One of the most stereotypical relaxing things to do—meditation—may actually cause distress for some people, according to the findings of a survey released this week. It found that more than a quarter of regular meditators have had bad experiences related to their meditation.
…[Meditation] does seem to help some people with anxiety, depression, or insomnia. But there’s been considerably less focus paid to potential harms of meditation.
The researchers behind this study, published in PLOS One, conducted an online survey of more than 1,200 adults who described themselves as regular meditators, meaning they had practiced at least once a week for at least two months. Of these, 25.6 percent responded yes when they were asked if they had ever had “particularly unpleasant experiences” that they thought were potentially caused by their meditation. While the survey didn’t ask which specific bad experiences these people could have had, examples provided to them included anxiety, fear, and an altered sense of the world or themselves.
The authors say their study highlights the importance of more research into the bad and good of meditation, though they warn against reading too much into their findings.
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