Stress refers to a situation that triggers a particular response. Notably, it is a consequence that results from the inability of an individual to respond to specific emotional and physical threats effectively. Fundamentally, these threats can be those that are imagined or those that actual, Studies have shown that the signs and symptoms of stress include the state of panic and adrenaline rush, short-term resistance as an attempt to cope, exhaustion, irritability as well as the muscular spasm among many others. A growing number of studies shown that the majority of people in the US agreed that stress is a fact in life that affects a significant amount of people. It affects people ranging from small to adult. However, the adult was more susceptible to stress because of their day-to-day experience. Stress has been linked to the cause and development of other mental diseases. While there is so, a variety of methods have been reported to play a critical role in reducing the impacts of stress, anxiety, and depression that are associated with numerous mental disorders. The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) therapy is one of these methods.
Concept of Mindfulness
The concept of mindfulness is rapidly gaining popularity in the West. More people are turning to this concept due to their desire to strengthen their concentration and achieve intellectual and spiritual development. For scholars, mindfulness has become a favorite topic, as they seek more evidence that would prove the medical and psychological benefits of mindfulness. The theoretical construct of mindfulness has undergone considerable development thanks to efforts that compare mindfulness in different cultures and religions. Studies have demonstrated that mindfulness is an effective way of dealing with psychological problems. For example, mindfulness has become a holistic intervention, which has increased self-awareness among women. In workplaces, work-related stress has made it difficult for workers to cope. Researchers have suggested the adoption of mindfulness as a way of assisting workers in dealing with their stressful and busy schedules. The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) therapy is one of these methods.
The MBSR program refers to a technique developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979. While it is evident that the MBSR was initially developed as a stress management tool, it has evolved to include the treatment of a number of disorders. These disorders include anxiety, depression, skin diseases, pain, as well as immune disorders. The MBSR utilizes the mindfulness meditation that is meant to alleviate the suffering that is related to the physical, psychosomatic, and the psychiatric. Currently, more than 200 medical centers across the world provide the MBSR programs as the alternative therapeutic option to patients who suffer from various stress related conditions or disorder. The MBSR broadly involves a 2 hours training per week for 8 weeks, with a 1-day retreat.
Usually, the participants will receive the training through the use of the formal mindfulness techniques that integrates the simple stretches and postures. The MBSR is critical in treating depression, chronic pain, and other psychiatric disorders. Ideally, the combination of lecture series on mindfulness, active team discussions, and the instruction mindfulness techniques (Wielgosz 301. These may further encompass the meditation, body-scan, and breathing awareness, which are all critical in teaching the participant about mindfulness. The studies have shown that Mindfulness-Based Cognitive therapy is more similar to the MBSR (Wielgosz 287). However, the only difference is based on the fact that it teaches the participants to be aware of thoughts that lead to adverse feelings and, in turn, replace them with positive feelings. The fundamental reason and motive behind the MBCT are to encourage individuals to become aware of the moment they experience negative emotions and let it pass without further concerns regarding such feelings. Ideally, this type of therapy is also taught for 2 hours a week for eight weeks, just like the MBSR. It is crucial to note that the concept of mindfulness originated from a robust system of reflective practice. It thus implies that it is impossible for an individual cannot achieve the benefits associated with mindfulness unless they accept to continue practicing the technique even after the completion of the program. Regular practice of meditation makes mindfulness a critical and intentional practice in one's life (Wielgosz, 289).
Effectiveness of MBSR
The studies have reported a significant association between MBSR and chronic mental illnesses. Notably, various studies have shown a substantial reduction in anxiety, stress, and depression, thereby enhancing the quality of life in patients suffering from the disorders. The relationship between MBSR and depression has further been evaluated by other studies conducted by Adams (45). In the study, the MBSR was compared to other forms of treatment in two groups. One group was subjected to the MBSR, while the other was submitted to the normal procedure. It was found that the group that was subjected to the MBSR demonstrated a significant decrease in the symptoms such as anxiety and depression.
On the other hand, there was no substantial change in the usual treatment group. Another study by Adams (47) assessed the effectiveness of the MBSR on depression, anxiety, as well as the psychological distress across the populations that exhibited various types of chronic somatic diseases. The results demonstrated a tremendous reduction of depression and anxiety in patients receiving MBSR therapy.
The MBSR has also been shown to be critical in stress relief among patients with diabetes mellitus. Diabetes is a disorder that poses significant life stress that needs considerable physical, emotional, and psychological accommodation in addition to coping. The research has found that individuals with diabetes were 20 percent more likely to suffer from anxiety conditions at some point within their lives than those without the disease. Additionally, about 25 percent of adults who have diabetes are likely to experience depression at some point in life. However, the application and use of the MBSR has shown significant development in helping the patents to cope with the daily treatment demands and management of the psychological issues associated with the disease, which act as significant challenges.
The use of MBSR therapy has further shown favorable implications on the mood disturbance disorder as well as the symptoms of the stress within the cancer disease. Ideally, the studies have reported that patients within the treatment group demonstrated significantly lower scores on the total mood disturbance and subscales of depression, anxiety, anger, and confusion. The treatment group was further reported fewer symptoms of stress, reduce cardiopulmonary and gastrointestinal signs, reduced emotional irritability, depression, and the overall symptoms of anxiety. Overall, there was a tremendous reduction in the total mood disturbance and stress. The MBSR programs were highly effective in reducing mood disturbance and the stress in both the male and female patients with a range of illnesses. It has been further shown to enhance the coping strategies of individuals with cancer primarily through reducing the stress and mood disturbances.
Recent studies have shown that the majority of people who experience anxiety or depression prefer non-pharmacologic and non-conventional treatment practices. These methods are easy to reach and apply with limited side effects. The mindfulness is thus based on the need to increase one's attention to his or her internal and external experiences at the moment without subjecting them to judgment. Active practice of the MBSR can lead to the development of the cognitive skills, which integrates the acceptance, meta-cognition, and the objectivity.
The MBRS has been reported to significantly reduce dysfunctional schemas and rumination, which are two cognitive dimensions that can lead to susceptibility to develop into severe depression. The dysfunctional schemas refer to the negative and extreme the presumptions and the beliefs regarding oneself. While it is evident that dysfunctional attitudes provide a representation of a mental process. When an individual's dysfunctional attitude is depressive and negative, their rumination becomes associated with a focus on the negative states like depression.
The meditation is another strategy that has been reported to play a crucial role in reducing the stress related elements. Depression and other mental health disorders continues to be some of the major health issue for adults in many parts of the world, including the United States. Ideally, it affects about 20 percent of the individuals above the age of 76 and above. It is critical to note that a regular depression can promote huge health risks of heart disorders and death from such illnesses. It also affects the daily's lives of people through making them more socially isolated as well as affecting the cognitive function, particularly the memory (Wielgosz 306). The utilization of meditation as an alternative option to the medication treatment has seen a tremendous impacts in the healthcare sector. A huge number of patients and physicians have opted for the alternatives to the traditional medication-oriented treatment. Overall, numerous medical centres across the world have adopted the use of meditation as an alternative to the existing medical treatment approaches. Various benefits such as improved hypertension, management of stress and chronic illnesses, and enhancement of the cardiovascular health. Recent studies also show that a proper use of the meditation have a great role in offering the solution in lowering and may be halting the cortical atrophy and the cognitive reduction.
The study of meditation within the psychiatric settings is not a new thing. While some studies report about the incompleteness of the efficacy evidences of the meditation, current studies have shown and reported possible benefits that are associated with the program. These include ameliorating depression, anxiety improvement, and promotion of abstinence from the drug abuse.
Mechanism and Psychological Impacts of Meditation
Meditation has been shown to have tremendous impacts on the psychological well-being of an individual. From the discussion, it becomes evident that meditation plays a critical role in alleviating the effects posed by the stressful situation. It is this critical to note that the benefits associated with meditation are associated with the psychological, and cognitive wellbeing of the individual. Regardless of the disorder type, meditation appears to affect the autonomic nervous system, which is critical in controlling or regulating the organs and the muscles that controls the automatic functions such as the heartbeat, respiration, digestion and perspiration. Broadly, this is presented in two ways. Firstly, there is a sympathetic nervous system that is named fight-or-flight by Walter Cannon. This response prepares and activates the body for the actions during stress or an impending danger. These processes increase the rate of the blood flow which occurs as a result of the restriction of the blood flow. As part of the process, the blood is moved from the surface tissues into the central nervous system, and this influences the release of adrenaline into the blood stream. In the similar way, the parasympathetic nervous system is critical in slowing down the rate of breathing and heart rate, increases the digestion and dilates blood vessels with an aim of improving the blood flow. Studies have shown that the continued activation of the sympathetic nervous systems has a direc...
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