What if mindfulness meditation could reduce anxiety of the students ? A study carried out by scientists from the Etienne-Jules-Marey Institute of Movement Sciences during the first confinement on 76 volunteer students from the university of Aix-Marseille and published on July 7 demonstrates the benefits of this secular mental practice, of Buddhist inspiration, on the psyche of the youngest, especially in this very trying period psychologically.
For seventeen days, the volunteers were invited to practice a daily session lasting twenty minutes on weekdays and ten minutes on weekends, posted directly on the faculty’s intranet, and developed with the help of a specialized instructor. “Mindfulness meditation is focusing on the present moment. [pensées, sensations, émotions], without expectation, without filter and without judgement, recalls Louise Devillers-Réolon, third-year doctoral student at the Institute of Movement Sciences and who is preparing a thesis on the subject. With this instructor, we determined which session contents were the most relevant. We also worked on a progression in the sessions to target the main problems of the students at that time, in particular anxiety. We chose exercises with a focus on breathing in the first sessions, then the acceptance of what was coming in a second time, and the development of positive thoughts. »
Reduced levels of stress, anxiety, depression
The students were invited to complete a scientific questionnaire evaluating their feelings about their mental state, before and at the end of the experiment. The same questionnaire was completed in parallel by a control group who had not followed the mindfulness meditation sessions. “Before the experiment, we noticed that nearly 25% of the group had severe, even extremely severe, stress-related disorders,” notes Rita Sleimen-Malkoun, teacher-researcher.
“And we observed an improvement in anxiety, depression, well-being and stress in the group that followed the online mindfulness meditation sessions,” says Louise Devillers-Réolon. “We found that students who took the mindfulness meditation intervention reduced their stress level by 21%, their anxiety level by 28%, their depression level by 34% and improved their level of well-being. -being psychological by 10%”, specifies Rita Sleimen-Malkoun.
“Some might think it’s shamanism, but not at all! »
Results that corroborate other scientific studies proving the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation, particularly in the face of situations of great anxiety… and which could give students keys to managing these same situations. “We wanted to demystify mindfulness meditation a bit,” continues Rita Sleimen-Malkoun. Some might think it’s shamanism. But that’s not it at all! Students have a lot of burdens on them. Many work nearby. It is not always easy for them to take care of themselves. »
And to hope: “Mindfulness meditation is a good start at a lower cost, and which proves to be effective. And you don’t have to be an expert in the field, or wait for months of practice to observe benefits. In our study, in not even three weeks, we have statistically significant results. It is important to take the time, to focus on simple things like breathing, the present moment or the acceptance of what seems like trials. “Come on, breathe again, as a famous Southerner would say…
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