This online mental exercise helps reduce stress and anxiety due to the Covid-19 pandemic

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C. G.

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Fixing your attention in the present moment, with acceptance and without judgment, this is the foundation of mindfulness, an increasingly popular form of mindfulness meditation. Now, a new study, published in the journal “Global Advances in Health and Medicine,” shows that an online mindfulness intervention can reduce stress, anxiety and worry about Covid-19.

Early in the pandemic, Dr. Rebecca Erwin Wells, associate professor of neurology at Wake Forest School of Medicine and principal investigator on this study, realized the tremendous impact the situation was having on emotional health and wanted to assess how A safe mindfulness meditation strategy over the internet might help.

To launch this study, Wells was inspired by “Mindfulness for Milan,” a program created by Dr. Licia Grazzi, an Italian physician who led free daily mindfulness sessions to help the public manage stress and anxiety during confinement.

“We are all born with the capacity for mindfulness, which helps reduce stress and anxiety. Mindfulness practice can help improve this ability, “says Wells.

The non-randomized clinical trial was conducted between March and August 2020, had 233 participants, and included a pre-survey, a single 15-minute online mindfulness session, and a post-survey.

The surveys assessed point stress, anxiety, and concern about Covid-19 before and after the mindfulness session. Most of the participants (63%) had never practiced mindfulness before, and 89% said that the session was useful and that the online platform was effective for practicing this exercise. 76% of the participants reported a decrease in anxiety, 80% a reduction in stress and 55% had reduced concern about Covid-19. One in five participants was retired, suggesting that age was not an impediment to accessibility.

The researchers also evaluated online mindfulness resources over time during the pandemic and found a 52% increase in search results for “Mindfulness + COVID” from May to August 2020. “People are searching ways to help combat the stress and anxiety of the pandemic, “says Wells, for whom this study shows that a virtual platform can be effective for practicing mindfulness.

“We found that online mindfulness interventions can improve psychological health in a moment of uncertainty, “says Wells. The study author believes that additional research is needed to assess the effects of the pandemic on post-traumatic growth, the positive psychological change experienced after a challenging life circumstance.

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