Is there a trick that is as effective for health as vacationing? The psychologists in an American-Dutch research team believe that meditation can be that.
Meditation provides similar health effects as a vacation day
A research team at the University of Groeningen in the Netherlands has investigated what health effects meditation can have in everyday life - compared to having vacation. The study showed great similarities!
The participants in the study were about 40 university students, all of whom were beginners in meditation. For eight weeks, participants did a meditation every two weeks, and no meditation every other week. The meditation was a 15-minute pre-recorded guided meditation and the participants had to complete an evaluation every night.
Participants reported fewer negative emotions and greater well-being during the days they meditated. During these days, they also found it easier to observe their sensory experiences, describe thoughts and feelings, and resist emotional impulses. All of these qualities describe mindfulness well – being in a present, non-judgmental state.
During the meditation days, the participants agreed more with statements such as "I was more aware of things like the ticking of a clock, birdsong and passing vehicles" and "I was aware of my feelings without getting lost in them". This was also true for the people who were studied during their vacation.
Meditate and gain more stability in your emotions
One of the researchers behind the study, Christopher May, told the psychology site PsyPost that only 15 minutes of meditation is associated with similar effects as a full vacation day in terms of mindfulness aspects.
– Both the meditators and the holidaymakers reported increased attention to their surroundings and increased stability in their emotional experiences.
But how were the effects on well-being in general? The holidaymakers had more far-reaching positive effects on the overall well-being. But the researchers says that their results only show the effect on beginners who have meditated for shorter periods – regular meditation has even deeper effects and is also built on over time.
– We jokingly write in our article that if you are short on time, you can sit on a meditation pillow – if you have plenty of time, you can sit on a beach chair, says Christopher May.
Who says you cannot do both this summer? Meditate and go on vacation that is. Take a break, focus on your breathing and check in for a while.
Read more about meditation, mindfulness & research
- What is metta meditation?
- Can mindfulness help the growing brain in children and adolescents?
- Design your life – create good habits with the help of yoga and meditation, by Emma Öberg.
Videos with meditation online
This meditation is a wonderful tool to help us focus in our day to day lives on what we want to and let go of what we don't want. In the modern day world of constant stimulus and distraction this is an invaluable practice to help us focus, in a calm and loving way.
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