San Francisco State University (SFSU) investigators recently took a closer look at the types of meditation people choose to perform, and determined that the most popular methods are not necessarily the most well-suited for an individual's particular needs or desires.
The team believes that people who say meditation is not for them may have simply tried the wrong method, one that was not tailored for their specific needs. Selecting another approach, preferably with professional guidance, may resolve this problem.
In a paper published in the latest online issue of EXPLORE: The Journal of Science and Healing, the SFSU group highlights the importance of people feeling comfortable with the methods they select for their practice. Otherwise, meditation serves no useful purpose and is just a waste of time.
The author of the study, expert Adam Burke, explains that selecting the right type of meditation for your particular needs is likely to result in sticking to the practice in the long run, PsychCentral
This is beneficial because meditation has been proven to provide a wide array of personal and medical benefits. “Because of the increase in both general and clinical use of meditation, you want to make sure you’re finding the right method for each person,” Burke explains.
Over the past few years, a large number of people has taken up meditation, but very few studies have been conducted to differentiate between the multiple types of meditation available, and the advantages each of them brings to practitioners.
The new research studied four of the most popular types of meditation, called mantra, mindfulness, Zen and Qigong visualization, and used 247 volunteers for this effort. Each of the participants was taught all four types of meditation, and then asked to practice them at home.
They were then asked which of the four types of meditation they preferred. Around 31 percent of respondents opted for mantra or mindfulness (the simplest method). Some 22 percent of participants preferred Zen meditation, while just 14.8 opted for Qigong visualization.
“It was interesting that mantra and mindfulness were found to be equally compelling by participants despite the fact that they are fundamentally different techniques,” Burke explains.
“If someone is exposed to a particular technique through the media or a healthcare provider, they might assume because it’s popular it’s the best for everyone,” the team leader adds.
“But that’s like saying because a pink dress or a blue sport coat is popular this year, it’s going to look good on everybody. In truth, different people like different things. One size does not fit all,” he concludes.