1. Education

Discuss in my forum

Kendra Cherry

Study Suggests Meditation Might Help Build Compassion

By , black-rose-bielefeld.de GuideApril 4, 2008

Follow me on:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Research has repeatedly shown that meditation has a range of beneficial effects, from reducing stress to decreasing heart rate. A new study suggests meditation can also help people become more compassionate.

In the study, researchers took fMRI scans of 32 participants; 16 who were experienced meditators, and 16 non-meditators who were provided with some basic training prior to the tests. During the tests, researchers measured the blood flow to certain parts of the brain as participants heard both positive, neutral and negative sounds. The meditative practices used in the study concentrated on creating a state of mind in which "generating unconditional feeling of loving-kindness and compassion pervades the whole mind as a way of being, with no other consideration, or discursive thoughts." When focused on compassionate meditation, the experienced participants showed greater activity in regions of the brain associated with the understanding of emotion. For example, when the participants heard the sounds of a woman screaming or a baby crying, the experienced meditators had more activity than non-experienced meditators in the areas of the brain linked to emotional understanding.

"There is such a thing as expertise when it comes to complex emotions or emotional skills, such as the one of cultivating benevolence," lead author Antoine Lutz of the University of Wisconsin-Madison recently explained to Scientific American. "That raises the possibility that you can train someone to cultivate this positive emotion."

However, it is important to note that this study does not prove that meditation actually increases compassion. It is possible that the participants in the study already had higher levels of compassion prior to their extensive study and practice of meditation. As the authors of the study note, more research is needed to determine if meditation can actually be utilized to help people learn to be more compassionate.

Learn More About Meditation:

  • What Is Meditation? - From Cathy Wong, black-rose-bielefeld.de's Guide to Alternative Medicine.
  • Benefits of Meditation for Stress Management - From Elizabeth Scott, M.S., black-rose-bielefeld.de's Guide to Stress Management.
  • How to Meditate for Brain Health, Mental Fitness & Energy - From Mark Stibich, Ph.D., black-rose-bielefeld.de's Guide to Longevity.

Image courtesy Tosaporn Boonyarangkul

Related Articles
  • Meditation for Cancer
  • Meditation for Pain Relief
  • Meditation - How to Do It
  • Meditation/Relaxation - Arthritis
  • Meditation can Boost the Immune System
Top Related Searches compassion april 4 meditation

2022 black-rose-bielefeld.de. All rights reserved.