⌛ Facets Of Mental Health

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Facets Of Mental Health

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Read Full Story Lisette I have been a medical laboratory technologist for 30 years. During this time, I experienced two burnouts. I am a mental health advocate and ally. Although I do not live with mental illness, several of those in my professional and personal circle do. Read Full Story. For 20 years, I tried anti-depressant medications, psychiatrists, psychologists and self-help books, but nothing seemed to work completely. I believe the medication helped bring me out of the depths, but I only reached my full potential for a few months of the year. Recovering from depression varies widely from one person to another and is dependent on many factors.

Some people will experience it once or twice in their lifetime. For me, it has been a lifelong struggle. I remain hopeful, however, that one day I will overcome this. I think what has helped more than anything has been my mindset. I used to be very pessimistic, but now I try to see the positive in every situation and I take time to really relax. Mental health can be a difficult subject to talk about, especially at work. It is something that is hard to see and measure compared to the lab results we are used to reporting on a daily basis.

Although you may not think you are visibly sick, mentally you may be struggling. For me, it took a long time to realize I was running on empty and had been for some time. I was exhausted. Between working shift work, taking care of my family of five and trying to keep up with my constant to-do list, there was nothing left of me. I did not take the time I needed to focus on any of my wants or needs. So used to putting myself last, as most of us do, I did not take time to relax and unwind.

I thought I could just keep going and going with one foot in front of the other. I had too many things to do so I would go to bed late and get up early almost all the time. I had been running this cycle for so long that it got to a point where I felt like I was carrying a heavy ball in my stomach stuck behind my navel and I lost my appetite. I would walk around and at any moment felt like I could cry being triggered by random events.

It was so bad, I began to avoid feelings altogether. Even watching TV and seeing someone get arrested on a cop show would trigger big emotions filled with anxiety. No matter what I thought I could do to feel better, usually a quick fix like more naps and indulging in my favourite drinks or food did not help. My problems increased to a point where, while on a date with my husband, I was sitting in a restaurant and felt like my entire body was shaking and I wanted to jump out of my skin. We had to quit our date early since I was having difficulty breathing and resisting the urge to puke. I just could not relax. Turns out, all of my symptoms were signs that my body was telling me I had too much adrenaline circulating my body and I did not have a way to get it out.

Since I had put my body into fight or flight for too long, my body was exhausted. I realized I needed serious help before this became worse. I wisely sought guidance from my doctor who agreed I should seek counselling provided from the Employee Assistance Program through work. I learned to recognize many important points, including making sleep count and getting more than 7 hours every night.

I began journaling again, which is a nice way to get my thoughts out of my head and leave them on paper instead thinking and rethinking all night long. The highest intercorrelation was observed between Factors 3 and 4. Factor 3 subsumed only two scales with high loadings: The Decentering subscale Distanced Perspective and Nonreactivity. Notably, none of the FFMQ facets loaded highest on any of the common factors. Nonjudging, Nonattachment, Accepting Self-Perception, and Inhibitory Control had only weak factor loadings each ranging between 0. Nonjudging loaded on Factors 4 and 5, and Inhibitory Control loaded on Factors 1 and 3.

The factor loadings of Nonattachment were distributed over Factors 2 to 4 and of the Decentering subscale Accepting Self-Perception over Factors 2 to 5. Compared with non-meditators, regular meditators showed significantly higher means in all common factors. The final measurement invariance model was combined with a path model to test the associations of the common factors with mental health. Table 4 displays the standardized path coefficients and the variance of psychological symptoms and perceived stress accounted for by the common factors. Overall, Factor 4 was associated the most with psychological symptoms and perceived stress, Factor 1 the least; Factor 3 appeared more important among regular meditators than non-meditators and Factor 5 more important among non-meditators than regular meditators.

Whereas the associations of the common factors with the outcomes were mostly negative, where significant, the associations of Factor 2 with anxiety and somatization were positive in both groups. The most variance was accounted for depression and perceived stress, the least for somatization. The results are presented in Table 4. Overall, the marker scales accounted for less outcome variance than the five common factors.

However, in direct comparison, they accounted for more variance than the FFMQ facets on their own. This psychometric study set out to examine whether some of the proposed mechanisms of mindfulness might be among the defining elements of the construct, as assessed in self-report, investigating samples of both regular meditators and non-meditators alike. We found that five common factors underlay the facets of mindfulness, as measured with the FFMQ, and measures of attention regulation, body awareness, emotion regulation, decentering, and nonattachment.

This suggests that the FFMQ and some of the proposed mechanisms of mindfulness are not factorially distinct, but arise from the same underlying factors, which we perceive as elements of the supporting mechanisms and faculties of mindfulness. Thus, one may argue that the FFMQ is not a mere measure of mindfulness, but already of some of its supporting mechanisms and mental faculties, which may explain the overlap of self-reported mindfulness with constructs like neuroticism and the apparent gains of mindfulness in non-mindfulness-based therapies. Three of the common factors Factors 3 to 5 covered different aspects of emotion regulation. This highlights the known overall importance of emotion regulation for the construct of mindfulness e.

Decentering Factor 3 , is one of the two factors the other being Factor 2 , which appeared to a relevant extent higher among regular meditators than non-meditators in the current study. As further suggested by the current results, decentering is also a mechanism, which unfolds its associations with mental health only among those with regular meditation experience. This result is corroborated by previous findings, which suggest an altered, more important, role of Nonreactivity which also loads on this factor for mental health among regular meditators, compared with non-meditators Tran et al.

This adds to the evidence that decentering may be an important and defining element of mindfulness Shapiro et al. The current findings further corroborate that decentering, as measured with the EQ, is no unitary construct and that subscale scores should be used in research Gecht et al. Both factors were broadly and similarly associated with mental health among regular meditators and non-meditators alike, and mean differences between regular meditators and non-meditators were only small. Previous research has highlighted the overall importance of emotion regulation for mindfulness. However, the current results suggest that Factors 4 and 5 may also be responsible for part of the overlap of the mindfulness construct with constructs like neuroticism Giluk and increases of mindfulness in non-mindfulness-based treatments Goldberg et al.

Emotion regulation accounts for most of the associations of dispositional mindfulness with mental health among the general population Burzler et al. However, emotion regulation also exhibits close links with neuroticism for a meta-analysis of neuroimaging studies, see Servaas et al. Spinhoven et al. This needs to be considered when assessing the associations of self-reported mindfulness with mental health and in treatment research. Nonattachment was previously described as a mindfulness-related construct that is empirically distinguishable from the mindfulness facets Sahdra et al. In the present study, nonattachment was found to load diffusely on more than one factor, which leads to a different conclusion.

Clearly, nonattachment deserves further investigation in the future. It bears resemblance to the concept of cognitive defusion in acceptance and commitment therapy Hayes et al. In the current study, these factors appeared to be more specific of meditation experience than Factors 4 and 5: Attentional Control for theoretical reasons e. Despite this, associations with mental health were small and mostly negligible for these two factors and—corroborating previous results e. An association of Observing with lower mental health has been reported previously for non-meditators, but not meditators e. Also, yoga, in its Western, postural, and gymnastic asana-based style, might lack the meditative practice needed to foster an accepting attitude, especially if not trained for a long enough time.

Siegling and Petrides argued that Observing and its underlying factor should be omitted from the assessment of mindfulness in non-meditating samples. The current results add that one might skip the assessment of Attentional Control in non-meditating samples as well. Both factors, Attentional Control and Body Awareness, apparently did not capture relevant beneficial associations of mindfulness with mental health. Yet, both factors together with Factor 3, see above might be interesting for comparisons of meditators and non-meditators and might help in distinguishing between different types of meditation empirically e. Thus, we suggest assessing these two factors specifically in research on meditation styles, but not necessarily in investigations of dispositional mindfulness.

None of the FFMQ facets loaded highest on any of the five factors. This suggests that even though the FFMQ apparently loaded on the common five underlying factors, other measures might do so with higher validity. Mindfulness scales, including the FFMQ, have been criticized for their complicated item formulations Bergomi et al. Items of some of the marker scales of the five common factors in the current study i.

Similarity of item content of these and other scales demands further attention in future research. This is backed by the observation that the marker scales also accounted for more variance of the examined mental health outcomes than did the FFMQ facets—not only in the current study but also compared with previous studies Tran et al. Further, the use of alternative, and empirically validated, scales may make the links and conceptual overlaps of self-reported mindfulness with the constructs of other research fields more visible to researchers and practitioners.

This may help in both guarding against conceptual confusion and strengthen the profile of mindfulness. Additionally, researchers should consider utilizing behavioral measures of mindfulness as well e. Strengths of the present study include its application of ESEM, the large sample sizes, the conducted group comparisons, the detailed analysis of subscales, and the consideration of individual psychological symptoms as outcome variables instead of overall symptom scores. This level of detail allowed pointing out several specific associations between the mindfulness dimensions with specific groups and psychological symptoms. Limitations concern the operationalization of mindfulness as a trait rather than a state cf. Tanay and Bernstein Trait and state mindfulness may exhibit differential associations with the proposed mechanisms of mindfulness.

Also, detailed analyses on the item level of both the mindfulness and mechanism measures were beyond the scope of this study. Our analysis is informative with regard to scale and subscale scores which are mostly used in applied research , but not the item level. Even though reliability was mostly high see Supplemental Materials , we cannot rule out that some of the utilized scales and subscales may have departed from unidimensionality or contained items with weak psychometric properties. This may be specifically true for the NAS. Yet, in addition to stated reasons of retaining comparability with some previously published studies, we also refrained from using the abridged NAS-7 as it had a lower reliability.

Regular meditators and non-meditators were distinguished only according to their self-reported frequency of practice which may be prone to error. Furthermore, the use of alternative indices and cutoffs for testing measurement invariance may have changed the results of the present study somewhat. Finally, a cross-sectional design, as in the present study, appears to be adequate for the investigation of the associations of the proposed mechanisms of mindfulness with psychological outcomes. However, future studies could take advantage of a longitudinal design to allow for causal interpretations.

Future studies should also focus on specific meditation styles and standardized interventions Van Dam et al. The current sample of regular mediators was relatively large, but groups were too small to investigate differences between specific meditation styles. Also, item level analyses and behavioral measures of mindfulness and neuroimaging methods may need to be included in future studies to assess the generalizability of the present results across modalities other than self-report and to control for the psychometric properties of self-report measures also on the item level.

In addition, future studies should also take a closer look on the semantic overlap of the utilized measures e. Nonetheless, the results of the present study may guide future studies in developing new interventions and improving therapeutic effects. Annells, S. Radiography, 22 1 , 54— Article Google Scholar. Baer, R. Assessment of mindfulness by self-report: the Kentucky Inventory of Mindfulness Skills.

Assessment, 11 3 , — Article PubMed Google Scholar. Using self-report assessment methods to explore facets of mindfulness. Assessment, 13 1 , 27— Construct validity of the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire in meditating and nonmeditating samples. Assessment, 15 3 , — Behling, O. Translating questionnaires and other research instruments: problems and solutions. Thousand Oaks: Sage. Book Google Scholar. Bergomi, C. The assessment of mindfulness with self-report measures: existing scales and open issues.

Mindfulness, 4 3 , — Bieling, P. Treatment-specific changes in decentering following mindfulness-based cognitive therapy versus antidepressant medication or placebo for prevention of depressive relapse. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 80 3 , — Bishop, S. Mindfulness: a proposed operational definition. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 11 3 , — Booth, T. Exploratory structural equation modeling of personality data. Assessment, 21 3 , — Brown, K. Mindfulness: theoretical foundations and evidence for its salutary effects. Psychological Inquiry, 18 4 , — Burzler, M. Mechanisms of mindfulness in the general population. Mindfulness, 10 3 , — Chiesa, A.

Does mindfulness training improve cognitive abilities? A systematic review of neuropsychological findings. Clinical Psychology Review, 31 3 , — Mindfulness: top—down or bottom—up emotion regulation strategy? Clinical Psychology Review, 33 1 , 82— Creswell, J. How does mindfulness training affect health? A mindfulness stress buffering account. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23 6 , — Delgado-Pastor, L. Dissociation between the cognitive and interoceptive components of mindfulness in the treatment of chronic worry. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 48 3 , — Ehring, T. Characteristics of emotion regulation in recovered depressed versus never depressed individuals.

Personality and Individual Differences, 44 7 , — Fliege, H. The perceived stress questionnaire PSQ reconsidered: validation and reference values from different clinical and healthy adult samples. Psychosomatic Medicine, 67 1 , 78— Franke, G. Google Scholar. Fresco, D. Initial psychometric properties of the Experiences Questionnaire: Validation of a self-report measure of decentering. Behavior Therapy, 38 3 , Freudenthaler, L. Emotion regulation mediates the associations of mindfulness on symptoms of depression and anxiety in the general population. Mindfulness, 8 5 , — Gao, L. Differential treatment mechanisms in mindfulness meditation and progressive muscle relaxation.

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