Meditation can improve mental health and wellbeing but exercise may be just as effective 

Meditation can improve mental health and wellbeing but exercise may be just as effective 

While “mindfulness” was once a term known only to dedicated yoga fans, the form of meditation has grown in popularity in recent years.

Mindfulness involves sitting still and focusing on your thoughts in the present moment. It is said to help reduce anxiety, stress and depression.

Now, a study has warned that these mental health benefits may not work for everyone.

Cambridge University researchers say we shouldn’t assume that mindfulness works for everyone, emphasizing that exercise can be just as effective for some.

Cambridge University researchers say we shouldn’t assume mindfulness works for everyone, highlighting that exercise can be just as effective for some (stock image)

WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?

Mindfulness is a popular form of meditation where you focus on being aware of exactly what you are feeling and feeling in the moment.

The exercise includes breathing methods, guided imagery, and other exercises to help relax the mind and body and reduce stress.

It is often touted as a universal tool for increasing mental wellbeing by reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.

Mindfulness means sitting still and focusing on your thoughts, sounds, and sensations in the present moment.

It is often touted as a universal tool for increasing mental wellbeing by reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.

Randomized control studies (RCTs) have been conducted around the world to determine if this is the case. However, the results are different.

Now Cambridge University researchers have reviewed these studies to “make more robust conclusions”.

Dr. Julieta Galante said, “For the average person and those around them, it seems better to practice mindfulness than to do nothing to improve our mental health, especially when it comes to depression, anxiety and psychological distress.

“But we shouldn’t assume that it will work for everyone, everywhere.”

People often practice mindfulness in community settings such as universities, workplaces, or private courses.

The researchers identified 136 RCTs that looked at whether mindfulness in a community was beneficial for mental health.

Mindfulness means sitting still and focusing on your thoughts, sounds and sensations in the present moment (archive image)

Mindfulness means sitting still and focusing on your thoughts, sounds and sensations in the present moment (archive image)

These studies included 11,605 participants, ages 18 to 73, from 29 countries, of whom more than three-quarters (77 percent) were women.

The researchers found, in most cases, that mindfulness actually reduced anxiety, stress, and depression compared to doing nothing.

However, this did not work in more than one of 20 test settings.

Dr. Galante said, “Mindfulness training in the church needs to be done with care.

“Community mindfulness courses, among other things, should only be an option and the range of implications should be explored when courses are conducted in new settings.”

Or, it could be that meditation works best for people who are very excited to begin with.

In comparison to other wellbeing activities such as sport, mindfulness was not more effective, the researchers also found (archive image)

In comparison to other wellbeing activities such as sport, mindfulness was not more effective, the researchers also found (archive image)

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MEDITATION?

Meditation can last up to 5000 BC. Be traced back.

It is associated with some philosophies and religions but is increasingly being practiced as a secular, stress relieving activity.

A recent study found that meditation can reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing risk factors that can lead to the disease.

In particular, it found that the practices can lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety and depression.

It can also help people quit smoking, which can lead to a fatal heart attack.

Experts caution that healthy lifestyle changes such as physical activity are still the safest way to fight off the disease, but that meditation can also decrease the odds.

Dr. Galante said, “The courses that work best may be aimed at people who are the most stressed or in stressful situations, such as health workers, as they seem to see the greatest benefit.”

Compared to other wellbeing activities like exercise, mindfulness wasn’t more effective, the researchers also found.

Co-author Professor Peter Jones said, “While mindfulness is often better than doing nothing, we have found that there are other effective ways to improve our mental health and wellbeing, such as: B. Movement.

“In many cases, these may prove to be more appropriate alternatives if they are more effective, culturally acceptable, or practical, or cheaper to implement. The good news is that there are more options now. ‘

The number of mindfulness classes offered has increased significantly in recent years and especially since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although the effectiveness of online courses has not yet been established, preliminary research suggests that they work despite the lack of direct contact.

Dr. Galante said, “When the effects of online mindfulness courses are as varied as offline courses in different environments, the lack of human support can create potential problems.

“We need more research before we can be confident about their effectiveness and safety.”

Other factors could be responsible for the different levels of success between settings, the researchers warn.

For example, where and by whom the courses are delivered, or to whom they are directed, is likely to have an impact.

Dr. Galante said, “The techniques and frameworks taught in mindfulness come from rich and diverse backgrounds, from early Buddhist psychology and meditation to cognitive neuroscience and participatory medicine.

“It is to be expected that the interplay of all these different factors will influence the effectiveness of a program.”

The results were published in the journal PLOS Medicine.


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