New research from John Hopkins University has found that meditation provided as much relief from anxiety and depression symptoms as what other studies have found from antidepressants. This wonderful research study is extremely beneficial as there are no side effects with meditation and it is a practice that anyone can learn to use and benefit from. Traditionally, meditation has been used in spiritual settings or to establish a sense of relaxation. However, its use can be generalized to psychiatric conditions such as anxiety or depression.
There are various types of meditation. The meditation explored in the research study is referred to as mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation is a variant meditation of Buddhist self-awareness designed to focus precise, nonjudgmental attention to the moment at hand. It was also helpful in alleviating some pain symptoms as well as stress. This finding is not surprising as there is a holistic mechanism between the mind and body. Depression and anxiety tend to co-occur with pain and stress.
Meditation is gaining popularity in the west, particularly with the practice of yoga. Unfortunately, many people have a false stereotype about meditation in that it consists of sitting down cross-legged and doing nothing which does not sound appealing to many. However, this is not the case. Meditation is an active training of the mind to increase awareness and allow people to live in the present moment rather than the past or anticipation of the future which can create anxiety and depression. Mindfulness meditation emphasizes acceptance of feelings and thoughts without judgment and relaxation of body and mind.
Everyone can benefit from a meditative practice regardless of whether they are struggling with anxiety and depression. The research is finding that meditation is connected to overall feelings of wellness. It is beneficial to look into an approach that would resonate with each individual.
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