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Caregivers Who Practice Mindful Creativity Help Patient Recovery After Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

In recent years, “mindfulness,” or the focused awareness of self in the present moment, has been the subject of scientific interest and research. The benefits of mindfulness intervention on cognitive and emotional processing may have implications for those who have experienced a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), as these patients often experience deficits in cognition and emotional processing.

A recent study investigated the relationship between severe TBI recovery over time and the practice of mindful creativity, an active flexibility and openness to novel environments and stimuli. To capture the trajectory of recovery, researchers assessed 352 adults who sustained a severe TBI and their immediate family members. Data was gathered at the time of the accident, two weeks post-injury, and at three, six, and twelve months post-injury. At each point in time, patients were evaluated on the Mindful Creativity Scale (MCS) and two other measures of cognitive competence and injury severity.

Analysis of these measures revealed that patient functioning over time was not significantly associated with their mindful creativity and, in fact, interpersonal functioning decreased over time. However, when family members practiced mindful creativity, it was significantly related to the patient’s neurological functioning and recovery.

Mindfulness is an important tool for increasing cognitive and emotional health. Family members who practice creative support and flexibility in unfamiliar situations can facilitate their loved ones’ recovery after a severe TBI. Importantly, post-injury recovery should be understood as a holistic process, and that a patient’s individual progress can significantly benefit from external support networks.

Source: Haller CS, Bosma CM, Kapur K, et al. Mindful creativity matters: Trajectories of reported functioning after severe traumatic brain injury as a function of mindful creativity in patients’ relatives: a multilevel analysis. Quality of Life Research. (September 2016).

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