Psychobehavioral Effects of Meditation
Meditation is an increasingly popular psychobehavioral therapy. Various meditation techniques in use make it hard to objectively scrutinize the psychological benefits. Therefore, in this study we set out to examine the effects of two fundamentally different meditative techniques, Zazen, ‘seated meditation’, in which the body and mind are calmed, and Tai Chi, ‘meditation in motion’, based on energetic martial art performance. The aim was to compare the effects of both techniques on personality structure, emotional intelligence, mood, and coping with stress. The study was conducted in 48 healthy volunteers, aged 39–50, divided into those practicing Zazen, Tai Chi, and the non-meditating controls, each group consisting of 16 persons. The psychometric tools consisted of Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS), the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology Mood Adjective Checklist (UMACL), Emotional Intelligence Inventory (INTE), and the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI). We found that both Zazen and Tai Chi meditations significantly enhanced openness to experience, one of the personality dimensions of the Big Five Model. The enhanced openness was associated with improved strategies for coping with stress. The meditators had less avoidance-oriented approaches to perceived stress. They also had improved mood compared with non-meditating controls. The findings suggest that enhanced openness to experience could shape one’s desire to hold onto the meditation regimen. We conclude that both, diametrically different types of meditation, are conducive to mental health by improving the general well-being, counteracting stress, and leading to a better vigor of spirit. Meditation may thus be considered a complimentary, albeit rather modestly acting, adjunct to psychotherapy.
KeywordsCoping with stress Meditation Mental health Mood Openness to experience Personality Psychotherapy
Conflicts of Interest
The authors declare no conflicts of interest in relation to this article.
- Ciechanowicz A, Jaworowska A, Matczak A (2000) INTE: a questionnaire of emotional intelligence. Laboratory of Psychological Tests, Polish Psychological SocietyGoogle Scholar
- Costa PT, McCrae RR (1992) NEO PI-R professional manual: revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO PI-R) and NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI). Psychological Assessment Resources, OdessaGoogle Scholar
- Endler NS, Parker JDA (1999) Coping inventory for stressful situations (CISS). Manual, Revised edn. Multi-Health System, TorontoGoogle Scholar
- Goyal M, Singh S, Sibinga EM, Gould NF, Rowland-Seymour A, Sharma R, Berger Z, Sleicher D, Maron DD, Shihab HM, Ranasinghe PD, Linn S, Saha S, Bass EB, Haythornthwaite JA (2014) Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Intern Med 174(3):357–368CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Ihle A, Oris M, Fagot D, Maggiori C, Kliegel M (2016) The association of educational attainment, cognitive level of job, and leisure activities during the course of adulthood with cognitive performance in old age: the role of openness to experience. Int Psychogeriatr 28:733–740CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- McCrae RR, John OP (1992) An introduction to the five-factor model and its applications. J Pers 60:75–215Google Scholar