The study’s co-author, Sian Cotton, director of the UC’s Center for Integrative Health and Wellness, noted that the anxiety of their patients was dramatically reduced following treatment. Cotton also acknowledged that the more mindfulness the participants practiced, the less anxious they reported feeling.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, provides a breakthrough for holistic treatments for such mental health issues, as it shows how mindfulness therapies may provide a treatment for childhood anxiety disorders. “These integrative approaches expand traditional treatments and offer new strategies for coping with psychological distress,” explains Cotton. “Mindfulness-based therapeutic interventions promote the use of meditative practices to increase present-moment awareness of conscious thoughts, feelings, and body sensations in an effort to manage negative experiences more effectively,” Cotton continues. Many children with anxiety disorders typically have poor coping skills in the presence of stress. But 80 percent of children with diagnosed anxiety disorders and 60 percent of those diagnosed with depression do not get help. Mindfulness exercises may, indeed, be able to allow children a safe and effective way to cope, even preventing relapses of depression or anxiety. It may also provide people reluctant to taking medications another option. “Increasingly, patients and families are asking for additional therapeutic options, in addition to traditional medication-based treatments, that have proven effectiveness for improved symptom reduction. Mindfulness-based therapies for mood disorders is one such example with promising evidence,” Cotton notes.
The 12-week experiment showed the study’s researchers that mindfulness therapy boosted neural activity in a part of the brain responsible for processing cognitive and emotion information called the cingulate. Furthermore, they found that the therapy worked to increase brain activity in the insula, which is the part of the brain that monitors how the body feels on a psychological level. “This raises the possibility that treatment-related increases in brain activity during emotional processing may improve emotional processing in anxious youth who are at risk for developing bipolar disorder,” explains fellow co-author Dr. Jeffrey Strawn, a professor in UC’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, and the director of the Anxiety Disorders Research Program. “The path from understanding the effects of psychotherapy on brain activity to the identification of treatment response is a challenging one, and will require additional studies of emotional processing circuits.” As we saw in the study, practicing meditation, yoga, or learning to be aware of what happens in your life from a non judgmental point of view (shifting your consciousness) are effective means to reduce anxiety. Here are a few techniques in meditation that can help not only quiet the mind but also visualize your what’s happening in your life in a way that is not judgmental, click here. Related CE Article: A Buddhist Monk Disciple of Thich Nhat Hanh Explains Mindfulness For Times of Conflict Discover how Conscious Breathing can improve your life in just 10 days through our guided conscious breathing challenge! Get access to daily videos, guided meditations, and community support to master conscious breathing basics. Release stress, activate heart coherence, improve digestion, sleep better and more! Sign Up For The Chall.
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