Hang on to your cushions, gentlemen. A new study by researchers at Yale and Brown universities found women have more to gain from mindfulness meditation than men. The reason cited is the different way that men and women (usually) cope with emotional distress.
“Women Benefit More Than Men in Response to College-based Meditation Training,” published Thursday in Frontiers in Psychology, followed 36 female and 41 male students at Brown University over a 12-week period. Study participants filled out questionnaires before and after the course, which included “meditation labs” three times a week with Professor Harold D. Roth, a religious studies scholar who has practiced in the Rinzai Zen tradition for more than 35 years.
Researchers found women reaped more benefits than men during the study, including increased nonreactivity and nonjudgement and a higher level of self-compassion. The writers attributed women’s psychological improvement to the different ways that men and women respond to psychological distress:
“Men tend to ‘externalize’ their distress by directing outward (e.g., playing sports or video games, watching TV, etc.), whereas women tend to internalize their distress by directing action inward (e.g., ruminating or writing about a negative event,” the study’s authors wrote, adding that men might be better suited for active practices such as yoga or Tai Chi.
According to the study’s results, men put in more meditation hours than women during the course of the study, leading researchers to conclude that a higher “dose” of meditation didn’t make a difference in outcome.
Read the full study here.
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