This paper is a meta-analysis of 12 randomized controlled trials, a total of 785 adult subjects. The effects analysis across all participants yielded a significant small-to-medium mean effect size. This means that individuals practicing breathwork experienced lower levels of stress than those of the control conditions. Furthermore, the self-reported anxiety and depression of the experimental participants were significantly altered compared to controls. This shows that consistent breath work may increase quality of life and reduce levels of anxiety and depression in low to moderate-risk individuals.
This study compares three types of daily 5-min breathwork exercises (cyclic sighing, box breathing, and cyclic hyperventilation with retention) with 5 minutes of mindfulness meditation over a 1-month period. The results showed that the exhale-focused cyclic sighing showed the most significant mode of improvement and reduction in physiological arousal and anxiety.
In this study, they measure the effect of Qigong meditation, a blend of relaxation, breathing, guided imagery, inward attention, and mindfulness, on addiction recovery. Those who chose to participate in the meditation showed a treatment completion rate of 92% versus 78% (p < 01) and reported a reduction in craving, anxiety, and withdrawal symptoms, although it was dependent on the quality they approached the meditation with. While all in the meditation group reported reduced anxiety, the female participants reported significantly more reduction in anxiety and withdrawal symptoms than their male counterparts. Overall this shows positive evidence for the integration of meditation into established addiction recovery procedures.
Psychological stress can be viewed as an imbalance in person‐environment relationships. This relationship is mediated by 2 main factors: cognitive appraisal and coping. If a situation is appraised as stressful, negative coping will occur. One such coping mechanism is substance abuse. This paper explores the use of meditation as an alternative coping strategy. Meditation affects the appraisal of the situation helping people to avoid judgment and instead except the present moment. Mindful meditation can help to recover addicts and form an alternative relationship to difficult thoughts, feelings, and sensations associated with withdrawal and thus decrease relapse and suffering.
This study was conducted on 74 military Service Members with documented PTSD or ADNOS diagnoses. 34 received training and performed Transcendental Meditation, once per day, five days per week for a minimum of 3 months in addition to their traditional therapies. This experimental group showed a decrease in medication reliance and psychological symptom severity compared to the control. This shows that meditation can help stabilize and reduce PTSD symptoms in as little as a month, with increased duration leading to a better response.
This paper summarizes findings showing religion and spirituality may have a protective effect on mental health. A Nurses’ Health Study demonstrated a correlation between regular service attendance and lower levels of depression and suicide. This can be attributed to religion fostering healthy behaviors, social integration, providing social support, and enhancing optimism and a sense of purpose in life. Additionally, a meta-analysis of ten prospective studies with over 136,000 participants found that having a higher sense of purpose in life was associated with a reduced relative risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events.
PTSD is an anxiety disorder stemming from traumatic events and comes with persistent symptoms of increased arousal and exaggerated sympathetic stress response. It is very common among veterans but can be very challenging and expensive to treat. This study followed five men between the ages of 25 and 40 with a history of combat-related PTSD. They practiced Transcendental Meditation for 20 minutes twice a day. All participants found the meditations relaxing and easy to perform and reported reduced anxiety and stress levels. However, without a control group placebo cannot be ruled out.
The core symptoms of addiction are hypothesized to reflect a switch to habitual drug-taking behavior underlined by craving, impaired self-control, emotional dysregulation, and increased stress reactivity. In this study, mindfulness meditation was practiced daily after brief training. This was shown to increase connectivity and activity in ACC/mPFC regions responsible for emotion regulation. These changes were reflected by heightened self-control in both smokers and nonsmokers. This indicates that meditation can help circumvent the craving and impulsive behavior that trap addicts in a cycle of abuse.
This study shows the effect of daily meditation over an 8-week period. Subjects were novices at meditation and between the ages of 18 and 45. The experimental group performed daily 13-minute guided meditation while the control listened to a podcast. After 4 weeks, no significant effect was found. However, after 8 weeks, the meditation decreased negative mood, stated anxiety, and general fatigue. It also improved the participant’s attention, working memory, and recognition memory. An overall decrease in participants’ behavioral anxiety response to the Trier social stress test was also shown, although baseline cortisol measures did not change significantly.