Monday, May 2, 2022

Meditation or Vacation, Which is Better?

No time for vacation?

 Meditation found to have similar effect 

Many studies show the benefits of vacation as well as the benefits of Meditation. However now we have 2 studies (one in 2016, one in 2018) that show the two side by side. Also, one of the studies includes what other people perceive about the person meditating and the difference between days they meditate or don't meditate.

The 2016 research included both new meditators and regular meditators’ benefits over time. Researchers employed blood samples from the beginning, in 1 month and at the 10 month mark. They also used self-reported wellness surveys at the same time intervals. Everybody showed equally large immediate improvements in well-being (reduced stress reactions, improved immune function, and amyloid beta (Aβ) metabolism) but the beginners at meditation showed greater maintenance of lower distress over time compared with those who went on vacation. Regular meditators showed a trend toward increased telomerase activity not seen in the other groups. Increased telomerase activity has been shown to be an indicator for longevity.

The 2018 research worked only with new meditators. Over an 8 week period, the participants completed a survey that assessed their well-being, emotions, and mindfulness. People around them also completed a survey noting their reactiveness. On days the participants meditated, they reported lower levels of negative emotions such as irritation and higher levels of positive emotions such as gratefulness. They also scored higher on several facets of mindfulness. The researchers found similar associations on days the participants were on vacation. Christopher May, the author of the study said, “We found that just 15-minutes of meditation was associated with similar effects as a day of vacation on aspects of mindfulness. Both meditators and vacationers reported heightened awareness of their environment and greater equanimity in experiencing their emotions.”

While this quote is from the researchers in the second study, it mirrors similar statements from the first study: "However, we should be clear that these results only demonstrate similarities for beginning meditators. They do not speak to the unique, cumulative effects of long-term meditation practice, the benefits of which may outweigh those of vacation.”

If you are looking for a simple, yet profound meditation practice, The Art of Ascension as taught by the Ishayas can be used anywhere, anytime by anybody, even while on vacation! A free audio introduction is available online, or you can sign up for a free live Zoom introduction.