Our research studies at IONS help us gather scientific information on which innovative approaches to noetic sciences have the greatest impact on individual and global consciousness and transformation. We could not do this important work without our wonderful study participants! Their contribution of time and effort is critically important to the data that we collect, but their individual experiences of participating in IONS studies are not often reflected in the professional papers we publish. Ultimately, these personal transformations are the very purpose of why we do the work we do at IONS. Our research is important because it helps provide information about how we can support individual and global transformation.
We just wrapped up our Internet Mindfulness Meditation Intervention Study (IMMI-Phase 3) and received a lot of positive feedback from participants about how the six-week IMMI online course, workbook, and iMINDr daily meditation app impacted participants and their lives. IMMI represents a low-dose mindfulness meditation intervention that can be made available online to any older adult with depression symptoms who needs it and is unable to travel to standard group classes. IMMI and other similar online programs are an innovative option for this and other populations looking for effective therapies for their symptoms.
Our initial study results show that, on average, IMMI improved depression symptoms, sleep quality, and pain. The results of this most recent study are currently being prepared for a peer-reviewed publication, however, you can read the papers published from the previous phases of this study at IMMI Improves Depression Symptoms in Older Adults and Internet Mindfulness Meditation for Cognition and Mood in Older Adults: A Pilot Study.
This blog is an interview with one of our IMMI-Phase 3 study participants, Diane K. who experienced positive changes in both her life and her health during the study. At one point, Diane shared with us:
I went to my primary doctor today. All my regular blood test numbers were really good. He was especially pleased with my blood pressure. I attribute it to finally learning how to meditate properly. Thank you for letting me be in this study!
We were very inspired by Diane’s experience and so we followed up with her after the study to learn more…
What did you mean when you said that you learned to “meditate properly?”
I had tried some other meditation programs before but they just didn’t work for me. The explanations and directions of the IMMI teachers and speakers were comforting, clear, and simple. I was able to go back and listen, again and again, to anything I didn’t understand. Plus, I physically learned to breathe in a way that really helped me.
What was the most important thing that you feel you gained from participating in the IMMI study?
Being able to calm myself during anxiety-ridden moments in a difficult situation or even just during a normal day (i.e. having an altercation with a close friend or family member, waiting on hold for way too long, getting angry at drivers who can’t signal because they’re talking and on their phones!). My blood pressure used to shoot up in these situations, but now I can calm myself using some of the tools I learned and feel better in just a minute or two. All I need to do is a quick, easy meditation. It’s been so very helpful for my well-being.
Did you feel that the IMMI course and meditations specifically addressed your mood issues, like anxiety or depression?
The IMMI program definitely addressed my depression and anxiety. As far as depression, I was so glad to be doing something that could help me personally and, hopefully, others (with your study results) at the same time. Also, I welcomed the responsibility towards the commitment I made by joining the program. It livened me up. During the study, I joined a dance group, began singing to seniors in a community chorus, and am back doing some part-time work. In terms of addressing my anxiety, the longer breathing meditations help me relax. The shorter ones help me so much in times of stress during the day.
Did you feel that doing the program online (instead of in-person) was a benefit, and if so, why?
Doing the program online was absolutely a great benefit for me. Previously, I took mindfulness classes with others, worked on learning to meditate in groups and tried learning to meditate in one-on-one situations. I always felt self-conscious. Being alone, in my desired space and feeling completely comfortable without having to think about anyone else’s actions and/or reactions was the best. No one was judging me at all. So this really helped me learn.
Is there anything else you want to add about why you felt the program was effective after having tried other meditation programs before?
Even after the study, I am able to embed what I learned into my daily life. My blood pressure has stayed at a healthy level. The knowledge that I have the tools to help me when I feel stressed or am feeling depressed or anxious definitely helps me feel better.
We are grateful for Diane’s reflections and her participation in our IMMI study. We could not do this important work without our amazing participants!
If you’d like to learn about other studies we are currently conducting IONS, visit Participate in IONS Research. You can also check out our transformative workshops and courses (geared towards deepening the way we understand ourselves, our purpose, and our world) at IONS Experience.