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  • Writer's pictureDr. Elly ND

How does Meditation Create Clarity?

Multiple studies reveal how meditation helps create clarity by improving attention & emotional regulation, leading to better mindfulness and overall well-being. Here are a few that I found fascinating:

Meditation helps create clarity by cultivating stability in attention, increasing perception and calmness.

This study unpacks how meditation is often seen in two different ways, and both are important to understand. The first way is like a practice or exercise where you train your mind to focus and be present. It's like going to the mental gym to become better at paying attention and feeling calm. With this approach, you follow methods and techniques, and you might feel like you're progressing towards becoming wiser and more compassionate.

But there's another way to look at meditation too. Instead of seeing it as something you do to achieve a goal, it's more about just being yourself without any effort. It's like realizing that you're already everything you could hope to be, and there's nothing extra you need to do or attain. This way of thinking about meditation is more about simply being aware of the present moment and resting in your natural state of being. Both perspectives are important, and they show that meditation is both a practice and a state of being.

Kabat‐Zinn, J. (2015). Two Ways to Think about Meditation: The Instrumental and the Non-Instrumental. Mindfulness, 6, 396-397.

Meditation helps create clarity by reducing arousal and improving discrimination in emotional feelings.

In this study, researchers wanted to see if meditation training, which helps people become more aware of their emotions, could also make them better at recognizing subtle emotions that influence decision-making. They compared people who had been meditating for a long time with those who hadn't. They tested their responses to emotional pictures and their ability to detect their own heartbeat.

What they found was interesting. When they showed pictures of emotions without hiding them, both groups reacted similarly. But when they showed pictures quickly and hid them, only the non-meditators could tell if the emotions were positive or negative. However, the meditators reported feeling clearer about their emotions, and those who were better at this clarity had less intense physical reactions and were better at guessing the hidden emotions.

So, it seems that meditation might help people deal with tricky emotions better, even if they can't always tell exactly what those emotions are. This suggests that meditation could affect how we understand and deal with our emotions in our everyday lives.

Nielsen, L., & Kaszniak, A. (2007). Awareness of subtle emotional feelings: a comparison of long-term meditators and nonmeditators. Emotion, 6 3, 392-405 .

Meditation helps create clarity by regulating attention and emotion.

This study looked at meditation, which is like different exercises for your mind that help you feel better and more balanced emotionally. They studied two main types: focused attention meditation, where you pick something to focus on, like your breath, and open monitoring meditation, where you just watch whatever's happening in your mind without trying to change it.

They found that practicing these meditations could help train your brain to pay attention better and manage your emotions. And this training could have a long-term effect on how your brain works and how you behave. So, it's like going to the mental gym to make your mind stronger and more balanced!

Lutz, A., Slagter, H., Dunne, J., & Davidson, R. (2008). Attention regulation and monitoring in meditation. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 12, 163-169.

Meditation helps improve focus, attention, and cognitive flexibility, allowing you to navigate stressors with greater clarity and efficiency.

This study showed how meditation is a helpful tool for managing stress, offering various techniques like deep breathing and mindfulness to calm the mind and body. By practicing meditation regularly, you can lower stress hormone levels, decrease blood pressure, and improve sleep quality. It also builds emotional resilience, helping you handle tough situations more calmly and think clearly. Stress is a normal reaction to life's challenges, but too much of it can harm both physical and mental health. By incorporating meditation into your routine, you can better cope with stress and promote overall well-being.

Sukh, P., & Sharma, B. (2023). Application of meditation for stress management. International Journal of Yogic, Human Movement and Sports Sciences.

For the apps that I love for guided meditation, check out my previous blog article Killer Apps for Health & Wellbeing


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