This post is also available in: Portuguese (Brazil)
Based on a study carried out with participants in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
There are different results when it comes research on meditation and daily practice of meditation. The biggest reason for the difference in results is the difference in methodology. Ideally, we should compare only studies that are observing the same variables and using the same methodologies.
One of the most researched programs in the world is the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program.
The MBSR consists of eight weekly meetings of 2:30 minutes, a full day of meditation with about 7 hours, and practices of at least 50 minutes, every day during the eight weeks of the course.
In July 2017 the United States National Institute of Health published the results of a study that utilized participants from an MBSR program.
The researchers, Lacaille J., Sadikaj G., Nishioka M., Carrière K., Flanders J. and Knāuper B., investigated the relationship between meditative practice, mindfulness, and well-being. Participants wrote diaries classifying these three variables. For the purpose of this study, the researchers reduced the practice period at home to 20-30 minutes per day.
The researchers studied the diaries of 117 MBSR participants (80% female, 86% Caucasian, 64% between 30-50 years) collected over a period of 49 days.
Participants received daily text messages reminding them to complete the online journals. If the participants were unable to complete an entry in the diary that evening, they received another text message the next morning. If they did not respond to the second message within 8 hours, they could no longer enter the diary for that day.
In the journals, the participants indicated whether or not they practiced, how much time they practiced and how much they adhered to the practice instructions. They also answered questions aimed at assessing how they practiced mindfulness during the day and degree of perceived stress and positive and negative emotions.
On average participants completed 33 daily inputs, practiced meditation for 29 minutes on 28 of the 33 days, and rated adherence to the instructions as “6.8” on a ten-point scale. Participants reported significantly greater mindfulness, less perceived stress, and a more positive effect on the days when they practiced meditation compared to days when they did not.
The analyses showed that in any of the evaluated days, meditation practice, longer duration of practice and greater adherence to practice instructions were significantly associated with greater attention, less perceived stress, greater positive emotion, and less negative emotion. Analyzes of the inter-correlations between the variables showed that the effect of the practice was indirect: meditation was mostly associated with increased attention, and increased attention was mainly associated with decreased stress and negative emotion.
Participants who practiced meditation for longer periods over the 49 day period reported feeling significantly more conscious and having significantly fewer negative emotions than those who practiced for shorter periods.
These results support the hypothesis that meditation practice is an active ingredient of conventional Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBI), providing evidence that the longer and more consistent the practice of meditation, the more mindfulness is perceived and the participants feel better.
This study shows the association between meditation practice and wellness and mindfulness experiences. By its nature, this study does not present the causality, that is, it does not provide evidence that the practice of meditation causes a better well-being and a greater ability to cultivate mindfulness.
Lacaille, J., Sadikaj, G., Nishioka, M., Carrière, K., Flanders, J. & Knäuper, B. (2017). The daily conscious response mediates the effect of meditation practice on stress and mood: The role of duration and practice adherence. Journal of Clinical Psychology.
This article was written by Rossana Magalhaes based on the report of the website gomara.org. The link to the report is https://goamra.org/daily-meditation-practice-key-positive-emotions/. Posted on September 19, 2017.