Online mindfulness may boost mental health during Covid pandemic

The study, published in the journal Global Advances in Health and Medicine, showed that 76 per cent of participants reported decreased anxiety, 80 per cent reported decreased stress and 55 per cent had decreased Covid-19 concern.

New York: The fear, anxiety and stress associated with the Covid-19 pandemic has taken a toll on mental health. However, a new study suggests these symptoms may be eased through safe and convenient online mindfulness practices.

The study, published in the journal Global Advances in Health and Medicine, showed that 76 per cent of participants reported decreased anxiety, 80 per cent reported decreased stress and 55 per cent had decreased Covid-19 concern.

“We found that online mindfulness interventions may improve psychological health at a time of uncertainty. We were also encouraged by the survey responses, which showed a sense of connectedness and a desire to help others,” said researcher Rebecca Erwin Wells, Associate Professor at the Wake Forest Baptist Health in the US.

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“Helping others during the pandemic demonstrates the beautiful capacity of the human spirit to find positivity despite the extraordinary negative circumstances,” Wells added.

The researchers said that they recognised the tremendous impact of this pandemic on emotional health and wanted to evaluate how a safe, online mindfulness meditation strategy might help.

For the study, the team included 233 participants from across the world in this non-randomised clinical trial, which included a pre-session survey, a single 15-minute online mindfulness meditation session and a post-session survey. The pre and post-session surveys evaluated momentary stress, anxiety and Covid-19 concern.

Most of the participants (63 per cent) had never practiced mindfulness before, and 89 per cent of participants said the session was helpful, and that the online platform was effective for practicing mindfulness.

Of note, 21 per cent of participants were retired, suggesting that age did not prevent accessibility.

The participants were also surveyed on how they were helping others during the pandemic.

The responses varied with common themes including following public health guidelines, conducting acts of service and connection such as reaching out to elderly neighbours, and self-care activities such as staying positive and calm.

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