My yoga practice grew up alongside my return to teaching. This fall, I attended the annual conference of the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education. It’s good to see this go from anecdotal evidence to a review of many studies. My vocation and avocation are close enough to wave at one another.
More importantly, how wonderful to have support for colleges and universities to offer such programs, as has been done in K-12.
The primary purpose of this paper was to narratively review the research testing the effects of mindfulness meditation on stress and anxiety in the college students; reviewing the inclusion of mindfulness was a secondary purpose.
A literature search resulted in 57 studies on the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation in reducing stress and anxiety in college students.
Researchers examined anxiety in 40 studies, self-reported stress in 34, physiological stress in 11, and mindfulness in 24. Thirty-three of 40 and 25 of 34 studies showed significant decreases in anxiety and stress respectively; 22 of 24 showed an increase in mindfulness. Physiological stress had inconsistent results indicating a need for further research. Overall, mindfulness meditation shows promise in reducing stress and anxiety in college students. Additionally, there are a number of differences in mindfulness interventions including frequency, duration, instructional method, and inclusion of yoga, that need quantitative examination (meta-analysis) to determine which is most effective.
Mindfulness; Mindfulness-based stress reduction; Stress; Anxiety; College students