Does a 15-minute meditation give the same stress relief as one day of vacation?

Everyone needs a vacation at some point, especially when there is a lot of stress. Imagine that one whole day of vacation has the same effects as a short mindfulness meditation session to relieve stress. May, Ostafin and Snippe (2019) examined the impact of 15 minutes of meditation compared to a day of vacation over eight weeks in daily life.

To test this, 40 participants took part in an eight-week A-B-A-B experimental protocol. During the A-phases, the participants did not meditate but during the B-phases, they were asked to meditate daily for 15 minutes. Each phase of the study (A1, B1, A2, B2) lasted two weeks. During the B1 phase, the participants received mindfulness meditation training. After that, they received a 15-minute audio file for the subsequent meditation days. In addition to meditating or not, participants could go on vacation whenever they wanted but they had to report this. Across all phases (non-meditation days, meditation days, and vacation days), participants filled out daily surveys to assess their emotions and cognitions.

For both the meditation days and the vacation days, participants reported lower levels of stress, higher levels of well-being and a positive affect on mindfulness.
So if you want to reduce your stress but you have limited time, sit on a meditation cushion but if you have more time, sit on a beach chair!


Reference:
May, C. J., Ostafin, B. D., & Snippe, E. (2019). The relative impact of 15-minutes of meditation compared to a day of vacation in daily life: An exploratory analysis. The Journal of Positive Psychology15(2), 278–284. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2019.1610480


Blog writer: Vanessa Castermans

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