Mind-Body Training Could Improve Medical Students’ Compassion and Stress Levels

A new study shows that training in yoga, meditation, and the neuroscience behind each could improve self-compassion and stress levels among medical students. 

A small study from the Boston University School of Medicine suggests mind-body training could improve levels of self-compassion, empathy, and stress among medical students.

The researchers took a group of first- and second- year medical students and put them through an 11-week elective course that included yoga, meditation and the elements of neuroscience behind each practice. Participants were evaluated based on their levels of empathy, perceived stress, self-regulation, and self-compassion.

The research was published in the journal Medical Education online, and concludes that a mind-body course for medical students can increase their self-regulation and self-compassion.

This study is not the first to suggest meditation can boost compassion. Another study was published last year in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience demonstrating that participants who went through a meditation program improved their empathy skills and were better able to read the emotions of others from their expressions.

Burnout is a growing concern among health care workers, with a 2012 study showing almost half of physicians experienced some symptom of burnout, with a higher percentage being in the front lines of health care.