The world today is
full of all forms of stresses - mental, physical and psychological. This
surmounting anxiety and stress adversely influences your regular
is a form
of practicing concentration and it makes you focus on things other than
worldly. It detaches you from the corporal things and takes you towards
According to a recent
US study published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, meditation can relieve anxiety by more than
Prof. Fadel Zeidan,
the postdoctoral research fellow in Neurobiology and Anatomy at Wake Forest
Baptist and his team conducted a study to investigate the brain functions
concerned with lowering anxiety and stress. The study was published in the
Journal of Social Cognitive and Affective Neurosciences.
"Although we've known that meditation can reduce anxiety, we hadn't identified
the specific brain mechanisms involved in relieving anxiety in healthy
individuals. In this study, we were able to see which areas of the brain were
activated and which were deactivated during meditation-related anxiety relief."
noticed that meditation-associated-stress relief is linked with the activation
of two brain regions (the anterior cingulate cortex
and ventromedial prefrontal
) involved with cognitive abilities that control and regulate other
abilities and behaviors.
examined 15 healthy volunteers with normal anxiety and subjected them to four
20-minutes session of mindfulness meditation. In this technique, people are
taught to concentrate on breath and body sensations and to assess the diverting
thoughts and emotions.
According to the
experts, "Both before and after meditation training, the study participants'
brain activity was examined using a special type of imaging - arterial spin
labeling magnetic resonance imaging - that is very effective at imaging brain
processes, such as meditation. In addition, anxiety reports were measured
before and after brain scanning."
vibrant activity is noticed in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, the region
of the brain that controls worrying and with increasing activity in cingulated
cortex (concerned with emotions and thinking), stress and anxiety decreases.
Prof. Zeidan highlighted,
"Interestingly, the present findings reveal that the brain regions associated
with meditation-related anxiety relief are remarkably consistent with the
principles of being mindful."
The researchers said
that mindfulness meditation was an effective relaxing technique where patients
learn to teach their mind to concentrate on the present moment instead of
worrying about past or future. This is referred as nonjudgmental awareness of
moment-to moment experience.
Prof. Zeidan further
said, "Mindfulness is premised on sustaining attention in the present moment
and controlling the way we react to daily thoughts and feelings."
Earlier studies found that mindfulness
meditation increases self-insight, intuition, morality and fear modulation,
functions related with the middle prefrontal lobe
area of the human brain. This
type of meditation can enhance immune functioning and mitigation of
psychological distress. Reference:
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience journal 2013.