Google Scholar turns up almost 700,000 research documents on meditation, among them imaging studies that show the many physical and mental health benefits of meditation, including decreased pain, better immune function, less anxiety and depression, a heightened sense of well-being, and greater happiness and emotional self-control.

Many well-designed studies have shown that practicing loving-kindness meditation for others increases our willingness to take action to relieve suffering. It appears to do this by lessening amygdala activity in the presence of suffering, while also activating circuits in the brain that are connected to good feelings and love.

Dr. Shook, one of the professors for Life U’s Master of Science in Positive Psychology, had the opportunity to experience the power of mind/body interventions while he served as a medic in the Air Force. He developed his mind/body interests more deeply when he completed his residency/internship at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, and a fellowship in pain management in the Department of Anesthesiology. His pain management concentrated on using both hypnosis and mindfulness meditation in the treatment of severe pain. His clinical work in psychotherapy and health psychology has allowed him a front row seat to the self-healing and self-regulating powers we all share.

Dr. Shook first became interested in mind/body issues when he received training in Transcendental Meditation in high school, and he continues to be excited about the healing powers of psychology. A few years ago, he had the honor of studying nonviolent communication with Marshall Rosenberg. He has also recently attended workshops by Steven Hayes and other Acceptance and Commitment trainers, as well as a six-day retreat with Thich Naht Hahn.

Does Mindfulness Meditation sound interesting to you?

Life U has an entire class dedicated to learning more called the Mindfulness Meditation Lab (MPSY 6380) in our Master of Science in Positive Psychology.

This course provides students with training in three main forms of meditation being commonly practiced today: mindfulness meditation, insight (vipassana) meditation, and loving kindness (metta) meditation. While spiritual in nature-in the sense that they foster the development of inner values, peace of mind, insight into one’s own mental processes, and kindness toward others, these meditations are secular and universal, and therefore appropriate for individuals of any (or no) religious affiliation.

Although these meditations have been shown to have demonstrable psychological and physical health benefits, the focus of this course will be on the actual practice of the meditation, rather than on meditation theory and the scientific study of meditation.

If you are interested in learning more about these studies at Life U and potentially joining the Life U Community, visit our Master’s in Positive Psychology page or see our myriad of campus visit options here.