Side effects of meditation, It’s Important to Stop

Meditation has many benefits, such as reducing stress, improving concentration, and relaxing, and I wrote in a previous article that about 500 million people around the world practice meditation as a habit. While there are benefits to improving the mind and body, there are also risks (side effects) that you should be aware of when practicing meditation.


Results of a study on the side effects of meditation

Researchers from the University College London (UCL) in the UK, the University of Witten-Herdecke in Germany, and the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia conducted a questionnaire survey on 1,232 people who habitually practiced meditation for two months, and found that 25% of those who practiced meditation had psychologically unpleasant experiences. 

Symptoms include anxiety, fear, feelings of dissociation, distortions in thinking, and emotional instability. More than a quarter of all people have experienced side effects. Others have experienced anxiety, experiences of paranoia, and replayed memories of past traumas as a result of meditation.

* Paranoia is a mental disorder that causes persistent delusions of anxiety and fear.
* Trauma is a psychological injury that causes a person to be haunted by physical or mental damage for a long period.

See: University College London (UCL) survey results


It is important to stop when you feel something unusual

Meditation can indeed have a positive effect if it becomes a habit.

However, since mindfulness meditation is a training of “focusing on awareness,” closing your eyes in a quiet environment, and focusing on your breathing and body parts more than necessary, it is understandable that it is easy to fall into hallucinations, dissociation from reality, and anxiety. It is not always possible to distance oneself from emotions and control them in the practice of meditation.

During these times of negative thoughts, it is a good idea to stop meditating for a while. If you are meditating, it is important to stop and take some time out. Nowadays, there are more and more meditations that can be done by yourself through apps or videos, but it is impossible to solve such situations by yourself.


In Japan, there are places where you can receive meditation instruction and experience at temple zazen experiences and yoga classes, so it is important to find a reliable place or person and consult with us if a negative phenomenon occurs.