Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Meditation and Stress

Meditation training has been shown to reduce stress for secondary school teachers

Researchers from the Department of Psychiatry at Stanford University have recently published a study that demonstrates the effectiveness of meditation in reducing stress for secondary school teachers. Participants in the study were student teachers from a university teaching credential program. The participants learned the RISE program, which combines meditation and cognitive appraisal tools to produce deeper relaxation. Compared to a group of participants who did not learn the RISE program, the group of participants that did learn the RISE program had less symptoms of stress.

One part of the RISE program, meditation, involves focussing on a sound and passively disregarding distracting thoughts or sensations. While meditating, participants simply noted other thoughts or sensations when they arose and returned their attention right back to the sound. Mediation was carried out during times that were set aside by the participants specifically for that purpose.

Another part of the RISE program is cognitive appraisal tools. Cognitive appraisal is just a fancy term for how people think about or interpret things. Participants used three tools to help them make cognitive appraisals that help to reduce stress: silently repeating a certain word or phrase (a mantra), slowing down their actions, and focusing their attention on one thing at a time.

(If you are interested, Stress Less has several products to help you with meditation. Click on the following items for more information: Meditation Video, Mindfulness Meditation Program, Stress Less "Tranquil Meditation" Tape, Zabuton Mat, Zafu Pillow & Mat.)

Source: Winzelberg, A. J., & Luskin, F. M. (1999). The effect of a [sic] meditation training in stress levels in secondary school teachers. Stress Medicine, 15, 69-77.