16 Dec 2 Ways on How Meditation Improves the Brain
Meditation is no longer a practice that is associated exclusively with arcane oriental philosophies and beliefs. If you still hold this view of meditation let us stop you right there.
If you’re not convinced, then consider this, meditation has more evidence of mental skill building on its side than that of popular brain training apps or games. Quite a lot more, in fact. One of the most surprising findings in recent research is the cognitive benefits of meditation. Things like attention and memory which are the underlying brain abilities that affect your day to day thinking, learning, and problem-solving. These abilities translate into real world success and a stark improvement in your quality of life.
Don’t let preconceived notions blind you. Let us look at the scientific evidence. Yes, meditation can be a spiritual thing for some people, but that’s not the be all, end all of it. So let’s take a look at two amazing cognitive benefits of meditation.
It Reduces Cognitive Rigidity
Sometimes past experiences can block the way to new and innovative ideas. The habits, beliefs, or attitudes developed from personal experiences have been known to make discovery of obvious solutions difficult. You may fail to consider alternative ideas and solutions. This could be a problem, especially when problem-solving is a part of your job. Not only in academic settings, but in professional settings as well.
Researchers used two experiments to see if meditation might have an effect on people’s adaptive thinking. To see if it could help overcome previous experience or rigidity. In two separate experiments, the authors of the study found that participants who meditated were more likely to see the simple novel solution to the tests, when compared to those who didn’t meditate.
It Boosts Your Creativity
Creativity is seen as one of the most important skills in both the business and scientific worlds. Oddly enough, it’s not a part of a student’s standard class schedule. Some have even argued that school curriculum based on rote learning may be threatening the creativity of students. In today’s world, finding innovative and useful solutions to problems is paramount. It seems meditation may give you some help in that regard.
A study took 40 Chinese undergraduates and had them meditate for 30 minutes a day for 7 days. The were compared against another group that was trained in relaxation training for the same amounts of time. Even in this short bout of meditation, the students were able to raise their scores on a test of creative thinking. And they did so more than their counterparts who were trained to simply relax.
You may be interested to know that different methods of creativity might be affected by different methods in meditation. There is divergent thinking – generating many different ideas, and there is convergent thinking – or arriving at a single unique solution. Another study of meditation has been shown to foster both types of thinking.