Once again, meditation has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety in adults. A new study published in Psychiatry Research has shown that mindfulness meditation can actually physiologically combat stress and anxiety.
In the study, around 90 participants were required to take an 8-week mindfulness meditation course in an effort to alleviate their generalized anxiety disorder symptoms, a disorder which affects more than 7 million Americans yearly. Mindfulness meditation teaches lessons such as focusing on the present moment, and accepting previous difficulties.
After partaking in the course, participants were tested using the Trier Social Test, a standardized stress-inducing test which asks individuals to give a public speech under short notice. Using blood-based markers, the researchers found that compared to a group that did not receive mindfulness mediation sessions, the group that had showed significantly lower levels of ACTH, a stress-inducing hormone, in their bloodstream. They also showed reduced inflammation and lower levels of self-reported stress and anxiety.
“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,” Dr. Hoge, the principal investigator and a psychiatry professor at Georgetown University Medical Center explained.
The researchers concluded that mindfulness meditation can be helpful in reducing biological anxiety, but that in order to confirm these findings, future research should focus on real-life situations, rather than lab experiments.