Meditate More, Be Happy

   Last week I discussed some biographical information about the scientist I was looking to interview . Due to scheduling conflicts I was unable to interview Dr. Shawn Arent and instead I Interviewed Dr. Brandon Alderman. This week I will be going in depth about the specific research I discussed with Dr. Alderman this past week. Recently, Dr. Alderman’s work with depression and meditation has helped us to better understand cognitive skills that can help reduce overwhelming negative thoughts. His study, published in Translational Psychiatry this monthfound the combination of body and mind, used twice a week for two months, helped reduced the symptoms for a group of students experiencing depression by 40 percent. 22 men and women studying at Rutgers University suffering with depression, and 30 mentally healthy students reported fewer depressive symptoms.

   The individuals involved in the study began with 30 minutes of focused attention meditation followed by 30 minutes of aerobic exercise. They were told that if their thoughts drifted to the past or the future they should refocus on their breathing, enabling those with depression to accept moment-to-moment changes in attention.They felt that they did not spend as much time worrying about negative situations taking place in their lives as they did before the study began. In order to fully test the extent of the results the experiment also tested the effects mediation had on young mothers who had been homeless but were living at a residential treatment facility. The women involved in the research had exhibited severe depressive symptoms and elevated anxiety levels from the start, but at the end of the eight weeks reported that their depression and anxiety had eased. They claimed to have they felt more motivated, and they were able to focus more positively on their lives.