- Insufficient knowledge or poor practice of meditation can have serious adverse effects.
- It is essential to practice it with an experienced teacher, and according to his abilities.
The health benefits of meditation are so numerous that the practice is becoming increasingly popular in the West, including in the treatment of depression, addiction, post-traumatic stress, anxiety, pain, etc. If it has existed for several millennia, its benefits are recognized, meditation has however split into several currents over time. What many people don’t know is that today we can turn to several types of meditation practices, depending on the meditators and their problems.
Possible adverse effects
Therefore, before choosing mindfulness, guided, transcendental, vipassana, zazen, Tibetan or sound meditation, it is important to consider the desired goal. Because the type of meditation and the way you practice it will differ depending on your state of health and your expectations. Unfortunately, insufficient knowledge of meditation, or even poor practice, can have serious adverse effects. For people who are emotionally fragile or suffering from psychic disorders, for example, the practice of meditation must be very supervised, the risks of depression being real.
“I have seen cases of meditators ‘overregulating’ their emotions. They felt very few negative ones, indeed, but also very few positive ones, up to a loss of affection for their children for example”, said Willoughby-Brittondirector of Clinical and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory (CLANlab) from Brown University (USA), known for his neuroscience research on the consequences of contemplative practices in the treatment of mood disorders, trauma and other emotional disorders.
She and her team followed several volunteers, with an average age of 48, “who have been confronted with unexpected, difficult, disturbing or disabling situations while meditating”, then they collaborated with 60 Buddhists and clinicians using therapeutic meditative practices. In 2017, she identified several potential negative responses, including: “the change of vision of the world (48%), delusional beliefs (47%), irrational or paranormal beliefs, or even hallucinations, visions or illusions (82%)”. In short, meditation can have the opposite effect of what some people expect, and they can tip into a severe depressive state.
Security and prevention
Of course, not all meditators have a negative experience, but some are capable of suffering from it, which leads to reconsidering the limits of meditation. It is essential to practice it safely with an experienced teacher, choosing the type and pace of meditation according to your abilities. In conclusion, measure your emotions, your feelings, the way meditation affects you, to prevent possible discomfort. Listen to yourself, don’t force yourself.
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Meditation: the importance of a good practice
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