Medical Students' Stress Levels and Sense of Well Being after Six Weeks of Yoga and Meditation.
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016 ;2016:9251849. Epub 2016 Dec 7. PMID: 28053644
Objective. To determine the effect of six weeks of yoga and meditation on medical students' levels of perceived stress and sense of wellbeing prior to taking their exams. Methods. We conducted a prospective case-control study of first-through-third-year medical students at our academic institution, measuring levels of perceived stress and sense of wellbeing before and after a six-week yoga and meditation intervention. Questionnaires used for evaluation included the perceived stress scale (PSS) and self-assessment surveys (SAS). The postintervention surveys were completed on the day of the students' written exams. Results. A total of thirteen women and fourteen men participated. Median age was 28 (24 yrs-32 yrs). 48.1% were Caucasian, 7.4% Black, 11.1% Hispanic, 11.1% Asian, and 22.2% other. Paired t-tests showed a statistically significant reduction in perceived stress (18.44 versus 14.52; p = 0.004) after the six-week yoga and meditation program. After the yoga intervention, self-assessment survey results showed a significant improvement in feelings of peace, focus, and endurance. Improvements in happiness, positivity, personal satisfaction, and self-confidence were also seen. An improvement in unsubstantiated parameters such as patience and fatigue was observed. Conclusion. Yoga and meditation may be effective in reducing stress levels and improving aspects of personal wellbeing in medical students.