Exploring a Change in Meditation Practice Using Noise-Canceling Headphones
Perceived stress is a rising health issue related to daily stressors. Cumulative effects of stress have physical, mental, and emotional consequences. Meditation is a safe, self-care activity with demonstrated effectiveness in reducing stress. One impediment to successful meditation practice is the ability to maintain focus.The purpose of this pilot study was to explore the use of noise-canceling headphones to increase attention during meditation and reduce stress levels. Specific aims were to 1) explore the effectiveness of two types of meditation on the ability to transition into a meditative state, and 2) explore the effectiveness of two types of meditation on perceived stress levels.The study was a mixed methods, crossover design. The sample consisted of employed adults, randomly divided into two groups. Two types of meditation were compared: 1) Zen Meditation and 2) a new method called Silent Heart Meditation, where noise-canceling headphone were utilized to eliminate external noise. One group practiced Zen meditation for the first two weeks and then Silent Heart for the next two weeks. The second group practiced Silent Heart for the first two weeks and then Zen for the next two weeks. Outcomes were measured using the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS), and a qualitative questionnaire.Compared to pre-scores, mindfulness was significantly increased in both groups combined over four-weeks, indicated by significantly higher MAAS scores at mid (pFindings indicate that both meditation types improved focus and attention and reduced perceived stress levels, suggesting useful application for nursing practice. Silent Heart Meditation may assist with transition to attentiveness and stress reduction earlier than with Zen practice.
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