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Meditation for emotion control


Woman meditating while sitting in lotus pose at park

Credit: 123RF

Mindfulness is the flavour of the psycho-spiritual decade — cultures that have been oblivious to mindfulness are now embracing it or chasing it. We know that mindfulness has effects like enhancing immunity, improving memory and increasing the grey matter in the brain. The real aim of mindfulness, though, is to live in the moment and to better control your emotions. That is why a new study was designed precisely to see if mindfulness meditation could help with dealing with emotions.

In this study, the researchers wanted to know whether someone who is not naturally mindful can enter into a state of mindfulness just by a decision to do so or by deliberate focused effort. To do this, they gathered subjects who were females and had not previously practised mindfulness meditation. The subjects were assessed to establish if they were naturally mindful or not.

Then, while wearing an electrode cap to take an EEG of brain activity, the subjects either part in an 18-minute guided mindfulness meditation or a language-learning presentation. Immediately after the meditation, the subjects were shown disturbing images and instructed to either view them “mindfully” or “naturally” before completing a questionnaire while the EGG was monitored.

The results showed that regardless of whether the subjects were naturally mindful or not, after meditation the subjects were able to control emotions to the same extent and they were able to recover faster (showing greater emotional control) than the other group. However, the instruction to view the images mindfully made no difference.

If you are naturally mindful and living in the moment, then meditation won’t hurt your emotional control, but if you are not naturally mindful not only won’t it hurt, it will help.

Source: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience



 

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.