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<p>Mindfulness has been associated with better psychological and physical health; although, the mechanisms of these benefits are poorly understood. We explored the role of mindfulness in stress-health pathways among undergraduates at a large public university. Participants reported on demographic and academic variables and completed data collection at two time points during the academic semester, approximately one month apart. At each collection, measures of mindfulness, perceived stress, and psychological well-being were gathered. Students provided two days of home-based saliva collection for assessment of cortisol. Mean scores were computed for each of the measures, over the two assessments. Hierarchical multiple regressions adjusting for GPA, hours of paid employment per week, minority status, and living situation explored the impact of mindfulness in our stress-health model. Students with higher dispositional mindfulness reported significantly less perceived stress and had lower overall mean diurnal cortisol. Mindfulness was associated with greater psychological well-being. Exploratory analyses suggested that future research should explore the potential mediating or moderating relationships between mindfulness, perceived stress, and cortisol. Findings suggest that mindfulness may help attenuate both psychological and physiological stress responses to college stress.</p>
The body scan is a somatically oriented, attention-focusing practice first introduced into clinical practice as part of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. Developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, the MBSR program brings together a range of techniques and practices unified by a common theme — that of cultivating mindfulness. Mindfulness is defined predominantly as moment-by-moment attention focused in the present, in a nonjudgmental manner (Kabat-Zinn 1990). Described as a “clinic, in the form of an 8-week course” (Kabat-Zinn 2003, p. 149), MBSR has been adapted for various clinical populations, including individuals with eating disorders (Kristeller and Hallett 1999) anxiety (Kabat-Zinn et al. 1992), cancer (Speca, Carlson, Goodey & Angen, 2000; Lengacher et al. 2009), chronic pain (Kabat-Zinn, Lipworth, & Burney, 1985) and fibromyalgia (Sephton et al. 2007). MBSR was also the inspiration for a well-validated clinical intervention for depression: Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), developed by Segal, Williams, and Teasdale (2013).The MBSR program typically consists of an introductory informational meeting followed by eight, 2½-h group meetings with an all-day retreat on the weekend of the sixth week (Kabat-Zinn 1990). Participants are expected to commit to 45 min of home practice, 6 days of the week for the entire 8-week program. As the first formal home practice, the body scan is frequently participants’ initial encounter with mindfulness. Though the body scan serves as a foundation for all subsequent practices in the MBSR program, it has received remarkably little individualized attention. This relative lack of theoretical exploration may be an artifact of what McCown, Reibel and Micozzi (2010) note as a tendency of MBSR scholars to favor sitting meditation over other forms of practice. Whatever the reason, little has been written on the body scan in terms of its background, unique clinical contributions, and prospects for expanded clinical use. In this article we consider each of these facets in turn, with the intention of locating the body scan in the broader spectrum of clinical psychology practice.
Acceptance and Mindfulness in Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Understanding and Applying the New Therapies brings together a renowned group of leading figures in CBT who address key issues and topics, including:Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy Metacognitive therapy Mindfulness-based stress reduction Dialectical behavior therapy Understanding acceptance and commitment therapy in context