How meditation calms the mind
People who are in depressive and anxious states may find benefit in simple, daily meditation.
That’s according to a Johns Hopkins University report, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers took a closer look on the medical benefits from daily meditation, analyzing 47 past studies on its effects on particular medical conditions including depression, anxiety, substance abuse and chronic pain.
Lead researcher Dr. Madhav Goyal, said in a statement, that meditation “is an active training of the mind to increase awareness, and different meditation programs approach this in different ways.”
The research suggests that approximately 30 minutes of mediation could relieve signs of depression and anxiety in some people.
“A lot of people use meditation, but it’s not a practice considered part of mainstream medical therapy for anything,” Goyla said in a University news release. “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.”
The report looked at more than 3,500 participants who completed 30 to 40 minutes of mindful meditation each day.
“We found about a 5 to 10 percent improvement in anxiety symptoms compared to placebo groups,” Goyal said. “For depression, we found a roughly 10 to 20 percent improvement in depressive symptoms compared to the placebo groups. This is similar to the effects of antidepressants in similar populations.”
Researchers also reported they saw a significant effect on the reduction of chronic pains for those practicing medication exercises.
“A lot of people have this idea that meditation means sitting down and doing nothing,” Goyal said in the release. “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.”
Goyla said they can’t pinpoint which types of pain meditation could be most useful for, but believes that the practice of meditation can’t do any harm.
He said meditation can be practiced right alongside other treatments people may be receiving.
Goyal concluded that more research is needed to discover whether or not longer meditation practice and training could produce greater health benefits.
About the Author
Sarah Scroggins, health enews contributor, is the director of social media at Advocate Aurora Health. She has a BA and MA in Communications. When not on social media, she loves reading a good book (or audiobook), watching the latest Netflix series and teaching a college night class.