A recent study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that daily meditation provided some relief for patients suffering from negative psychological conditions, such as anxiety and depression.
What Does It Mean?
Though meditation can be defined in many ways, researchers in this study focused on the concepts of mindfulness and allowing the patient to accept their feelings as they are without judgment. It is a method of training the mind to eliminate distraction and focus on certain thoughts — a definite benefit for patients struggling with anxiety or depression.
How Can This Affect Nursing Practice?
The wonderful thing about nursing is the focus on the patient as a whole, not just as a victim of a disease. So, when a nurse encounters a patient who is experiencing anxiety about an upcoming procedure or depressive feelings from a difficult situation, meditation can be suggested as a way to alleviate those feelings. This study also mentions that in patients with clinical levels of anxiety and depression, therapy, medication and other methods of intervention were necessary.
Nurse as Teacher and Guide
It may not be enough to simply suggest to a patient that they meditate; they will need guidance regarding the best practices available to achieve maximum relief of their symptoms. Nurses interested in this complementary option should seek out opportunities to learn how to teach others to meditate; additionally, there are many options for specialization and certification that can be pursued.
Across All Specialties
Nurses that work with the elderly in long-term care could teach their residents how to become more mindful of their feelings. A labor and delivery nurse could instruct a group of expecting mothers to calm their worries and maintain their center. In every nursing specialty, there will be distressed or depressed patients that could benefit from meditation. There are no known negative side effects from meditating, making it a low-risk recommendation for patients with minor symptoms.
In the current health care climate, everything is becoming more dependent on technology and medication. It is refreshing to discover that a simple yet effective way that nurses can help their clients improve their mood can be arrived at by harnessing the power of the human mind.