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Mindfulness training helps ease stress among university students

Training in mindfulness can help reduce stress for university students during exam time, a study finds

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Mindfulness training can help reduce stress for university students, a study has found.

Scientists at the University of Cambridge conducted a randomised, controlled trial of 616 of its students, divided into two groups.

Both groups had access to the University of Cambridge Counselling Service in addition to other support available from the university and health services.

One group was also offered the Mindfulness Skills for Students course. This consisted of eight group-based sessions held weekly, face-to-face, based on the course book Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World.


Students were encouraged to do eight-minute meditations, increasing to about 15-25 minutes per day, as well as other practices such as mindful walking.

The impact of such training on stress was assessed using a before and after questionnaire during the annual examination period in May and June 2016.

Mindfulness participants were a third less likely to have scores commonly seen as indicating a need for mental health support.

Distress scores for the mindfulness group during exam time fell below their pre-exam levels, while students who received standard support became increasingly stressed as the academic year progressed.

Galante J et al (2017) Effectiveness of providing university students with a mindfulness-based intervention to increase resilience to stress: a pragmatic randomised controlled trial. Lancet Public Health. doi: 10.1016/S2468-2667(17)30231-1


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