Title: A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Meditation for Work Stress, Anxiety and Depressed Mood in Full-Time Workers
Authors, R. Manocha,1* D. Black,2 J. Sarris,3, 4 and C. Stough4 who are Australian researchers associated with Sydney University and the University of Melbourne
Journal/Website: Evidence based complementary and alternative medicine http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3118731/
Date: Published online June 2011
Summary/Abstract: Objective. To assess the effect of meditation on work stress, anxiety and mood in full-time workers. Methods. 178 adult workers participated in an 8-week, 3-arm randomized controlled trial comparing a “mental silence” approach to meditation (n = 59) to a “relaxation” active control (n = 56) and a wait-list control (n = 63). Participants were assessed before and after using Psychological Strain Questionnaire (PSQ), a subscale of the larger Occupational Stress Inventory (OSI), the State component of the State/Trait Anxiety Inventory for Adults (STAI), and the depression-dejection (DD) subscale of the Profile of Mood States (POMS). Results. There was a significant improvement for the meditation group compared to both the relaxation control and the wait-list groups the PSQ (P = .026), and DD (P = .019). Conclusions. Mental silence-orientated meditation, in this case Sahaja Yoga meditation, is a safe and effective strategy for dealing with work stress and depressive feelings. The findings suggest that “thought reduction” or “mental silence” may have specific effects relevant to work stress and hence occupational health.
Comments: The participants used a very simple form of focused meditation based on classic principles and very much like mindfulness-based methods, twice a day for 10-20 minutes. One control group spent the same time “reflecting on the day’s events” while a third group were put on a waiting list and not told they were participants in the study. After eight weeks, three stress measures were re-tested and there were significant differences in the reduction of stress levels in the mental silent group relative to the others.
This article suggests that even eight weeks of mental silence meditation can lower stress levels and also, interestingly, that it appears to affect psychophysiological factors as well, in that in a separate study reported by the authors the silent meditators showed lower skin temperature during meditation. Let’s DO IT!