25% of Meditators Suffer “Unpleasant Experiences”
More than a quarter of people who regularly meditate have had a ‘particularly unpleasant’ psychological experience related to the practice, including feelings of fear and distorted emotions, a UCL-led study has found.
The research, published in PLOS ONE, also found those who had attended a meditation retreat, those who only practiced deconstructive types of meditation, such as Vipassana (insight) and Koan practice (used in Zen Buddhism), and those with higher levels of repetitive negative thinking, were more likely to report a ‘particularly unpleasant’ meditation-related experience.
However, the study, which comprised an international online survey of 1,232 people who had at least two months’ meditation experience, found female participants and those with a religious belief were less likely to have had a ‘particularly unpleasant’ experience.
Recovering Man Founder Richard Joy said: “Meditation is known for its transcendental capacities, and this can often involve deep and troubling emotions arising.
“What has worked for me has been taking breaks from meditation and working on simpler meditations that calm the body before engaging in my practice again, which once restored has been much more peaceful.”
You can view one of Richard’s guided meditations for full body relaxation below: