Meditation Retreats

Happiness can be learned through meditation, philosophy and training

Limits in Psychology (2021). DOI: 10.3389 / fpsyg.2021.600982 “width =” 523 “height =” 530 “/> Results of the permutation test between the beginning and the end of the course. All values ​​were between 0 and 1. Variables: SWLS, satisfaction with life scale; S-Ang / F, feeling angry; S-Ang / V, desire to express anger verbally; S-Ang / P, desire to express anger physically; T-Ang / T, anger-temperament; T-Ang / R, angry reaction, AX -O, anger expression-OUT, AX-I, anger expression-IN, AC-O, anger control-OUT, AC-I, anger control-IN, PSS, Perceived Stress Scale, STAI-Y1, State-Trait-Anxiety-Inventory – State ; STAI-Y2, State-Trait-Anxiety-Inventory – Trait; PA and NA, Positive and Negative-Affect Scales; -Judge; NReact, Non-React. To make that an increase in the specific scale an improvement in the consistency Well-being, negative scales were reversed, namely: PSS, STAI-Y1, STAI-Y2, PANAS-NA, S.-Ang, S-Ang / F, S-Ang / P, S-Ang / V, T-Ang , T-Ang / T, S-Ang / R, AX-O, AX-I. Credit: Limits in Psychology (2021) . DOI: 10.3389 / fpsyg.2021.600982

Can you learn to be happier? Well, it seems so – at least according to a scientific study coordinated by the University of Trento and carried out in collaboration with the Sapienza University in Rome and now published in Frontiers in Psychology. In this study, researchers demonstrated the effectiveness of an integrated mental training program in which participants practiced meditation exercises and examined topics related to philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience in depth.

The results showed that various psychological comfort measures gradually increased in the participants from the beginning to the end of the course. This was especially true for life satisfaction, perceived well-being, self-confidence and emotional self-regulation. Study participants also reported significant decreases in anxiety, perceived stress, negative thoughts, rumination and anger tendencies. The researchers also observed improvements in positive aspects and a reduction in negative emotions, both short-term and longitudinal, throughout the program.

Nicola De Pisapia, researcher at the Institute of Psychology and Cognitive Sciences of the University of Trento and scientific coordinator, explained the basic principles of the study: “The training we proposed to the participants was inspired by the idea – both in the West and in the West Eastern philosophical traditions – this happiness is inextricably linked with the development of inner balance, a friendlier and more open perspective of the self, others and the world in order to better understand the human mind and brain on the one hand the theoretical study of philosophy and science and on the other hand meditation practices. “

The study was carried out over nine months (with seven theoretical / practical weekends and two meditation retreats) at the Lama Tzong Khapa Institute for Tibetan Culture in Pomaia (Italy). For the theoretical part, participants took part in a series of presentations, watched some video courses, and participated in open discussions on topics of psychology, neuroscience, the history of Western thought, and the philosophy of life in Buddhism. The scientific topics included neuroplasticity, mind wandering circles, stress and anxiety, pain and pleasure, positive and negative emotions, desire and addiction, self-esteem, empathy and compassion. For the practical part, a series of exercises taken from Buddhist and Western contemplative traditions were suggested (e.g. meditation on the breath, analytical meditation, keeping a personal diary).

Without the approaches that confuse happiness with hedonism and the New Age obsession with positive thinking, recent research has shown that meditation practices have important mind benefits, while studies of happiness and wisdom have been scarce. De Pisapia says: “I believe that in times like these, which are full of change and uncertainty, it is of fundamental importance to study scientifically how Western and Eastern philosophical traditions are integrated into contemplative, along with the latest discoveries about the mind and brain The goal is to give healthy people the opportunity to work on themselves to develop authentic happiness, not hedonism or superficial happiness. With this study we wanted to take a small step in that direction. ”

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More information:
Clara Rastelli et al., The Art of Happiness: An Exploratory Study of a Contemplative Program for Subjective Wellbeing, Frontiers in Psychology (2021). DOI: 10.3389 / fpsyg.2021.600982

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