(Mirror Daily, United States) – A new study revealed that the practice of mindfulness meditation could actually help its users deal with anxiety and stress.
Anxiety disorders are becoming an increasingly more common health issue. Analysts state that they have become the most commonly diagnosed mental illness in the U.S. They are believed to affect around 40 million adults. That is about 18 percent of the nation’s population.
Meditation and various similar practices are amongst the proposed stress relievers. But its effects were quite difficult to establish. Especially from a scientific point of view.
But a team of Georgetown University researchers has just accomplished this feat. They are part of the University’s Medical Center Department of Psychiatry. Research was led by Elizabeth A. Hoge, M.D.
They carried out a trial study. Research results were released earlier this week. The paper was published in the Psychiatry Research journal. It released on January 24 and was titled as follows. “Randomized Controlled Trial of Mindfulness Meditation for Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Effects on Anxiety and Stress Reactivity”.
In carrying out the study, the researchers worked with 89 people. They were all diagnosed with anxiety disorders. More exactly, with generalized anxiety disorder. This causes excessive and chronic worrying.
The participants were split into two groups. One took mindfulness meditation classes. The other attended stress management classes.
Both courses had an eight-week time span. The participants took a standard blood test. This was taken both before and after the two courses. Its purpose? To induce a stress response. The researchers monitored specific blood-based markers. These can help determine the stress level.
Both the mindfulness meditation and anger management groups took the test. But the results differed quite significantly. The mindfulness meditation class showed significantly decreased stress levels.
These were compared to their results to the same test but before the course. The anger management group had a more unpleasant result. They registered a worse response than before the classes.
Mindfulness meditation is a thousand of years long practice. Its reported benefits are quite varied. They include a longer attention span. And also a better pain management. Practitioners also showed a lowered blood pressure. And also an added support in overcoming addictions.
Still, these effects were quite hard to demonstrate. The researchers went to offer details. According to them, most other tests use an untreated control group. As such, the study participants are quite aware of the potential effects. So biases or placebo effects can develop. Even quite unwillingly.
Their new study should help eliminate such issues. It offered both groups a potential coping mechanism. And it should have helped eliminate the potential participant expectancy bias.
Hoge, the aforementioned lead, also released a statement. According to her, mindfulness meditation is a relatively inexpensive treatment approach. And this study also hopes to have proven its effectiveness.
Mindfulness meditation can start with a short practice period. At the beginning, a session can last up to 10 minutes. But their length can increase with regular practice. The practitioner has to sit with their eyes closed. They have to keep their back straight and sit cross-legged. Their whole attention should be concentrated on breathing in-and-out.
Mindfulness meditation is just one amongst the many varied schools of practice. These can have slight or bigger variations.
The practice has started becoming an increasingly more used stress reliever. And the study hopes to have actually demonstrated its non-biased, scientifically proven effects.
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