The Surprising Negative Effect of Mindfullness

It has been discovered that around two-thirds of people who practice Mindfullness regularly report adverse side-effects.

Typically Mindfulness-based meditation is thought to have no adverse side-effects, however, after digging deeper new research reveals that some people state it makes them hypersensitive, causes nightmares and that they continue to re-experience traumatic events.

The most common side-effect from meditation is ‘dysregulated arousal’, where people feel too agitated or too flat, which means that some people experience anxiety and others feel emotionally disconnected (dissociation, numbness) after meditating.

Emotional disconnection can be Really positive for some people, but it does depend on a persons specific situation.

The research carried out by Dr Willoughby Britton, the study’s first author, explained:

“Meditators are often taught to reappraise their experience as not being problematic, and to accept it for what it is.

Our results are basically saying that when it comes to dissociation, this approach isn’t going to work.”

The research included 96 people who were asked detailed questions about their experience of meditation and how it impacted their lives.

Almost two-thirds reported adverse side-effects.

One-third reported that the adverse effects from meditation had a negative impact on their functioning and 5 percent said that problems lasted more than one month.

Dr Britton said she was not trying to discourage people from using mindfulness:

“Our ultimate goal is to maximize the efficacy of mindfulness-based meditation while minimizing harms.

In order to address risks and modify treatment accordingly, you need thorough and detailed knowledge about potential harms.”

Mindfulness is clearly beneficial for some, but it depends on the individual, said Dr Britton:

“The re-living of a previous trauma may be healing for some and destabilizing for others, in the same way that the drowsiness caused by cold medicine—or meditation—may be undesirable or ‘adverse’ in the morning but highly desirable before bed.”

Positive effects of mindfulness

Despite some people reporting adverse side-effects of mindfullness meditation, the same people also reported that it had a positive effect on their depression and anxiety.

Studies have found that mindfulness meditation has many benefits, including reducing depression and painaccelerating cognitionincreasing creativitydebiasing the mind and much more.

Dr Britton compares understanding the effects of mindfulness on human beings to that of aspirin.

Aspirin has several beneficial effects, and it is also linked to heartburn, nausea and stomach cramp.

With any treatment it is crucial to understand both sides of the equation to appreciate all the Causes and Effects in order to recommend its use more effectively.

Dr Britton said:

“Our study is an attempt to bring harms monitoring up to the standards of other treatments so that providers can identify events that require monitoring and intervention in order to maximize the safety and efficacy of mindfulness-based meditation.”

As always i am very curious to hear your thoughts and experiences in using Mindfullness Meditation. There is no one way for all of us and it is only through trial and error that we find out unique way of managing ourselves.

What works for you and what hasn’t as you have explored the many choices available out there?

Simon Maryan


Adapted from the Original source: Jeremy Dean PhD, author of Psyblog

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