Anxiety, stress and depression: the 21st century’s greatest enemies. In some countries more than others these ‘plagues’ are the number one cause of marital woes, separations, family breakdowns and personal decline. Antidepressants and anxiety drugs are selling like crazy and many of us are just hooked on our daily fix in order to go through with the day.
Despite the fact that alternative medicine and supplementary methods of distressing are becoming popular of late, the ancient technique of meditation is fairly underestimated. And here comes a very interesting new study to prove that meditation offers the same relief for symptoms of stress and anxiety as much as antidepressants do.
Madhav Goyal, M.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, is the leader of a study published on the 6th of January in in JAMA Internal Medicine Journal. The researchers focused on 47 clinical trials amongst a staggering 3,515 participants that were sufferers of a variety of mental and physical health issues such as chronic pain, insomnia, depression and anxiety, substance use, heart disease and cancer.
The participants had to undergo an eight-week program in ‘mindfulness meditation’, a form of Buddhist self-awareness designed to achieve a mind that is stable and calm. Researchers found that this form of meditation alienated symptoms of chronic pain and stress and the symptoms continued to improve in the 6 month follow up.
“A lot of people use meditation, but it’s not a practice considered part of mainstream medical therapy for anything,” says Madhav Goyal. He added that “in our study, meditation appeared to provide as much relief from some anxiety and depression symptoms as what other studies have found from antidepressants.”
What is asked of people, nowadays, is to start considering that medication is a fast and safe route to ‘happiness’ and to a relaxed and focused state of mind. Excluding the medical psychiatric conditions that do need professional evaluation and observation, other everyday stressful situations need to be looked at from a different perspective. Taking care of yourself with everything that it entails, is more complicated and at the same time more worthwhile than following the easy road to daily drug fixations. It is an investment to a longer life with your loved ones and to a more fulfilled self.
“Mindfulness meditation, the type that showed the most promise, is typically practiced for 30 to 40 minutes a day. It emphasizes acceptance of feelings and thoughts without judgment and relaxation of body and mind.”
So, let’s make a change – let’s start by focusing on ways to help us relax and focus, ways to stand up for what we desire and believe in, let’s educate ourselves to becoming better, more empathic mothers, accomplished and mindful individuals, more kind and caring partners, let’s learn to forgive and let us all cut this dangerous drug addiction and become familiar to safer, healthier ways to getting rid of stressful and problematic areas in our life. Let’s do it today!