People who meditate often talk about becoming more clear-headed. And they say they feel more relaxed and healthy.
But recent research, published in Psychological Science, suggests meditation makes people kinder, too.
The study, done by Northeastern and Harvard universities, invited participants to complete eight-week trainings in two types of meditation.
Then they were exposed to the setup: Three chairs in a waiting room, with actors sitting in two of them.
The participant takes the empty seat, and then another actor, on crutches and in apparent physical pain, enters the room where there is no available chair. The actors ignore her. But 50 percent of the people who had completed meditation offered her theirs.
Only 15 percent of non-meditating participants offered help.
“Meditation made people willing to act virtuous — to help another who was suffering — even in the face of a norm not to do so,” Northeastern’s David DeSteno said. It didn’t matter which meditation training the participant had taken.
Perhaps the first order of business for lawmakers as they debate immigration reform or the national debt should be a congressional “om.”