Meditative Breathing Yields Inconclusive Results in Stabilizing Physiological Variables Following Fear-Induced Acute Stress in College Students
Journal of Advanced Student Sciences (JASS)
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Many universities have turned to meditation and breathing exercises as a potential means to help students manage acute and chronic stress. We hypothesized that performing a short breathing exercise immediately after watching a horror clip would return physiological indicators of stress (including heart rate, electrodermal activity, and blood pressure) back to pre-video baseline levels faster than a control group who did not perform the meditation, as measured in university students. This was based on a rationale that a focused breathing exercise can increase parasympathetic activity and lower levels of cortisol and adrenocorticotropic hormone. The hypothesis was tested by having participants watch a short horror clip followed by a period of either a guided breathing exercise (experimental) or rest (control) while heart rate, electrodermal activity (EDA), respiration, and blood pressure were measured. No significant differences between the experimental and control group were supported, as p-values obtained from t-tests performed for all measurements were above a significance level of 0.05. With further study, we believe that significant data could be obtained supporting the idea that meditation can help relieve stress in college students.
autonomic nervous system
galvanic skin response
sympathetic nervous system