The Relative Impact of 15-Minutes of Meditation Compared to a Day of Vacation in Daily Life: An Exploratory Analysis

Christopher J. May*, Brian D. Ostafin, Evelien Snippe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Meditation and vacation are often perceived as activities that promote well-being and relieve stress. While clearly distinct, the extent to which meditation and vacation indeed have similar effects in daily life is an open question. We examined this question with beginning meditators in an eight-week A-B-A-B experimental protocol (A = not meditating; B = meditating). Community citizens and psychology students filled out daily surveys of affect and mindfulness and reported when they meditated or took vacation. On meditation days, participants reported lower levels of negative affect and higher levels of wellbeing, positive affect, and the mindfulness facets of observing sensations, describing thoughts and emotions, and nonreacting to feelings. We found similar associations of vacation with observing and nonreacting, and larger effects for well-being, positive affect, and negative affect. These results indicate that beginning meditation and vacation may indeed have overlapping effects, providing multiple pathways to boosts in well-being and mindfulness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-284
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Positive Psychology
Issue number2
Early online date28-Apr-2019
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • meditation
  • mindfulness
  • leisure
  • well-being
  • vacation
  • affect

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