How Meditation Improves Memory

MBV   February 1, 2016

Meditation and Memory

With unlimited amounts of information right at our fingertips, it would seem that having a good memory has lost some value over time – even our calendars have gained the ability to communicate with us from the palm of our hand.

But with distraction and stimulation coming at us from all directions, maintaining focus can become a crucial weapon in a world where productivity can have such a positive impact.

Getting older is notoriously associated with bad memory and forgetfulness. But with the internet and digital devices demanding more of our attention than ever before, the attention span of the modern human being is compromised – this holds true for all age groups.

Lucky for us, memory and focus is not something that can only be taken away. One of the most fascinating aspects of the human brain is it’s ability to rebuild and reshape itself into a stronger state. This is possible through cultivation and training.

With meditation being one of the best ways to practice focus, this timeless practice presents us with yet another intriguing benefit: enhanced memory in a modern world.  

Whether you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and often forget what you were supposed to do next, or just feel like you could benefit from holding a stronger level of concentration in the workplace, meditation is a great way to enhance your focus and boost your memory power.

Meditation and Multi-Tasking

With more and more studies surfacing, it is becoming very clear that meditation is a tool that everyone can benefit from in marvelous ways.

A study conducted at the University of Washington was ran in order to look at the phenomenon of multitasking in our modern world of technology. In the study, three groups of 12 to 15 human resource managers were given 8-week training courses.

Group 1) mindfulness meditation

Group 2) body relaxation

Group 3) mindfulness meditation after being on a wait list for eight weeks.

The third group, which was on the wait-list for eight weeks, was used as the control group for the study.

Participants were then tested for speed, accuracy, and multitasking while doing common office tasks like word processing, using email, calendars planning, and messaging. The subjects also recorded their stress levels and memory performance based on a common scale.

The meditation group outperformed the others when it came to reduced stress, greater focus, and improved memory. The mindfulness meditation group was able to stay on task longer and made fewer task switches, as well as reporting less negative emotion after task performance.

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How Meditation Stimulates Memory

Through meditation, we are providing a perfect space for the frequencies of our thoughts to calm down and recalibrate. When this takes place, we are able to release many of the thoughts that distract us from staying on point and focused.

With a clear mind we are much more able to directly access information contained within the memory centers of our brain as well as subconscious thoughts that may have previously been obscured due to repetitive thinking.

Meditation creates space between your thoughts by slowing down the activity that takes place between the neural pathways of your brain. It is this level of brain activity where you are able to experience crystal clear focus.

Brain Function of Memory

The Hippocampus and frontal brain lobe are where major long term memory and short term memory centers are stored. Through recent study using brain scanning techniques, it was found that both of these regions increasingly light up during sessions of meditation.

By consistently bringing your mind back into focus during meditation, the part of the brain that is responsible for retrieving information is activated. This ensures that the brain is able retain the capacity to store new memories. This is something that can be enhanced and improved through daily meditation practice.

The Focus of Meditation

Essentially, meditation is the practice of focused awareness. By bringing your attention back into the moment over and over again with intention, you are triggering your brain's ability to remain alert and zoned into the current environment.

Within this receptive and coherent state, your mind is much more able to discard unnecessary thinking patterns and help you access useful and insightful information.

Problems with memory can usually be associated with short attention span or lack of concentration. These levels of ability vary from person to person but are not set in stone. Focus and concentration can become weak if left untested, or strengthened when properly cultivated. Meditation is a tool that can help anyone build their focus and improve their ability to remain alert in times of need.

The present moment is where the most important and crucial amounts of information are stored. Meditation teaches us to remain centered, which allows the language of our mind to communicate clearly – providing us the insight neccesary to get the most out of each aspect of our life.

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