Students reported improvements in six areas of well-being: depression, stress, mental health, mindfulness, positive effects, and social connectivity
The results, published in Frontiers in Psychiatry and mentioned on the Yale University website, said: “Such resilience training programs could be a valuable tool in dealing with the mental health crisis on university campuses.”
The high-profile study was carried out by researchers from the Yale Child Study Center and the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Yale University, the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, Stanford University, Leipzig University, Leipzig, and the Yale School of Management Yale University and the Yale School of Management headed the Department of Cognitive and Brain Sciences at the Medical Research Council, Cambridge University.
In the ongoing pandemic, adolescents were a particularly vulnerable age group when it comes to mental health, which is compounded by uncertainties about the future, increasing protests, and global tensions.
In a randomized controlled trial, the research teams at the Yale Child Study Center and the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence evaluated three wellness training programs in the classroom. All three include breathing and emotional intelligence strategies. The programs were tested on 135 students for 8 weeks and the results were measured on a controlled group of students who were not part of the three programs.
“Compared to the control group … happiness on the SKY campus had the greatest impact and benefited from six results: depression, stress, mental health, mindfulness, positive effects and social connection,” said the researchers.
The SKY Campus Happiness program from Art of Living is based on a breathing technique called SKY (Sudarshan Kriya Yoga) breathing meditation, yoga postures, social connection and service activities.
“In addition to academic skills, we need to teach students how to live a balanced life,” said Emma Seppälä, lead author and faculty director of the women’s leadership program at Yale School of Management. “Pupil mental health has decreased over the past 10 years.”
Sudarshan Kriya is a powerful rhythmic breathing technique taught as part of the Art of Living program that eliminates stress and emotional toxins at the cellular level. Research shows that the technique improves the sleep cycle, improves the secretion of happiness or wellness hormones such as oxytocin, reduces the secretion of stress hormones such as cortisol, increases awareness and reduces clinical depression symptoms.
Anxiety, depression and stress were some of the most common self-reported problems for university students.