Anxiety: meditation would not only be good. From personal development books to cognitive therapy sessions at Saint Anne’s Hospital in Paris, meditation is increasingly popular in France as in other Western countries. However, this technique inspired by Buddhism may not have that good, warns a study published in the journal Plos One .
To reach this conclusion, researchers at the University College of London asked 1,232 people aged 44.8 years who had been meditating regularly for at least two months if they had ever had unpleasant experiences while meditating. To the question: “Have you ever experienced unpleasant experiences (eg anxiety, fear, disturbed emotions, a sense of the world and yourself altered) that you think related to the practice of meditation? “, 315 people, or about 25% of participants, responded positively.
The researchers also noticed that these negative experiences were more frequent (+ 65%) among people engaged in deconstructive meditation techniques such as Vipassana. Those practicing this method are especially trained to sift the sensations in their bodies and focus on them for long periods.
Results to take with tweezers
“Meditation is not a panacea and its benefits may have been exaggerated … Recent studies have linked meditation to examples of anxiety and panic, and we know little about why and when these experiences come from or how common they are.Our study to date is the broadest to offer a clear panel estimating unpleasant experiences among regular meditators, “says Marco Schlosser who conducted the study at Newsweek .
Today, “we can rely on this research for other studies that will help us understand when, for whom and under what circumstances these experiments are taking place,” he continues, hoping eventually to be able to use this information to better train meditation teachers. But until we know more, “we should be careful not to encourage premature conclusions about the negative effects” of meditation, he added.
Indeed, the researchers asked only one question to the participants. They did not ask how long and how often they practiced meditation exactly, or whether they had physical or mental health problems. In addition, the list of negative emotions included in the question may have skewed the answers. Finally, the latter did not indicate the severity of the negative experience or its long-term impact. Thus, “the range of potential experiences that this can cover is huge,” says Gemma Griffith of the Center for Mindfulness Research and Practice at Bangor University in the UK at Newsweek.
In the past, several studies have proven the benefits of meditation
This study is even more to take with the tweezers that many researches have already proven the benefits of meditation in the past. For example, in November, researchers treated US soldiers with post-traumatic stress through meditation . After three months of testing, the method was as effective as the therapies.
Then, in February, another Canadian research highlighted the benefits of meditation for people with chronic pain. According to the researchers, mindfulness meditation, which focuses on the present moment-our breathing, our thoughts, our body sensations, smells, noises-would be even more effective than the cognitive-behavioral therapies in these people.