Wondering what is mindfulness training and what it can do for people? A group of Penn State university researchers decided to ask the very same questions and found out some interesting results.
According to the group of researchers, they found out that that mindfulness training may be helpful in alleviating the issues of stress for college freshmen and allowing them to smile more, which is useful for the students’ transition to the collegiate environment.
The transition from high school to college is at its most troublesome at the time of the first semester, wherein new students begin to experience their soon-to-be familiar environment for the first time. Most likely, this is also the first time that they are living away from their parents, on top of having a much more changing and fluid schedule than that in high school. On top of all of that is the issue of having to deal with acclimatizing to a new group of peers, which means that the first semester is an incredibly stressful time for a student.
Following instructions set by the lead author, Kamila Dvorakova, the researchers conducted their study via offering a mindfulness training program lasting eight sessions to new students at Penn State University to help them in the transition period. The researchers have stated that, in this training, or meditation, practitioners are aided in developing for themselves an accepting, kind disposition towards at-the-moment thoughts and feelings.
At the end of the program’s duration, the study showed a notable increase in the satisfaction of the students towards their lives, as well as a notable drop in instances of depression and anxiety, when the program’s practitioners were compared with those who did not take part in the program.
Additionally, the program’s participants showed a decrease in alcohol consumption, compared to the control.
Dvorakova described what is mindfulness training for the study, outlining what the training actually entailed, stating that it offered experiential, practical knowledge to the students, wherein they were allowed to discover the effects of mindfulness in their lives for themselves. According to her, they found that the students had an underlying desire to slow down and appreciate their lives and bond with others.
54 undergrad students participated in the program, with an additional 53 to serve as the ‘control’.
A number of the participants has expressed their willingness to recommend the training to their peers, and the researchers have expressed the potential for future study, which they say will require more participants, as well as long-term follow ups and integration with academics. The study has been publicly distributed via an appearance in the Journal of American College Health.