Did you know that 47% of our time is lost in thoughts? According to a study by Harvard University, “Wandering mind is not a happy mind.” The top two reasons for this happening are we are either worrying about our future or traveling back to the past. The former produces anxiety and stress, and the latter cause depression and sadness.
Meditation has been around us for more than 3,500 years. However, scientists started researching on meditation a little more than 50 years ago. The one common benefit that most studies revealed is that meditation improves memory. It helps with long-term recall and retention, which boosts the mind function. There are plenty of ways to meditate such as mindfulness, which offers selective attention and executive control attention powers, breathing exercises, etc.
Today, our focus is to find out how calming down your thought process can help improve concentration:
It Preserves Your Aging Brain
A study published in the Frontiers Journal of Psychology revealed that meditators can preserve their brain for a longer time than non-meditators. Meditators had more grey matter in their brain, which is responsible for sensory perception.
It Stops Your Wandering Mind
Ever wondered why your mind suddenly starts wandering? In a recent study conducted by Yale University and published in the journal of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), meditation lowers the activity level in your default network (DMN). Also referred to as “monkey mind,” this is the part of your brain that wanders from one thought to another, nothing concrete in particular. In case you didn’t know, mind wandering is associated with worrying about the future and past rumination and being less happy. Meditation affects DMN and helps people snap out of wandering thoughts immediately, allowing them to practice selective attention.
It Improves Attention
Whether you have ADD or simply find it troublesome to concentrate on something, you can improve your attention by practicing meditation. According to a study published in the Sage Journals, meditation can increase focus and memory during GRE’s verbal reasoning section. From these findings, we can conclude that meditation has the power to improve your cognitive skills.
It Reduces Depression
According to a study published in the journal of JAMA Internal Medicine by Johns Hopkins, meditation’s effect size is 0.3, the same as the effect size of antidepressants. One might assume that this is an abysmal score. However, if the latter might lead to addiction, isn’t the former a better and safer choice?
Meditation can be done in various forms. This word doesn’t translate to sitting still and working on your breathing. Since meditation trains your brain, anything that challenges you to stay focused and in the moment can help you increase your concentration. So, start with a few mindfulness techniques for stress management and then steadily build your way up with exercises such as the body scan, mindful listening, self-compassion pause, and five senses. Check out our next blog post to find out how to do these exercises.