Research has amply demonstrated that both long-term and short-term meditators create brains that are hard wired for positive emotions
As people learn how to meditate and rest their minds in the sweet stillness within, they achieve a mental state commonly referred to as mindfulness, which occurs when we simply focus our awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting our feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.
A multitude of studies have shown a strong correlation between mindful meditation practice and increased happiness.
Cognitive scientist, Richard Davidson compared the brain waves of two groups of meditators, 8 monks with between 10,000 to 50,000 hours of meditative practice, and a control group of non-meditating university students. Results demonstrated the monks brains functioned very differently compared to the control group. The monks brains showed greater activation of the left prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain responsible for positive emotions.
Here is the good news! The research also demonstrates we don’t have to meditate for 10,000-50,000 hours to become happier! Studies have shown that even short-term meditators experience greater well-being.
In 2008 a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology reviewed the experiences of 139 working adults, half of whom were trained in compassion meditation. “Results showed meditation practice produced increases over time in daily experiences of positive emotions, which, in turn, produced increases in a wide range of personal resources (e.g., increased mindfulness, purpose in life, social support, decreased illness symptoms).”
In 2008, Carmody and Baer carried out research where 174 adults were given the 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course. One of the objectives were to find whether the extent of home practice mindfulness meditation practices were related to changes in wellbeing measures. This study found a that as participants increased their home-based mindfulness practices, it correlated with several measures of increased psychological well-being
It appears that we can start developing more positive states of mind very quickly after starting a regular practice of meditation.
The meditation protocol for the 2016 Albany Peace Project employs all of these parameters of mindfulness. Daily practice during January 2016 will improve your mood and give you 31 ways to practice mindfulness, all emailed to your inbox to help you facilitate your home based practiced.
But you don’t have to wait until January to become happier. You can start becoming happier right now by participating in the 21 Day Complaint Free Challenge sponsored by the Albany Peace Project. Click here to learn more about becoming happier by going “complaint-free”