Silhouette meditating at the beach

Mindfulness meditation combats anxiety

Mindfulness meditation is a unique type of meditation which teaches us to be aware and present of where we are and what we are doing. By being mindful we are not reacting excessively to stimuli around us but are being aware of the experience.

There are many benefits of mindfulness meditation, and one of them has been the relief of stress. Excessive stress can lead to anxiety which makes it hard for someone to cope with daily life without feeling anxious.

Mindfulness meditation has been a popular treatment for anxiety, but testing the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation on anxiety has not been convincing so far.

Mindfulness meditation is a relatively inexpensive and low stigma treatment option which can reduce stress and anxiety.

A rigorously designed trial lead by a Georgetown University Medical Center researcher found the objective evidence that mindfulness meditation treats anxiety effectively.

The trial included 89 patients with generalized anxiety disorder which is characterised by excessive and persistent worrying and is estimated to affect almost 7 million Americans each year. In Australia, approximately 14 per cent of the population experience an anxiety condition every year and it is estimated that just fewer than 3 per cent experience generalized anxiety disorder.

The patients were divided into two groups. One group took an eight week mindfulness based stress reduction course and the other group took an eight week Stress Management Education course.

The stress management course included education and tips on good nutrition, sleep habits and other wellness topics.

Both courses had similar formats but only the first group included training in meditation.

In this study, the participants were not told what the researchers were testing, thus eliminating any expectancy bias on part of the participants.

Before and after training, both groups were subjected to the Trier Social Stress Test which is a standard experimental technique for inducing a stress response. Participants were asked to give a speech to an audience at a short notice and were given other anxiety inducing instructions.

Researchers monitored blood-based markers for stress responses and found that participants who took the mindfulness training had sharply reduced stress-hormone and inflammatory responses whereas patients who took the stress management course had worsened responses.

In testing resilience to stress, the mindfulness meditation group showed big drops in blood-based markers, suggesting that meditation was helping them cope better with the stress.

The meditation group also reported that they experienced significant reduction in stress after their course.

Mindfulness meditation has shown to be beneficial in so many ways. A little mindfulness goes a long way to a healthier and happy you.

Source: Psychiatry Research

Meena Azzollini

Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!

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