• Compassionate mind coaching

      Anstiss, Tim; Gilbert, Paul; University of Derby (Kogan Page, 2014-09-03)
    • Does a natural environment enhance the effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)? Examining the mental health and wellbeing, and nature connectedness benefits

      Jorgensen, Anna; Sheffield, David; Choe, Eun Yeong; University of Sheffield; University of Derby (Elsevier, 2020-06-24)
      This study investigated whether the impacts of a commonly used wellbeing intervention, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), are enhanced when combined with the benefits of exposure to a natural environment. Participants (n = 99) were randomly assigned to a weekly one-hour MBSR in one of three different environments (i.e. natural outdoor, built outdoor and indoor environments) over a six-week period. Participants’ wellbeing outcomes and nature connectedness were measured at baseline, during the intervention and at one-week and one-month follow up. The results show that the mental health and wellbeing outcomes of MBSR are greater when it carried out in a natural outdoor environment compared with indoor or built environments. Moreover, participants in the natural outdoor environment showed sustained improvements even after one month from completion of the intervention. This study supports the potential value of natural environments as settings for the enhancement of health care delivery and therapeutic interventions.
    • An exploration of formal and informal mindfulness practice and associations with wellbeing.

      Birtwell, Kelly; Williams, Kate; van Marwijk, Harm; Armitage, Christopher J.; Sheffield, David; University of Derby; University of Manchester; NIHR School for Primary Care Research Manchester England; Brighton and Sussex Medical School University of Brighton; NIHR Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (Springer., 2018-05-21)
      Mindfulness has transdiagnostic applicability, but little is known about how people first begin to practice mindfulness and what sustains practice in the long term. The aim of the present research was to explore the experiences of a large sample of people practicing mindfulness, including difficulties with practice and associations between formal and informal mindfulness practice and wellbeing. In this cross-sectional study, 218 participants who were practicing mindfulness or had practiced in the past completed an online survey about how they first began to practice mindfulness, difficulties and supportive factors for continuing to practice, current wellbeing, and psychological flexibility. Participants had practiced mindfulness from under a year up to 43 years. There was no significant difference in the frequency of formal mindfulness practice between those who had attended a face-to-face taught course and those who had not. Common difficulties included finding time to practice formally and falling asleep during formal practice. Content analysis revealed “practical resources,” “time/routine,” “support from others,” and “attitudes and beliefs,” which were supportive factors for maintaining mindfulness practice. Informal mindfulness practice was related to positive wellbeing and psychological flexibility. Frequency (but not duration) of formal mindfulness practice was associated with positive wellbeing; however, neither frequency nor duration of formal mindfulness practice was significantly associated with psychological flexibility. Mindfulness teachers will be able to use the present findings to further support their students by reminding them of the benefits as well as normalising some of the challenges of mindfulness practice including falling asleep.
    • Fears of compassion and happiness in relation to alexithymia, mindfulness, and self-criticism.

      Gilbert, Paul; McEwan, Kirsten; Gibbons, L.; Duarte, Joana; Matos, Marcela; Kingsway Hospital, Derby; University of Coimbra (British Psychological Society, 2011-11-08)
      Background. Thereisincreasingresearchtosuggestthatfearsof,andresistancesto, affiliativeandpositiveemotionsarelinkedtoself-criticismandarangeofpsychopathologies.Itisunclearhowthesefearsandresistancesarelinkedtoeachotherandhowthese inturnarelinkedtopsychologicalprocesses,suchasabilitiestobemindfulandrecognize and describe emotions. Objectives. Thisresearchexplorestherelationshipbetweenfearsofcompassionand happinessingeneral,withcapacitiesforemotionalprocessing(alexithymia),capacitiesfor mindfulness, and empathic abilities. Toadvance this research, a new scale was developed to measure general fears of positive feelings – the Fear of Happiness Scale. Results. The results showed that fears of compassion for self, from others and in particular fear of happiness, were highly linked to different aspects of alexithymia, mindfulness, empathy, self-criticism and depression, anxiety and stress. Especially noteworthy was the very high correlation between fear of happiness and depression (r =.70). Conclusion. While the development of positive emotions, especially those linked to affiliation and connectedness are increasingly seen as important therapeutic targets, little research has focused on the blocks and fears to positive emotions. This study used newly developed fears of positive affect scales (e.g., compassion and happiness) to explore these aspects and found they were significantly linked to psychopathology variables self-criticism and difficulties such as alexithymia.
    • The impact of walking environment and connectedness to nature, mindfulness and empathy: A comparison of natural and urban locations

      Birdsall, Kerry; Harvey, Caroline; University of Derby (2016-09-10)
      Immersion in nature has been demonstrated to improve health and well-being, and has also been found to increase measures of trait nature connectedness. However, the effect of such an environment on other personality traits remains in question. An experiment was conducted to examine the effect of urban and natural walking environments and time on measures of nature connectedness, mindfulness, cognitive empathy and affective empathy. Participants (N=44) conducted a thirty-minute walk on three consecutive days and measures of the dependent variables were taken pre and post intervention. A series of factorial mixed design ANOVAs were used to assess the impact of walking in urban and rural environments on the dependent variables. The results indicated that walking in a natural environment significantly increased nature connectedness, mindfulness and cognitive empathy over time but did not have a significant main effect on affective empathy. This research highlights the potential of interventions involving walking in natural environments for positive psychological outcomes in terms of the enhancement of desirable personality traits.
    • The integration of the workable range model into a mindfulness-based stress reduction course: a practice-based case study

      Rose, Sally A.; Sheffield, David; Harling, Martyn; University of Leeds; University of Derby; University of Nottingham (Springer, 2017-08-29)
      Didactic teaching about stress is part of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) curriculum. The content and methods of integrating conceptual teaching within the experiential pedagogy are rarely explored. Workable range is a model of stress and emotion regulation that illustrates patterns of physical, emotional and cognitive reactivity in relation to mindful presence. This is a qualitative case study of the inclusion of the workable range model into an MBSR course as a refinement of the didactic teaching about stress. The focus is to illuminate how the inclusion worked in practice. Ten staff, on a MBSR course in a higher educational setting, were recruited as participant researchers with an overlap between their own first-person investigation during the course and the research data. Adapted diagrams and written answers to two question schedules, completed as reflective exercises within the course, were analysed thematically using template analysis. This revealed how participant researchers engaged with and intuitively used the model to notice and describe their own patterns of feeling balanced or stressed and explore how they related to those experiences. How learning the model integrated with MBSR and the applicability of workable ranges as a teaching resource in MBSR is discussed. The study highlights questions about how conceptual and experiential teaching and learning interrelate in mindfulness-based interventions. There is scope for further research using mindfulness practice as a first-person methodology to investigate the processes within mindfulness-based programs.
    • The origins and nature of compassion focused therapy

      Gilbert, Paul; University of Derby; Mental Health Research Unit; Asbourne Centre; Kingsway Hospital; Derby UK (Wiley, 2014-02-21)
      Compassion focused therapy (CFT) is rooted in an evolutionary, functional analysis of basic social motivational systems (e.g., to live in groups, form hierarchies and ranks, seek out sexual, partners help and share with alliances, and care for kin) and different functional emotional systems (e.g., to respond to threats, seek out resources, and for states of contentment/safeness). In addition, about 2 million years ago, (pre-)humans began to evolve a range of cognitive competencies for reasoning, reflection, anticipating, imagining, mentalizing, and creating a socially contextualized sense of self. These new competencies can cause major difficulties in the organization of (older) motivation and emotional systems. CFT suggests that our evolved brain is therefore potentially problematic because of its basic ‘design,’ being easily triggered into destructive behaviours and mental health problems (called ‘tricky brain’). However, mammals and especially humans have also evolved motives and emotions for affiliative, caring and altruistic behaviour that can organize our brain in such a way as to significantly offset our destructive potentials. CFT therefore highlights the importance of developing people's capacity to (mindfully) access, tolerate, and direct affiliative motives and emotions, for themselves and others, and cultivate inner compassion as a way for organizing our human ‘tricky brain’ in prosocial and mentally healthy ways.
    • Reflective self-attention: A more stable predictor of connection to nature than mindful attention.

      Richardson, Miles; Sheffield, David; University of Derby (Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers, 2015-09-28)
      There is much to be gained from understanding the individual differences that predict our connection to nature, as those that are more connected tend to be more caring towards the environment and benefit from better well-being. Study 1 (n=137) found that reflective self-attention and mindful attention significantly predicted connection to nature, while anxious self-attention had a borderline significant negative association. With the introduction of personality measures, study 2 (n=161) found that reflective self-attention and openness had a stronger relationship to nature connection than mindful attention. Study 3 (n=99) found reflective self-attention, rather than mindful attention, to be associated with an increase in connection to nature. A pre-reflective and intentional self-attention account of nature connectedness is proposed with intentional self-reflection being a stronger factor than mindful attention.
    • Simulated natural environments bolster the effectiveness of a mindfulness programme: A comparison with a relaxation-based intervention

      Choe, Eun Yeong; Jorgensen, Anna; Sheffield, David; University of Sheffield; University of Derby (Elsevier, 2019-12-14)
      This study assesses the effectiveness of incorporating the beneficial effects of exposure to nature in a 3-week mindfulness programme. Participants (n = 122) were randomly assigned to one of two intervention groups (mindfulness, relaxation group) under different simulated environmental conditions (two natural, two non-natural environments) during an intervention lasting three weeks. The participants in the mindfulness group were asked to attend a weekly 1-h mindfulness programme. The relaxation group also spent 1 h per week on relaxation activities of their choice (e.g. reading books or magazines). Participants’ wellbeing outcomes and nature connectedness were measured before and after the three-week intervention, and at one-week follow-up. The findings show that the mindfulness programme was more effective when carried out in a natural environment. In addition, the mindfulness group in natural environments continued to improve even after the intervention was completed. This study offers valuable insights into the benefits of combining a wellbeing intervention with exposure to nature.