Several studies have shown a positive association between mindfulness practice, psychedelic use and overall psychological well-being.
The findings were published in the Journal of Psychoactive Treatments.”Psychedelics are making waves again,” said study author Tianhong Tim Qiu from Western University.
“With so much research focused on their medical applications — like treating mental health disorders– it’s nice to see that there may be another side effect for these drugs besides just helping patients feel better.
They can also enhance certain aspects about your life if taken recreationally or even without any intentionality attached!”
This is an in-depth explanation from psyblog
“The motivation for this study is simple: I sought to find out if ordinary people who use psychedelics experience some measurable benefit—without doctor supervision, without treatment protocols, and without artificially designed sets and settings,”
Qiu explained. “Finally, mindfulness experienced a similar resurgence in interest about two decades ago and is only becoming more relevant today.
The parallels between mindfulness and psychedelics are uncannily similar and so it was worth including and comparing to better understand both topics.”
For their study, the researchers surveyed 1,219 individuals regarding their meditation practices and psychedelic drug use.
The participants also completed the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire, which measures a person’s generally tendency to be mindful, and the Mystical Experience Questionnaire, which measures a various aspects of the psychedelic experience.
The participants also completed self-reported assessments of positive and negative mood states over the past week, life satisfaction, meaning in life, wisdom, depression, anxiety, and stress.
Participants who practiced meditation tended to score higher on the measure of trait mindfulness and mystical experiences, and those who reported using psychedelic drugs tended to have more intense mystical experiences and greater trait mindfulness.Source
Meditation can be described as a wide variety of mind and body practices. Still, most research has focused on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).
This highly manualized eight-week training where participants gather to learn practices such as present moment awareness or compassion.
Researchers administer surveys before and after the completion date for this program which sometimes is repeated months later to measure changes that occur due specifically towards meditation’s effects; biological measurements related to stress levels, among others thing, might also get assessed during these periods depending upon what researchers want to find out more about how certain qualities change over more extended periods when someone does engage regularly/ habitually.
Read what greater good berkeley university researchers have to say
Meditation is perfectly legal, but psychedelics are not—which means we have much less scientific knowledge of their effects. There are thousands of meditation studies, but perhaps two dozen contemporary studies of psychedelics.
Moreover, meditation studies have far higher numbers and types of participants.
Mindfulness research began with a focus on reducing mental stress for chronic pain patients in the late 1970s. Similarly, today’s psychedelic research is focusing on lowering existential distress for terminal patients.
In both kinds of studies, so far, the participants describe experiencing heightened body-based sensory experience; heightened meta-awareness (e.g., breaking habitual patterns of negative rumination); emotions such as friendliness and compassion towards ourselves and others; and natural states of gratitude, openness, and acceptance.
Secular interventions like MBSR and psychedelic-assisted therapy draw from ancient practices and specific cultural contexts. Much mindfulness today is devoid of traditional symbols such as bowing and chanting, and it also lacks a Buddhist teacher.
Secularization does create important accessibility, but various mindfulness studies found that, indeed, the “teacher effect” shapes the benefit of the intervention.
There are likely hundreds of mindfulness teacher-certification programs, and efforts to create a global evaluation of mindfulness teaching skills are underway.
Something similar is happening with psychedelics:
The California Institute for Integral Studies, an alternative university in San Francisco, is pioneering the first year-long psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy training program for mental health professionals.Source
Unfortunately, the current mental health care system is not set up to deal with these metaphysical causes of suffering. But all hope is not lost!
We can do many things as individuals to improve our psychological well-being.
These include (but are not limited to): practising mindfulness meditation, using psychedelics responsibly and engaging in personal growth work.
Remember, you are not alone on this journey – we are all in this together.