Study: Mindfulness vs. Happiness Therapies

A new study conducted by the University of Washington reveals that certain therapies may not be beneficial across all cultures.

More specifically, in cases of depression for example, thinking happy thoughts and concentrating on the good, while downplaying the bad, may not be as helpful to Asians as it is to white populations. The authors of the study, Jennifer Wang and Kelly Koo, suggest the use of mindfulness therapies instead. Mindful therapies encourage patients to pay attention to both the good and the bad parts of their thoughts. They let the patients "observe when they feel good and bad and notice that both will disappear."

"Everything passes," says Leu.

In the study, 633 participants rated how much stress and depression they felt, sadness, worthless and sleep or appetite changes along with the intensity of positive emotions they felt such as joy, confidence and attentiveness.

The results of the study revealed there was no correlation between positives emotions and depression and stress for Asians. For European-American participants, the more positive emotions they expressed, the less depression or stress they reported. This data suggests that Asians interpret and react to positive emotions differently in regards to their mental health.

The university's Institute for Ethnic Studies funded the research.

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