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New Study: Mindfulness Using a Wearable Brain Sensing Device for Healthcare Professionals During a Pandemic to Manage Burnout

Summer Martin


The Mayo Clinic Pilot Program: Using Muse EEG to Reduce Stress and Burnout

A 2023 study from Mayo Clinic showcased significantly reduced stress and burnout by 54% and improved quality of life and cognition among Health Care Professionals when using Muse to support mindfulness techniques. 

In this 26-week study, 40 dedicated HCPs were equipped with Muse S devices – our cutting-edge headbands that provide real-time feedback on brain activity, promoting focus and centering during meditation practice. 

The study revealed that Muse S significantly reduced stress levels (P<.001) and markedly improved resilience (P=.02), quality of life (P=.003), and cognition (P<.001) among the participating healthcare professionals. 

An astounding 91.9% of participants reported feeling more relaxed after using our device, with 73% expressing their intention to continue leveraging Muse S beyond the study. These findings underscore the immense potential of wearable technology, empowering individuals in high-stress environments to safeguard their mental well-being. 

In today's fast-paced and competitive world, burnout management has become a very prevalent issue, impacting individuals from all walks of life. It's a feeling of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by prolonged stress, leading to a reduced sense of accomplishment and detachment from one's work and personal life.


What is the definition of Burnout? 

Most people are familiar with the term “burnout” referring to someone who may be going through a period of extremely high-stress leading to a feeling of exhaustion. The new levels of stress that COVID placed on individuals  

According to the WHO's International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), burnout is defined as a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.

Burnout = emotional exhaustion + disillusionment + withdrawal 

The ICD-11 describes burnout as follows:

"Burnout is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions:

  1. Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion.
  2. Increased mental distance from one's job or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job.
  3. Reduced professional efficacy.

    They go on to describe other dimensions which are commonly described such as:

    • The phenomenon may occur at an individual or institutional level
    • It is an internal physiological experience that involves feelings, attitudes, motives, and expectations
    • It is a negative experience which highlights problems, distress, discomfort, dysfunction, negative consequence, or all of these 

     The physical symptoms of burnout include:

    • Low energy
    • Chronic fatigue
    • Weakness
    • Weariness
    • Increased susceptibility to lillness
    • Frequent headaches
    • Nausea
    • Muscle tension
    • Back pains
    • Various somatic complaints 
    • Sleep disturbances

    Emotional symptoms of burnout can include: 

    • Feelings of depression
    • Helplessness
    • Hopelessness
    • Increased tension and conflict at home 
    • Increases in affective states (ie anger, impatience, irritability) 
    • Decreased positive states (friendliness, considerateness, courteousness)

    Mental symptoms of burnout can include: 

    • Dissatisfaction
    • Negative attitudes towards one’s self, towards work, and towards life in general 

    An increase in work-withdrawing behaviors such as absenteeism and turnover have also been noted. In a 2022 Muse’s Brain Health Report, we took a look at additional factors such as quiet quitting and current statistics in the US around feelings of overwork and burnout given the recent pandemic where 8 in 10 Americans say one’s work life plays a major role in overall brain health. Yet unfortunately, many Americans always or frequently feel overworked (44%) and burnt out (43%), which ultimately takes a toll on overall brain health.


    Long-term Effect of Burnout: Understanding the Toll on Well-Being

    Over time, burnout can significantly impact individuals in the long run. Beyond the immediate effects on mental and physical health, burnout can have lasting repercussions that extend to several areas of life. 

    1. Physical Health: Persistent burnout can lead to a range of physical health issues. Research suggests that individuals experiencing burnout are more prone to conditions such as cardiovascular problems, weakened immune system, gastrointestinal disorders, and chronic fatigue. The prolonged stress response associated with burnout can disrupt the body's equilibrium, leading to long-lasting physical consequences.

    2. Mental Health: Burnout significantly impacts mental health and can increase the risk of developing mental disorders. Over time, chronic stress and exhaustion can contribute to the onset or exacerbation of conditions like depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. It can also lead to a sense of disillusionment, detachment, and a negative outlook towards work and life in general.

    3. Professional Consequences: Burnout can have lasting effects on an individual's professional life. A diminished sense of accomplishment, cynicism, and detachment from work can lead to decreased job satisfaction and productivity. This may result in strained professional relationships, decreased motivation, and an increased likelihood of making errors or poor decisions. Over time, burnout can hinder career progression and limit future opportunities.

    4. Personal Relationships: The impact of burnout extends beyond the workplace and affects personal relationships as well. Chronic stress and emotional exhaustion can lead to increased irritability, reduced patience, and difficulty maintaining healthy relationships. Individuals experiencing burnout may withdraw from social interactions, experience conflicts, and have difficulty balancing personal and professional responsibilities, leading to strain in familial and social connections.

    5. Overall Well-being: Burnout can significantly diminish an individual's overall well-being and quality of life. The chronic nature of burnout can erode a person's sense of self-worth, purpose, and fulfillment. It may lead to a loss of interest in hobbies, decreased engagement in self-care activities, and a general feeling of dissatisfaction. Physical and mental exhaustion can make it challenging to recover and recharge, further exacerbating the negative impact on overall well-being.


    Supporting Burnout: Increasing Resilience and Managing Stress Well

    Burnout can impact people in various ways, from reducing their overall quality of life to causing cognitive decline and negatively impacting their mental health. With this in mind, there is a need for effective solutions to tackle burnout and improve quality of life.

    In recent years, there has been a growing interest in mindfulness meditation as a potential solution to reduce stress and burnout. Mindfulness meditation is a practice that involves paying attention to the present moment, without judgment, and with an open and curious mindset. Research has shown that mindfulness meditation has many benefits for both physical and mental health, including:

    • Reduced stress and anxiety
    • Improved mental clarity and focus
    • Better sleep
    • Enhanced emotional well-being
    • Improved physical health
    • Greater resilience

    In the 2022 Brain Health Report, to combat burnout, Americans with a higher self-perceived brain health are taking physical breaks and practicing meditation exercises daily during the workday. The people with the highest self-reported brain health scores are taking action during the workday in hopes of regulating their brain health and maintaining their overall well-being.

    At Muse, we’ve aimed to tackle this head-on with our flagship products, Muse 2 and Muse S. Our headbands provide real-time feedback on brain activity, helping users stay focused and centered during their meditation practice. Recently, a study was conducted by the Mayo Clinic to assess the effectiveness of Muse S in reducing burnout and improving quality of life among healthcare professionals (HCP).

    The COVID-19 pandemic has placed tremendous pressure on the healthcare system, with many HCPs working long hours and experiencing high levels of stress and mental exhaustion. A recent study by the Mayo Clinic has shown that our product, Muse S, can help reduce stress and burnout and improve the quality of life and cognition of HCPs.

    This study is significant because it provides scientific evidence that Muse S can help reduce stress and burnout in healthcare professionals. The study also highlights the potential benefits of wearable technology in improving the mental well-being of all individuals in high-stress environments.

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    The device is ideal for those who struggle with stress, anxiety, and sleep problems. Muse S provides a personalized approach to meditation and mindfulness, making it an effective solution for individuals who may be new to these practices as it makes meditation and mindfulness accessible and easy to use.

    The recent study conducted by the Mayo Clinic provides findings of the effectiveness of Muse S in reducing stress and improving the quality of life and cognition of healthcare professionals. Muse S is an ideal solution for busy individuals who are looking for ways to manage their stress and improve their mental well-being. With Muse S, anyone can achieve a state of calm, focus, and relaxation, no matter where they are or what they are doing.

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