More than 350 million people globally suffer from depression, and 1 in 13 peoplearound the world have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Overall, the World Health Organization estimates that roughly 450 million people suffer from some form of mental or neurological disorder — and that roughly one in four people will be affected at some point in their lives.
These numbers are staggering. With the rise of mental illness and the increasingly pressing need for effective treatments, there’s never been a more important moment for mindfulness — the ability to cultivate a focused, non-judgmental awareness on the present moment. Research has shown mindfulness and meditation-based programs to hold promise for treating a number of psychiatric conditions, including depression,anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
As research has mounted in recent years, mindfulness has migrated from spiritual retreat centers to medical facilities. Now, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) — the largest scientific organization in the world dedicated to research on the understanding and treatment of mental illness — is getting serious about investigating mindfulness as a complementary treatment for a range of mental health conditions.
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