The mindfulness meditation app

Student-athletes face a unique set of stressors that can work to compromise their overall well-being, according to Peter Ward, PhD’19.

After conducting a comprehensive literature review of the 2010 NCAA GOALS study and others looking at risk factors impacting college athletes, he discovered that it’s not uncommon for them to miss class and spend up to 80 hours per week on sports and academics.

“Student-athletes report more stress than non-athletes in terms of romantic relationships, decreased sleep, and demand of extracurricular activities,” said Ward, a doctoral student in the counseling psychology program who presented his findings at RISE:2016.

To reduce negative health outcomes among college athletes and non-athletes alike, Ward is working with assistant professor Mariya Shikyo to develop a mindfulness meditation app.

The app—titled “Just Be”—is being piloted in four classes this semester, giving 100 students the chance to get in touch with their inner Zen. It comprises eight audio recordings that guide users through as many different exercises, including breathing and body scan meditations.

“Athletic teams often think outside the box when it comes to their training,” Ward said, “and this app can be another tool for them to tackle their stress.”