A University of Sydney study of more than 350 long-term meditators, defined as those who have meditated regularly for at least 2 years, points to improved health outcomes and greater well-being The area of greatest difference between the meditators and the general population was in mental health where the meditators scored 10% higher. And the most significant factor appears to be how frequently the meditators achieved a state of mental silence.
I don’t know about all of you (I think I have an idea) but I love silence…although achieving mental silence (stopping all those thoughts running round and round in my head) seems impossible.
“We found that the health and well-being profile of people who had meditated for at least 2 years was significantly higher in the majority of health and well-being categories when to compared to the Australian population,” said Dr Ramesh Manocha, Senior Lecturer in the discipline of Psychiatry, Sydney Medical School at the University of Sydney, who led the research.
He worked with Prof. Deborah Black, Sydney medical School and Dr Leigh Wilson, Faculty of Health Sciences at the University.
The national study is a world first health quality-of-life survey of long-term meditators. It used the same measurement instruments as the ones used by the federal government’s National Health and Well-being Survey.
While we did expect that there would be differences between the meditators and the general population, we didn’t expect the findings to be so pronounced.
“We focused on the definition of meditation as mental silence and surveyed practitioners of Sahaja Yoga meditation who practice a form of meditation aimed at achieving this state rather than relaxation or mindfulness methods that are usually the focus of other forms,” said Dr Manocha.
The meditators were asked how often they experienced ‘mental silence’ for more than a few minutes at any one time.
Fifty two per cent of respondents said they experienced ‘mental silence’ several times per day or more, while thirty-two per cent were experiencing it once or twice a day.
Most markedly there was a robust relationship between the frequency of experiencing mental silence and better mental health. This definition is based on it being the form of meditation practised for centuries.
Our analysis showed very little relation-ship between how often the person physically sat down to meditate and mental health scores. However, the relationship was clearly apparent in relation to how often they experienced the state of mental silence. In other words, it is quality over quantity”.
Reprinted from the September 2012 issue of LIVING WELL with FIBROMYALGIA – like it? Subscribe for the next issue HERE