Meditation Doesn't Have To Be A Marathon

If you’d like to meditate but are overwhelmed by the thought of lengthy training and practice, take heart: you can get the stress-reducing benefits from just 25 minutes.

New research from Carnegie Mellon University is the first to show that brief mindfulness meditation practice — 25 minutes for three consecutive days — alleviates psychological stress. ” the study investigates how mindfulness meditation affects people’s ability to be resilient under stress.

“More and more people report using meditation practices for stress reduction, but we know very little about how much you need to do for…benefits,” said lead author J. David Creswell, associate professor of psychology in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences of Carnegie Mellon University.

For the study, Creswell and his research team analyzed 66 healthy people aged 18-30. In the three-day experiment, some participants were given a brief mindfulness meditation program. They were taught breathing exercises to help them monitor their breath and pay attention to the present moment. A second group had a three-day cognitive training program designed to enhance problem-solving skills via analyzing poetry.

After the training activity, all participants completed stressful speech and math tasks in front of unsmiling evaluators. They all recorded their response in terms of stress levels.

The subjects who got the mindfulness meditation training reported reduced stress perception of the math and speech tasks. That, researchers said, indicated that the meditation helped “stress resilience.”

The findings were reported in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.

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