Meditation and Social Anxiety

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is featured with emotional biases and inaccurate negative self-beliefs. In a recent study, researchers investigated the effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) on emotional responses and the regulation of negative self-beliefs in 16 patients with social anxiety disorder (SAD) (Goldin and Gross, 2010).

They measured the brain-behavior indices using functional MRI. The study found that those patients who finished the mindfulness-based stress reduction program had obvious improvement in anxiety and depression symptoms, as well as self-esteem (Goldin and Gross, 2010).

During the breath-focused attention task, these patients had reduced negative emotional experience and decreased amygdala activities. In addition, they had enhanced activities in the brain areas involved in attentional deployment. The training decreased emotional reactivity but promoted emotion regulation, with the decrease in SAD-associated avoidance behaviors, symptoms, and responses to negative self-beliefs (Goldin and Gross, 2010).

The study suggest that mindfulness-based stress reduction programs may be an effective intervention in changing cognitive-affective activities, adjust emotional responding, and relieve the problems of stress, anxiety, and depression.


Goldin, P. R. and Gross, J. J. (2010) Effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) on emotion regulation in social anxiety disorder. Emotion 10, 83-91.

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