More reasons to meditate, part #2

In the research world a “meta-analysis” is a powerful way to combine the results from a large number of studies to get a better idea of what is really going on. A meta-analysis gives us a much better sense of what really matters and helps to provide useful answers to important questions. Recently, a group of scholars conducted a meta-analysis on meditation to gain a better understanding of whether or not meditation really helps us. The authors make the following statement about the results of their meta-analysis:

Does meditation work in principle, that is, does it have positive effects? The evidence accumulated in the present meta-analysis yields a clear answer: yes.

Well, there you have it: mediation is good for us. More specifically, the authors found thatĀ meditation has its largest effects in reducing negative emotions. In other words, if you have had a bad day, been mistreated, are worried about something, or in some way experienced an event or interaction that made you feel bad in some way, meditation can help alleviate some of the bad feelings that you are experiencing. Meditation reduces our stress, and it also helps us relax, whether we are in a bad or good mood. This means that meditation has multiple effects that can help us feel better.

But there is more good news. Meditation can help us think better by bolstering our ability to focus our attention and concentrate. There are, of course, many activities and tasks in life that require concentration, focus, and clear thinking. Meditation can help us perform better in those activities and tasks.
These researchers noted that there are many different kinds of meditation, but all seem to have very positive effects. They group these methods into three categories:

  1. Concentrative techniques use an object of focus or attention, which can be a spiritually meaningful word or phrase, your breathing, or a picture or physical experience.
  2. Mindfulness methods that emphasize staying present in the current moment and maintaining an alert, aware state in a nonjudgmental way.
  3. Guided meditation in which the content of meditation is regarded as very important and is attended to in a mindful rather than analytic or judgmental way.

We encourage you to find even 5 minutes to try out some meditative or contemplative method.

We hope you are flourishing!

Matt and the entire team

 

Sedlmeier, P. , Eberth, J. , Schwarz, M. , Zimmermann, D. , Haarig, F. , et al. (2012). The psychological effects of meditation: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 138(6), 1139-1171.

 

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