In recent years, studies have multiplied to show the positive effects on the health benefits of a regular practice of meditation. A new publication darkens the picture a little: meditation would not be all that rosy for some people.
Better cardiovascular health, better attention, a better immune system… in recent years, scientific studies have multiplied to extol the almost miraculous effects of a regular practice of meditation. But have we discovered all the facets of this activity? According to scientists at the University College of London, the answer is no.
In a recent publication, researchers claim to have discovered a “dark side”: for some people, meditation would potentially cause anxiety, fear, and a sense of altered reality. More specifically, out of 1,232 people who regularly practice meditation, the experience was rather negative for a quarter (25.6%) of participants.
A more comprehensive understanding of meditation
“These results demonstrate the importance of broadening the understanding of the general public and scientists about meditation, beyond the good health technique,” says Dr. Marco Schlosser, the lead author of the study. His goal, he says, is not to give a bad name to meditation, but rather to show that everything is not positive.
“We do not really know why and when these difficulties related to meditation occur. Further studies are needed to understand the nature of these experiences,” said Dr. Schlosser. For now, his team has found that men are the most affected by these effects. Also particularly affected are people who participated in a meditation retreat or those easily prone to dark thoughts.
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