Posted by & filed under Psychology Update.

3 Articles on the Psychological Benefits of Meditation

Article #1

The Surprising Benefits of Compassion Meditation

DESCRIPTION

A great deal has been researched and studied in the areas of Mindfulness meditation and Transcendental meditation.   There are definite benefits as evidenced by the research.  Another variation is known as “compassion meditation.”  The goal of “compassion meditation” is to “strengthen feelings of compassion and empathy” toward others.  “More than just a feel-good practice, compassion meditation leads to improved mood, more altruistic behavior, less anger, reduced stress and decreased maladaptive mind wandering, according to recent research.”  The article provides a number of links to research studies that can be useful in class to discuss not only the meditation phenomenon but how research is conducted.

SOURCE

U.S. News and World Reports, March 23, 2016 , by Stacey Colino

LINK TO RESOURCE

http://health.usnews.com/wellness/articles/2016-03-23/the-surprising-benefits-of-compassion-meditation

(Tiny URL)  http://tinyurl.com/jce5upq

 

Article #2

A Martial Art With Self-Expression

 

DESCRIPTION

Not all meditation practices involve sitting silently while breathing or repeating a phrase (mantra).   There are practices, such as the martial art of Shintaido which include physical movement as well as a meditative component.   This particular type of practice will appeal to those who need more than sitting and who would prefer more physical activity.  “Movements range from gentle and meditative to very vigorous, with throwing, jumping and rolling. There are mental and spiritual components to the practice as well.”  While most western Psychologists might not consider this as part of a introductory course, the topic could be coupled with sections of the textbook that focus on stress and Health Psychology.

SOURCE

Wall Street Journal,  May 23, 2016, by Jen Murphy

LINK TO RESOURCE

http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-martial-art-with-self-expression-1464016939

(Tiny Url)  http://tinyurl.com/jfs83xq

 

Article #3

How Meditation Changes the Brain and Body

DESCRIPTION

This article examines a study (link in the article) that uses physiological measures (blood draws, brain scans, blood pressure, and so on) to study the effects of mindful meditation.  The study found “… that, unlike a placebo, it can change the brains of ordinary people and potentially improve their health … There was more activity, or communication, among the portions of their brains that process stress-related reactions and other areas related to focus and calm.”   This article can be used in the course to examine mindfulness, health psychology, stress, as well as how the scientific method can be used to study such phenomena.

SOURCE

New York Times, February 18, 2016, by Gretchen Reynolds

LINK TO RESOURCE

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/02/18/contemplation-therapy/?ref=health

 

(Tiny URL)  http://tinyurl.com/zck5agz

 

CLASS DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

•What is meditation?  What is mindful meditation?
•Critical thinking question:  why has the popularity of meditation grown so rapidly over the past few years?
•How is the topic of “meditation” handled in Psychology textbooks?
(focus on the topic of Health Psychology)
•What are the benefits of meditation?  Is there scientific evidence?
•Student engagement question:   Who, in the class, meditates?

 

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