There are different techniques to meditation and a new study has found that some are more effective than others — depending on what you're trying to accomplish. So which technique should you use?
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Published in the journal Mindfulness, researchers analysed three types of meditation practices and their effects: the body scan (in which you sequentially focus on parts of your body), the sitting meditation (in which you focus on your breath, stream of consciousness, or environmental sounds), and mindful yoga (in which you focus on being aware of different parts of your body while performing stretches or movements or holding a position.
The study looked at 130 participants and found they all improved the tendency to describe one's experience, rumination, self-compassion, and psychological well-being regardless of condition. Between the different techniques, there were some differences:
- Mindful yoga was associated with greater increases in psychological well-being than the other two practices.
- Sitting meditation and mindful yoga were both associated with greater decreases in difficulties with emotion regulation than the body scan.
- Sitting meditation was associated with greater increases in the tendency to take a non-evaluative stance toward observed stimuli than the body scan.
Depending on what you seek from meditation, you could choose an appropriate technique from the above research. For example, if you are trying to control your anger, sitting meditation and mindful yoga would be better practices than the body scan method.