Hawaii Edition

Meditation Soothes Anxiety and Improves Focus

Multiple Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness

ifong/Shutterstock.com

Even a single mindfulness meditation session can significantly reduce anxiety and lower heart rates, Michigan Technological University research shows. Fourteen people with mild to moderate anxiety participated in a 20-minute introductory meditation, a 30-minute mindful scan of each body part seeking areas of stress and a 10-minute self-guided meditation. An hour later, the meditators showed both lower resting heart rates and anxiety levels. A week later, they continued to report less anxiety.

Another study at Trinity College Dublin, in Ireland, uncovered an anatomical reason why breath-based meditation practices can enhance mental clarity and focus, as yogis have long claimed. The research focused on a small area in the brain called the locus coeruleus, which is responsible for producing an action hormone and neurotransmitter called noradrenaline. They found that this part of the brain is affected by our inhaling and exhaling patterns.

“Put simply, this means that our attention is influenced by our breath, and that it rises and falls with the cycle of respiration,” says lead author Michael Melnychuk. “It is possible that by focusing on and regulating your breathing, you can optimize your attention level.”


This article appears in the December 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Gardening for Kids

Give kids a patch of dirt and a trowel, and they’ll not only have fun but can find a fresh new appetite for fruit and vegetables.

Toxic Legacy

Women in growing numbers are joining together to deal with the long-term, serious health threats posed by saline and silicone implants.

Plants Talk

Plants may not be raising an audible ruckus, but scientists are finding they communicate silently with each other through smells, hearing and underground networks.

Dancing Prevents Senior Decline

Elderly Japanese women who danced for exercise were 73 percent less likely to be impaired eight years later doing “activities of daily living” such as walking, cooking, dressing and bathing.

U.S. Heart Disease on the Rise

An estimated 48 percent of American adults have cardiovascular disease, but about 80 percent of the time the disease can be prevented with precautionary medical care and lifestyle changes.

Add your comment: