Stress has been over time a common phenomenon in human beings, especially when there is much surrounding the atmosphere which affects the person either physically or psychologically. Mindfulness has been a method that is thought to help in the reduction of stresses and thus has been practiced with some with the intention to manage stresses. Mindfulness could be defined as a state of being mindful or unmindful in one’s life. The aim of practicing mindfulness is to make the body aware of the surrounding stimulus and factors that affect one’s state of mind or physical changes. The body is thought to be in a relaxed mode when the stimulus that surround it are in sync with the body itself (Bowen & Marlatt, 2014). This in turn should help in managing stresses through a relaxing modes of meditations which are usually prescribed in different ways depending on one’s preference or the level of stress.
An appraisal for this research identifies the quality of appraisal of the quality of authorship that facilitated the research. The authorship identified for this research include three Masters graduates in Psychology, one of them being a qualified nurse with a specialization in the mindfulness activities. All the authors formed the foundation of the Mindful stress reduction group and the mindful movement group. The strength of this report lies on the experience of the authors in the medical and psychology field.
Research Question & Justification
The research is aimed at identifying the need and importance of mindfulness and whether or not it could be a method of relieving stress. The justification of the research was supported by other analysts that were approached on the same. One of the analysts agree that the use of mindfulness activities in relieving stress is not only useful to students but also to adults and children. It was noted that there was more than one method of relieving stresses but mindfulness worked better than all the other methods. However, it was not easy to maintain a regular routine without discipline.
The researchers employed the use of semi structured interviews in the collection of the data. The target was to collect some of the experiences that the university students face while in the universities and how they impact them about increasing their stress levels (Thompson, & Waltz, 2015). Later a thematic analysis was done on the data where the researchers were required to identify, analyze and report patterns of themes from the data collected in relation to stress agents and stress relieving practices. The collected data was solely used in the identification of themes unlike using the theoretical pre-existing data framework. The analysis worked on the assumption that the information provided by the students was honest and reflected accurately on their experiences while in the university.
A sample size of 120 third-year students that pursued physiotherapy course were used for the research. The students were required to attend a session that introduced them formally to mindfulness and how to apply it in their personal and professional life. From the session, only 21 students agreed to proceed with the research and hence they were randomly allocated into two groups either mindful stress reduction or mindful movement. The two groups were designed to cover mindfulness in different ways but with the central aim of relieving stresses.
Mindful stress reduction involved the introduction of different application of mindfulness like informal practices and sitting meditation (Bowen & Marlatt, 2014). The practices were to be continued in every day of their lives for the success of the research. Part of the time was allocated in discussing of the challenges faced and the benefits gained during the meditation exercises.
The mindful movement group also covered the same applications of mindfulness but their informal practices were based on the mindfulness movement. There were exercises designed for the mindfulness movement where all of the participants were encouraged to keep a constant practice. A clinical psychologist and an expert in mindfulness led through both groups through the research exercise.
Results and Limitations
All of the students that participated were interviewed immediately after the exercise but only 19 students were interviewed during the 6 weeks follow up interview. The average age of the students was 19.5 years which was an age close to Steve’s and relevant to this research. There was an even distribution of gender. A total of 40 interviews were analyzed and the experts sought to understand from the interviews the effects of mindfulness on stress reduction. All the participants gave out distinct views on their experiences but all these experiences centered on some main themes as discussed in this report.
The limitations due in the research include: the limited number of students that were used to represent a large population size; most of the students who enrolled for the class did not manage to complete the exercises to the last stage of the follow up exercise.
The major enablers from the research that facilitates adoption of the recommendations in the research include: providing a way for the students to cope up with the stress they are subjected to in universities; encouraging the regular practice of the mindfulness exercises in order to keep the body free from the external stimuli that may cause stress. There was increased self- awareness in the students’ physical, emotional and mental states as they underwent the exercise. This was one of the key observations in relation to the mindfulness exercises since it was meant to create the awareness in order to balance the external stimuli with the body environment.
An improvement was recorded in their mental health as evidenced by their excellent performance in their grades. Most of them agreed that they were able after the research to manage their lives easily. Their communication also improved since they were able to practice some counseling sessions. Their study engagement abilities were remarkably good since they were able to control their class concentration and even during their personal studies.
The barriers that could hinder the adoption of the recommendations include: lack of time to engage in the mindfulness activities for the students due to their busy schedule; most of the students could not complete an exercise schedule on their own as most relied on peer motivation. These challenges could hinder the effectiveness of the recommendation since it relies on the students’ ability to sustain the exercise schedule.
From the research and analysis, it can be deduced that the mindfulness exercises could be a great stress reliever. However, it is not easy to maintain a routine for the exercises. Stress among university students could therefore be easily reduced by the application of the mindfulness practices.
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