A 2017 study by researchers from Brown University and the University of California examined the experienced of 60 meditation practitioners.
It revealed that meditation can cause surprising negative side effects, affecting participants’ emotions, sensory perception, social interaction, sense of self, and more.
Some of the study subjects reported hallucinations, panic, a total loss of motivation, and the re-living of traumatic memories.
For years, we’ve all been hearing about the amazing mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical benefits of meditation.
This ancient mindfulness technique is touted to make you feel calmer, more present, and more balanced.
And for the most part, these claims are well-founded, and more and more clinical research is backing up the efficacy of the practice. Many people reap numerous benefits from meditating. Science has found that practicing mindfulness can help us gain perspective, reduce stress, improve memory, and make us physically healthier.
However, like everything in life, there can be some downsides to meditation that you might not be aware of.
Although there is relatively little scientific research on the dangers of meditation, the following findings come from a 2017 study published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS One. The study was conducted by researchers from Brown University and the University of California and examined the experiences of 60 meditation practitioners.
It’s important to keep in mind that there is limited research on the adverse effects of meditation, and that not everyone who meditates will experience any or all of the following negative effects.
1. It may prompt negative thinking.
A lot of people turn to meditation to help them become more optimistic, but that isn’t always the case. Nearly half of the participants in the 2017 study experienced delusional, irrational, or paranormal thoughts caused by meditation, as well as a change in executive function, the ability to control yourself and get things done.
A study conducted at Seattle Pacific University in 2009 echoed these findings, showing that participants also felt delusional due to meditation.
2. Your sensory perception might change.
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The way you see, smell, hear, and taste could be altered due to meditation. According to the 2017 study, many participants saw visions, hallucinations, illusions, or lights that weren’t there. Some reported increased sensitivity to light and noise and a distortion in time and space.
According to Psychology Today, some people go into meditation with the hope that they’ll experience such visions as the ones listed above, a mindset that is unproductive and can lead to frustration.
3. Motivation may go right out the window.
If you already have trouble with procrastinating and getting work done, meditation could be bad news: The 2017 study revealed it can cause a serious lack of motivation.
And this potential change doesn’t only apply to obligations like work. According to the 2017 study, meditation can also lead to you losing interest in activities that you previously enjoyed, akin to the effects of depression.
This lack of interest could come as a result of non-attachment, a common skill many meditators strive for, according to Psychology Today.
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