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Easing Anxiety & Stress with Meditation

Since we all deal with daily stress, its good to learn certain techniques on how to deal with what you are going through. Whether it be meditating,  taking time out, and taking deep breaths,  accept  that you cannot control everything around you.

I read this interesting article in The Khaleej Times that I thought I would share with you, as it is from past research in earlier studies which still apply today.

Using data from 47 earlier studies, researchers found moderate evidence to support the use of mindfulness meditation to treat anxiety, mental stress, depression and pain. Meditation did not seem to affect mood, sleep or substance use.

Mindful_Meditation

In an email to Reuters Health, Dr. Madhav Goyal who led the study at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, wrote “Many people have the idea that meditation means just sitting quietly and doing nothing.  That is not true. It is an active training of the mind to increase awareness, and different meditation programmes approach this in different ways.”

Dr. Madhav Goyal and his colleagues wrote in JAMA Internal Medicine that meditation techniques emphasize mindfulness as well as concentration.

Mindfulness meditation is aimed at allowing the mind to pay attention to whatever thoughts enter it, such as sounds in the environment, without becoming too focused.
Mantra meditation, on the other hand, involves focusing concentration on a particular word or sound.

According to the National Institutes of Health, in 2007, approximately 9% of people in the US reported meditating. About 1% said they use meditation as some sort of treatment or medicine.

Researchers, for their new report- searched several electronic databases that catalog medical research for trials that randomly assigned people with a certain condition— such as anxiety, depression or pain— to do meditation or another activity. These randomized controlled trials are considered the gold standard of medical research.

The researchers found 47 studies with over 3,500 participants that met their criteria. After combining the data, Dr Goyal said his team found between a 5 and 10% improvement in anxiety symptoms among people who took part in mindfulness meditation, compared to those who did another activity. There was also about a 10 to 20% improvement in symptoms of depression among those who practiced mindfulness meditation, compared to the other group.

Dr Goyal said, “This is similar to the effects that other studies have found for the use of antidepressants in similar populations. Clinicians should be prepared to talk with their patients about the role that meditation programmes could have in addressing psychological stress, particularly when symptoms are mild.”

Dr. Allan Goroll, is a professor at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He wrote an editorial accompanying the new study, and told Reuters Health the analysis is an example of an area of much-needed scientific study, because many people make treatment decisions based on beliefs – not data.

Dr Allan Goroll wrote; “People should remember that meditation was not conceived to treat any particular health problem, rather, it is a path we travel on to increase our awareness & gain insight into our lives. The best reason to meditate is to gain this insight. Improvements in health conditions are really a side benefit, and it’s best to think of them that way.” 

So…turn off the TV and computer, put down your phone and clear your mind when meditating. According to the research, it can help you to relax!

Namaste.