A Quick, Cheap, and Effective Way to Fight Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety

This technique reduced depressive symptoms by 40 percent in only two months.

exercise-sweat
Photo by Sam Edwards/Getty Images

Meditation is good for depression. And so is exercise. But, according to a small new study from Rutgers University, together—in a twice a week regime—they might be better than the sum of their parts.

For the study, published in Translational Psychiatry, researchers  set out to understand how meditation and exercise would affect depression symptoms for 22 participants with clinical depression and 30 mentally healthy participants. Each participant completed a MAP (mental and physical) behavioral therapy regime twice-a-week for eight weeks: 30 minutes of meditation where they were directed to refocus on breathing if they thought about the past or the future. They then exercised for 30 minutes. At the end of the study, participants reported 40 percent fewer depressive systems and less negative thoughts and overall worrying.

"We know these therapies can be practiced over a lifetime and that they will be effective in improving mental and cognitive health," Brandon Alderman, assistant professor at Rutgers University and lead study author, said in a statement. "The good news is that this intervention can be practiced by anyone at any time and at no cost."

Not sure how to get started with meditation? Here are six ways to meditate without anyone finding out what you're doing.