By Mark Waghorn via SWNS
Mind therapy that helps focus on forgiveness and warmth reduces feelings of polarization, according to a new psychological study.
The finding is based on a study of people who were split in their decision on Brexit (the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union: 501 voted to stay 433 voted to leave.
Participants were randomly assigned to listen to one of two 10-minute audio-guided recordings.
One instructed listeners to bring friendship and kindness to themselves and to others.
The other instead featured educational information about meditation.
The researchers then assessed 'affective polarization' - the divide between positive feelings toward one’s own political group and negative feelings toward the other.
Lead author Dr. Otto Simonsson, of the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, said: "Statistical analysis of the results found lower levels for people who listened to the meditation versus those who listened to the informational recording.
"Additional questions answered by the participants suggested the underlying psychological mechanism for this effect may involve an increase in perceived commonality between sides for those who listened to the meditation."
Brexit's victory pierced the national psyche. Britain's withdrawal from the European Union has affected some people's mental health - causing anxiety and depression.
Dr. Simonsson said: "The European Union Brexit referendum has divided the British electorate with high levels of animosity between those who affiliate with the 'Remain and Leave' side of the debate."
Following the 2016 vote, the use of antidepressants rose by 13 percent.
Dr. Simonsson said: "These findings suggest an audio-guided befriending meditation could help boost perceived commonality between opposing political groups, and thereby reduce affective polarisation.
"Such a strategy could be employed in public campaigns in the UK to address polarization between remainers and leavers."
Observers need to go back to the Second World War to find tension comparable to that brought on by Brexit.
The study in the journal PLOS ONE follows recent research in the US that found the technique helped heal wounds between Democrats and Republicans.
Dr. Simonsson and colleagues suggest various areas for future research.
It may open the door to meditation-based smartphone apps that impact affective polarization.
Dr. Simonsson said: "The results in this study build on previous findings and provide additional support for the potential benefits of meditation in political contexts."
Stories and infographics by ‘Talker Research’ are available to download & ready to use. Stories and videos by ‘Talker News’ are managed by SWNS. To license content for editorial or commercial use and to see the full scope of SWNS content, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or submit an inquiry via our contact form.
What do people lie about on their online dating profiles?
This story version has been formatted as an on-air script for broadcast outlets. See the original research story here. HALF (47%)...
Should the holiday season last longer?
Is there enough time in the holiday season to do everything we want to do?
Meet the man with a knack for kettlebell juggling
"Getting fit and discovering I have a real talent for kettlebell juggling has had such a positive impact on my...
Tortoise celebrates his 190th birthday
Jonathan has lived through two World Wars, watched more than 35 governors of the island come and go and has...
Why this flower with ability to change color may help feed the world
By Mark Waghorn via SWNS A spectacular flower with a unique color-changing ability may hold the key to feeding the...
- Quizzes2 days ago
Take a swipe at our online dating quiz
- Outer Space6 days ago
Wall-E-like robot to provide power on Moon by 2025
- Art6 days ago
Sir Ringo Starr selling life-size statues of his famous Peace and Love hand gesture
- Holidays2 days ago
Should the holiday season last longer?
- Health5 days ago
Top reasons American seniors avoid going to the doctor
- Holidays3 days ago
Stunning photos show 100,000 colorful poinsettias ready for Christmas
- Outer Space4 days ago
NASA grants 3D printing company $57.2 million to build towns on lunar surface
- Outer Space5 days ago
Photos capture the Moon photobombing the Sun