Published: 23rd October 2017
Keep Calm and meditate because it works better than Yoga, say scientists
An eight week trial by researchers including those of the University of Westminster in the UK showed it was better than gardening and yoga at helping people to relax
The practice of paying more attention to the present moment is better at reducing stress than yoga or gardening, scientists suggest. The training has been growing in popularity in recent years, with the National Health Service recommending it as a way to reduce stress and anxiety.
An eight week trial by researchers including those of the University of Westminster in the UK showed it was better than gardening and yoga at helping people to relax. For the research, 68 people were recruited. A third of then met every week for group gardening and conservation activities, another group tried weekly yoga sessions, while the third group practised 10 minutes of meditation practice each day.
All participants were measured for levels of the stress hormone cortisol. A healthy stress response is to have a big burst in the morning called the cortisol awakening response (CAR), and lower levels through the day. While yoga saw only a slight improvement, gardeners CAR jumped by 20 percent, while the mindfulness group saw their cortisol awakening response leap by 52 percent.
Reportedly, those who enjoyed meditation gained an even bigger boost, with CAR rising to 78 percent. Previous studies have shown that mindfulness can decrease self-reported stress levels and make people feel calmer. Last year US scientists proved for the first time that it can help lower inflammatory molecules and stress hormones.