Schoolteachers who underwent a short but intensive programme of meditation were less depressed, anxious or stressed – and more compassionate and aware of others’ feelings, according to a UCSF-led study that blended ancient meditation practises with the most current scientific methods for regulating emotions.
Teachers who practised meditation in a short yet intensive programme were more calm and compassionate, according to a new study led by UCSF.
A core feature of many religions, meditation is practised by tens of millions around the world as part of their spiritual beliefs as well as to alleviate psychological problems, improve self-awareness and to clear the mind. Previous research has linked meditation to positive changes in blood pressure, metabolism and pain, but less is known about the specific emotional changes that result from the practise.
How the study was done
The new study was designed to create new techniques to reduce destructive emotions while improving social and emotional behaviour. The study will be published in the Journal Emotion. Margaret Kemeny, PhD
“The findings suggest that increased awareness of mental processes can influence emotional behaviour,” said lead author Margaret Kemeny, PhD, director of the Health Psychology Program in UCSF’s Department of Psychiatry. “The study is particularly important because opportunities for reflection and contemplation seem to be fading in our fast-paced, technology-driven culture.”
Altogether, 82 female schoolteachers between the ages of 25 and 60 participated in the project. Teachers were chosen because their work is stressful and because the meditation skills they learned could be immediately useful to their daily lives, possibly trickling down to benefit their students. (EurekAlert, March 2012)
Emotions & Behaviour