Regular Meditation Improves Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression

First Posted: Jan 07, 2014 05:00 AM EST

Meditation offers several health benefits.  Regular mediation improves symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The latest John Hopkins analysis claims that nearly 30 minutes of daily meditation may help in improving symptoms of anxiety and depression that impact individuals of any age.

"A lot of people use meditation, but it's not a practice considered part of mainstream medical therapy for anything," explains Madhav Goyal , M.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "But in our study, meditation appeared to provide as much relief from some anxiety and depression symptoms as what other studies have found from antidepressants."

In this study the researchers assessed the degree to which the symptoms changed in people who had multiple medication conditions that included insomnia or fibromyalgia.

The researchers studied 47 clinical trials on 3,515 participants that involved meditation, mental and physical health issues, depression, anxiety, stress, insomnia, substance use, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and chronic pain.

After the eight week training program in mindfulness meditation- a Buddhist self awareness form of meditation- the researchers noticed a moderate improvement in the symptoms of anxiety and depression. No noticeable evidence of reduction in stress and quality of life was seen. They lacked sufficient data to determine whether or not mindfulness meditation benefited other areas. Above all mediation caused no harm.

Mindfulness mediation helps alleviate certain symptoms of pain as well stress. This type of mediation highlights a non-judgmental acceptance of feelings and thoughts and relaxation of body and mind.

Goyal concluded saying, "A lot of people have this idea that meditation means sitting down and doing nothing. But that's not true. Meditation is an active training of the mind to increase awareness, and different meditation programs approach this in different ways."

The study was published in the JAMA Internal Medicine.


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