Meditation And Anxiety
Meditation has many benefits. People use it to help focus on the moment, or to get rid of the “noise” in their mind. Meditation reduces stress and helps you focus, but can it help with anxiety?
Meditation for wellness
Meditation promotes calm and internal peace, meaning it’s a great tool to deal with stress and even manage the symptoms of certain physical conditions. Some of the advantages of meditation are:
- Stress reduction
- Lowering of resting heart rate (blood pressure)
- Improved sleep
- Pain reduction
- Increased self-awareness
- Reduced negative emotion
These advantages are the main reason wellness specialists recommend meditation. But what about anxiety?
Can meditation really reduce anxiety?
This is where it is important to be careful; meditation can help reduce anxiety, but just keep the following in mind:
- Some people conflate anxiety and stress
- After meditating, and if you practice meditation periodically, you may feel less anxious
- This does not necessarily mean that meditation can treat an anxiety disorder, but it might help
It is important to remember that the term anxiety is used quite broadly.
Are you feeling anxious or do you have an anxiety disorder?
If you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, then your healthcare provider will be able to tell you whether meditation can help you manage your symptoms. There are some encouraging signs, but the science on how meditation can help you manage an anxiety disorder is not definitive.
A study published in JAMA found that mindfulness meditation programs:
- Had moderate evidence of an effect on improved anxiety, depression, and pain
- Low evidence of an effect on stress, and mental health-related quality of life
- Either low evidence, insufficient evidence, or no effect on, mood, attention, substance use, eating and sleeping habits, and weight
The same study found no evidence to suggest that meditation programs can be better than medical treatment, so meditation should just be an additional tool to help you with your condition. It does not replace any kind of medical treatment.
Which kind of meditation should I engage in?
Another issue can be the kind of meditation you engage in. The study does highlight two types of meditation that have been observed as having an effect on emotional symptoms: mindfulness and mantra meditation. The research goes on to point out that in many cases studies that show a moderate effect on anxiety from these two types of meditation, are uncontrolled, or controlled studies that did not account for the placebo effect adequately.
Therefore, there may be meditation programs that could help you more with anxiety than others. But how can you distinguish between them?
To find the right kind of meditation that may help you with your anxiety or with some of your emotional symptoms, the best way might be to experiment. There are certainly no indications that meditation can be harmful, so experimenting with different techniques, time spans, and other variables, could help you understand what is best for you.
While you experiment, it is important to understand that you should not focus on how effective your meditation technique is, because this could become a source of anxiety itself.
Aside from the kind of meditation and your meditation technique, you can also consult our healthcare professionals here at Antidote Health. We can help you with your anxiety. All you need to do is reach out and we can start right away. Our doctors are available 24/7 and we are happy to help you understand how to cope with your anxiety.