How mindfulness can help with anxiety

If you’re looking for an additional way to treat your anxiety without medication, a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that mindfulness-based interventions such as breath awareness exercises, body scans and mindful movement, such as stretchingcan be as effective as taking medicine.

The randomized clinical trial was conducted between June 2018 and February 2020 and included 276 adults with anxiety disorders from three hospitals in Boston, New York City and Washington, D.C. The participants received the antidepressant escitalopram, also known as Lexapro. , or eight weeks per week. mindfulness-based stress reduction course, which includes in-person classes, one-day retreats, and daily home practice.

Patients’ anxiety symptoms were assessed at trial enrollment and then again at completion, as well as at post-treatment assessments at 12 and 24 weeks after enrollment, according to a press release about studying. The researchers rated the severity of the patients’ anxiety symptoms and found that both groups experienced about a 30% reduction in the intensity of their symptoms.

“It is important to note that even if mindfulness meditation works, not everyone is ready to invest the time and effort to successfully complete all the necessary sessions and do regular practice at home, which will improve the effect,” Dr. . Elizabeth Hoge, director of the Anxiety Disorders Research Program and associate professor of psychiatry at Georgetown and the first author of the study, said in the press release.

“Also, virtual delivery [of mindfulness-based stress reduction] via videoconference is likely to be effective, as long as the ‘live’ parts are retained, such as question-and-answer periods and group discussions.

Meditation has many health benefits, including better sleep and lower blood pressure. It was also found to have an effect gut health, according to another new study. Researchers found that the gut microbes of nearly 40 Tibetan Buddhist monks were significantly different from secular residents of nearby areas and that these microbes were associated with a lower risk of anxiety, depression, and cardiovascular disease due to the connection between our gastrointestinal tract and central nervous system. system, or gut-brain axis.

“In general, more bacteria were enriched in the meditation group [have been] associated with the alleviation of mental illness, suggesting that meditation may influence certain bacteria that may play a role in mental health,” the researchers wrote in a press release about study.

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