Can you tell us about the COVID-19-related anxiety clinical trial that you are currently hiring for?
When COVID-19 struck here in New York it was an anxious and somewhat terrible time for those on the front lines. As a clinician, psychiatrist, and researcher, I thought we could create a study that could be started quickly online that could be helpful for people suffering from anxiety during COVID-19. We decided we couldn’t have a comparison group that wasn’t useful either. So we have three groups, all of whom are trained to reduce anxiety using cognitive behavioral methods. We offer teaching materials on fears, worries, health fears, how thoughts affect our emotions, how certain thoughts and thought patterns can be destructive and how thought patterns can be changed. In addition, two-thirds of people receive augmentation with mindfulness-based therapy. There are two types that we use: one is meditation and the other is Kundalini Yoga.
The meditation arm of the study practices breathing and meditation. Kundalini Yoga is a daily practice that involves movement, light stretching, a certain type of breathing, and meditation. We hope everyone will benefit from participating in this ongoing study, but maybe those who receive the mindfulness therapies will do a little better.
Any type of daily exercise that is ritualized in such a way that your body and mind slow down for about fifteen or thirty minutes a day can be very useful. You are allowing yourself to soothe the endless chatter in your brain and breathe comfortably, and that is tremendously comforting. Our study will give this to patients as a practice as well as cognitive behavior therapy, which is a proven therapy for reducing anxiety.