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Combining nature sounds or music in mindfulness activities: Their effects on mindfulness attentional skills, wellbeing and session attendance rates

Loo, Min (2018) Combining nature sounds or music in mindfulness activities: Their effects on mindfulness attentional skills, wellbeing and session attendance rates. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

Existing mindfulness programmes traditionally encourage participants to direct attention deliberately to their breath, to develop skills needed for present-moment orientation, acceptance towards experiences, and enhance psychological functioning. However, such skills may be more easily acquired through orienting externally to soundtracks. Nature sounds and music were chosen as they separately confer benefits in psychological functioning. The current thesis involves focusing on nature sounds or music instead of breathing (the breath), to see if that encourages present-moment orientation, acceptance, improves psychological functioning, physiological wellbeing, and/or session attendance rates. The pilot study investigated the feasibility of mindful music listening activities in a structured programme focusing on developing mindful awareness, in healthy adults. The second and third studies determined if nature sounds or music will be viable alternatives in altering the mindful attentional skills acquisition process, psychological functioning, physiological wellbeing, and/or session attendance, with non-clinical and subclinical populations, respectively. Participants either mindfully focused on the breath (Control), nature sounds, or music. They completed self-report measures corresponding to mindfulness (observing, awareness, describing, nonjudgement and nonreactivity), psychological outcomes (resilience, depression, anxiety and stress), and physiological measures (heart-rate variability) was assessed noninvasively. Mindfully listening to nature sounds or music augmented session attendance, compared to the Control condition. Mindfully listening to nature sounds or music also enabled openness towards experiences, generalisation of mindfulness skills into daily life, acknowledgement of impermanence of experiences, conscious choices in adaptive coping, and led to specific within-condition improvements in psychological functioning. The breath, nature sounds and music were relatively equal in fostering skills acquisition. Future studies will involve extending the current protocol to suitable clinical populations. Future studies can also implement session-by-session tracking of skills and wellbeing, and to determine if other factors like rhythmic regularity, emotional content, intention to engage in mindfulness, meditation experience, music training and participants’ perceived liking of soundtracks influenced their mindfulness training and psychological functioning.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology and Exercise Science
United Nations SDGs: Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being
Supervisor(s): Correia, Helen and Prince, Jon
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/41564
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