Effect of mindfulness on anxiety and how
General Anxiety Disorder ( G.A.D.) It is a cluster of several diseases including PTSDD
Definition: Worries or even fears of possible negative outcomes affecting people or events in the present moment or in the future. Usually anxiety is continuous during lifetime at various degrees. Can be debilitating if chronic.
It is the most common “mental” disease affecting around 15% of the population and growing rapidly especially among youths. Its causes are genetic and environmental.
Beside worry and fear, its manifestations are numerous affecting sleep, concentration, appetite, relationship, blood pressure, work performance, depression and even suicide.
Treatments include psychotherapy, CBT, medication and, over the last few years, mindfulness meditation.
The beneficial effect of mindfulness has been proven scientifically only in the last few years and confirmed by the
N.I.H. Reference enclosed.
In this reference, a randomized, controlled study involving one group of patient treated once a week with MBSR during 10 months vs. one controlled group treated with conventional psychotherapy during 10 months.
Anxiety level was assessed by 3 standardized psychometric anxiety inventory tests before and after treatment.
Statistical analysis showed that the frequency, duration and severity of symptoms of anxiety were statistically
less in the MBSR vs. psychotherapy.
How it works?
Neuro imaging shows that the activity of our emotional brain is less reactive whereas the activity of our rational analytic brain is more active in patients practicing mindfulness meditation daily and weekly in group. There is an obvious neuroplasticity or brain remodeling in action due to the practice of active awareness which is the job of our analytic frontal brain.
Hypothesis: The key seems to switch from “ I am anxious” to “ I have anxiety”. What does that means?
Being mindful to anxiety is to pay attention, to be actively aware of this negative emotion rather than being carried by. As soon as you force your mind to become aware of your anxiety, he is experiencing two mental conflicting states1) background anxiety itself and 2) active awareness of it. Facing this conflict that we create, our mind is unable to carry 2 thoughts at the same time and has now no choice but to let go one of them. The emotional mind will back off against the awareness mind.
As your awareness mind becomes more and more pervasive, your emotional anxious mind is losing ground, its intensity and its grip and your awareness mind is growing. In other words, what you do is to put your mind in competition with itself. It is like a mental tug of war, one area of the mind against another one.
In fact, this is exactly what we are doing while meditating by focusing on one state of mind called breathing in order to compete with another state of of mind one called wandering thoughts.
This mindfulness-based meditation method of making two states of mind in competition should be used with all afflictive thoughts popping out all the time.
If you get the habit of looking at thoughts and emotions when they arise, that is to be aware of the, they will dissipate before they take you hostage.
With practice, it will become easier and easier to retain mastery of our mind and to deal with negative emotions that pollute our daily life and also affect our body, which is a great “red flag” of what, is going at the upper level.
The effect of moderate “de-sensitization” of anxiety using mindfulness is proven but, by no means, it is the holly grail.
This is an edited quote from Allan Watts:
“The frequency, duration and intensity of your anxiety will never change the outcome of what/whom you are worried about. “