Mindfulness meditation programs have shown promise for the treatment of anxiety. Now, new research may help explain why. According to a study published in Biological Psychiatry, mindfulness meditation appears to help extinguish fearful associations.
“Mindfulness interventions have been shown to reduce stress and improve emotion regulation skills in numerous studies, however the neural mechanisms are still largely unknown,” said study author Gunes Sevinc, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
“One of the proposed mechanisms is based on the idea that mindfulness meditation provides a context similar to exposure therapy. During exposure therapy, individuals are exposed to otherwise avoided stimuli in a safe environment and gradually learn that these stimuli are no longer threatening.”