Mindfulness Exercises May Improve Anxiety

Per National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), around 40 million individuals in the U.S. suffer from anxiety disorder. This means over 19.1 percent of the population have anxiety.

Anxiety can interfere with everyday tasks, hindering one from working, socializing, or even completing simple tasks such as eating or showering. A new research by JAMA Psychiatry revealed that those struggling with anxiety can be benefited by mindfulness interventions.

What did the study find?

JAMA Psychiatry took 208 participants with anxiety disorder and assessed their anxiety levels after an eight-week intervention. In the randomized trial, participants were either placed in a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) group or SSRI group. The SSRI group was prescribed escitalopram, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that is commonly used to treat anxiety.

The research team used a seven-point scale, with seven being extremely anxious and one being normal. After the eight-week trial, both groups saw a decrease in their anxiety levels, resulting from moderate anxiety to mild. The beginning scale scores for both groups were similar, with 4.44 for the mindfulness group and 4.51 for the medication section.

Towards the end, both groups’ numbers diminished to 3.09 on average, exhibiting that mindfulness techniques are just as effective as medication. This critical study reveals that despite the severity of anxiety, individuals can benefit from mindfulness interventions.

What is mindfulness technique?

MBSR is a type of therapy that involves meditation, originated to help manage stress. It is often utilized to aid with many mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, or even chronic pain and cancer. Mindfulness technique, or MBSR, can look like focusing on the moment and being present to relax your mind and body.

In today’s busy society, we often spend too much time working, studying, worrying, and planning our future without giving ourselves the time we need to unwind. Mindfulness activities can stray away negative thoughts and help your brain get some peace. Some examples of mindfulness techniques include breathing, meditation, walking, and utilizing all of your five sense to feel the world.

What is anxiety disorder?

Before you go on the stage to give that valedictorian speech or get on the plane, it is completely normal to feel a little anxious. However, when that anxiety reaches a point where it interferes with your daily life, it can lead to uncomfortable situations.

Anxiety can bring both physical and emotional symptoms, such as sweating, shortness of breath, fatigue, or insomnia. It can also lead to irritability, dreadfulness, or constant worries.

An anxiety disorder can be categorized into various groups, such as Social Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), or certain phobias. Individuals with anxiety disorder can receive help by participating in psychotherapy, getting prescribed medications, or mindfulness techniques.



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