Heartfulness meditation helps reduce stress, study finds
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Heartfulness meditation, a simple heart-based meditation practice aimed at achieving a balanced state of mind, helps reduce stress and improve sleep quality, a study has found.
The mixed-method study was conducted by US researchers during the Covid-19 pandemic and was recently published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, said Heartfulness Institute, with global headquarters in Hyderabad.
Heartfulness meditation was associated with a significant reduction in perceived stress and improved sleep quality in participants who completed the online meditation program.
Kamlesh Patel, also known as Daaji, the Guide to Heartfulness Meditation, emphasizes the need to immediately deal with the stress in one’s life.
“The simple goal of life is to become better and better every day. To achieve this, we must be in a state of mindful self-awareness and raise our awareness in accordance with our true nature.
Stress is the modern day evil created by our inability to focus on the things that matter. Stress and its negative impact on our overall well-being has slowly but surely taken over every individual,” he said.
“Although we know Covid-19 as the pandemic, the accumulation of stress and its harmful effects is the greatest pandemic and also the greatest health crisis. Stress also needs our urgent attention and in a constant practice of meditation, we have the most effective vaccination to ward off stress and is the visa to live life in joy,” he added.
The study was conducted by Dr Kunal Desai, Dr Priti Parikh and Dr Alpa Desai from the Department of Internal Medicine, Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright University, Ohio, and Prof Dr Pratibha Gupta, Food Nutrition and Health Agricultural Research Development Program, Central State University, Ohio.
Stress and lack of quality sleep are considered serious public health problems despite modern lifestyles, comforts and technological advances. The Covid-19 pandemic has really drawn attention to this pre-existing stress problem by making it much worse.
The study aimed to determine whether the use of a virtual heart-based meditation program is associated with improved stress levels and sleep quality. The researchers recruited 63 participants to receive a Heartfulness meditation program conducted virtually for eight weeks. Of these, 36 (57%) completed the full eight weeks of the Heartfulness meditation program.
Participants were recommended to attend at least two of eight virtual trainer-guided Heartfulness relaxation and meditation sessions each week. These sessions, led by one of the authors and a Heartfulness (KD) coach, included 5 to 7 min of relaxation followed by 20 min of meditation.
They were also given instructions on how to use the phone app called “HeartsApp” on their phones. They could connect as an anonymous seeker with a Heartfulness coach through the app and meditate without any audio-visual interaction. They were also suggested self-practices to the best of their abilities.
“Our study showed that after practicing Heartfulness meditation, PSS and PSQI improved significantly in participants from different regions of the United States. About 31% were healthcare professionals, and the overall program was conducted virtually.
Based on these observations, we propose that meditation programs offered through virtual platforms can offer a practical, useful and easily accessible tool to a large community at once to help improve the psychological well-being of individuals,” said said Dr. Kunal Desai, who led the study. .
“The results of the qualitative analysis of our study bring a unique perspective to this aspect, as we were able to show that the subjective experiences of the participants strongly supported the results of the survey results.
Thus, these results improve our understanding of how the practice of Heartfulness meditation helps reduce stress and improve sleep quality. Our qualitative analysis suggests that these effects may be due to the fact that simple heart-based meditation provided a ‘calming effect’ in our participants, resulting in ‘inner peace’.
Such an effect also resulted in inner changes in our participants, including positive thinking, an attitude of acceptance and empathy, and increased awareness of one’s own emotions and the needs of others.”
This study adds to the existing literature supporting the benefits of Heartfulness practice, as some previous studies have reported showing the benefits of relaxation and Heartfulness meditation for reducing stress, burnout, loneliness and improving the quality of sleep.
Indo-Asian Information Service