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Only one week, mindfulness meditation can help you deal with emotional problems

Only one week, mindfulness meditation can help you deal with emotional problems

There is increasing evidence that mindfulness intervention can have a positive impact on mental health. But for some people, the cost of time and other expenses for mindfulness exercises may become an obstacle for them. A new study [1] found that just one week of mindfulness exercises can be enough to ease the control of negative emotions on you.

In this study, Chinese researchers divided 46 college student volunteers into two groups: mindfulness intervention group and emotion regulation education group .

There are 22 students in the meditation intervention group. It focuses on mindfulness and Vipassana meditation, and combines the author's practical experience and knowledge from scientific research papers. The training content is first a 30-minute theoretical lecture, and then a total of 7 days, a 15-minute audio guided group course. The students were asked to close their eyes, relax, and then focus on breathing. When a thought rises, students need to pay attention to it, accept it, and then return to breathing to let it leave naturally.

The emotion regulation education group also had a 30-minute lecture on the first day . The content of the lecture was to guide people how to recognize and regulate their emotions. Similarly, they were also asked to practice 15 minutes a day for the next 7 days .

Before and after training, participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their own anxiety and depression symptoms. In addition, they also had to complete some tasks on the computer for evaluating emotional processing ability.

Emotional processing is divided into three categories (strength, memory and attentional deviation).

In the task of measuring emotional intensity, students will look at 66 pictures of positive, negative and neutral one after another (6 for practice and 60 for evaluation-translator's note). After reading each photo, they were asked to evaluate the intensity of their emotional response to the photo.

In the emotional memory test, the researchers showed students some of the same pictures, mixed with some new pictures, and asked the students to recall which picture they had seen before.

In the task of measuring memory deviation, participants will repeatedly see two photos of their faces. In each pair of face photos, one of them is a happy, sad or neutral face, and the other is a neutral face. Photos of neutral faces are sometimes on the left and sometimes on the right. A pair of face photos only appear on the screen one at a time, and then disappear. Once the picture disappears, a dot will appear on the left or right half of the screen, and students are asked to indicate on the side of the screen where the dot is on the keyboard.

After training, the depression and anxiety scores of the two groups did not change significantly . This shows that neither a short week of meditation nor a week of emotional regulation exercises are sufficient to effectively change a person's psychological symptoms.

However, the researchers found that the meditator's emotional processing ability did improve. Specifically, people in the meditation group had better emotional memory , and after a week of group practice, they paid less attention to negative emotions. Compared with the control group, they also reported that they had less strong positive or negative emotions.

So far, there is a variety of evidence that short-term intervention affects emotions, and this study adds new evidence. For example, in one study, researchers found that meditation was associated with a more peaceful state of mind, but in another study, no link was found between meditation and increased positive emotions. We still need more research to prove whether short-term intervention can really improve mood.

Thankfully, a less time-consuming and expensive group meditation training may be enough to help people reduce the effects of negative emotions.

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