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Effectiveness of Brief Mindfulness Techniques in Reducing Symptoms of Anxiety and Stress

Abstract

Mindfulness-based skills training has been increasingly incorporated into psychotherapeutic treatment for a variety of presenting complaints, most notably anxiety- and stress-related disorders. While there has been considerable literature documenting efficacy of full mindfulness-based treatment regimen (e.g., Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction [MBSR]), fewer studies have examined the influence of incorporating distinct elements of these treatments in psychotherapy practice. The present study examined the efficacy of two brief elements of an empirically supported mindfulness-based protocol (MBSR), hatha yoga and body scan, in the reduction of anxiety and stress symptoms. Female undergraduate students (N = 91) completed three weekly 45-min sessions of MBSR-based hatha yoga or body scan, or were included in the waitlisted control condition. Results indicated that there were significant differences between groups (i.e., waitlist control, hatha yoga, and body scan) on indices of anxiety and stress. Women in both the hatha yoga and body scan conditions had significantly greater reductions in anxiety and stress compared to those in the waitlist control condition. Significant differences in postintervention indicators of mindfulness (i.e., present-moment awareness and acceptance) were not observed. Overall, findings are consistent with the argument that brief, discrete elements of the MBSR treatment protocol are effective at reducing symptoms of anxiety and stress, providing further evidence supporting the use of mindfulness-based skills training in psychotherapy.

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Correspondence to Holly Orcutt.

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Call, D., Miron, L. & Orcutt, H. Effectiveness of Brief Mindfulness Techniques in Reducing Symptoms of Anxiety and Stress. Mindfulness 5, 658–668 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-013-0218-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-013-0218-6

Keywords

  • Mindfulness
  • Yoga
  • Body scan
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • College students