I found this article to ring true. In multiple studies meditation has been found to help reduce feelings of anxiety. I particularly like the app called Head Space, the speaker is quite good.
For people with anxiety, just 10 minutes a day of mindful meditation is enough to prevent the mind from wandering, according to a preliminary study reported in Consciousness and Cognition (2017; 51, 157–65). Mind-wandering disrupts productivity and contributes to accidents, and it’s particularly an issue for people with anxiety, as they tend to worry and ruminate about negative events that are not happening in the present moment. University of Waterloo researchers in Waterloo, Ontario, conducted the study to determine the effectiveness of a mindfulness practice on clinical anxiety.
“Our results indicate that mindfulness training may have protective effects on mind-wandering for anxious individuals,” said Mengran Xu, a researcher and doctoral candidate at Waterloo University, to IDEA Fitness Journal.
“We also found that meditation practice appears to help anxious people to shift their attention from their internal worries to the present-moment external world, which enables better focus on the task at hand.”
Researchers recruited 82 college students with characteristics indicative of clinical anxiety. Investigators randomly assigned subjects to a control group or a meditation group. After 10 minutes of either listening to a book or practicing a breathing meditation exercise and then (for all) completing a sustained-attention task, those in the meditation group reported fewer mind-wandering episodes but a greater number of external distractions. Study authors observed the significance of this last finding, noting, “Mindfulness training seemed to switch the focus of attention from internal information to external stimuli in the ‘here and now,’ which likely has very important implications for methods of remediation used to treat worrying in anxious populations.”
Xu added, “Although we haven’t collected empirical data on this, many people find it helpful to start their day with a 10-minute mindfulness meditation. Doing a 10-minute meditation before an exam or an anxiety-provoking situation would also be helpful [to improve concentration or reduce anxiety].”
Since the study looked only at subjects with anxiety, the findings are not conclusive for the general population.
This article talks about how strong the mind body connection can be. You can actually worry yourself sick.
by Shirley Archer, JD, MA
2016 research highlights the power of the mind and the influence of our perceptions on disease chances. Healthy people who worry about having a heart attack have a higher possibility of heart disease, independent of other risk factors, compared with those who don’t worry, according to a study in BMJ Open (2016; doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-012914). A preoccupation with having or acquiring a serious illness is an anxiety disorder. People with health anxiety, known as the “worried well,” often have symptoms similar to heart disease—such as chest discomfort, palpitations, nausea, sweating and abnormally rapid breathing.
Findings were based on data analysis of over 7,000 adults during 12 years of follow-up in the Norwegian Hordaland Health Study and on statistics from a nationwide cardiovascular disease register. Researchers linked data from both sources to determine whether people with high levels of health anxiety had a higher risk of developing heart disease than those who worried less about their health.
The lead study author, Line Iden Berge MD, PhD, researcher in the department of global public health and primary care at the University of Bergen in Norway, said, “People with high levels of health anxiety have about a 70 percent increased risk of ischemic heart disease, relative to persons with low levels [of anxiety], after accounting for lifestyle and other established risk factors for heart disease,” in a university news release. Study authors recommended that health anxiety be properly diagnosed and treated.
The research paper is open access and available at http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/11/e012914.full.pdf+html.
Is your job causing you stress? According to the 2016 study, in this article, exercise can help mitigate the cardio metabolic risk factors caused by stress. If you are concerned about the effects of stress on your cardiovascular system try getting out and burning off some steam.
by Ryan Halvorson on Jan 17, 2017
Forty percent of workers find their jobs very stressful, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Twenty-six percent report that they are “often burned out or stressed by their work,” and 29% feel “quite a bit or extremely stressed at work.” Changing careers may not be a possibility; however, a 2016 study suggests fitness can help workers protect themselves against the potentially harmful effects of work-related stress.
Published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (2016; 48 , 2075–81), the study aimed to link cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and self-perceived stress to cardiometabolic risk factors and risk for developing cardiovascular diseases (CVD).
Another purpose was to determine the impact of CRF on stress and CVD risk factors.
The study’s researchers analyzed blood pressure, BMI, cholesterol levels, triglycerides, glycated hemoglobin and cardiometabolic risk scores in 197 men and women around 39 years of age. Each study participant underwent CRF tests and provided information on perceived stress levels.
Overall, individuals with higher CRF levels tended to have lower blood pressure, BMI, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides and cardiometabolic risk scores than the less active participants. These scores remained true among people reporting high work-related stress levels. The researchers believe this information can be helpful for all workers and especially those with stressful jobs.
“Better CRF is associated with more favorable levels of several cardiometabolic risk factors, specifically in participants experiencing high stress,” the authors stated. “Higher CRF may provide some protection against the health hazards of high chronic stress by attenuating the stress-related increase in cardiovascular risk factors.”