Thursday, February 3, 2011

Loving-Kindness Meditation Shown to Produce Longterm Results

Just find a sittin' rock in the middle of a lake
and you're good to go! From Meditations Online.
A somewhat-new Journal of Positive Psychology study that may have slipped through the cracks shows that loving-kindness meditation produces longterm benefits, even when the subject stops meditating regularly. The study comes from Michael A. Cohn at the University of California San Francisco and Barbara L. Fredrickson at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While the short-term benefits of meditation are well documented, this may be the first time beginning meditation students were followed up on over the long term (as far as I know).

Cohn and Fredrickson conducted their initial loving-kindness meditation experiment on 202 beginning meditators over two months in 2008. Then, after 15 months without communication, the researchers contacted the subjects again and had them fill out a survey of their current emotional state.

The results show that people who continued regular meditation after the initial study felt the most positive emotions during the follow up. However, even those who stopped meditating felt more positive than the control group, who never started meditating in the first place. This is significant because while feelings of happiness from certain events (buying a new car, getting a job promotion, etc.) dissipate rather quickly, feelings of happiness from meditation apparently endure.

The actual paper goes into much more detail, so you should read that if you're interested.

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