Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Meditation And Mindfulness Could Reduce Your Stress


For centuries many have strived to find inner peace through meditation and mindfulness training.

But testing its effectiveness in treating anxiety has been surprisingly difficult.

Now, new findings suggest meditation reduces stress hormones and inflammatory responses to stressful situations.

Around 8.2 million people are believed to suffer from anxiety in the UK alone.

Researchers divided a sample of patients with anxiety disorder into two separate groups.

One group were attended an eight-week mindfulness based stress reduction course while the second took an eight week course on stress management education.

The first group were encouraged to focus their awareness on the present moment and the second were given general tips on good nutrition, sleep habits and wellness topics.


Both courses had similar formats, but only the first included training in meditative techniques.

Before undertaking the courses, the participants underwent the Trier Social Stress (TSS) Test, a standard technique for inducing a stress response, in which patients are asked to give a speech before an audience at short notice.

Study author Professor Elizabeth Hoge, from Georgetown University, Washington, said: "We were testing the patients' resilience, because that's really the ultimate question, can we make people handle stress better?"

The team monitored the levels of the stress hormone ACTH and the inflammatory proteins IL-6 and TNF-?? after the TSS test.

These two proteins appear in higher levels during stressful situations.

Professor Hoge said: "The control group showed modest rises on the second test compared to the first, suggesting a worsening of their anxiety from having to endure the test again.

"By contrast, the meditation group showed big drops in these markers on the second test, suggesting that the meditation training had helped them cope."

The research team said similar mindfulness-related treatments may one day be used to help people with other psychiatric conditions.

They hope to compare the results of these treatments with those from psychiatric drugs.

Professor Hoge added: "Mindfulness meditation training is a relatively inexpensive and low-stigma treatment approach, and these findings strengthen the case that it can improve resilience to stress."



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