Meditation and Psychology

Topics: Meditation, Brain, Emotion Pages: 8 (2875 words) Published: June 11, 2012
Meditation is a practice that is found in some form across religions and continents, it is a concept that has been around for ages. Meditation has many positive effects on its participants ranging from the emotion level through increased positive emotions, better emotional regulation, and better socioemotional adaptability, cognitive level by modifying our perception of pain and stress, and on the physiological level by altering our heart rate, altering our brain functioning, and actually altering some of our brain structure to better deal with pain. Meditation is not mysticism but rather science that is starting to be uncovered.

Meditation is a practice that is found in some form across religions and continents, it is a concept that has been around for ages. If this is such an enduring concept across time what is meditation. Meditation has many forms and practices, but for the basis of this paper the answer to that question lies in one psychology study were the established the three common core criteria needed in meditation. The three core criteria a meditative practice needs are; first a defined technique, second logic relaxation, and third it has to be a self-induced state. The study was done with people who engage in various forms of meditation and of an entire list those three were rated the most essential criteria in any form of meditation.

So now that there is a working definition, what effect does mediation have or is it simply a spiritual waste of time? In one journal they scientists presented the idea of meditation being able to enrich western psychology through cognition and attention, mental training and development. In this paper we shall examine its effects by looking at the emotional, cognitive, and physiological effects of meditation and let the facts speak for themselves. Emotional Effects

If mediation brings peace to mind, body, and soul, how does it affect to our emotions? A study was done on a computer company by some students from a university, in which they issued an email to all the employees of the company the opportunity to participate in a study on the effects of meditation. In the end they had over 200 participants, which they split in to a control group and experiment group. They taught the participants in the experiment group how to use basic mediation practices and had them engage on this during their lunch break over a period of time and then rated through questionnaire their emotional state. The results showed that meditation had a great affect over increases positive emotions of the participants in the workplace and outside. The study concluded that the positive emotional gain was seen through simple mediation practices.

A Dutch study took the concept of meditations role on emotions one step further and looked to see if mediation could actually bring better emotional regulation on both positive and negative emotions. They did this study using undergraduate students, one group of people that never had any experience with mediation and another group that practice yoga. Using positive, negative, and emotionally neutral images and an electroencephalogram they measure both groups reactions to each of the images presented. What they found was that people in the yoga group showed higher brain patterns with the positive images enjoying it more than the other group, and with the negative images had less brain activity allowing them to control their negative emotions better.

One cross study taking a look at various studies on the effectiveness of mindfulness and its ability to treat trauma, brought to light the question could we use this as a third wave to treating PTSD. It stated in the study that the two most current and widely used forms of PTSD have the participants actually relive or are exposed to their trauma in a controlled setting. Where this is effective to those that engage in this treatment it also discouraged countless other soldiers who are effected...

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