As with diet and exercise, meditation is one of those things that I always mean to improve on, but struggle to do consistently over the long haul. I’ve sometimes managed to meditate at least once-a-day for 15 or 20 minutes for several months in a row--then it goes down to most days, and finally tapers off to never. A new study, however, says I should give it another shot, but this time with the help of a trained counselor.

Specifically, the study showed a type of therapy called Mindfulness-based therapy was at least “moderately effective” (their words not mine, so I can’t explain what modest means in this case) in treating anxiety and reducing symptoms of depression. The study actually involved crunching the data from 39 other studies of the technique.

Mindfulness-based therapy, also known as mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), is meant to help people non-judgmentally observe their thoughts and feelings, rather than to suppress them or control them. This is accomplished through training in breathing, consciousness of the body and how to detach from thoughts and feelings. The ultimately goal isn’t happiness, per se, but freedom from automatic reactions to events, thoughts and feelings. This training and guidance usually takes place over about 8 sessions.

The authors of the study conclude, “These results suggest that mindfulness-based therapy is a promising intervention for treating anxiety and mood problems...”