What Are the Benefits of Meditation for Concentration?
Research has long shown that people who have integrated daily meditation into their lifestyles over the long term sleep better, are less likely to experience anxiety, and have fewer chronic illnesses than those who do not. Research also shows that there are a number of benefits of meditation for concentration as well. Meditation teaches the practitioner to push distraction to the background and to focus with sharp precision, directing a concentrated beam toward the task at hand.
Improved concentration as a result of meditative practices is not just a matter of heightened attention to habit, though. The brain itself undergoes certain changes during meditation. Over the long term, practitioners are actually able to rewire the brain so that the areas of the brain associated with concentration become more developed.
Improved concentration, which gets better the longer the practitioner meditates both in terms of a single session and over the long run, can actually be noticed in as little as a few days with only 20 minutes of mediation per day. Performance on cognitive skills tests have shown improvement in a number of studies. Practitioners also report that using meditation for concentration not only enhances this ability, but long-term memory is supported as well.
The benefits of meditation for concentration are clear for brief, focused tasks. Both practitioners and researchers, however, believe meditation also helps maintain steady concentration on longer, more complex tasks. Studies of Buddhists monks that began in the 1970s determined that the monks are able to sustain focus for far longer than those who did not meditate and were not as easily exhausted by concentration to boot.
Concentration is really a relationship between two activities. On the one hand, concentration is about narrowing the mental lens to a very intense and focused beam that allows a deep look into a task or idea. In order to pay attention to something, everything else must be actively ignored. This means that, to truly concentrate, the mind must be able to focus on not focusing!
While this may seem a bit convoluted, it’s an almost perfect description of meditation. In the meditative state, the practitioner is ignoring everything except being fully present in the moment. When other thoughts or emotions distract the mind, the practitioner sees the distraction and erases it in a single moment, returning to the mantra, image, or breathing pattern that helps with focus. Meditation for concentration enhancement and improvement can be very beneficial.
@ZipLine-- Prayer beads are also very beneficial for meditation. It has been proven that when the hands are busy, the mind is better able to concentrate. So using prayer beads and praying or chanting is a great way to get into a meditative state and regain concentration.
I think that lack of concentration results from having too many thoughts at the same time. Meditation helps because meditation is about clearing the mind, focusing and becoming aware of oneself. Practicing meditation regularly is like cleaning up a cluttered mind.
I personally use meditation whenever I am plagued with concentration problems. It's also a great way to get rid of writer's block. Just ten minutes of meditation works for me, but I try to do it for longer if I can. Of course it can be difficult to practice meditation when the mind is very active. But I try to persist and get through the racing thoughts. Sometimes, practicing yoga for fifteen minutes makes it easier to meditate. The balance related postures are especially effective, such as the one leg pose.
This is a very interesting article. My daughter suffers from attention deficiency disorder. She cannot study if she doesn't take her ADD medication. We have seen several doctors about the problem but no one has ever mentioned meditation as a possible treatment. I don't understand why meditation is not used for ADD as a first line of treatment if it really helps. Instead, children and adults are immediately put on medications which they become reliant on.
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