Meditation and ballet can contribute to one's wisdom, a new study is reporting. Previous research has suggested that people who meditate tend to be wiser. For this study, the team set out to examine whether or not there is any truth to this conception.
The team surveyed 298 participants using the popular Internet tool, Survey Monkey. The survey asked participants about their experience with four specific activities, which were meditation, classical ballet, the Alexander Technique and the Feldenkrais Method.
The Alexander Technique involves training to improve posture, movement, balance and coordination. The Feldenkrais Method aims to improve overall physical function, reduce pain and boost self-awareness.
The participants were either teachers or students of these practices. The survey also asked them general questions about their thoughts on wisdom.
The researchers discovered that people from the meditation group were, on average, wiser than the people from the other three groups. The team also found that this group of people had lower anxiety levels. Meditation included different types such as vipassana and mindfulness.
"We are the first to show an association between wisdom, on the one hand, and mental and somatic practice, on the other," lead researcher, Patrick B. Williams, a postdoctoral researcher in the University of Chicago's Department of Psychology, said in the news release. "We're also the first to suggest that meditation's ability to reduce everyday anxiety might partially explain this relationship."
The team found that people from the ballet group had the lowest levels of wisdom when compared to the other groups. Despite having lower levels, the team was shocked to find that the more ballet training a person received, the wiser he or she became.
"That meditation is associated with wisdom is good to confirm, but the finding that the practice of ballet is associated with increased wisdom is fascinating," Monika Ardelt, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Florida, who was not involved with the research, said. "I'm not going to rush out and sign up for ballet, but I think this study will lead to more research on this question."
"The link between ballet and wisdom is mysterious to us and something that we're already investigating further," Williams added.
Williams noted that they did not set out to find a cause-and-effect relationship. The findings, which were published in PLOS ONE, only suggested an association between these practices and wisdom.