Presentation Title

The Effects of Stress Reduction Techniques on Stress Reactivity and Cortisol Levels

Advisor Information

Rosemary Strasser

Location

Milo Bail Student Center Ballroom

Presentation Type

Poster

Start Date

8-3-2013 1:00 PM

End Date

8-3-2013 4:00 PM

Abstract

The long-term harmful effects of high stress on the body are widely known. High levels of sustained stress over time contribute to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, lowered immune responses to illness and infection, and is linked to the development of cancer (Khansari, 1990; Segerstrom, 2004). Stress reduction techniques such as yoga therapy, progressive muscle relaxation, and breathing exercises have all been used to reduce overall long-term stress, while also teaching students valuable lifestyle coping and interaction skills. (Granath et al., 2006; Shorter et al., 2009; West et al., 2004). While extremely valuable, the majority of these studies only look at the stress-reducing effects of these techniques over long periods of time. The current study focuses on one main stress reduction technique, yoga (breathing exercises, postures, and progressive relaxation techniques). The aim is to demonstrate an immediate, lesser, stress response exhibited by those in the yoga condition in as little as thirty minutes, counterbalancing the heightened stress response caused by the induced stress event and potential confounding variables such as caffeine. Regular use of these techniques would lessen the shortterm stress response and would likely result in long-term observable decreases in perceived stress and salivary cortisol (a recognized indicator of the physiological stress response), thereby greatly decreasing one’s risk of acquiring long-term stress-related disorders. This study will record stress and contributing factors in two ways-- salivary cortisol samples and a series of self-report surveys—measured in control and yoga conditions before, during, and after an induced stress event.

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Mar 8th, 1:00 PM Mar 8th, 4:00 PM

The Effects of Stress Reduction Techniques on Stress Reactivity and Cortisol Levels

Milo Bail Student Center Ballroom

The long-term harmful effects of high stress on the body are widely known. High levels of sustained stress over time contribute to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, lowered immune responses to illness and infection, and is linked to the development of cancer (Khansari, 1990; Segerstrom, 2004). Stress reduction techniques such as yoga therapy, progressive muscle relaxation, and breathing exercises have all been used to reduce overall long-term stress, while also teaching students valuable lifestyle coping and interaction skills. (Granath et al., 2006; Shorter et al., 2009; West et al., 2004). While extremely valuable, the majority of these studies only look at the stress-reducing effects of these techniques over long periods of time. The current study focuses on one main stress reduction technique, yoga (breathing exercises, postures, and progressive relaxation techniques). The aim is to demonstrate an immediate, lesser, stress response exhibited by those in the yoga condition in as little as thirty minutes, counterbalancing the heightened stress response caused by the induced stress event and potential confounding variables such as caffeine. Regular use of these techniques would lessen the shortterm stress response and would likely result in long-term observable decreases in perceived stress and salivary cortisol (a recognized indicator of the physiological stress response), thereby greatly decreasing one’s risk of acquiring long-term stress-related disorders. This study will record stress and contributing factors in two ways-- salivary cortisol samples and a series of self-report surveys—measured in control and yoga conditions before, during, and after an induced stress event.