Mindfulness meditation is one of the most popular and researched forms of meditation in the West. It is a practice that originates from Buddhist teachings and involves focusing your attention on feeling and feeling without trying to change it. This means observing how you feel physically, mentally and emotionally without judging yourself. In mindfulness meditation, you pay attention to your thoughts as they pass through your mind without engaging in them or judging them.
You simply observe and take note of any pattern. According to our study, attention has already improved after just three months of training, whether based on mindfulness or compassion. Participants who completed the Presence or Affect modules significantly improved their scores on a classic care task. Surprisingly, no additional benefit was seen after six or nine months of training, perhaps because of the attention task used (a “signal accompaniment test”). This suggests that attention can be cultivated not only through mindfulness practices focused on attention, but also through social-emotional practices, such as meditation on loving kindness. Are basic mindfulness practices, such as paying attention to breathing or body tomography, sufficient to make you a kinder and more compassionate person? Or do you need to focus explicitly on these qualities of the heart in your meditation practice? This question is the source of much debate in mindfulness research. Surprisingly, people who practiced three months of body awareness focused on the present moment through practices such as body scans did not significantly improve their perception of heartbeats.
Why? The simple answer is that three months of practice is too short. Only after six months of contemplative practice did the participants' body awareness improve to a significant level, and after nine months it improved even more. It is likely that it would improve even more after another year of practice. It can be difficult for beginners to sit for hours and not think about anything or have an “empty mind”. To help with this process when starting to learn to meditate better, there are tools such as a meditation DVD for beginners or a headband with brain sensors.
Generally speaking, the easiest way to start meditating is to focus on your breathing. An example of one of the most common approaches to meditation is concentration. Our study showed that meditation in general was effective in increasing self-realization, but not all forms were equally effective. Once you've found an effective way to meditate, visit the Gaiam meditation store to find all the necessary products that will help you perfect your meditation techniques. However, there is no scientifically or universally accepted “better” or “more effective” way to meditate.
All other techniques performed no better than a placebo, except for the mindfully-focused meditation group, which was found to be less effective than a placebo in this study. Over the past five years, research has taken the form of the ReResource Project - one of the longest and most comprehensive studies on the effects of meditation-based mental training to date. In addition to analyzing the different effects of different types of mental practices, researchers are also exploring individual differences and how certain genes or personality traits influence the benefit derived from different practices. Based on my review of the scientific literature, I have come to the conclusion that there is one type of meditation that is more effective - mindfulness meditation - and this is what I recommend to patients. Contemporary researchers are now exploring whether a consistent meditation practice produces long-term benefits and are looking at the positive effects on brain and immune function among meditators. Three cohorts went through these modules in different orders, allowing us to discern the effects of a specific training module and compare them with the other modules.