A new study published in the journal Psychiatry Research finds anxious people who learn mindfulness meditation react better to stress.
Researchers split a group of patients with generalized anxiety disorder into two groups. One group finished a stress management education course and the other group took a MBSR course, which is short for Mindfulness-based stress reduction. Researchers had all participants perform public speaking and answer math questions in front of an audience. Those who learned mindfulness meditation reported feeling less stressed. They also had lower blood measurements of the stress hormone ACTH.
MBSR, or mindfulness-based stress reduction, has roots in Buddhism, but it’s non-religious. It teaches you to pay attention to the present moment and not to be judgmental. You learn breath awareness, body scan meditations and gentle yoga. The program helps you learn to calm your mind and calm your body.
Everyone at some point experiences stress. It’s important to learn healthy ways to cope with it. So here are my prescriptions:
1. Identify your stress triggers. Then setup strategies for dealing with them like taking breaks or going for walks.
2. Set aside time for regular stress-reduction techniques. Try mindfulness meditation, deep-breathing, massage, tai chi or yoga.
3. Don’t turn to drugs and alcohol. These can create more problems and add more stress to your life.
4. Talk with loved ones. Sharing how you feel can help decrease stress and lets others know how they can help too.
The pace of modern life can add many stressors to anyone’s life. But if you’re feeling constantly stressed out, struggling to cope or have thoughts of suicide, then it’s time to talk to your doctor, a psychologist or professional counselor.