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The Psychology of Meditation
Transcript of The Psychology of Meditation
Rachel Yang Ideas +
Misconceptions Buddhism Monks "Nirvana" Stopping thought Too Difficult Not real Mindfulness Meditation Loving-Kindness
Meditation Transcendental Meditation Kundalini Meditation Originated around 5th century BC from Buddhist and Hindu principles
Spread throughout Asia, then recently to the West
Only lately has meditation been studied in clinical manners
Has developed into many different disciplines What is Meditation exactly? a practice that focuses on achieving a state of bare concentration, with the practitioner aware of, but detached from his/her surroundings Brief History Also called Vipassana
Most popular form practiced in the West
Focuses on being in the present and letting mind accept all thoughts Practitioner sends positive feelings to themselves and others
Can use mantras
Can be used as psychotherapy to correct irrational thoughts Meditator sits in Lotus Position
Centers around "transcending" above all
Alters state of being by changing breath "Rising stream of energy" throughout the body
Focuses on directing energy, or chakras, towards top of head Major Types of Meditation From Buddhist ideas: Mindfulness and Loving-Kindness
From Hindu principles: Transcendental and Kundalini
Most research focused on Mindfulness and Loving-Kindness
Because different types, meditation results in different benefits Benefits of Meditation Physiological: Linked to decreased stress levels, increased cardiovascular health
Cognitive: Improved memory and emotional processing
Social: Meditation associated with increased compassion How does meditation work? Biological Effects Cognitive Effects Social Effects Steps of meditation:
1. Sit on a comfortable, quiet spot
2. Keep eyes lowered/closed
3. Focus attention to sensations, thoughts, and emotions
4. Follow the patterns of breathing Relaxes the body and strengthens the circuitry of Parasympathetic Nervous System
Quiets the Sympathetic Nervous System, because relaxed muscles send feedback to alarm centers in the brain
After mindfulness meditation, people displayed lower levels of cortisol, which is related to stress Cognitive labeling during Mindfulness Meditation contributes to emotional stability
fMRI scans showed that when participants labeled negative emotions, activity in right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex region of brain increased, but activity in amygdala became calmer Loving-kindness meditation focuses on directing feelings of joy and compassion towards oneself and others
When shown negative emotional images, people tended to have increase in right amygdala activity.
This increase related to decreased depression rates Limitations Research around meditation still developing and relatively recent
Studies may be correlational
Some research utilizes small sample sizes 1 Minute Meditation Activity Find a comfortable sitting position
Close your eyes
First 30 seconds: Feel the flow of your breath going in, and going out. If thoughts or emotions come up, acknowledge them, but release them.
Last 30 seconds: Think of a mantra for yourself: "Om", "May I be happy", and repeat them as you inhale and exhale. Calm