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Mindfulness meditation training in a natural setting particularly helps people with attention problems
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Keywords [en]
Mindfulness, Restoration, Attention, Meditation, Nature, Environment
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-391657OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-391657DiVA, id: diva2:1345474
Available from: 2019-08-25 Created: 2019-08-25 Last updated: 2019-08-25
In thesis
1. Mindfulness training supported by a restorative natural setting: Integrating individual and environmental approaches to the management of adaptive resources
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Mindfulness training supported by a restorative natural setting: Integrating individual and environmental approaches to the management of adaptive resources
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis integrates restorative environments research and mindfulness research: two disparate but related approaches to managing the demands of modern living. Both offer ways to improve attention regulation by detaching from routine mental contents and engaging with present experience. However, restoration works bottom-up, from supportive environmental features, while mindfulness meditation works top-down, through effortful training. Complementarities between the two are the foundations of restoration skills training (ReST), a five-week mindfulness-based course that uses mindful sensory exploration in a natural setting to build a meditative state effortlessly. As in conventional mindfulness training (CMT), ReST involves a learning structure to teach versatile adaptive skills.

Data were collected in four rounds, with successively refined versions of ReST given in a botanic garden and formally matched CMT given indoors. Data were collected to test short-term outcomes of practice sessions and long-term course outcomes. Four papers aim to determine whether ReST confers similar health benefits as CMT and has specific advantages related to lower effort and enhanced restoration. Paper I shows that on repeated measurement occasions across the course weeks, attention tests obtained before and after ReST practice sessions showed restorative effects (improved performance) consistently for general attention and increasingly for executive attention. In contrast, CMT practice indoors incurred increasing effort (deteriorated performance) seen in general attention. Despite these different short-term outcomes, ReST and CMT conferred similar generalized improvements over the course weeks. Paper II shows that ReST compared with CMT had higher course completion and better establishment of a regular practice. Compliance was mediated through perceived restorative qualities in the meditation setting and state mindfulness during the classes. Paper III shows that ReST was attended by at least similar benefits for general psychological functioning as CMT. Ratings of dispositional mindfulness and attention problems remained improved six months after ReST. After CMT, only attention problem ratings remained improved. However, chronic stress ratings were not lastingly improved with either course. Paper IV shows that with ReST, participants with higher initial ratings of attention problems subsequently completed more homework practice during the course. Homework practice in turn explained part of the improvement in dispositional mindfulness and attention problems. With CMT, homework practice was unrelated to initial attention problems and improvement. In conclusion, ReST is a promising alternative for people who struggle under heavy attention demands; effortful training is not necessary to improve attention regulation in early stages of mindfulness training. The theoretical and practical integration can guide further exchange between these related research fields.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2019. p. 159
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 171
Keywords
Mindfulness, Restorative, Environment, Meditation, Setting, Training, Attention, Adaptation, Attention, Resource, Integration, Individual, Environmental
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-391661 (URN)978-91-513-0735-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-10-18, Sydney Alrutz-salen, Blåsenhus, von Kraemers Allé 1, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-09-26 Created: 2019-08-25 Last updated: 2019-10-15

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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Language
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Output format
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