Harvard Women's Health Watch

Research we're watching: Feeling stressed or anxious? Try meditating

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Millions of Americans have turned to meditation to reduce stress, ease anxiety, and relieve depression. Although there aren't any risks associated with the practice, there also hasn't been much medical evidence to confirm meditation works. To add some medical validity to the claims about meditation, researchers analyzed 47 studies involving some 3,500 participants. Their review, which was published online January 6, 2014, in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that meditation did improve anxiety, depression, and pain, although it didn't have much of an effect on eating habits, sleep, weight, or attention. One of the techniques studied in the review was mindfulness meditation, which teaches practitioners to sit calmly and quietly and focus their mind inward so they can connect with their body. If you're interested in learning more about this practice, look for a class at a local college or community center.

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