Mind-Body Interventions for Anxiety Reduction During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Mental Health

Introduction

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on mental health, with a marked increase in anxiety and other mental health problems. In response, researchers at Columbia University’s Department of Psychiatry and the New York State Psychiatric Institute have launched an online study to assess the benefits of meditation and yoga for reducing anxiety and increasing resilience.

Study Design

The eight-week study is open to participants who have not been infected with COVID-19, but who have experienced heightened anxiety due to the pandemic. Participants receive anxiety-reduction training strategies and education materials based on proven cognitive-behavioral techniques. An additional two-thirds of participants also receive a mind-body therapy that includes either meditation for stress reduction or kundalini yoga.

Results

Over 2,000 individuals have enrolled or expressed interest in the study, indicating a strong demand for help. The study is ongoing, and the results are expected to have broad public health implications.

Conclusion

The study is designed to determine whether anxiety in the context of COVID-19 can be reduced through web-based, self-guided interventions that combine meditation-based and anxiety-reduction practice and training. The results have the potential to identify an inexpensive, easily disseminated, and beneficial approach to addressing anxiety in times of public health crises.

Who can participate?

  • Individuals who have not been infected with COVID-19
  • Individuals who have experienced heightened anxiety due to the pandemic
  • Individuals who are 18-70 years old
To learn more or participate in the study, visit Columbia Psychiatry’s information page.
Meditation and yoga are both practices that have been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety and improving overall well-being.

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