A study performed at Georgetown University Medical Center looked at effective ways to combat anxiety. The results showed that mindfulness meditation is one of the best solutions against anxiety.
The study was published in the journal Psychiatry Research. They discovered that the people who practiced mindfulness meditation – that is trying to be ‘in the moment’ – showed reduced amounts of stress hormones and less inflammatory responses to stressful situations. Those who did not use mindfulness meditation as a stress management technique scored lower results.
Elizabeth A. Hoge, one of the lead authors of the study and an associate professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical Center, declared that mindfulness meditation is one of the most accurate combatants of anxiety. It is an inexpensive technique and a means of treating anxiety that meets no stigma whatsoever. These findings are most welcome, since anxiety disorder (excessive worrying) affects about 7 million of the Americans every year.
The researchers looked at 89 subjects suffering from the disorder. They were split into two groups. One group used mindfulness meditation to manage stress, while the other one took a course on stress reduction that involved good sleeping tips, the improvement of the eating habits, and other methods. The subjects were not aware of the aim of the study.
The participants to the test were asked to give short speeches in front of an audience before and after the stress management courses. This was a sure way to induce stress. While these tests were performed, the researchers analyzed the participants’ responses to stress by looking at certain biological traits. They recorded the levels of the stress hormone ACTH and of the inflammatory proteins IL-6 and TNF-α.
The second group, made up of those who took non-meditation stress management courses, showed a rise on the second ‘stress test’, caused by the worsening of their anxiety because they had to take the test again. However, the first group that used meditation showed massive drops in their stress levels, proving that meditation can help in combating anxiety. Moreover, the participants to mindfulness meditation courses reported that their anxiety rates have improved in other situations that occurred after the end of the test.
Therefore, mindfulness meditation can be a natural and effective way of combating anxiety and is a method that can be used by anyone, anytime, with the promise of great results.
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