A new study in the UK, released in the Aug. 2021 issue of Psychological Reports, says that a short mindfulness meditation could boost your visual short-term memory.
Mindfulness meditation can be defined as the mind-training technique that helps you reach a state of awareness that is calm and present-focused. This is a state where we pay “attention using all our senses while keeping a stable and non-reactive presence.”
Some research shows that mindfulness meditation practice increases attention, improves the working memory and short-term memory abilities, and even lowered depression and anxiety.
How long should you do meditation for better memory—specifically, will a short session work? This is the issue the research investigated.
Mindfulness and Memory Study
The study looked at ninety students were assigned to three conditions. One listened to an audiobook of Tolkien’s The Hobbit, the other went into a “meditation condition” by listening to the “mindfulness of body and breath” exercise, and those in the control group were left to do whatever they wanted.
The participants were first tested with a face memory task, which had them identify new faces not presented before on a computer screen. Then, they were sent to the above three listening conditions. Subsequently, they all completed this face memory task again only with new faces.
The end result revealed that only the people who did the mindfulness meditation showed a great improvement in their short-term memory.
Practicing Mindfulness For Yourself
It doesn’t matter if due to greater emotional acceptance, lowering in anxiety, or a different mechanism, even a small session of mindfulness meditation seems to help your short-term memory.
So, if you want to expand your memory, experiment by doing mindfulness to see the benefits for yourself. How should you meditate? A simple way to do this is spend 10 minutes focusing only on your breath: Pay attention to your breath as it enters, goes through, and leaves your body.
For readers who want to attempt the same mindfulness meditation that was used within the study, you can find this exercise (which is called the “mindfulness of the body and breath”) in the book Mindfulness which is available on Amazon.
Author: Scott Dowdy