Date of Paper

5-2014

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Sarah Ferguson

Abstract

Mindfulness practices, including sitting meditation, walking meditation, yoga, and qigong, have been used to promote mental health and physical well-being in general populations. Mindfulness practices are also being incorporated into therapies used to treat mental illness, and to promote mental health and well-being (Carmody & Baer, 2007; Miller et al., 1995; Reibel et al., 2001). This study attempts to determine if there is an association between mindfulness practices, levels of measured mindfulness, and physical and psychological well-being. These variables were examined in a sample of 25 adults from a large Midwestern city who were predominately female, in their 50s and 60s, and who practiced various forms of mindfulness such as sitting meditation, walking meditation, yoga, or qigong for an average of 6 hours per week. Results of this study indicate that an increased mindfulness history is associated with increased emotional functioning and emotional well-being. Specifically, it suggests that the longer someone has had a mindfulness practice, the healthier they are in terms of emotional functioning and well-being. Emotional functioning is defined by the extent to which emotional problems affect the amount and quality of work, the amount and quality of other activities, and how much one has accomplished within the past 4 weeks. Emotional well-being is defined by how much time someone has felt nervousness, cheerfulness, calmness, peace, sadness, and happiness within the past 4 weeks. Overall, this study suggests that mindfulness practices are relevant to clinical social work practice since social work serves populations that struggle with psychological problems and with social and occupational functioning.

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