A meditation programme has proved useful in helping people deal with stress. There has been quite a bit of research showing that meditation helps people improve both their physical and mental ill health.
Researchers at West Virginia University in the US have been looking at how a meditation programme called 'mindfulness training' can help people who describe themselves as 'stressed out'. This training programme involved two and a half hour classes once a week for eight weeks, and an eight hour retreat.
The 35 people who were assigned to this course learned four different meditation techniques, yoga and other techniques for dealing with stress. After three months, their psychological distress had more than halved - bringing them into the normal range - while their physical health also improved. There was no change within the control group, who didn't get the training.
According to Dr Kimberley Williams, lead investigator in the study, the purpose of mindfulness training is for participants to gain greater insight into their perceptions, reactions and behaviours in life situations. Through the practice of mindfulness, subjects are taught to consciously respond to stressful situations in their daily life.