Meditation Proven to Increase Emotional Intelligence

February 1, 2011 § 4 Comments

My friend, a meditator, has been saying this for years and now it’s proven. Meditation helps him as a business leader.  In the January 30 issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, researchers found that pre-post changes in certain areas of gray-matter density resulted from 30 minutes of Mindful Meditation.  The changes in the brain were in areas associated with self-regard, empathy, emotional regulation reality testing and optimism.

And BTW – the research showed that gray matter concentration increased in brain regions associated with learning and memory processing as well.  So the practice can also make you smarter!

As we are learning in the field of behavioral neuroscience, there is more than one intelligence.  While IQ is basically set in our teens, EQ can be improved.  Great leaders know how to understand and manage themselves and their response to pressures and demands around them.  Who would want to be lead by someone who doesn’t do that?

Mindful Meditation, known also as Mindful Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a non-religious practice and is accepted, and promoted, in the medical community (helps blood pressure problems). It’s been around in the United States since the 70’s.  The research that has just come out is the first of it’s kind to clinically prove actual changes in the brain.  John Kabat-Zinn, MD and professor at UMASS Medical School is a noted leader in the MBSR field and it may be worth your while to view a video of John leading a session on mindfulness at Google.    Click here to view the video.

If you want to get better, more effective, happier and healthier –  as a leader, friend, parent, brother, sister – you have another tool now to support you on your journey.

And for those of you who are saying “This is not me, and I don’t have the time for this,”  the volunteer subjects in the research were “meditation-naive participants” and practised MBSR 30 minutes/day for 8 weeks to get significant results.

This is doable for all of us.

Good luck!


§ 4 Responses to Meditation Proven to Increase Emotional Intelligence

  • Hi Allen: Interesting to see you into meditation.
    I’ve been doing mindfulness meditation for a while now (plus 3 years of TM in the 70’s) and find it very helpful. I’ve pretty much retired from the business life, now pursuing a Masters in Psych at Antioch.
    All the best…

  • Rachel says:

    We’re learning about how important gray matter is to brain function in my behavioral neuroscience class right now, so it does seem like meditation is really important to improve brain function. Very cool!

  • Peter Harrison says:

    I have been searching for a link between Meditation and Emotional Intelligence, THANK YOU,

    If you know of any more links between Meditaion and EI please let me know as I am doing PhD research to find out if Mediation can improve EI.

    Kind regards


    • Thanks for your comment Peter. As far as I know, Kabat-Zin is the leading researcher and practitioner in this field. However, Shawn Achor has conducted interesting research on “Happiness” (a component of EI). Best thing to do is go on TED Talks and YouTube to find his short talks on the subject.


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