Could One Hour of Meditation Help Eliminate Anxiety?
May 14, 2018
If you feel like you’ve been hearing more and more about mindfulness or meditation lately, it could be because more people are trying it out. From companies investing in employee wellness programs to the booming yoga industry, mindfulness and meditation aren’t just for yogis anymore. But if you’re not already a member of the meditation fan club, you may be wondering what’s all the fuss about?
While meditation may not be everyone’s cup of tea, there has been some interesting research on its potential health benefits. In fact, Healthline.com recently published an article highlighting a study that looked at the health benefits of just one session of meditation.
The study was led by assistant professor of physiology at Michigan Technological University, John J. Durocher, PhD, and recent graduate, Hannah Marti. Using the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) system and measuring arterial pressure and heart rate, Durocher and Marti monitored each of the 14 participant’s anxiety levels before and after meditating.
Immediately after an hour-long meditation session, the participants showed a significant reduction in blood vessel wall stiffness – an indicator of less stress on their arteries – as well as a reduction in their BAI. Furthermore, these findings still held true an hour after the session had ended.
With medication and talk therapy being the standard treatments for anxiety disorders, some experts say meditation as a treatment option could make sense.
During a typical meditation session, breath is the central focus. When we take a deep breath in, our heartrate quickens slightly. As we exhale, our heartrate slows. Repeated deep breaths will naturally bring our heartrate more in sync with our breath. This leads our brains to release endorphins – chemicals that have a natural calming effect.
Some research shows that meditation can go so far as to change the structure of our brains and improve neuroplasticity. This could be due to the fact that the brain is so oxygen dependent, using 20% of the body’s oxygen supply. And just like any other body part, if it doesn’t get what it needs, symptoms can develop. So, a deficit in oxygen could cause us to feel foggy, unfocused, or on edge.
Although the Michigan Tech study was small, the results support previous research that found meditation could help reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, as well as reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and chronic stress.
Dr. Ramani Durvasula, professor of psychology at California State University says, “this entire body of research as a whole has promise.”
What’s even better? You don’t have to go to a class to meditate. There are plenty of meditation apps that can guide you through a session, or you can try it out on your own with our meditation tips.
Remember that it’s normal to feel stressed or anxious from time to time, but when it begins to affect your quality of life, it might be time to talk to your doctor about your symptoms.
If you’d like to learn more about Neurocore’s med-free anxiety treatment program, give us a call at 800.600.4096. We’d be happy to chat about how we may be able to help.