Effect of brief mindfulness and relaxation inductions on anxiety, affect and brain activation in athletes

Jui Ti Nien, Diane L. Gill, Ting Yin Chou, Chen Shuo Liu, Xiaoling Geng, Tsung Min Hung, Yu Kai Chang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The mindfulness-based intervention and psychological skills training are often used for maintaining the mental health or reducing undesirable mental states in athletes. However, their differences in acute effects on mental health and underlying neural mechanism are not well understood. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to examine the differential effects of brief mindfulness induction (MI) and relaxation induction (RI) on state anxiety, affect and brain activation. Thirty-five track and field athletes were recruited for this study. Using a within-subjects crossover design, participants underwent three conditions that incorporated two 30-min experimental conditions (i.e., MI or RI) and a control condition. State anxiety and affect were assessed before and after intervention, and brain activation (i.e., theta, alpha bands) were recorded by electroencephalography (EEG) during each 30-min condition. Repeated measures analysis of variance revealed that MI and RI similarly reduced state anxiety and negative affect from pre-test to post-test compared to the control condition. In terms of positive affect, there were no significant differences among the three conditions across times. Furthermore, participants exhibited higher frontal theta power during the MI and RI than control condition, whereas no differences in alpha power were observed among conditions. The current study provides initial evidence from an electrophysiological perspective that brief MI and RI both improve the negative psychological states in individual sport athletes through similar neural mechanisms. Nevertheless, the moderating effects of training experiences and long-term interventions on mental state and EEG activity in athletes need further investigation in future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102422
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jul


  • Cognitive resource
  • EEG
  • Mental health
  • Mindfulness
  • Relaxation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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