In a recent publication, my colleagues and I report on the impact of mindfulness meditation training (MTT) on symptoms of post-traumatic stress (PTS) and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADD) among US active duty military and veterans. It is likely not a surprise to anyone reading this blog, that stress is high among military service members.
Many of you might also know that research has shown that MMT has been shown to reduce stress and improve short term memory among military service members. Our study looked at mindfulness training offered in-person (Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction, MBSR) and online via a virtual world (an abbreviated MMT, based on MBSR), and a wait-list control group.
We found that PTS symptom reductions of at least 20% were seen in 30.6% of those attending in-person training, 17.1% of those attending in the virtual world of Second Life, and 15% of the control group.
ADHD symptoms were reduced for both those attending in-person and over a virtual world, but not for the control group. A 20% reduction of ADD symptoms was seen in 30.6% of those attending in-person, 17.1% of those attending in a virtual world, and 15% of the control group.
This suggests that mindfulness training in-person may be more beneficial than mindfulness training offered in a virtual world for those with PTS. However, it seems that both in-person and virtual world training reduce attentional symptoms.
Symptoms of inattention are seen in those with PTS and ADD. High stress also interferes with attention, and all three (PTS, ADD, and high stress) can result in difficulty focusing and concentrating, restlessness, impatience and impulsivity, poor memory, irritability and sleep disturbances.
Since mindfulness training reduced symptoms of inattention, it would seem that mindfulness training would be helpful for any high demand, high stress job. Improving a person’s ability to pay attention and concentrate tends to improve performance, mentally and physically. Therefore, should you want to improve your own performance at work or at home, you might want to consider taking a class in mindfulness meditation.
Reference: Rice, V.J., Liu, B., and Schroeder, P.J. (2018). Impact of In-Person and Virtual World Mindfulness Training on Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, MILITARY MEDICINE, 183, 3/4:413, 2018