Meditation versus Medication for Anxiety Relief

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A recent study has found that Meditation is as effective as a leading anxiety medication in managing anxiety. While there is enough said about stress being the main reason people develop mental disorders such as anxiety and depression, the practice of Meditation or Mindfulness as a tool for mental wellness, has not been taken seriously.

Here is an excerpt from the publication along with the reference.

  • An 8-week study compared a common SSRI drug to daily meditation for the treatment of anxiety.
  • In the study, meditation was just as effective as Lexapro at treating anxiety disorders.
  • The evidence could be used by insurers to reimburse mindfulness-based stress reduction as an anxiety treatment.

A new study of more than 200 adults found daily meditation was just as effective at curbing anxiety as the drug Lexapro (escitalopram).


 If we have a predisposition for certain mental disorders, then our main hope for a fulfilling life is the ability to manage the symptoms. One can opt for expensive medication with side effects one may not even know of, or one can learn meditative techniques which are free and with no side effects at all. For those who say “I cannot meditate, or its hard to clear my mind of thoughts, here is a revelation. Meditation does not involve clearing the mind of thoughts. It is a practice to train the “monkey” mind to be in the moment. Again, for those sceptics who protest – I can’t be still, or I can’t focus or it’s too hard, let me explain that there are several techniques that involve movement and can help a person be mindful during practice, for example, Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong.

In yoga, the journey towards mind control is gradual. Most of us cannot control our minds instantly with meditation. The process may involve gradual progression from  Yoga asanas or poses – through movement, to breath work and finally sitting meditation . In fact, Yogic breathing practices have been adopted by many psychotherapists for treatment of mental disorders such as Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, Bipolar.

The practice of Meditation can gradually be cultivated by using anchors such as the breath, pulse, musical sounds etc. For the novice there is a plethora of guided meditation videos on YouTube, Spotify, Instagram etc.

The silence and calm of meditative techniques can create a sense of wellbeing and emotional balance. My long immersion in Yoga and meditative techniques has only cemented my belief in these techniques.  They work. I can never forget a student of mine who dropped out of college because of anxiety. Six months of regular practice which involved yoga poses and breathwork helped her gain control over her anxiety. It was a very gratifying moment when she told me that she was going back to college. Life today is much more demanding and conflict intensive. Everyone feels stress whether you are a student, an executive, a parent or a partner, the only sure way to manage the stress of these roles is to get ahead of it and develop a routine that helps the brain calm down. Needless we will be better equipped to deal with the challenges of life.

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