Our culture has a complicated relationship with wellness. Sedentary lifestyles still contribute to high rates of diabetes. U.S. college students report rising levels of anxiety, stress, and mental health crises. On the other hand, record high numbers of teens and adults regularly engage in at least one form of exercise. Physicians and other healthcare providers are more likely to receive research-based training on the benefits of wellness activities to a person’s mental and physical health. “Mindfulness” activities have become the focus of research around this new type of thinking, including college students. In particular, meditation and yoga are increasingly seen as evidence-based ways to lower symptoms of depression and anxiety in different populations. Wellness activities are also beginning to show effectiveness in reducing symptoms of ADHD, although long-term effects are still being studied. The American Psychological Association just published a news bulletin entitled, Yoga Effective at Reducing Symptoms of Depression. This publication describes several recent studies with promising results. Depressive symptoms were seen to drop significantly after only 8 weeks. Study participants also reported improved optimism and greater physical and emotional well being after participating in various wellness programs.
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