Objective: To identify the effects of guided mindfulness meditation on anxiety and stress in pre-healthcare college students. Participants: Students (n = 33, age 19-22 years) were tested between September and November of 2017. Methods: Students completed 5-12 minutes of meditation 6 days/week for 8 weeks. We examined differences in pre- and post-intervention stress, anxiety, mindfulness, and heart rate variability. Results: All variables significantly improved after the intervention. When broken into quartiles based on minutes of meditation, groups 1 (0-184 min, p = 0.044) and 2 (184.1-268 min, p = 0.042) significantly increased mindfulness after the intervention. Group 3 (268-350 min) significantly decreased state anxiety (p = 0.015) and increased mindfulness (p = 0.029). Group 4 (350.24-424.05 min) decreased stress (p = 0.003), state anxiety (p = 0.007), trait anxiety (p = 0.003), and increased mindfulness (p = 0.007). Conclusion: Five to twelve minutes of daily mindfulness meditation is associated with decreased stress and anxiety, and increased mindfulness with greater changes observed following more minutes of meditation.
Keywords: Mindfulness meditation; anxiety; heart rate variability; pre-healthcare; stress.