Meditation is not a new concept. Mindfulness and meditation have been used by some cultures for centuries. The incorporation of these practices into Western culture, though, is relatively new and it offers promising benefits.
Although there are few conclusive studies that document the health benefits of meditation, many therapists and psychologists recognize that it plays an important role in maintaining mental health. It is particularly helpful for treating anxiety and depression.
“The evidence suggests that mindfulness meditation programs could help reduce anxiety, depression and pain in some clinical populations,” said a report published on Jan. 6 by the Journal of American Medical Association.
“Thus, clinicians should be prepared to talk with their patients about the role that a meditation program could have in addressing psychological stress.”
The report’s lead author, Madhav Goyal, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine said, “A lot of people have this idea that meditation means sitting down and doing nothing. But that’s not true. Meditation is an active training of the mind to increase awareness, and different meditation programs approach this in different ways.”