Islamabad - Anyone looking for a way to control their negative emotions might benefit from some mindfulness meditation, according to a study.

Researchers from Michigan State University (MSU) have found neural evidence that mindfulness helps control negative feelings, not just in people who are naturally disposed to be mindful or well-practiced in meditation, but in anyone.

On the basis that mindfulness can help to regulate the emotions, the team wanted to know whether someone who is not naturally mindful can enter a “mindfulness state of mind” through a decision to do so, or by undertaking a focused, deliberate effort.

The team of psychology researchers, led by Yanli Lin, an MSU graduate student analysis showed that participants came to the experiment with different levels of natural mindfulness.

Results indicate that, whether the participants had high or low levels of natural mindfulness, the brain was able to control negative emotions to the same extent. Exposure to the meditation session appeared to help the emotional brain to recover quickly after seeing the photos, suggesting that meditation enabled participants to tame their negative emotions.

Some participants were also asked to view the images “mindfully,” while others were not, but this did not appear to affect their ability to control emotions.

It would seem that meditation could be more helpful in achieving emotional control than just telling people to “be mindful,” says Jason Moser, MSU associate professor of clinical psychology and co-author of the study.

Jason S Moser said that “If you’re a naturally mindful person, and you’re walking around very aware of things, you’re good to go. You shed your emotions quickly. If you’re not naturally mindful, then meditating can make you look like a person who walks around with a lot of mindfulness. But for people who are not naturally mindful and have never meditated, forcing oneself to be mindful “in the moment’ doesn’t work. You’d be better off meditating for 20 minutes.”

Lin believes the results show that meditation can improve emotional health, and that even people who are not naturally mindful can acquire these benefits through practice.

Diet, exercise can help for weight loss: Study

According to a new study, improving diet and getting more exercise helps people lose weight—regardless of their genetic makeup. Co-author and professor of human nutrition John Mathers and others found that changes in body mass, weight, and waist circumference were not significantly different between people with different FTO variants. They also found no differences between gene types when they looked at results based on gender, ethnicity, age, or the type of weight loss intervention. (They do point out, though, that most study participants were Caucasian, and that more studies should be done on more diverse groups.)But, the researchers say, the new analysis included more participants and more individual data, and they only looked at studies that carefully ruled out or controlled for potential factors that may have influenced the results.

“This is important news for people trying to lose weight as it means that diet, physical activity, or drug-based weight loss plans will work just as well in those who carry the risk version of FTO,” Mathers said.

It also suggests that a genetic predisposition to obesity “can be at least partially counteracted through such interventions,” the authors wrote.

But many experts say that in the grand scheme of things, genes—all of them—likely play a very small role in obesity. In an editorial published with the new study, Alison Tedstone, PhD, writes that “the causes of obesity are multiple and complex,” and that the Newcastle study adds to evidence “suggesting that environmental factors might dominate over at least common obesity-linked genes.”