Biofeedback, mindfulness, yoga and hypnosis all provide promising mind-body approaches to treating anxiety, new research finds.
The standard treatments for anxiety are cognitive-behavioural therapy and/or medication.
However, these treatments can be difficult to obtain, expensive and, in the case of medication, involving significant side-effects.
Mind-body approaches, though, are often cheaper, accessible and usually with no side-effects.
The researchers identified studies on adolescents that supported the use of:
- Mindfulness involves increasing self-awareness and using breathing techniques. Studies show it can benefit anxiety.
- Yoga is effective in reducing anxiety.
- Hypnosis involves relaxation and imagery techniques, which can be effective.
- Biofeedback helps control anxiety by increasing self-awareness through showing people their own physiological stress response.
Yoga in particular has seen a massive rise in popularity in recent years, the study’s authors write:
“Low in cost, easy to implement, and accessible to individuals of all physical fitness levels, yoga has become an increasingly popular anxiety management tool.”
Anxiety affects around one-third of adolescents in the US.
Almost one-in-ten adolescents experience anxiety severe enough to disrupt their lives.
The study’s authors write:
“Whereas anxiety and fear are typical reactions to the academic, social, and developmental challenges common during the adolescent years, clinical or pathological anxiety is excessive, persistent, and disruptive.”
Most adolescents do not receive any treatment.
Ms Fulweiler and Dr John write:
“A growing body of evidence supports the implementation of mind-body therapy as a low-risk and cost-effective strategy in the management of anxious teenagers.[…]
Mind-body therapies encompass self-regulation and positive thinking…to help promote self-control, physical health, and emotional well-being.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal The Nurse Practitioner (Fulweiler & John, 2018).