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In the study, 201 people were randomly assigned to participate in a transcendental meditation stress-reducing program or a health education class about modifying diet and exercise.Transcendental meditation participants sat with their eyes closed for 20 minutes twice a day, allowing their minds and bodies to rest deeply while still remaining present and alert in the moment, while health education group advisees were instructed to spend 20 minutes a day practicing heart-healthy behaviors like exercising, eating healthy meals, and relaxing.After an "Open Monitoring" session, the participants performed better in divergent thinking and generated more new ideas than previously, but "Focused Attention" (FA) meditation didn't have much of an impact. In the study, 149 men and women (average age: 59) were given training sessions for eight weeks or did nothing.Fifty-one were assigned to mindfulness meditation sessions, 47 were assigned to moderate exercise (like biking or running), and 51 served as the control group.
The researchers had men and women participate in "Open Monitoring" meditation (you're encouraged to be receptive to all thoughts and sensations without focusing on any particular concept or object) and "Focused Attention" meditation (you're asked to focus on one particular thought or object—and only that).
In the end, the mindfulness group experienced less insomnia, fatigue, and depression. Study author Herbert Benson recommends practicing mindfulness for 20 minutes during the day.