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Keith Rowley

Brief meditative exercise helps cognition - 5 views

  • "Simply stated, the profound improvements that we found after just 4 days of meditation training- are really surprising," Zeidan noted. "It goes to show that the mind is, in fact, easily changeable and highly influenced, especially by meditation."
  • The meditation training involved in the study was an abbreviated "mindfulness" training regime modeled on basic "Shamatha skills" from a Buddhist meditation tradition
  • "Findings like these suggest that meditation's benefits may not require extensive training to be realized, and that meditation's first benefits may be associated with increasing the ability to sustain attention,"
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  • seems to be strong evidence for the idea that we may be able to modify our own minds to improve our cognitive processing -- most importantly in the ability to sustain attention and vigilance -- within a week's time."
  • Both groups also improved following the meditation and reading experiences in measures of mood, but only the group that received the meditation training improved significantly in the cognitive measures. The meditation group scored consistently higher averages than the reading/listening group on all the cognitive tests and as much as ten times better on one challenging test that involved sustaining the ability to focus, while holding other information in mind. "The meditation group did especially better on all the cognitive tests that were timed," Zeidan noted. "In tasks where participants had to process information under time constraints causing stress, the group briefly trained in mindfulness performed significantly better."
  • participants were instructed to relax, with their eyes closed, and to simply focus on the flow of their breath occurring at the tip of their nose. If a random thought arose, they were told to passively notice and acknowledge the thought and to simply let 'it' go, by bringing the attention back to the sensations of the breath."
  • "The simple process of focusing on the breath in a relaxed manner, in a way that teaches you to regulate your emotions by raising one's awareness of mental processes as they're happening is like working out a bicep, but you are doing it to your brain. Mindfulness meditation teaches you to release sensory events that would easily distract, whether it is your own thoughts or an external noise, in an emotion-regulating fashion.
  • "This kind of training seems to prepare the mind for activity, but it's not necessarily permanent," Zeidan cautions. "This doesn't mean that you meditate for four days and you're done -- you need to keep practicing."
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