Brief mindfulness session improves mood and increases salivary oxytocin in psychology students.

Author: Bellosta-Batalla M1, Blanco-Gandía MC2, Rodríguez-Arias M1, Cebolla A3,4, Pérez-Blasco J5, Moya-Albiol L1
1Department of Psychobiology, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain.
2Department of Psychology and Sociology, University of Zaragoza, Teruel, Spain.
3Department of Personality, Evaluation and Psychological Treatment. University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain.
4Ciber Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition (CIBEROBN). Institute of Health Carlos III, Madrid, Spain.
5Department of Evolutionary and Educational Psychology, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain.
Conference/Journal: Stress Health.
Date published: 2020 Mar 30
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1002/smi.2942. [Epub ahead of print] , Word Count: 229

Mindfulness-based interventions (MBI) have been shown to be effective in increasing empathy in health professionals. Yet, more research is needed to analyze the specific influence of mindfulness exercises on biological variables involved in empathy, such as the biological system of oxytocin activity. In this study, we analyze the effects of a brief mindfulness session on positive and negative affect, state anxiety and salivary oxytocin (sOXT) in psychology students (N = 68). In the experimental group (n = 42), a mindfulness session was performed that included different guided meditation exercises. In the control group (n = 26), an emotion recognition exercise was carried out, along with a series of creative activities. Results showed that the mindfulness session was effective, because there was a significant reduction in negative affect (d = -.56, p < .001) and state anxiety (d = -.54, p = .007) in the experimental group. Likewise, there was an increase in sOXT (d = .99, p < .001) in this group, compared with the control group. Guided mindfulness meditation practice could be useful to reach an emotional and biological state that facilitates empathy. In this regard, the increase in sOXT after the mindfulness session adds further evidence about the biological mechanisms underlying the benefits of MBI on empathy. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

KEYWORDS: body scan meditation; breathing meditation; brief mindfulness intervention; empathy; oxytocin; university students

PMID: 32227624 DOI: 10.1002/smi.2942