In SC 101 Health Science I try to liven up Fridays with surveys and activities. This Friday I jumped off from a side bar on managing stress by relaxing to music on page thirty-nine of Edlin and Golanty's Health and Wellness tenth edition.

Prior to playing a musical piece I had the students measure their resting heart rate and complete a brief stress and tension survey I cobbled together by editing extant on line surveys.

Before Enigma After Enigma
Resting heart rate

Before Enigma After Enigma

Yes Sort of No Yes Sort of No
My body feels tense all over. 2 1 0 2 1 0
I feel pressured because of my studies and tests. 2 1 0 2 1 0
I have a headache. 2 1 0 2 1 0
I have a nervous sweat or sweaty palms. 2 1 0 2 1 0
My muscles are tense. 2 1 0 2 1 0
My skin is itchy. 2 1 0 2 1 0
I have muscle tension in my face, jaw, neck or shoulders. 2 1 0 2 1 0
My stomach aches and is upset. 2 1 0 2 1 0
I am unhappy with my physical condition. 2 1 0 2 1 0
My breathing is difficult. 2 1 0 2 1 0
I feel lonely. 2 1 0 2 1 0
I feel sleepy. 0 1 2 0 1 2
I feel happy. 0 1 2 0 1 2
I feel relaxed. 0 1 2 0 1 2


I turned off the lights and then played The Voice of Enigma and Principles of Lust from Mcmxc A.D. by Enigma (1992). Being a tropical class room at 2:00 in the afternoon, the room was still brightly lit. And sitting among a room full of students is not all that conducive to relaxation.

Following the musical interlude the students again measured their heart rate and answered the same survey. Obviously this data is a convenience sample that telegraphs the instructor's desired outcome.

HR before HR after Sum before Sum after
mean 73.37 71 7.42 6.05
median 71.5 74 8 5.5
p-value 0.52
kurtosis -0.79 0.15

Overall neither the drop in heart rate nor in the overall sum is statistically significant based on a paired t-test. Note that the median heart rate actually increased slightly.

The distribution has changed with more heart rates closer to the median value - this is reflected in the increase in the kurtosis for the heart rate data.

The first Friday I used material from the excellent resource assembled by Dianne Hales, Personal Health Self-Assessments and Health Almanac for An Invitation to Health Brief. In particular I had the students work on John W. Travis' Wellness Inventory which evaluates wellness on twelve dimensions. The results are then plotted on a wellness wheel. This exercise fascinated the students and they spent the whole period working their way through the survey. Due to my desire that they be honest with themselves and the sensitivity of some of the questions, I did not collect the surveys.


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