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Quick mindfulness intervention improves emotion processing

A week of mindfulness might help improve your relationship with difficult emotions.

A new study finds just one week of meditation may loosen the grip of challenging emotions.

Researchers in China assigned 46 college volunteers to either a mindfulness meditation intervention group or an emotion regulation education group. Meditation instruction was based on core concepts of mindfulness and the breath, and delivered via a short lecture on mindfulness theory, followed by seven days of 15-minute, audio-guided group meditation sessions.

The emotion-regulation education group attended a lecture on recognizing and regulating their emotions, then practiced alone for 15 minutes per day for the next seven days. Before and after, both groups filled out questionnaires about their depression and anxiety symptoms and underwent computerized tests that assessed their emotional intensity, emotional memory, and attention.

After training, depression and anxiety scores didn’t change significantly for either group, but those in the meditation group had better emotional memory and were less likely to pay attention to negative emotion. They also reported feeling less positive and negative emotional intensity than the controls. More research is needed to see whether brief interventions can reliably boost people’s moods.


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