Effects of a Single Session of Large-Group Meditation and Progressive Muscle Relaxation Training on Stress Reduction, Reactivity, and Recovery

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Three hundred eighty-seven undergraduate students in a large-group setting were exposed to 20 min of either meditation, progressive muscle relaxation (PMR), or a control condition, followed by 1 min of stress induction and another 10 min of each intervention. Participants in the meditation and PMR groups decreased more in cognitive, somatic, and general state anxiety than controls. The PMR group had the greatest decline in somatic anxiety, lending some support to the cognitive/somatic specificity hypothesis. After exposure to a visual stressor, those in the relaxation conditions had higher levels of anxiety and recovered more quickly than controls. Findings demonstrated the effectiveness of brief group training in meditation or PMR in reducing state anxiety after exposure to a transitory stressor.

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