience, as well as the relationship between experience in yoga and/or meditation and the three psychological scales. A total of 20 participants completed the entire survey via online forums and were of legal age. The survey consisted of the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire Short Form (FFMQ SF; Bohlmeij er, Klooster, Fledderus, Veehof & Baer, 2011) the R uminative Response Scale (RRS; Nolen Hoeksema & Morrow, 1991 ), the Inventory of Positive Psychological Attitudes (IPPA) (Kass, Friedman, Leserman, Caudill, Zuttermeister, & Benson, 1991) and demographic questions asking about the overall experience and weekly practice of yoga practitioners a nd meditators. The hypotheses were (1 ) that the mindfulness subscales would relate negatively to rumination and positively to resilience; (2) experience with yoga would relate positively to mindfulness and resilience, and negatively to rumination; (3) expe rience in meditation would also relate positively to mindfulness and resilience, and negatively to rumination; (4) resilience would be negatively associated with rumination; (5) and that combined yoga and meditation experience (two years each or more) woul d yield above average scores on mindfulness and resilience and below average scores on rumination. A Pears on correlation validated
#!! most of the hypotheses with the exception of experience in yoga with rumination and resilience, experience in meditation wit h resilience, and the combined yoga meditation experience with the rest of the scales. A p ost hoc power analysis was calculated for some of the marginally significant correlations, which yielded promising evidence for potential significance in future stud ies with larger sample sizes. ___________________________ Dr. Steven Graham Division of Social Sciences
" $ Turn On, Tune In, Chill Out: Explorations of Mindfulness Practices and Their Relationships with Rumination and Psychological Resilience Happ iness. W e are all presumably striving for it. To be satisfied and fulfilled in all the areas of our lives that have meaning to us. There is a quote by Ernest Hemingway that I connected with very deeply, "happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know". Having been in advanc ed classes from a young age I have considered myself relatively "intelligent" throughout my life, and have spent the majority of my time in academic environments using and building upon my intellectual faculties. I can attest to the relative unhappiness espoused by Hemingway, and I have seen similar trials experienced by friends and fellow students throughout my scholastic career. The analytic lens that is honed in academic atmospheres, if not otherwise delineated is transpose d onto the reality of everyday life. This urge to define, categorize, label, assess appraise, compare, condemn, or otherwise judge causes much more trouble then we realize As Elizabeth Gilbert wrote, "y our emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and yo u are the slave to your emotions" (2007). Conflicting feelings and d ichotomous appraisals of actions as positive or negative, good or bad, right or wrong are constant echoes in our minds. However, t hese destructive internal dialogues and ill fated approac hes to understanding our thoughts and emotions are not specific to the more intellectual bunch I mentioned before. The most recent Stress in America Survey reported that 39% of Americans reported that their stress had increased over the last year, while 44 % reported that their stress had increased over the last five years. And while 94% of Americans
" % believe that stress can contribute to the development of a major illness, a large minority still believe s that stress has a slight to nonexistent effect on thei r own physical and mental health (31% and 36% respectively). Additionally, t he American Institute of Stress reports that 80% of workers feel stress on the job, and nearly 50% say they need help in learning how to manage stress. A wareness of these issues is emerging as well as a desire for some form of assistance to help people cope with stress in more feasible, practical, and effective ways Before getting into what those methods are, we must first analyze stress itself, its roots, and the many capillary p athways that sprout from it into all areas of our daily lives. As an introduction into the research that was done for this study, I will begin by discussing what we commonly refer to as stress, or more specifically, the theoretical mediator between psychol ogical stress and physiological dysregulation. The closely related concept of rumination will be outlined and serve as a measureable construct in the current study. Nex t, the concept of mindfulness will be examined as well as two primary practices that pr omote the formation of a mindful perspective. These two practices are yoga and meditation in their different forms The ancient origins and usages of these practices, as well as modern scientific findings are documented. Lastly the concept of resilience is contextualized and conceptually coalesced with mindfulness as a tr ait that constructively buffers, manages, and processes rumination and stress as a whole The following figure illustrates the proposed relationship between the aforementioned psychological variables:
" & Figure 1. The hypothesized causal relationship between stressors, the psychological reaction of rumination, the application of yoga and/or meditation, and the consequent facilitation of mindfulness and the promotion of resilient psychologica l tendencies. Stress and Rumination Rumination has been defined as "repetitive, negative, and self focused thoughts about the past or future, which manifests as a stable, underlying mechanism that facilitates the development of depressed mood and dysfunc tional attitudes under stress (Trapnell & Campbell 1999 ). Although it is commonly thought that rumination is a negative activity, it has been shown that after traumatic events thinking about the event in a concrete experiential way can actually reduce intr usive memories of the event when compared to thinking about the event in an abstract evaluative way (Maria, Reichert, Hummel, & Ehring, 2012). So the manner in which one ruminates plays a significant role in determining whether the practice will help or hi nder a person psychologically. And so
" the goal for this study is to examine the nature of rumination's underlying mechanism how it manifests, persists, and ultimately can be overcome. To understand more about the internal mechanisms of rumination, the construct of stress must first be explored. The nature of stress is most concretely understood through the lens of biology. Hungarian endocrinologist, Hans Selye is known as the father of stress research, coining the term "stress" and developing the first theory of how stress affects our bodies in his formulation of "general adaptation syndrome" from his observations of the effects of endocrinological chemicals (hormones, steroids, glucocorticoids) on the behavior and biology of mice. Through his research, Selye also discovered the neuroendocrinological pathway by which we experience multiple phases of stress, termed the Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal Axis (HPA axis). Selye's original model of stress incorporated three stages: alarm, resistance, and exhausti on. The alarm stage theoretically initiated the fight or flight response in the sympathetic adrenal medullary system, which among other thing releases epinephrine a hormone that wears many masks and plays a key role in the body's stress response via the HPA axis The resistance stage is where the organism attempts to return to a state of rest or homeostasis, characterized by the negative feedback of cortisol into the hypothalamus in the HPA axis. The final stage occurs when, for one of many reasons, the o rganism does not return to a state of homeostasis. During exhaustion, the initial stress signal is not dampened, and so the stress response continues in the body. This prolonged activation of the stress response eventually causes deterioration and illness in the organism, if the signal remains activated long too long and/or too frequently (Sely e, 1950). This stage is the focus of many modern rumination researchers today.
" ( The form of stress that most a ffects our health today fits into Sely e's last stage of e xhaustion. Despite Selye's inclusion of the concept of prolonged activation of stress in the body in his work in the 1950s, prolonged activation remained unmentioned in prevailing stress theories until more recently at the turn of the millennia. This aspec t of the experience of stress is known by different names today: prolonged physiological stress activity, sustained activity, and allostatic load (Brosschot Pieper, & Thayer 2005; McEwan, 1998; Ursin and Murison, 1983) to name a few. This form of stress h as been analyzed and classified into three main stages: anticipatory responses to potential stressors, slow recovery from stressors, and recurrent activity related to past stressors (Brosschot, et al., 2005). It has been shown in research that psychologic al stressors can codetermine the development and course of somatic disease (Krantz & McCeney, 2002). This phenomenon is c onceptually tethered to similar cognitive research done on visualizations. It has been experimentally witnessed that the mind interpre ts physically performing an action and mentally performing the same action in the same neurological way (Decety, 1996). In one experiment, cardiac and respiratory activity were measured during actual and mental locomotion at increasing s peeds. The results illustrated a relationship between heart rate and pulmonary ventilation with the degree of imagined effort, showing that mental activation of an act can cause the body to react as though it is physically undergoing that act. A second study showed that regi onal cerebral blood flow (rCBF) increased in the same locations for the same task when exhibited both mentally and physically by each participant.
" ) And so the same (or similar) neural and hormonal signals are fired during an imagined or remembered stressor as are when a stressor is initially experienced In fact, studies have shown that the autonomic nervous system recovers much faster from physical stressors (forms of exercise) than from most psychological stressors (Linden, Earle, Geri, & Christenfeld, 19 97). This illustrates how much more slowly psychological stressors take to dissipate and no longer affect us. These repetitious and, in the case of rumination, negative thoughts are taking a toll on our nervous system, unbeknownst to us. Left alone, this t ype of behavior could lead to the deterioration of one's overall physiological and psychological health into more serious and chronic illnesses. Originally it was thought that the appearance of stress itself led to the deterioration of health, however, as we have just examined, it is in the prolonged activation of the stress response that has been shown to induce a pathogenic state that potentially leads to the formation of disease (Ursin & Eriksen, 2004). The allostatic load model (McEwen, 1998) illustrate s how prolonged activation interacts with the body's nervous system, as well as our conscious and unconscious cognitive processes, over time, as a function of the body's natural tendency to move towards equilibrium. The allostatic load model expresses a th eory that regards "the total amount of stress induced physiological activation, over time, as the primary pathogenic pathway" (McEwen, 1998). It can been described as the amount of work exerted by the nervous system in order to acclimate to adverse psycho social and/or physical situations in order to return the body to a state of homeostasis.
" One of the two central components of allostatic load is the chronic elevation in physiologic activity outside of normal operating ranges. This is measured using an op erationalized list of indicators against which one compares themselves to gauge their allostatic load (Seeman, Singer, Rowe, Horwitz, & McEwen, 1997). The most relevant of the indicators are measures of urinary cortisol excretion, as an indicator of hypoth alarnic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis activity; and urinary norepinephrine and epinephrine excretion levels, which are indicators of sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity. A study of elderly persons conducted by Seeman and Charpentier et al. (1994) dem onstrated that having higher allostatic load scores, at baseline, among persons with no reported previous serious illness (i.e. cardiovascular disorder, stroke, or heart attack) predicted a decline in cognitive functioning (in the form of memory and physic al performance), as well as incidences of cardiovascular disorder, two and a half years later (as cited by Ryff & Singer, 1998). This demonstrates how directly related our allostatic loads are to our health and wellbeing. So far we have spoken of the phys iological manifestations of stress and rumination and how our bodies deal and relate to them, but there is a crucial cognitive component that must be examined as well. In the literature this component has been termed perseverative cognition, and represents the psychological mechanism by which repetitive negative thinking elicits the consequent neural, endocrine, and immunological effects on the body and mind. It is the cognitive/conceptual bridge between the initial stressful experience and the continual pr olonged activation of neurolog ical stress signals. Brosschot and Thayer define perseverative cognition (PC) as "the repeated or chronic
" + activation of the cognitive representation of stress related content" (2003). Rumination conceptually emerges from the t heory of perseverative cognition and can be viewed as a form of PC that incorporates repetitive negative thinking on past, present, and future thoughts and events (Trapnell & Campbell, 1999). Roger and Nesshoever (1987) hypothesized that emotional ruminat ion and inhibition predispose individuals to stress related illness by delaying their bodily recovery from stress induced physiological arousal. Roger and Jamieson (1988) w ere one of the first research teams to qualify the relationship between stress and r umination. In their experiment, the participants completed two questionnaires measuring levels of neuroticism and emotional rehearsal. Emotional rehearsal serves as a conceptual analogue for rumination as it was designed to measure what Meichenbaum (1982, p. 702) referred to as the "tendency to mentally rehearse failures while engaging in self denigrating thoughts" (as cited by Roger & Jamieson, 1988 ). Also the study took place before the development of more prominent scales created to measure rumination s uch as the Ruminative Response Scale (Nolen Hoeksema & Morrow, 1991) and the Rumination Reflection Questionnaire (Trapnell & Campbell, 1999). The participants were then hooked up to heart rate monitors which measured their average heart rate over 30 second intervals before during and after the introduction of a moderate stressor. The participants were told that they had to perform a difficult intellectual task that would require them to "think quickly and really concentrate" (Roger & Jamieson, 1988). They were also told that t heir performance on the task was going to be evaluated and compared to that of other students. Next they were given an example of the task. The task
" was the Stroop task where participants had to say aloud the color of the letters of th e word that appeared on the cards in front of them. After completing the task and resting for a predetermined amount of time, they were given a short post task questionnaire as a manipulation check on the experimental conditions. Heart rate reactivity and recovery were measured in association with the scores on the neuroticism and emotional rehearsal scales. The results showed that delayed heart rate recovery was significantly related to the tendency to emotionally rehearse events, thus implicating ruminati ve patterns of thought as cognitive precursors to prolonged physiological activation. It would appear that a major contributing factor to rumination's ubiquitous presence in human behavior would stem from the fact that the majority of rumination is done u nconsciously (Brosschot, Verkuil, Thayer, 2010). The majority of cognitive processing, in fact, happens without awareness and is automatic. This includes moment to moment psychological self regulation, and potentially a large portion of daily emotional pro cessing (including perseverative cognition) as well (Bargh & Morsella, 2008; Kihlstrom, 1987). Further evidence pointing to unconscious processes of rumination is the interesting phenomenon termed the Cortisol Awakening Response (CAR). The CAR is a natural ly occurring, robust increase (50 75%) within the first hour of awakening, which is relatively stable on a daily basis (Wst et al., 2000 ) In individuals with higher state rumination, there was a correspondingly higher average of this cortisol awakening r esponse (Zoccolo, Dickerson, & Yim, 2010) It seems this average high state of stress in
" $" individuals who ruminate is constant and precedes any initial perseverative cognition upon waking up, as if there is a form of neuroendocrine related memory in the bod y. Ultimately, the individual differences in the brain's interpretive input and the body's consequent reactions to environmental stressors are what lead to either vulnerability towards or resilience against the development of stress related illnesses (Lup ien, McEwen, Gunnar, & Heim, 2009). Various physical and cognitive practices are viable tools that an individual can use to counteract rumination and all the pathological tendencies it brings with it. One such tool, that many practices have been developed around and incorporate into their philosophies, is the concept mindfulness. Mindfulness The concept of mindfulness used in modern psychological literature today has its origins in early Buddhist traditions, where it is practiced as the seventh precept o f the Noble Eightfold Path espoused by Siddhartha Gautama (The Buddha). The original Pali word sati translates to presence of mind or attentiveness to the present In 1979 mindfulness was adopted as a form of treatment for patients with varying medical con ditions by Jon Kabat Zinn in his Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program which incorporates mindfulness meditation as well as hatha yoga over an eight week course to treat a number of illnesses as well as promote overall wellbeing. Over the fol lowing three decades, mindfulness would grow in notoriety, research, and practice throughout the west. S earching "mindfulness" today in the PsycINFO database yields 3,493 (2,246 peer reviewed articles) results The definitions of mindfulness vary
" $$ slightly from researcher to researcher, but Kabat Zinn's definition covers almost all the bases : "the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment to moment" (Kabat Zinn 2003, pp. 145 146). In practicing mindfulness, one observes the activities of his or her own mind from a detached objective point of view. This has been referred to as "decentering" (Fresco, Moore, van Dulmen, Segal, Ma, Teasdale, & Williams, 2007) or reperceiving" (Shapiro, Carlson, Astin, & Freedman, 2006). The concept refers to the ability to shift perspectives so one can disidentify from the contents of their consciousness ( thoughts and emotions ) and view one's moment by moment experience with great er clarity and objectivity (Shapiro et al., 2006). While this may seem like a technique used by experienced meditators or learned psychologists, Kabat Zinn refers to mindfulness as a natural human capacity (2003). In fact, in Theravada Buddhism mindfulness (or smrti ) has been termed "bare attention" (Bodhi, 2000), referring to a state in which our conditioned "emotional reactions, evaluations, judgments, and conceptual overlays" are removed (Bodhi, 2006). !"##$%&'()&*'+,-'(&./0012&$3'-4($)&,5$&+$6',4"(754 8&9$,:$$(&-4()#;6($77& '()&87%<5"6"=4<'6&)47,+$77&4(&,5$4+&7$'+<5"+&,5$&;()$+6%4(=&-$<5'(47-7&"#& -4()#;6($77 > 9'7$)&4(,$+?$(,4"(7@&A'+,4<48'(,7&:$+$&'7B$)&,"&<"-86$,$&8+$?4";76%& ?'64)',$)&7<'6$7&"(&-4()#;6($77C&$-",4"('6&+$=;6',4"(C&("(',,'<5-$(,C&+;-4(',4 "(C& '()&87%<5"6"=4<'6&)47,+$77@&D5$&<"++$6',4"('6&7$6# > +$8"+,&)','&75":$)&,5',&$-",4"('6& +$=;6',4"(C&("(',,'<5-$(,C&'()&)$<+$'7$)&+;-4(',4"(&'<,$)&'7&-$)4',"+7&9$,:$$(&
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" $& of most psychotherapies to allow one to have more of a sense of control over his/her cognitive, affective, and behavioral experiences (Strupp, 1970). Overall mindfulness may promote recognition of early signs of problems due to an improvement in their sel f observational capacities and practical coping skills. This experience has also been termed acceptance "experiencing events fully and without defense, as they are" (Hayes, 2002 ). D5$7$&<"84(=&7B4667&)$?$6"8$)&,5+";=5&-4()#;6($77&'67"&86'%&'&+"6$&4(&,5$& <"(7,+;<,&"#&+$7464$(<$@&D5$&,:"&<"(7,+;<,7&75'+$&?$+%&74-46'+&<5'+'<,$+47,4<7&:5$(& ?4$:$)&9%&,5$4+&+$78$<,4?$&+$6',4"(75487&:4,5&)47"+)$+7&7;<5&'7&)$8+$774"(&'()& ,+;'-'@&J",5&7$+?$&'7&'=$(,7&,5',&<'(&'66":&"($&,"&+$<"?$+&'#,$+&7;<<;-94(=&,"& -'6')'8,4?$&7% -8,"-7C&'()&'?$+,&$3'<$+9',4"(&4(,"&-"+$&7$?$+$&)47"+)$+7& .D$'7)'6$C&K$='6C&G&L4664'-7C&IMMNO&D;=')$&G&H+$)+4
" $' become aware of their automatic responses to symptom triggers (2002). In this way, mindfulness may promote a behavioral uncoupling of stimulus response connections that usually preserve malad aptive symptoms and behaviors (Breslin et al., 2002). This finding is consistent with the theoretical rationale for mindfulness based cognitive therapy, a mindfulness based intervention, which posits that mindfulness decreases risk for depression because i t assists individuals in viewing their thoughts and feelings as impermanent mental events. This attitude toward mental events is then hypothesized to disrupt the connection between dysphoric affect and automatic, ruminative, depressogenic thought pa tterns (Teasdale et al., 1995) Further examination into the construct of mindfulness will be approached through the lenses of the practices of meditation and yoga. Meditation The earliest known writings on meditation appear in the Hindu tradition of Vedanta aro und 1500 BCE (Everly & Lating, 2002). There are many styles, qualifications, techniques, and philosophies on how and what meditation is. D.H. Shapiro broadly defines meditation as "a family of techniques which have in common a conscious attempt to focus at tention in a nonanalytical way and an attempt not to dwell on discursive, ru minating thought."(1982, p. 268) A fundamental goal in meditation is to train the mind to disengage from the usual modes of thinking, attention, and reaction to the objects of con sciousness (Austin, 1999). Some meditation practices instruct one to focus inwardly towards thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations, while others ask for the attention to be brought to the environment such as sights and sounds ( Kabat Zinn,
" $( 1994; Linehan, 1993 ). But all agree that it should be practiced with a sense of nonjudgmental acceptance. Although there is no definite definition of meditation, the perspective taken by Daniel Goleman most succinctly emphasizes the core unifying characteristics of med itation. Goleman analyzes the meditative practice in the context of a number of different religious and spiritual philosophies including Hindu Bhakti, Jewish Kabbalah, Christian Hesychasm, Sufism, Transcendental Meditation, Patanjali's Ashtanga Yoga, India n Tantra, Kundalini Yoga, Tibetan Buddhism, Zen, Gurdjieff's Fourth Way, and Krishnamurti's Choiceless Awareness. In his analysis, he identifies the importance of attention as essential across them all. Disregarding idiosyncratic variations on techniques, "all meditation systems are variations on a single process for transforming consciousness the core elements are f ound in every system." (Goleman, 1977, pp.106). Retraining attention is the most agreed upon aspect of meditation across all schools of prac tice. All schools of thought can be categorized into one, or both, major strategies of retraining attention: concentration and/or mindfulness. In concentration, the practitioner focuses his/her attention unwaveringly on a single percept, and continually br ings his or her mind back to it whenever it wanders away from it. The focal point in mind can be an object or a n idea or concept. Concentrative techniques include practices like mantra repetition (the repetition of a thought or word that assists in freeing the mind), gazing at mandalas (circular symbolic artworks that have spiritual and religious meanings towards which one can focus there attention while meditating), Zen koans, physical sensations felt from yoga poses, hunger, pain, or stres s The goal here is to first increase awareness, and
" $) then modify the nature of cognitive or emotional response to these experiences (Kristeller & Johnson, 2005). Whereas mindfulness is described as a "full watchfulness of each successive moment, a global vigilance to the meditator's chain of awareness (Goleman, 1977, pp. 111). This is to say that mindfulness has no particular focal point in mind, but instead has the practitioner pay attention to the moment by moment sensations and perceptions they are experiencing in an attentive and nonjudgmental way. This form of practice incorporates the ongoing movement in the body as a source of dynamic focus. The breath as it is inhaled and exhaled, the subtle electrical tingle felt on the nerve endings of the skin, rise and fall of the belly with the breath; it is all observed without critique or comment. And again, every time the attention wanders, the practitioner gently brings it back to the present moment. Mindfulness meditation has enjoyed the most popularity in the west, in t erms of clinical use and academic research. Mindfulness meditation has shown evidence of reduction in psychological symptomology, anxiety, physiological stress, and chronic pain in experimental settings (Kabat Zinn, Massion, Kristeller, Peters o n, Fletcher, Pbert 1992; Kab at Zinn, Lipworth, Burney, 1985 ). Practicing mindfulness meditation has also been associated to self actualization, a sense of control over one's thoughts and emotions, self regulation of affect, and overall mental well being (Coppola & Sp ector, 2009 ; Strupp, 1970). A study by Carmody and Baer (2008) examined the relationship of mindfulness meditation used in the context of a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
" $* Program. MBSR can be described as a group program focused on the cultivat ion of mindfulness through instruction on meditation, and the integration of this learned capacity into one's everyday life as a resource for coping with intensive physical symptoms and difficult emotions (Kabat Zinn 1994). A total of 174 participants took part in an eight week MBSR program. Each session, 20 25 persons would attend the two and a half hour class, plus an all day session on the sixth weekend. All the participants were verified beforehand as dealing with some sort of stress related problem, il lness, anxiety, or chronic pain. Everyone completed measures of mindfulness, perceived stress, medical and psychological symptoms, and wellbeing both before and after the program. The results showed in creases in mindfulness and well being, and decreases in stress and symptoms, from before to after the program. This provides evidence for the claim that mindfulness meditation helps reduce stress as well as treat certain physical disorders that have their roots in stress. In a related study, Astin (1997) imple mented an eight week stress reduction program based on mindfulness meditation. Twenty eight participants were chosen, given a number of scales measuring psychological symptomato logy, domain specific sense of control, mode of control, and spirituality. They were then randomly assigned to either the experiment al group or the nonintervention control group. After eight weeks, the scales were administered again to both groups and the data were compared. The results showed a reduction in overall psychological sym ptomology (depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive, somatization, interpersonal sensitivity, psychoticism, and paranoid ideation) for those in the meditation group There were also increases in domain specific sense of control, accepting modes of control satisfaction with modes of control, and spirituality
" $+ for those in the meditation group. In sum, the mindfulness program promoted a decrease in psychological symptomology, increase in sense of control and mode of control, and increase in measure of spirit ual experience. In the realm of neurological activity, it has been established that meditation increases alpha and theta activity in the brain. Increased alpha activity is related to higher serotonin activation (Anderer, Saletu, & Pscual Marqui, 2000), wh ile theta activity during meditation was found to be related to a 65% increase in dopamine release (Kjaer, Bertelsen, Piccini, Brooks, Alving, & Lou, 2002). But to simplify, dopamine helps regulate mood and movement while serotonin helps regulate learning, digestion, mood, and sleep to name a few During meditation overall cerebral blood flow also increases (Cahn & Polich 2006) which may play a role in these changes. In one study, the size of the cerebral cortices of individuals in two groups was examined u sing magnetic resonance imaging. One group was a control group with no prior yoga or meditation experience, and the other group consisted of meditators with extensive experience in insight (mindfulness) meditation (between seven and nine years of experienc e and between four and six hours of meditation practice a week). The results showed that practice of meditation is associated with increased thickness in a subset of cortical regions related to somatosensory, auditory, visual and interoceptive processing, as well as slow age related thinning of the frontal cortex (Lazara, Kerrb, Wassermana, Grayc, Greved, Treadw aya, McGarveye, Quinnd, Dusekf, Bensonf, Raucha, Mooreh & Fischl, 2005).
" $, Meditation is seen as a powerful means of engaging a universal psychologi cal process that shifts one's preoccupation with self to a sense of connectedness with others (Kristeller & Johnson, 2005). In practicing this ancient technique, we allow ourselves the opportunity to slow things down, view thoughts and actions from a non e valuative perspective, regain a sense of control, and increase our proficiency at handling life's tasks without having to put life on hold. Yoga The origins of yoga are lost to time. The philosophy of yoga precedes the written word, and so was passed down from master to student through word and practice for an unknown span of time. The earliest mention of the term "yoga" first appears in the Katha Upanishad around 400 BCE, and was defined as the "steady control of the senses... and cessation of mental activ ity" (Flood, 1996). A comprehe nsive exploration of yoga was not produced, however, until about 200 BCE when a renowned scholar of India pieced together the earliest, and what many consider to be the "best and loftiest [written] exposition of Yoga teachings (Brown, 1937 pp. 40). This body of work is known as the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, yoga is referred to as the control of thought waves in the mind (Patanjali). The idea is, through increasing one's awareness of his or her body, one's attention is drawn to more visceral feelings and expressions of thoughts and emotions that can be felt as tension. With this awareness yoga allows for a physical release and management of stress through various breathing, stretching, balancing and relaxation poses and exercises. In essence, yoga gives practitioners the tools to sense,
" %" locate, address, manage, and cope with somatic, and subsequently psychological, stress that may manifest in the body, and as we will come to understand, the mind as well. In the west, one of the first person s to postulate a link between the mind and the body was the controversial psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich. Although his fringe theories on the importance of orgasms garnered him much infamy, he is considered one of the founding fathers of somatic psychology. He was the first among psychoanalysts to notice physical manifestations of repressed emotions in the bodies of his patients. He referred to this visible phenomenon as body armor the physical manifestation of t he corresponding psychological defense mechanism that he referred to as character armor. He conceptualized the cause of the armor as "an aggregate of repressed instinctual demands which were directed towards the outer world [standing] in opposition to an a ggregate of defense forces which maintained the repression" (Reich, 1972 pp. 311). Reich introduced touch into his practice (coined vegetotherapy) and noticed that releasing the muscular tension in his patience aided in, and in some cases directly spurred, outpours of emotional release and psychological well being. These accounts are not sourced from empirical journals, but are instead historical reports that serve to lay the conceptual groundwork for the current study. These original mind body connections conceptualized and expanded upon by Reich and the developing field of somatic psychology, paved the way for the western world to acknowledge the intimate interconnection of our thoughts and emotions with our physicality. Now that grounds for a mind body c onnection have been laid, the empirical results of the effect of yoga on psychological qualities can be examined. The research on
" %$ yoga in recent decades has illuminated a number of salutary effects that the practice of yoga has on its practitioners. For in stance, there is growing evidence that yoga improves mental health, decreases anxiety and stress, and facilitates an increase in psych ological well being (Ross & Thomas, 2010; Posadzki & Parekh, 2009; Gupta, Khera, Vempati, Sharma, & Bijlani, 2006). An es timated 7 million Americans were recorded through surveys as practicing yoga in 1998 In the following ten years the number of yogis doubled to about 15.8 million in 2008 Recent statistics presented by Yoga Magazine estimate that there has been a 30 perce nt increase in American yogis in the last four years to approximately 20.4 million in 2012 (Birdee, Legedza, Saper, Bertisch, Eisenberg, & Phillips, 2008; http://www.statisticbrain.com/yoga stat istics/ ; Yoga Magazine). This growth in popularity of yoga not only provides potential students with more availability of locations and teachers, but it also allows for practicing yoga to become more accessible to more people who in the past perhaps were not able to experience yoga due to the relatively high costs of necessary materials and classes. Some researchers frame the reason for yoga practice as it serving as a catalyst for change by improving one's life through the cultivation of a vigorous and flexible body and mind that can adapt to fluctuating circumstances, and at the same time regulate their internal state. These are skills that both foster and maintain mental and physical wellbeing (Barton, 2011). Yoga is now widely acknowledged as a benefi cial tool in biomedical and behavioral health, and has been used by a variety of diverse clinical populations.
" %% The physical and psychological benefits of yoga include increased cardiopulmonary and central nervous system (CNS) function and reduced respirat ion rate, blood pressure, fatigue, and symptoms of anxiety and depression (Collins, 1998; Dusek & Benson, 2009; Posadzki & Parekh, 2009). Yoga has also been shown to increase positive affect and decrease negative affect (Impett, Daubenmier, & Hirschman, 20 06) Another aspect that showed improvement in relationship with yoga was quality of life (Granath, Ingvarsson, Von Thiele, & Lundberg, 2006). Recent studies have even incorporated such illnesses as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Schizophrenia as co cond itions nstructs that could be treated by yoga (Duraiswamy, Thirthalli, Nagendra, & Gangadhar, 2007; Integral Yoga Magazine, 2009). In Duraiswamy et al.'s study, a group of 61 schizophrenic participants were randomly assigned to one of two therapy conditions Physical Therapy (PT) or Yoga Therapy (YT). Participants partook in their respective therapy conditions for four months. Measurements were taken at baseline and at the end of the four months when the therapies were completed. While all participants show ed a decrease in levels of psychopathology, those participants in the YT group showed significantly less psychopathology compared with those in the PT group. The YT group also showed significantly greater social and occupational functioning and quality of life. In an interview with Integral Yoga Magazine, renowned PTSD specialist and psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk spoke of his clinical experience with yoga as a treatment for patients with PTSD:
" %& "PTSD causes memory to be stored at a sensory level in the body. Yoga offers a way to reprogram automatic physical responses. Mindfulness, learning to become a careful observer of the ebb and flow of internal experience, and noticing whatever thoughts, feelings, body sensations and impulses emerge are important co mp onents in healing PTSD Yoga helps regulate emotional and physiological states. It allows the body to regain its natural movement and teaches the use of breath for self regulation. By keeping time as they stay in a posture for a limited amount of time, t hey get to observe that discomfort can be tolerated until they shift into a different posture. The process of being in a safe space and staying with whatever sensations emerge and seeing how they come to an end is a positive imprinting process. Yoga helps them befriend their bodies that have betrayed them by failing to guarantee safety ."(para 14 & 15). In yoga, the act of accepting the discomfort of a pose and breathing into the strained muscles allows for the body and mind to acclimate to the new position and mimics the nonjudgmental and accepting relationship that mindfulness meditation takes towards intrusive thoughts and feelings. The practice of yoga has been shown to encourage the development of mindfulness, along with a number of other beneficial qua lities. Gard, Brach, Hlzel, Noggle, Conboy, and Lazar (2012) assigned participants into experimental and control groups. The participants were matched for age, gender, and education. The experimental group was chosen to participate in a semester long yoga in tensive. The intensive was four months long and had participants doing five hours of yoga practice, breathing exercises, as well as meditation on a daily basis. Both groups completed the questionnaires before
" %' and after the course period. The results sho wed that participation in the intensive predicted increased quality of life decreased perceived stress, with levels of mindfulness and self compassion acting as a mediator between stress and quality of life. Based on these results, Gard et al posited that yoga based interventions and mindfulness based intervention may share an underlying mechanism in common. The practice of yoga seems to also have exponential effects the longer one has practiced it. Brisbon and Lowery (2011) recruited partici pants from a Hatha Yoga s chool and placed them into beginner and advanced groups based on their level of experience (those with under five years of experience were placed in the beginner group and those with more than five years were placed in the advanced group). Part icipants were asked to complete the Mindfulness Attention and Awareness Scale (MAAS; Brown & Ryan, 2003) and the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS; Cohen et al. 1 983). T he advanced practitioners scored significantly higher in mindfulness and significantly lower in perceived stress than the beginner practitioners. Resilience Resilience is a concept with multiple existing definitions and conceptualizations amongst researchers. Although general characteristics have been detailed, there is no empirically based defi nition of resilience that is universally accepted (Yehuda & Flory, 2007). The two main components that most resilience theorists can agree on are that there is sufficient risk that the individual is faced with, and that markers of resilience should cover m any domains and be apparent across an extended time period (Collishaw et al.,
" %( 2 007). Given those parameters, there are theories and structures that have gained more support than others, and have been consolidated by some researchers that have attempted to popularize a common underlying theoretical construct of resilience so as to allow for evaluations and comparisons to be made across a multitude of studies (Davydo, Stewart, Ritchie, & Chaudieu, 2010). It is through this method of selection that the interpr etation of resilience in question will primarily be examined, along with brief mentions of other conceptualizations. Our perception of threats and our multi leveled responses to those threats are primarily shaped by the unique differences in what McEwen ca lls "constitutional" (genetics, development, experience), "behavioral" (coping mechanisms and health practices), and "historical" (trauma/abuse, major life events, stressful environments) elements that ultimately establish our resiliency to stress (1998). One group of researchers loosely defines psychological resilience as the "tendency to overcome factors that place one at risk for psychological dysfunction and to adjust positively in the aftermath of a potentially traumatic event" (Thompson, Arnkoff, & Gl ass, 2011). This basic definition encompasses the main components of resilience as espoused by two prominent resilience researchers who have formulated their respective theories on the matter. Those constructs are Lepore and Revenson's three faceted theory of resilience and Bonanno's more parsimonious concept of resilience. While some researchers conceptualize resilience as an outcome, the view of resilience in this study is of resilience as a process. Lepore and Revenson believe that the construct of resi lience is made up of three subsuming facets: recovery, resistance, and reconfiguration (2006). They define recovery as a trauma related psychological
" %) disruption that is eventually resolved by means of active interaction of the traumatized individual. This view is congruent with the definition of resilience put forth by Tugade and Fredrickson, "quick and effective recovery after stress" (2004). This is where Bonanno strays in his theory of resilience as he disapproves of recovery as being considered a fact or of resilience. Recovery for Bonnano is psychological dysfunction that resolves itself no less than several months after the initial trauma (2004). Although he admits to there being multiple avenues that foster resilience, he differentiates between recov ery and resilience by illustrating that during stressful events, a recovering individual will experience "subthreshold symptom levels of pathology" (symptoms of depression and/or posttraumatic stress disorder), while a resilient individual will for the mos t part display a stable trajectory of healthy functioning over time (2004; Bonanno, Papa, & O'Neill, 2001). Still there are measurements of resilience that operationalize the term as a measure of health that despite deterioration after exposure to adversit y, postliminarily returns to pre exposure levels (Davydov, Stewart, Ritchie, & Chaudieu et al. 2010). The second factor is resistance, and is held by many researchers as key to the structure of resilience. Resistance is conceptualized as normal function ing that is undisturbed by trauma exposure (Lepore & Revenson 2006). Patel and Goodman view this aspect as a protection mechanism that preserves a certain standard of health despite adversities (2007). An example of this aspect of resilience is apparent in a longitudinal epidemiological study known as the Isle of Wight study. The study commenced in 1964 and examined psychopathology, peer relationships, family functioning, and demographics on subjects at ages 8 9, 14 15, and 44 45. In the study, a portion of the
" %* population had experienced repeated or severe physical or sexual abuse in childhood. The majority of this group reported consequently higher than average rates of psychopathology in adolescence and adulthood. A significant minority, however, showed no signs of mental health issues in adulthood (Collishaw et al., 2007). These findings point to an ability in those psychologically unaffected individuals to resist the development of psychopathology despite the adversities they had undergone. The final f actor of resilience is reconfiguration. Reconfiguration is theorized to take place when behavioral changes, thoughts, and emotions facilitate adaptation and alteration to trauma (Lepore & Revenson, 2006). Reconfiguration is analogous to the similar constru ct known as posttraumatic growth defined as the positive psychological change experienced as a result of the struggle with highly challenging life circumstances (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 2004), and has been compared and empirically correlated to the construct of reconfiguration (Nishi, Matsuoka, & Kim, 2010). An additional factor often included in the conceptualization of resilience is the general promotion of mental health through the experience of positive emotions. A model of behavior that exemplifies thi s promotional view of positive emotions is Fredrickson's broaden and build theory (1998). In this theory, positive emotions are said to have an expansive effect on an individual's thought action repertoire, while negative emotions are described as having n arrowing effects. Therefore, positive emotions would broaden one's scope of att ention, cognition and action, giving way to a wider array of thoughts, perc eptions, and possible actions making available a larger selection of one's physical, intellectual, and soc ial resources (Fredrickson, 2000 ). Positive emotion then, accordi ng to
" %+ Isen (1990), produces a broad, flexible cognitive organization and ability to integrate diverse material" (as cited by Fredrickson & Branigan, 2005). These broad and flexible cogn itive processes are part of what make psychological resilience the conceptual adversary of rumination. Rumination has been associated with maintenance, through repetitious thinking, and exacerbation of negative mood states (Nolen Hoeksema & Morrow, 1993) Rumination stagnates one's cognitive behavioral processes by continuously activating the same thoughts and feelings ad infinitum While resilient strategies provide more beneficial cognitive behavioral avenues that strive to promote and maintain an overall sense of wellbeing. Caldwell and Shaver (2012) analyzed the correlations of 388 students on a number of scales dealing with affect and attachment style, but the two scales of interest here were the Ruminative Response Questionnaire (RRQ) and the Ego Resi liency Scale (ERS). Plainly enough the RRQ measured levels of rumination and the ERS measured psychological resilience. The correlations showed that rumination was negatively associated with resilience with significance at the p <.01 level. Given these fac ts, along with the opposing nature of the two constructs, it is hypothesized that resilience and rumination will also prove to be negatively associated in the current study. Current Study The current study examine d the relationships among the construc ts of mindfulness, the practices of meditation and yoga, rumination, and psychological resilience. Mindfulness has consistently been shown to act as an agent that diffuses and
" %, buffers against depression and repetitive negative thinking both central compo nents and produ cts of construct of rumination (Astin, 1997 ; Sanders & Lam, 2010; Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002; Teasdale, Segal, Williams, Ridgeway, Soulsby, & Lau, 2000). Additionally, mindfulness and the construct of resilience both incorporate copin g with stressful stimuli in constructive non avoidant and adaptive manners, and have been shown to be related to one another in post trauma situations (T hompson, Arnkoff, & Glass, 2011 ). The practice of meditation is conceptually interwoven with mindfulne ss in many ways including being a practice utilized in mindfulness based therapies to bring about a n attentive and nonreactive perspective in the participants (Baer, 2003). Similarly, the practice of different forms of yoga has been coupled with mindfulnes s therapies and have been shown to aid in the development of mindful attitudes (Astin, 1997; Brisbon & Lowery, 2011). Accordingly, it was hypothesized that experience in yoga and/or meditation would promote higher levels of mindfulness and resilience, and promote lower levels of rumination. Additionally, previous research in posttraumatic growth ( Daydoz et al., 2010; Levine et al., 2009; Thompson et al., 2011) show s resilience buffering against stress and ruminative thoughts leading to depression, therefore it was hypothesized that resilience would promote lower levels of rumination. And finally, as evidenced by the studies linking experience in independent yoga and meditation practice to increased mindfulness and overall wellbeing, the combined experience o f two years or more in both yoga and meditation was hypothesized to have an exaggerated effect on promoting higher mindfulness and resilience and lower ruminati on than the rest of the sample.
" &" Method Participants The original participants were twenty six individuals who were members of one of five online forums. The topics of the forums ranged from yoga, to meditation, to alternative lifestyles. The forums included were the "meditation" discussion on the spiritscience.net forum, the "general yoga" discuss ion on the abc of yoga forum, the "health" discussion in the alternative lifestyles forum on hipforums.com, the "meditation, practice, and the path" discussion on the Vipassana forum, and the "health and yoga" discussion on the moving into stillness forum. Of the twenty six participants, twenty three completely filled out the surveys, with a total of seven questions left unanswered between them all. Of those twenty three participants, three of them were excluded for not being at least 18 years of age. Th is left a total of 20 participants, twelve of whom identified as male, seven as female, and one participant identified as other. The median age of participants was 23 years old with a range of 18 63. Materials Mindfulness The Five Facet Mindfulness Questi onnaire Short Form (FFMQ SF) (Bohlmeij er, Klooster, Fledderus, Veehof & Baer, 2011) is a 24 item scale 5 point Likert scale, shortened from the original 39 item Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (Baer, Smith, Hopkins, Krietemeyer, & Toney, 2006). The five subscales within the FFMQ SF are
" &$ observation, non reaction, non judgment, acting in awareness, and describing. The observation subscale measures the ability of one to simply observe the sensations they are presented in the moment without judgment. The non react facet measures one's ability to not react to or get carried away by thoughts and feelings as they experience them. The non judgment subscale measures one's ability to take a non evaluative stance towards one's internal experiences. The describe facet measures one's ability to describe and label their internal experiences with words. Finally the act with awareness subscale measures one's ability to bring their full awareness and exclusive attention to their current experience (Baer et al, 2006). Half of the items are reversed scored, with the values of each subscale calculated by summing their respective item values. Of the five original facets of mindfulness, three were used to analyze data for the current study. The three chosen subscales were N on React, Non Judgment, and Act with Awareness. An example of one of the items is I watch my feelings without getting carried away by them ", chosen from the non react subscale. The motive for this change was that the additional facets of Observe and Desc ribe were deemed unnecessary for a robust measurement of mindfulness. The Observe facet measured very similar behaviors and tendencies to the Act with Awarene ss and Non Judgment subscales, while the ability to articulate one's experiences in words (the Des cribe facet) was not seen as a valid representation of mindfulness, with little to no empirical evidence to substantiate its claim. Also, during the validation of the FFMQ SF Observe and Describe were consistently shown to be the two facets that showed the least significant correlations with various mindfulness related constructs (Bohlmeijer et al., 2011).
" &% Rumination The Ruminative Response Scale (RRS) (Nolen Hoeksema & Morrow, 1991) is a 22 item 4 point Likert scale that asks participants to address how o ften they engage in a series of depressive, brooding, or reflective thoughts. The RRS has been used extensively and displayed good internal consistency (Cronbach's a = .82), and moderate to high test retest reliability over 1 year (r = 0.47, p < .001) (Jus t & Alloy, 1997; Kuehner, & Weber, 1999; Nolan, Roberts, & Gotlib, 1998). All the questions are asked in the context of how often the participant takes part in a particular action. An example of one of the items is, how often do you t hink about your feeli ngs of fatigue and achiness ". To calculate the individual scores the sum of all the items are taken. The scores are relative to the population one is testing; the top 33% of the sample are is considered high ruminators while the bottom 33% are considered l ow ruminators. Resilience The Inventory of Positive Psychological Attitudes (IPPA) (Kass, Friedman, Leserman, Caudill, Zuttermeister, & Benson, 1991) is a 32 item 7 point Likert multidimensional self r eport instrument that measures positive attitudinal domains that buffer against stress and facilitate psychological resilience. The IPPA has two subscales: Life Purpose and Satisfaction (LPS) consisting of the first 17 items, and Self Confidence During Stress (SCDS) made up of the remaining 15 items. Bo th subscales averaged together make up the Confidence in Life and Self (CLS). The life purpose and satisfaction subscale measures, on a continuum, the generalized perceptions of life satisfaction, personally constructed forms of meaning, and ontologically derived forms of meaning. The self confidence during stress subscale measures one's perceived internal
" && locus of control, positive forms of external locus of control, and habitually calm responses reflective of perceptions of ontological security. The confi dence in life and self scale overall measures the extent to which one holds a unified positive worldview representative of the values measured in the two subscales of whic h the CLS is made (Kass & Kass, 2000). An example of one of the items is "My daily ac tivities are" from which the participant chooses from 1 to 7 with one representing not a source of satisfaction and seven representing a source of satisfaction ". The attitudinal constructs were intended to be responsive to worldviews of culturally dive rse populations (Simmons & Lehmann, 2013). The combined confidence in life and self scale (CLS) was used in the current study as opposed to utilizing the subscales. The reason for this decision was primarily for simplicity and to use a more unified constru ct of resilience instead of a compartmentalized conception of resilience that highlighted more specific components that were not of specific import for the purpose of the study. Demographics Eight brief demographic questions were inserted at the end of th e survey Three questions were directed towards meditation asking whether or not one currently practices in meditation, how long in months and years they have been practicing, and how often weekly (in minutes and hours) they practice. The next three quest ions were in the same format but applied to yoga. The last two questions asked the age and g ender of the participants. All b ut two of this set of questions (excluding the yes/no questions about currently practicing meditation and yoga) were free response.
" &' Procedures The surveys were created using New College of Florida's Psychology department account on SurveyMonkey.com (a web based survey development program/website that allows for surveys to be created and linked back to the site so that data from those surveys can be organized and analyzed in real time as they are completed by participants who have been led to the survey via a link that pertains to each specific survey) with a consent form and the demographic questions. Five online forums were chosen to recruit participants. The criteria for the selection of the forums were that no membership fee was required, no specified duration of membership was required to post, donations were not required in order to post surveys, and that the forums dealt with one or a combination of these topics: meditation, yoga, health, and/or alternative lifestyles. Once the forums were chosen, a membership was established, using the same account information for each. A post was then written and inserted into a related discuss ion thread in each of the forums. A link to the survey was inserted at the end of each post. Although the post was slightly different for each forum, the general post read: "Hello everyone, I'm conducting a study for my undergraduate thesis on yoga, medit ation, and different psychological traits. [I then stated personal experiences pertaining to the forum or discussion to legitimize myself as someone who had some level of experience on the topic, as well as personalizing the post so that it was not deleted by the moderators as a spam post]. The survey should take between 10 15 minutes. If you have any questions about the survey or my study feel free to contact me."
" &( After three weeks, the number of surveys completed had stagnated at 28 (with 15 participants actually completing the entire survey), so a secondary post was added to each of the forums restating the information presented in the initial post and requesting any additional participants to take the survey. In addition, a link to a lecture by Jon Kaba t Zinn entitled "Mindfulness with Jon Kabat Zinn" was posted to each of the posts to contribute some educational/informative material to the forums as opposed to requesting participation from forum members with no apparent compensation or contribution to t he discussions. After another week the surveys seemed to taper off once again at a total of 41 (with 23 completing the entire survey) participants. Due to time constraints, more time was not able to be taken to allow for more participants. The survey was t hen closed and the data were collected and sorted out for analysis. Results To reiterate, the hypotheses for the outcome of the surveys anticipated five main relationships between the three scales and participant variables. The first hypothesis dealt with the subscales of the Short Form of the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ SF): Nonreact (NR), Nonjudgment (NJ), and Act with Awareness (AA). The nonreact subscale measures the tendency to not allow one's self to immediately react or get carried aw ay with thoughts and emotions that arise within them. The nonjudgment subscale measures the extent to which one takes up a nonevlauative perspective towards their internal experiences. The act with awareness subscales refers to one's ability to give their undivided attention to his or her current activity/experience.
" &) These three mindfulness subscales were hypothesized to be related with low rumination (as measured by the Ruminative Response Scale (RRS)). The RRS defines r umination as a form of coping with negative mood that incorporates self focused attention in the form of self reflection and repetitive and passive focus on one's negative emotions (Treynor, Gonzalez, & Nolen Hoeksema, 2003). Additionally, the mindfulness subscales were also thought to be r elated with higher levels of resilience (as measured by the combined Confidence in Life and Self scale (CLS) of the Inventory of Positive Psychological Attitudes (IPPA)). Resilience here is conceived as a combination of one's sense of purpose and personall y constructed meaning in their life, as well as one's behavior and sense of internal, external and ontological security and control during stressful situations. Next, it was hypothesized that the measurements for experience of meditation and/or yoga would similarly be associated with lower levels of rumination and higher levels of resilience the more experience one had. Fourthly rumination and resilience scores were thought to have an inverse relationship, that is, the more resilience one showed the less r umination they displayed and vice versa. Lastly, those who had sufficient (two years or more) experience with both yoga and meditation were hypothesized to score higher than average on mindfulness and resilience and lower than average in rumination. There were no hypotheses regarding the participant variables of weekly yoga practice and weekly meditation practice. A Pearson Correlation was used to analyze the possible correlation between variables in all but one of the hypotheses. However, a Mann Whitney test was conducted
" &* to test the fifth and final hypothesis. This allowed for calculations to be made to identify whether there was a significant difference among mindfulness, resilience, and rumination between participants with high combined yoga and medita tion experience versus the rest of the sample. The Relationship Between Mindfulness, Rumination, and Resilience The findings showed that among the three subscales chosen from the FFMQ SF (Nonreactive, Nonjudgment, and Acting with Awareness) all three were negatively co rrelated with rumination: NR r (18) = .72, p = .0005; NJ r (19) = .69, p = .0007; AA r (19) = .59, p = .0064. The relationship between mindfulness and resilience showed a positive correlation between both variables: NR r (18) = .6 1, p = .006; NJ r (19) = .54, p = .0140; AA r (19) = .50, p = .0234. Yoga Experience in terms of Mindfulness, Rumination, and Resilience The level of experience that the participants had in yoga was positively correlated to the Acting with Awareness subscale of mindfulness, r (19) = .53, p = .0173. However, there were no significant correlations between the other two hypothesized subscales of mindfulness, NR r (18) = .10, p = .6705; NJ r (19) = .35, p = .1363. Yoga experience was shown to have a m arginally significant negative correlation with rumination, r (19) = .40, p = .0843. Yoga experience and psychological resilience did not show any significance when correlated, r (19) = .30, p = .2022. There were no significant correlations between weekly yoga practice and any of the hypothesized variables. Meditation Experience in terms of mindfulness, rumination, and resilience
" &+ Level of experien ce with meditation was also positively correlated with the Acting with Awareness subscale of the mindfulness qu estionnaire, r (19) = .48, p = .0335. There was a marginally significant correlation between meditation experience and the nonreactive subscale, NR r (18) = .43, p = .0661. Similar to yoga experience, there was no significant correlation between meditati on experience and the nonjudgment subscale, NJ r (19) = .31, p = .1810. Meditation experience w as also negatively correlated with rumination, r (19) = .49, p = .0280. Finally, like yoga experience, meditation experience was not significantly correlated with resilience, r (19) = .27, p = .2533. There were also no significant correlations between weekly meditation practice and any of the hypothesized variables. Resilience and Rumination As posited by previous research, scores for both subscales and the ov erall average score of the resilience scale were shown to be negatively correlated with rumination scores CLS r (19) = .58, p = .0080. Combined Yoga and Meditation Experience The final analysis was a Mann Whitney test that looked for a significant d ifference between those participants with high combined yoga and meditation experience. In total there were five participants that satisfied the necessary qualifications of two years or more of experience in both meditation and yoga, which were compared wi th the remaining fifteen participants on the variables of rumination, resilience, and the three subscales of mindfulness. T he analyses yielded no significant relationships : RRS
" &, U (1) = 2.34, Z = 1.49, p = .1259; CLS U (1) = 1.01, Z = 0.96, p = .3155; NJ U (1) = 0.69, Z = 0.79, p = .4050; NR U (1) = 0.22, Z = 0.42, p = .6423; AA U (1) = 1.31, Z = 1.01, p = .2529. A Note on Statistical Power Given the obviously low number of participants in this study, post hoc statistical power analyses were calc ulated for the marginally significant and non significant results to show that non significant calculations in the study should not be accepted as definitive. All of the interactions in question were between experience in meditation and experience in yoga, respectively, and the hypothesized variables they were compared with. These statistical power computations were done using a .05 criterion for statistical significance. In between the non react subscale of mindfulness and experience in yog a the power w as 88%. This suggests that even with a larger sample size, these two variables would still most likely not have an interaction. Non judgment and experience in yoga showed 8.5% statistical power which would suggest that a larger sample size would yield mo re representative data for the relationship between these two variables. Between experience and yoga and rumination there was 38.5% statistical power, again showing that the sample size is too small in this study to yield an accurate portrayal of this rela tionship. The relationship between experience in yoga and resilience exhibited a low statistical power once again at 12.9%, discrediting the validity of the calculations done on this relationship in the current study. Calculations for the statistical powe r of experience in meditation were also included. The statistical power of the relationship between experience in meditation and
" '" the non react subscale of mindfulness was a very low 5.7%, displaying the intrinsic misrepresentation of this relationship. Non judgment and experience in meditation demonstrated 11.3% power in their relationship. Finally, resilience and experience in meditation had 17.8% statistical power in their relationship, again reinforcing the lack of statistical qualifications needed to ge nerate valid statistical results. Had an a priori analysis been done using hypothesized effect sizes at different intervals (due to the lack of statistical information available on the given population) then it would have been calculated that in order to achieve at least 75% statistical power the study would have needed: forty five participants with a hypothetical effect size of 0.4, twenty five participants with an effect size of 0.6, and ten participants with an effect size of 0.8. Discussion Overview of Result s The study examine d the relationships between mindfulness, the practices of meditation and yoga, rumination, and psychological resilience. Mindfulness has frequently shown a negative relationship with the construct of rumination in various studi es (Astin, 1997 ; Sanders & Lam, 2010; Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002; Teasdale, Segal, Williams, Ridgeway, Soulsby, & Lau, 2000). Ad ditionally, mindfulness and resilience are both related to coping with stressful stimuli and promoting a constructively a daptive behaviors ( Daydoz et al., 2010 ; Th ompson, Arnkoff, & Glass, 2011). The practice s of meditation and yoga are also intimately tied to mindfulness
" '$ through the work they do on attentive and nonreactive perspective taking (Baer, 2003). Accordingly, it w as hypothesized that experience in yoga and/or meditation would promote higher levels of mindfulness and resilience, and promote lower levels of rumination. R esearch in posttraumatic growth ( Daydoz et al., 2010; Levine et al., 2009; Thompson et al., 2011) show s resilience buffering against stress and ruminative thoughts therefore it was hypothesized that resilience would pro mote lower levels of rumination Lastly as evidenced by the studies linking independent yoga and meditation pr actice to increased mind fulness, reduced stress, and increased wellbeing (Astin, 1997; Gard et al., 2012). Lastly, t he combined experience of two years or more in both yoga and meditation was hypothesized to have an exaggerated effect on promoting higher mindfulness and resilienc e and lower ruminat ion than the rest of the sample based on evidence of experience in meditation and yoga, respectively, leading to increased mindfulness and brain functioning in areas of attention (Lazara et al., 2005; Brisbon & Lowery, 2011). The result s of the analyses done on the twenty surveys completed by members of various online forums showed surprisingly significant results given the small sample size. Mindfulness was shown to promote higher resilience and was related to experience in yoga and med itation, as well as promoting lower levels of rumination. Yoga experience was not shown to have any relationship with rumination or resilience, while meditation experi ence promoted less rumination, but showed no relationship to resilience. As hypothesized, resilience was shown to promote lower levels of rumination. Finally, there were no significant relationships between combined yoga and meditation experience and any of the other scale variables.
" '% Implications for Therapists The implications that this stu dy presents for therapists are that of practical exercises and techniques for developing a way to cope with stress that promoting resilience against ruminative thought patterns that have been shown to promote the formation of depressive and anxiety disord ers, as well as other psychopathologies (Hilt & Pollak, 2012; Nolen Hoeksema, 2000). Mindfulness based therapies have been well established through studies and application of techniques to thousands of individuals over the last four decades. However, priva te individual practice of yoga or meditation for patients are economical (both can be practiced for free on one's own time) practices that can be used routinely instead of the eight week intensives or weekend workshops that are normally associated with mor e expensive formal mindfulness therapies. This would allow a number of patients whose income brackets and schedules do not allow them to attend these intensives. Implications for L aypeople As stated above, the findings of this study lend credence to the individual practice of yoga or meditation for the overall promotion, maintenance, and protection of one's mental and physiological wellbeing. As stated in the stress section, perseverative cognition can be linked to the formation and exacerbation of many p revalent illnesses that plague adults living in the United States (and around the world) today The cognitive, emotional, and physiological calibration that yoga and/or meditation can potentially offer, with proper practice and experience, is a practical, economic, and sustainable method for maintaining and promoting one's overall wellbeing.
" '& Limitations and Future Directions There are a number of factors that led to inefficiencies and overall statistical and empirical weaknesses in the study. There are als o a number of improvements that could be applied in the future that could produce a more effective study design. The structuring of the survey for one could have been altered in ways that made it more digestible for potential participants. These changes in clude fewer questions which could have been achieved by choosing smaller scales, such as the 15 item Mindfulness Attention and Awareness Scale (MAAS) to replace the 24 item Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire, or the 6 item Brief Resilience Scale (BRS) to replace the 32 item Inventory of Positive Psychological Attitudes (IPPA). Changes of this nature could have also aided in increasing the sample size by changing some of the more overt questions to a more subtle group of questions. For instance, items l ike number fourteen of the IPPA, "I feel trapped by my circumstances", in where participants are asked to mark w hether they agree or disagree with the statement on a seven point Likert scale, could very well have made some participants uncomfortable and ca used them to end their survey before completing it in its entirety. Another alteration that could have led to more fruitful empirical circumstances is targeting a wider population of participants. The participants were strictly drawn from online forums o ver a period of a month, which even if all the individuals that began the survey had completed it, only 41 participants would have been gathered. With a larger and more diverse pool of potential participants to pick from, additional participant
" '' variables s uch as non meditators and non yogis could have been included, and comparisons between practitioner and non practitioners could have been made. An additional facet that led to a smaller sample size was the brief amount of time that the survey was promoted and made available. Given a longer exposure time, and regular updates and reposts to each forum, a larger sample size would most likely have resulted. Another matter involves the demographic questions section. One issue is the placement of the questions. I n the survey the eight demographic questions were placed at the end after the seventy eight previous questions pertaining to the three scales. This being the case, those that completed the first or two of the three surveys could not be included in the anal yses because their participant variables were missing. The other concern about the demographic questions was the clarity and specificity of the questions in inquiring about meditation and yoga experience. Eliminating superfluous items such as "Do you prac tice yoga", or using answer dependent questions would also make the survey more efficient. For instance, if the previously stated question prompted different actions depending on the answer (i.e. skipping the rest of the yoga questions if the answer was "n o") the question would have been valid, but this was not the case. Also, structuring the questions so that they were not free response, but instead participants would be instructed to enter numerical values for their answers with the relevant unit of tim e made more apparent and absolute. For example, instead of "How long, in years and months, have you practiced yoga?", the item could read "How many months of yoga experience do you have?" while instructing the participant to answer all the following experi ence questions using numerical inputs.
" '( Conclusion The present study reemphasized the connections between rumination and mindfulness, while showing how both constructs relate to psychological resilience. The connection of these variables to one's experien ce in meditation and/or yoga was also evidenced, despite some lack of significance due to low statistical power. Overall the results of this study promote the notion that the practice of yoga and/or meditation fosters the development of mindfulness, which in turn is shown to be associated with less rumination and higher psychological resilience. These proactive and holistically beneficial practices help one achieve a state where their mind and body are spared the relentless psychological and physiological s tress of everyday functioning for a period of time, and given a sense of calm control and awareness over their cognitive and physical states of being. If these practices were taught and implemented correctly, th ey have beneficial implications that could p ositively affect institutions of every kind educational, economic, political, health, financial, social, and many other forms. Increased constructive awareness and attention on our thoughts and behaviors can allow for more insightful reflection and purpo seful intention in our daily lives. In a world where we still destroy and contaminate ecosystems to quench our ever growing need for resources and energy, where multinational corporations built on unsustainable philosophies of ever increasing profit hold m ore political and legislative weight in government than the citizens of the nations of which those governments are in place to protect and benefit, a world where natural herbs with salubrious qualities are made illegal for no legitimate
" ') reason, and where s o many people suffer from illnesses directly caused by unhealthy lifestyles that they continuously choose to lead. In such an ass backwards world we can only benefit from thinking things through, distancing ourselves from distracting stressors enough to ma ke sensible decisions for our present and future lifestyles, and to essentially formulate a deeper understanding of our individual and collective roles in this cosmic play. I deeply believe that the praxis of mindfulness practices such as yoga and meditati on can facilitate such a transmutation
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" )" Appendix A ll three scales used in the study were manually entered into surveymonkey.com. They appear here as they did to the participants when they took the surveys online, save for the title of the scale above each one that I have added. Because of formatting probl ems, it appears that the IPPA starts on its fourth question, but it is in fact the first question on that scale. Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire Short Form (FFMQ SF; Bohlmeijer, Klooster, Fledderus, Veehof, & Baer, 2011) Below is a collection of st atements about your everyday experience. Using the 1 5 scale below, please indicate, in the box to the right of each statement, how frequently or infrequently you have had each experience in the last month (or other agreed time period). Please answer accor ding to what really reflects your experience rather than what you think your experience should be. 1) never or very rarely true 2) not often true 3) sometimes true/sometimes not true 4) often true 5) very often or always true 1. I'm good at finding the w ords to describe my feelings 2. I can easily put my beliefs, opinions, and expectations into words 3. I watch my feelings without getting carried away by them
" )$ 1) never or very rarely true 2) not often true 3) sometimes true/sometimes not true 4) often true 5) very often or always true 4. I tell myself that I shouldn't be feeling the way I'm feeling 5. It's hard for me to find the words to describe what I'm thinking 6. I pay attention to physical experiences, such as the wind in my hair or sun on my face 7. I make judgments about whether my thoughts are good or ba d. 8. I find it difficult to st ay focused on what's happening in the present moment 9. When I have distressing thoughts or images, I don't let myself be carried away by them
" )% 1) never or very rarely true 2) not often true 3) sometimes true/sometimes not true 4) often true 5) very often or always true 10. Generally, I pay attention to sounds, such as clocks ticking, birds chirping, or cars passing 11. When I feel something in my body, it's hard for me to find the right words to describe it 12. It seems I am "running on automatic" with out much awareness of what I'm doing 13. When I have distressing thoughts or images, I feel calm soon after 14. I tell myself I shouldn't be thinking the way I'm thinking 15. I notice the smells and aromas of things 16. Even when I'm feeling terribly upset, I can find a way to put it into words
" )& 1) never or very rarely true 2) not often true 3) sometimes true/sometimes not true 4) often true 5) very often or always true 17. I rush through activities without being really attentive to them 18. Usually when I have distressing thoughts or images I can just notice them without reacting 19. I think s ome of my emotions are bad or inappropriate and I shouldn't feel them 20. I notice visual elements in art or nature, such as colors, shapes, textures, or patterns of light and shadow 21. When I have distressing thoughts or images, I just notice them and let them go 22. I do jobs or tasks automatically without being
" )' 1) never or very rarely true 2) not often true 3) sometimes true/sometimes not true 4) often true 5) very often or always true aware of what I'm doing 23. I find myself doing things without paying attention 24. I disappro ve of myself when I have illogical ideas Ruminative Response Scale (RRS; Nolen Hoeksema & Morrow, 1991) People think and do many different things when they feel depressed. Please read each of the items below and indicate whether you almost never, sometimes, often, or almost always th ink or do each one when you feel down, sad, or depressed. Please indicate what you generally do, not what you think you should do. 1) Almost Never 2) Sometimes 3) Often 4) Almost Always 1. Think about how alone you feel 2. Think "I won't be able to do my job if I don't snap out of this" 3. Think about your feelings of fatigue and achiness 4. Think about how hard it is to conce ntrate
" )( 1) Almost Never 2) Sometimes 3) Often 4) Almost Always 5. Think about how passive and unmotivated you feel 6. Analyze recent events to try to understand why you are depressed 7. Think about how you don't seem to feel anything anymore 8. Think "Why can't I get going?" 9. Think "Why do I always react this way?" 10. Go away by yourself and think about why you feel this way 11. Write down what you are thinking and analyze it 12. Think about a recent situation, wishing it had gone better 13. Think "I won't be able to concentrate if I keep feeling this way" 14. Think about how sad you feel 15. Think about all your shortcomings, failings, faults, mistakes 16. Think about how you don't feel up to doing anything 17. Analyze your personality to try to understand why you are depressed 18. Go someplace alone to think about your
" )) 1) Almost Never 2) Sometimes 3) Often 4) Almost Always feelings 19. Think about how angry you are with yourself 20. Think "Why do I have these problems that other people don't have?" 21. Think "Why can't I handle things better?" 22. Think "What am I doing to deserve this?" Inventory of Positive Psychological Attitudes ( IPPA; Kass, Friedman, Leserman, Caudill, Zuttermeister, & Benson, 1991 ) 4 Most of the day, my energy level is 1) Very Low 2) 3) 4) Neutral 5) 6) 7) Very High 5. As a whole, my life se ems 1) Dull 2) 3) 4) Neutral 5) 6) 7) Vibrant 6. My daily activities are
" )* 1) Not a source of satisfaction 2) 3) 4) Neutral 5) 6) 7) A source of satisfaction 7. I have come to expect that every day will b e 1) Exactly the same 2) 3) 4) Neutral 5) 6) 7) New and different 8. When I think deeply about life, 1) I feel there is no purpose to it 2) 3) 4) Neutral 5) 6) 7) I feel there is a purpose to it 9. I fe el that my life so far has 1) Not been productive 2) 3) 4) Neutral 5) 6) 7) Been productive 10. I feel that the work* I am doing *The definition of work is not limited to income producing jobs. It includes child care, housework, studies, and volunteering. 1) is of no value 2) 3) 4) Neutral 5) 6) 7) is of great value
" )+ 11. I wish I were different from who I am 1) Agree Strongly 2) 3) 4) Neutral 5) 6) 7) Disagree strongly 12. At this time, I have 1) Not clearly def ined goals for my life 2) 3) 4) Neutral 5) 6) 7) Clearly defined goals for my life 13. When sad things happen to me or other people 1) I cannot feel positive about life 2) 3) 4) Neutral 5) 6) 7) I continue to feel positive about life 14. When I think about what I have done with my life, I feel 1) Worthless 2) 3) 4) Neutral 5) 5) 6) 7) Worthwhile 15. My present life 1) Does not satisfy me 2) 3) 4) Neutral 5) 6) 7) Satisfies me 16. I feel joy in my heart
" ), 1) Never 2) 3) 4) Neutral 5) 6) 7) All the time 17. I feel trapped by my circumstances 1) Agree strongly 2) 3) 4) Neutral 5) 6) 7) Disagree strongly 18. Wh en I think about my past, 1) I feel many regrets 2) 3) 4) Neutral 5) 6) 7) I feel no regrets 19. Deep inside 1) I do not feel loved 2) 3) 4) Neutral 5) 6) 7) I feel loved 20. When I think about my problem s, 1) I do not feel hopeful about solving them 2) 3) 4) Neutral 5) 6) 7) I feel very hopeful about solv ing them 21. When I am under a great deal of pressure 1) I get tense 2) 3) 4) Neutral 5) 6) 7) I remai n calm 22. I react to problems and difficulties
" *" 1) With great frustration 2) 3) 4) Neutral 5) 6) 7) Wi thout frustration 23. In a difficult situation, I am confident that I will receive the help I need 1) Strongly agree 2) 3) 4) Neut ral 5) 6) 7) Strongly disagree 24. In stressful circumstances, I experience anxiety 1) All the time 2) 3) 4) Neutral 5) 6) 7) Never 25. When I have made a mistake during a stressful situation 1) I feel extreme dislike for myself 2) 3) 4) Neutral 5) 6) 7) I continue to like myself 26. When a situation becomes difficult, I worry that something bad is going to happen to me or those I love 1) All the time 2) 3) 4) Neutral 5) 6) 7) Never 27. In a stressful situation, 1) I cannot concentrate 2) 3) 4) Neutral 5) 6) 7) I can concentrate
" *$ easily 28. During stressful circumstances, I am fearful 1) All the time 2) 3) 4) Neutral 5) 6) 7) Never 29. When I need to stand up for myself 1) I cannot do it 2) 3) 4) Neutral 5) 6) 7) I can do it easily 30. I feel less than adequate in difficult situations. 1) Agree strongly 2) 3) 4) Neutral 5) 6) 7) Disagree strongly 31. In times of stress, I feel isolated and alone 1) Agree strongly 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) Disagree strongly 32. In really difficult situations 1) I feel unable to respond in positive ways 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) I feel able to respond in positive ways 33. When I need to relax during stressful ti mes 1) I 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) I
" *% experience no peace only thoughts & worries am peaceful, free of thoughts & worries 34. In a frightening situation 1) I panic 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) I remain calm 35. During stress ful times, I worry about the future 1) All the time 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) Never Demographic Questions 36. Do you practice yoga? Yes, I do. No, I do not. 37. How long, in years and months, have you practiced yoga. (If this doesn't apply enter N/A) 38. How often do you do yoga on a weekly basis, in hours and minutes? (If this doesn't apply enter N/A) 39. Do you meditate?
" *& Yes, I do. No, I do not. 40. How long, in months and years, have you been practicing meditation? (If this doesn't a pply enter N/A) 41. How often do you meditate on a weekly basis, in minutes? (If this doesn't apply enter N/A) 42. What gender do you identify as (male, female, other) 43. What is your age in years?