Effects of Yoga and Mindfulness Programs on Self-Compassion in Medical Professionals during the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Intervention Study

Tomoko Miyoshi, Hiromi Ida, Yoshito Nishimura, Soichiro Ako, Fumio Otsuka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Stress among healthcare workers (HCWs) increased during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. We aimed to determine whether a yoga and mindfulness program could alleviate burnout and other psychological and physical distress in HCWs, and how this might affect their empathy for patients. A weekly one-hour yoga and mindfulness program was conducted for three months in 2021. Participants were 18 consenting HCWs and, the final analysis included 13 participants. They responded to online questionnaires before and after the program. We measured salivary cortisol levels before and after the program on the first and last days. Self-measured pulse rates (PRs) were taken before and after each session, which decreased significantly in both cases (before, after the first program: 72, 65 bpm, p < 0.05; before, after the last program: 75, 66, p < 0.05), but salivary cortisol levels did not change. No significant changes were observed in Patient Health Questionnaire-9, Maslach Burnout Inventory, Sense of Coherence, Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, Self-compassion Scale, or Jefferson Scale of Empathy. However, common humanity, a subscale of self-compassion, increased significantly (before the first program: 5.6, after the last program: 6.5, p < 0.05), and over-identification decreased significantly (7.9, 6.7, p < 0.01). Yoga and mindfulness programs may help improve the sense of common humanity and reduce over-identification in HCWs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12523
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume19
Issue number19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

Keywords

  • burnout
  • mindfulness
  • self-compassion
  • stress
  • stress in healthcare workers
  • the COVID-19 pandemic
  • yoga

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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