If you think mindfulness meditation is just a quack fad initiated by earth-loving hippies and vegetarian diet followers, then you’re missing a lot on a very valuable method and tool for not only regaining peak mental health but also for obtaining peace and tranquility every day.
Based on a new study published in European Psychiatry, mindfulness meditation is comparable as a mental health tool with that of individual cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as well as pharma drugs for mental health used to treat a wide array of psychiatric issues and diseases.
How is this so? Simple! Mindfulness meditation practices about tuning into the “present moment”. By focusing on the present moment and your current surroundings, you acquire a keen awareness which helps improve your mental well-being. This kind of meditation is very useful for those who tend to gravitate towards destructive thinking because it helps them analyze how unhelpful that kind of thinking is.
This kind of meditation and thinking helps one analyze and pinpoint what kind of thoughts lead to negative patterns and deal effectively with the situation as well as control the outcome.
Scientists from Sweden’s Center for Primary Healthcare Research (CPF) observed 215 patients who were undergoing depression, anxiety, and stress disorders recruited from several healthcare centers in the whole of Sweden. Using an eight-week controlled and randomized trial, the researchers put into 2 groups – the ones having individual CBT and another doing mindfulness in group therapy – and studied and measured the psychiatric symptoms and changes of the participants.
It was found out that in both groups, the average score for the 15 subscales used in the study dropped greatly. These determinants included depression, general anxiety, stress, psychoticism, interpersonal sensitivity, aggression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobic anxiety, and paranoid ideation.
There were no significant differences in the treatment among the two groups, indicating that mindfulness group therapy is just as effective as individual CBT for many of the most common psychiatric symptoms affecting people today.
This is a significant finding since individual therapy could be a bit expensive for cancer patients. But with mindfulness group therapy, one can find the time as well as the resources that can be most accessible for patients with cancer.
Moreover, mindfulness meditation calms and quiets the mind, making the cancer patient more relaxed and able to figure out how to address his/her disease.
The abundance of studies on the effectiveness of mindfulness
Earlier in the year, the U.K.’s Coventry University’s researchers found out that mind-body interventions (MBI) can reverse the changes in DNA that lead to stress. Considering that yoga is now the most popular MBI, it is known that mindfulness meditation also falls under MBI.
The study analyzed 18 studies that concern 846 people over an average 11 years. Findings show that those people who practiced MBIs such as yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and Tai Chi had a diminished production of the molecule NF-kB. This molecule is the one responsible for causing cellular inflammation that can lead to both physical and mental issues, such as cancer and depression.
By lowering the production of NF-kB, MBIs can help alleviate stress and the health conditions that it generates.
A study published last year in JAMA Psychiatry discovered that mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy (MBCT) managed to help patients as much as the conventional common antidepressants. The biggest difference is antidepressants have harmful side effects, while those who were suffering from depression and underwent MBCT had a 31% lower chance of suffering from a relapse within the following 60 weeks after treatment.
So, if you’d like to handle your mental, emotional and psychological make-up while undergoing some of the most debilitating diseases on the planet, do try mindfulness meditation.
What about you, would you like to try this out? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!