Research Publications on Meditation for Stress and Mood

Brief daily meditation practices, even as short as 13 to 15 minutes, significantly improve mood, cognitive functions, and emotional processing in individuals with no prior meditation experience.

Studies have shown that these practices lead to enhancements in attention, working memory, recognition memory, and the ability to handle emotional intensity. Moreover, loving-kindness meditation (LKM) has been found to have a medium effect on daily positive emotions, suggesting its efficacy in fostering positive emotional states.

These findings underscore the value of incorporating brief meditation practices into daily routines for improving psychological well-being and emotional health, offering an accessible method for individuals to enhance emotional processing and cognitive performance without extensive meditation experience.

Brief, daily meditation enhances attention, memory, mood, and emotional regulation in non-experienced meditators; Behavioural Brain Research, 2019; Link

This study explored the impact of a short, daily meditation practice on cognitive and emotional functioning in individuals with no prior meditation experience. Participants aged 18–45 were randomly assigned to either a 13-minute daily guided meditation or a 13-minute daily podcast listening (control group) for 8 weeks. The research aimed to compare the effects of meditation to podcast listening on various parameters including mood, cognitive functions related to the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, baseline cortisol levels, and emotional regulation assessed through the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST). Findings indicated that after 8 weeks (but not 4 weeks), the meditation group experienced a decrease in negative mood states, improvements in attention, working memory, and recognition memory, as well as reduced anxiety during the TSST. The study also found that changes in emotional regulation attributed to meditation were more closely associated with enhanced emotional states than with cognitive improvements. This suggests that even brief daily meditation practices, as short as 13 minutes, can yield significant benefits in mood and cognitive functions similar to those observed with longer and more intensive meditation practices, particularly for those new to meditation.

Brief Mindfulness Meditation Improves Emotion Processing; Front Neurosci. 2019; Link

This study assessed the impact of a 15-minute Brief Mindfulness Meditation (BMM) technique, JW2016, on mood and emotion processing among 46 young adults. Developed from Anapanasati breath meditation, JW2016 aims to provide an accessible mindfulness practice. Participants were divided into a BMM group and an emotional regulation education (ERE) control group, with interventions conducted daily for a week. The BMM group showed significant improvements in handling emotional intensity, memory, and attention bias towards negative stimuli, with no adverse mood effects. In contrast, the ERE group did not exhibit these benefits. This suggests JW2016 as an effective, convenient mindfulness method for enhancing emotional processing without negative emotional impacts.

The effect of loving-kindness meditation on positive emotions: a meta-analytic review; Frontiers in Psychology, 2015; Link

This systematic review and meta-analysis examined the impact of loving-kindness meditation (LKM) on positive emotions across 24 studies involving 1,759 participants. The analysis aimed to assess how LKM affects daily and immediate positive emotions, with further exploration into how variations across LKM interventions influence outcomes. Findings indicated medium effect sizes for LKM on daily positive emotions and varied effect sizes for immediate positive emotions during practice. Notably, interventions focused on loving-kindness had a medium effect, while those on compassion showed smaller effects. The duration of interventions and meditation practice time did not significantly alter effect sizes, but interventions lacking didactic components had smaller effects. The review suggests that LKM effectively enhances positive emotions, highlighting the need for more research to identify key components of LKM interventions, differentiate psychological operations, and explore clinical applications. This work contributes to understanding LKM's potential in promoting positive emotional states and offers insights for future research directions in the field.