Tai Chi Improves Psychological Health in College Students (Study)

Psychological issues among college students have “soared in the past decade” as discussed by PBS reported Hari Sreenivasan in a recent program entitled “More stress, less stigma drives college students to mental health services“. The Chronicle of Higher Education has a recent series entitled the “Epidemic of Anguish” which goes into more depth about the issues facing students and the higher education institutions that are trying to support them.

According to a journal article “Media and Risky Behaviors,” youth violence has direct and indirect costs of “$158 billion each year.” Further, “although twelve- to twenty-year-olds made up about 13 percent of the U.S. population in 2005, they were responsible for some 28 percent of the single-offender and 41 percent of multiple-offender violent crimes.”

These are serious issues and medicating students across the board, while at times helpful using various measures, is not the answer. While wildly complicated to implement and change without multi-generational approaches, we do know of many scientifically backed and clinically valid ways to allow for more compassionate and calm minds. The positive research on meditation alone is literally exhausting to go through.

This short article, however, is not going to get into many of those deeper systemic issues and possible solutions. Although future ones will. No, this article is to talk about a recent study in the “Preventive Medicine Reports” journal entitled “A systematic review of the health benefits of Tai Chi for students in higher education.”

I’m living under no delusions that the entire country is going to start practicing Tai Chi, but as I often tell my students — you often get much more than you could have expected from the practice of Tai Chi.

Here is what the researchers found doing meta-analysis of over 70 reports including over 9000 participants:

  • Primary Outcomes
  • Increased Flexibility
  • Reductions in symptoms of Depression
  • Reductions in symptoms of Anxiety
  • Improvements in interpersonal sensitivity
  • Secondary Outcomes
  • Improved Lung Capacity
  • Improvements in Balance
  • Faster running times
  • Improved quality of Sleep
  • Reductions in Compulsive symptoms
  • Decreased Hostility

So if you want to be faster, breathe more deeply, be less anxious and depressed and sleep better. If you want to have more compassionate tendencies and reductions in feelings of hostility. Then perhaps you should consider the art of Tai Chi….


Originally published at yinyanghouse.com.