Everybody is looking for a quick fix to be less stressed. We try shopping, drinking, distracting ourselves with TV, and even complaining to try to feel better. However, these strategies are only temporary and often have negative side effects (e.g., financial difficulties, being hung over, being overweight, and feeling more negative). Let’s face it, there are usually no quick, easy fixes to life’s challenges.
However, now researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have given us some hope. David Creswell and his research team did a study where they had one group of participants complete a brief mindfulness meditation training program – 25 minutes of meditation for three consecutive days. The meditation instructed them to monitor their breath and pay attention to their present moment experiences. The comparison group participants were given instructions to enhance their problem-solving skills. After their training, all participants were compared on stressful speech and math tasks in front of stern-faced evaluators in white coats. The participants who had the meditation training reported less perceived stress than the comparison group, indicating greater psychological resilience—a known indicator of greater physical and psychological well-being and health.
If you would like to try the test for yourself, here is a 30 minute sitting meditation. Use it for three days in a row and notice how you feel. Pay attention after day three how you react to things that usually create stress for you. If you’d like, share your experience by commenting below. If you notice it working, you might like to try some other meditations as well. Pretty soon you might be doing something everyday. You will find meditations of varying lengths on the Audio/Video Tab on this website.