Scientists have found that meditation can reduce anxiety by as much as 39% and have also identified the brain functions involved.
Buddhist monks and Zen masters, have known for years that meditation can lower anxiety, but the mechanism has not been clear, until now.
“Although we’ve known that meditation can reduce anxiety, we hadn’t identified the specific brain mechanisms involved in relieving anxiety in healthy individuals,” said Fadel Zeidan, postdoctoral research fellow in neurobiology and anatomy at Wake Forest Baptist and lead author of the study.
“In this study, we were able to see which areas of the brain were activated and which were deactivated during meditation-related anxiety relief,” Zeidan said.
For the study, 15 healthy volunteers with normal levels of everyday anxiety were recruited for the study. These individuals had no previous meditation experience or anxiety disorders.
All subjects participated in four 20-minute classes to learn a technique known as mindfulness meditation.