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Sat Jan 31 19:36:41 SAST 2015

Meditating may make you more liberal: study

AFP Relaxnews | 27 February, 2013 12:47
A study reveals that people become more politically liberal immediately after meditating. File photo.
Image by: THINKSTOCK

Meditation can lower blood pressure and improve focus, but a new study announced Monday finds that it can also make you more liberal.

A study from the University of Toronto reveals that people become more politically liberal immediately after meditating.

Researchers enlisted a total of 1 610 participants in three separate experiments. In the first two experiments, researchers recruited both Americans and Canadians to gauge their political leanings and whether or not they were religious.

Findings showed that religiousness is associated with political conservatism, while spirituality is linked with more liberal political attitudes.

In the third study, the researchers recruited 317 participants from the US who completed a spiritual exercise consisting of a guided meditation video.

Those who watched the video were asked to close their eyes and breathe deeply, imagining themselves in a natural setting and feeling connected to the environment. When asked afterward about their political orientation, subjects reported significantly higher levels of spirituality and expressed more liberal political attitudes.

"Spiritual experiences seem to make people feel more of a connection with others," says lead researcher Jacob Hirsh. "The boundaries we normally maintain between ourselves and the world tend to dissolve during spiritual experiences."

He adds, "These feelings of self-transcendence make it easier to recognize that we are all part of the same system, promoting an inclusive and egalitarian mindset."

Findings appear online in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

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