At least that’s what a new study says after finding that spending just 25 minutes per day of mindful meditation can allow you to feel less stressed in an otherwise-stressful environment. This effect was found even in those who hadn’t spent more than a couple days training with mindfulness meditation techniques.
The study was published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology and involved 31 young adults administered three days of 25-minute mindfulness meditation training. While being shown the meditative ropes, participants learned how to monitor their own breathing and be more in tune with the time being. At the same time, 35 other young adults were asked to perform a three-day cognitive training program that included evaluating poetry in order to improve problem-solving abilities.
By the conclusion of the three days, each study subject was placed in a stressful situation involving completion of difficult math- and speech-related assignments as stoic analysts peered on. The researchers asked them to indicate how stressed they were during the stress tests while also asking them to give saliva samples in order to have their stress hormone cortisol measured.
What the researchers found was that the participants who completed the mindfulness meditation program had less stress during the test than those asked to complete the cognitive training program. The meditation group also showed greater cortisol levels, though, which study researcher J. David Creswell, an associate professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, believed to be a function of the fact that a new practitioner of mindfulness should “cognitively work at it — especially during a stressful task.”
“These active cognitive efforts may result in the task feeling less stressful,” Creswell said through a statement, “but they may also have physiological costs with higher cortisol production.”
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