A group of 68 native English-speaking females, who had not practiced mindfulness meditation before, participated in the study. Analysis showed that participants came to the experiment with different levels of natural mindfulness.
Each participant wore an electrode cap, to enable EEG recording. They then took part in one of two 18-minute activities. Some listened to a guided meditation while others were exposed to a language-learning presentation.
Immediately after the meditation the participants were shown some disturbing pictures. The participants were instructed to view the pictures either ‘mindfully’ or ‘naturally.’ The researchers used the EEG to record their brain activity while they were viewing the images.
Results indicate that, whether the participants had high or low levels of natural mindfulness, the brain was able to control negative emotions to the same extent. Exposure to the meditation session appeared to help the emotional brain to recover quickly after seeing the photos, suggesting that meditation enabled participants to tame their negative emotions.
The study tends to show that meditation can improve one’s emotional health and that even people who are not naturally mindful can acquire these benefits through the practice of mindfulness.