There is increasing evidence that mindfulness-based interventions reduce stress and improve wellbeing in employees. However, less is known about the factors that mediate these effects. The aim of this study was to assess short- and long-term–mediating effects of mindfulness and self-compassion on the effects of the Mindful2Work training.
Employees with burnout complaints (N = 124) filled in questionnaires concerning perceived stress, chronic fatigue, mindfulness, and self-compassion. Assessments took place before, directly after the training and at 6 weeks follow-up. The intervention consisted of 6 weekly sessions of 2 h, combining mindful physical activity, yoga, and mindful meditation, and a follow-up session 6 weeks later.
Multiple parallel and serial mediation analyses indicated that increases in mindfulness mediated the effects from pre- to post-test on stress and fatigue. Regarding the mindfulness facets; acting with awareness mediated the effects during the training on both stress and fatigue, and non-reactivity on stress. Furthermore, increases in self-compassion mediated the effects from post-test to follow-up on stress and fatigue. Lastly, it was found that during and after the training, increases in mindfulness led to more self-compassion, which in turn led to less stress (and after the training also to less fatigue).
This study indicates that part of employees’ stress and fatigue reduction over the course of the Mindful2Work training can be explained by increased mindfulness, and by increased self-compassion, directly and through increases of mindfulness.