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A natural meditation setting improves compliance with mindfulness training
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute for Housing and Urban Research.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9970-9164
2019 (English)In: Journal of Environmental Psychology, ISSN 0272-4944, E-ISSN 1522-9610, Vol. 64, p. 98-106Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The setting matters in meditation, but most research has neglected it. Many mindfulness-based health interventions emphasize effortful attention training exercises in sparsely furnished indoor settings. However, many beginners with attention regulation problems struggle with the exercises and drop out. In contrast, restoration skills training (ReST) – a five-week course set in a garden environment – builds on mindfulness practices adapted to draw on restorative processes stimulated effortlessly in nature contacts. Expecting that the ReST approach will facilitate the introduction to mindfulness, we compared drop-out and homework completion records from four rounds of ReST vs. conventional mindfulness training (N = 139). Randomly assigned ReST participants had lower drop-out and more sustained homework completion over the course weeks. Supporting the theoretical assumptions, higher restorative environmental qualities and state mindfulness mediated the compliance differences. The improved acceptability with ReST means that more people can enjoy the long-term benefits of establishing a meditation practice.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2019. Vol. 64, p. 98-106
Keywords [en]
Mindfulness, Nature, Restoration, Environment, Compliance, Acceptability
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-390941DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2019.05.008ISI: 000484869600010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-390941DiVA, id: diva2:1343288
Available from: 2019-08-16 Created: 2019-08-16 Last updated: 2019-10-17Bibliographically approved
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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Lymeus, FreddieLindberg, PerHartig, Terry

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