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The Psychology of Meditation

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Rachel Yang

on 5 June 2013

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Transcript of The Psychology of Meditation

What words or images come to mind when you think of meditation? The Psychology of Meditation IB Psychology Final Presentation

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
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