Meditation Makes You Happy!
01 Mar 2016
As a regular meditator, I was intrigued to read research in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology which claims that meditation makes you happy.
There are two kinds of meditation, the first kind helps you focus your attention, for example, on the breath. The second kind of meditation helps you to cultivate certain positive emotions. It was the second kind of meditation that the researchers claims help improve mood.
139 volunteers were randomly assigned into two groups with one group being taught a meditation which helps cultivate “loving kindness”. Results showed that this meditation produced increases over time in daily experiences of positive emotions. The researchers went further, and claimed that this also produced an increase in a wide range of other factors, including mindfulness, purpose in life, social support, and even a decrease in illness symptoms.
So it seems that one trick to be happy, is to invest time thinking kind and loving thoughts about the people in our lives.
Fredrickson, B.L. et al. (2008) Open hearts build lives: Positive emotions, induced through loving-kindness meditation, build consequential personal resources. J. Personality and Social Psychology. 95(5) Nov 2008, pp. 1045-1062.