Meditating makes people happier, nicer

UCSF study links meditation to positive improvements in emotion

A study that put 82 female schoolteachers through a short, intensive meditation regimen found the test subjects were less depressed, anxious or stressed, and more compassionate and aware of other’s emotions.

The study, led by researches at UC San Francisco and published in the April issue of the journal Emotion, incorporated three forms of meditation—concentration practices focusing on a specific mental or sensory experience, mindfulness practices involving examination of one’s feelings and body, and directive practices intended to develop feelings of empathy toward others, according to a UCSF press release. Earlier research has linked meditation to positive improvements in blood pressure, metabolism and pain, but less is known about meditation’s effects on emotional and social behavior.

“The study is particularly important because opportunities for reflection and contemplation seem to be fading in our fast-paced, technology-driven culture,” said lead author and UCSF professor Margaret Kemeny.