Meditation and Professional Stress

Stress, Chronic Diseases, and Psychoneuroimmunology

Stress, Depression, Inflammation, and Psychoneuroimmunology

Yoga and meditation have many benefits. These practices can alleviate stress and anxiety, reduce mood disturbance, ease musculoskeletal problems, and improve both cognitive and physical performances. The mind-body approaches often have significant effects on promoting professional activities.

For example, professional musicians often experience intense stress, performance anxiety, and performance-related musculoskeletal disorders (PRMDs). Researchers at Harvard Medical School evaluated the benefits of yoga and meditation among 45 professional musicians within a 2-month program (Khalsa et al., 2009). Fifteen of the musicians were in a yoga lifestyle intervention group, 15 in a yoga and meditation group, and 15 in a no-practice control group. The yoga groups attended three Yoga or meditation classes each week.

At the end of the program, the yoga groups had reduced music performance anxiety and reduced general anxiety, depression, and anger, when compared with the control group (Khalsa et al., 2009). The study indicates that the yoga and meditation training may help relieve performance anxiety and mood disturbance among professional musicians.

As another example, nursing students often have intensive professional stress. Researchers in Korea examined the effects of a mindfulness meditation program on stress, anxiety, and depression among 41 nursing students (Kang et al., 2009). The students were divided into two groups, with the experimental group having 90-min sessions of training for 8 weeks, while the control group received no training.

Sixteen students in each group finished the program (Kang et al., 2009). The results of the study showed significant differences between the two groups in the scores measuring stress and anxiety, but not depression. The study suggested that mindfulness meditation training was beneficial for reducing stress and anxiety among the nursing students. More studies would be helpful to find out the mechanisms of these mind-body methods.


Kang, Y. S., Choi, S. Y., et al. (2009) The effectiveness of a stress coping program based on mindfulness meditation on the stress, anxiety, and depression experienced by nursing students in Korea. Nurse Educ Today 29, 538-543.

Khalsa, S. B., Shorter, S. M., et al. (2009) Yoga ameliorates performance anxiety and mood disturbance in young professional musicians. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback 34, 279-289.

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