Mindfulness is something which the medical world has yet to fully accept as a means for treating patients. Although mindful meditation has a variety of benefits, and has been around for thousands of years, it’s a relatively new concept to many doctors. One of the many things that meditation has been shown to aid in the treatment of is anxiety disorder, a condition that affects nearly 7 million Americans.
Mindfulness can help decrease anxiety in patients without the use of medication for a relatively low cost. It also has a lower stigma attached to it than visiting a psychologist, making it a more attractive option for those suffering from anxiety disorder.
What do Studies Show About Mindfulness Meditation & Anxiety?
A recent study conducted at Georgetown University helped to put mindfulness meditation to the test and see how will it really helped with reducing anxiety. So what did they find?
Elizabeth A. Hoge, MD, and her colleagues put together a group of 89 patients diagnosed with anxiety disorder. These 89 people were put into two sets: one practiced mindfulness meditation for 8 weeks, and the control group, who took a 8-week Stress Management Education course.
Neither of the groups were informed of which method of anxiety reduction were of interest to the researchers. Allowing both groups to receive some form of treatment helped to reduce any placebo effect or bias and really focus on effective methods of reducing anxiety.
Testing and Results
Each group was given a Trier Social Stress Test before and after their training courses. During this test each individual gives a speech in front of an audience (with little notice) and are give other instructions that can increase stress levels.
So how did the groups compare?
The control group actually performed worse after 8-weeks of Stress Management Education. Having to take the same test again stressed them out more than the initial test.
On the other hand, the group practicing mindfulness showed “big drops” in anxiety levels during the second test.
Promising results for the future of mindfulness meditation and anxiety reduction!