Just 10 minutes of meditation helps anxious people have better focus

May 01, 2017

Just 10 minutes of daily mindful mediation can help prevent your mind from wandering and is particularly effective if you tend to have repetitive, anxious thoughts, according to a study from the University of Waterloo.

The study, which assessed the impact of meditation with 82 participants who experience anxiety, found that developing an awareness of the present moment reduced incidents of repetitive, off-task thinking, a hallmark of anxiety.

"Our results indicate that mindfulness training may have protective effects on mind wandering for anxious individuals," said Mengran Xu, a researcher and PhD candidate at Waterloo. "We also found that meditation practice appears to help anxious people to shift their attention from their own internal worries to the present-moment external world, which enables better focus on a task at hand."

The term mindfulness is commonly defined as paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and without judgement.

As part of the study, participants were asked to perform a task on a computer while experiencing interruptions to gauge their ability to stay focused on the task. Researchers then put the participants into two groups at random, with the control group given an audio story to listen to and the other group asked to engage in a short meditation exercise prior to being reassessed.

"Mind wandering accounts for nearly half of any person's daily stream of consciousness," said Xu. "For people with anxiety, repetitive off-task thoughts can negatively affect their ability to learn, to complete tasks, or even function safely.

"It would be interesting to see what the impacts would be if mindful meditation was practiced by anxious populations more widely."

The study, co-authored by Waterloo psychology professors Christine Purdon and Daniel Smilek and Harvard University's Paul Seli, was published in Consciousness and Cognition.
-end-


University of Waterloo

Related Meditation Articles from Brightsurf:

Study finds yoga and meditation reduce chronic pain
A mindfulness-based stress reduction course was found to benefit patients with chronic pain and depression, leading to significant improvement in participant perceptions of pain, mood and functional capacity, according to a study in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

Loving-kindness meditation will make you happier
Researchers from HSE University compared the effect of two meditation practices - loving-kindness meditation (LKM) and compassion meditation (CM).

Meditation for mind-control
Carnegie Mellon Biomedical Engineering Department Head Bin He and his team have discovered that mindful meditation can help subjects learn and improve the ability to mind-control brain computer interfaces (BCIs).

Meditation linked to lower cardiovascular risk
Meditation was linked to lower cardiovascular risk in a large database study by Veterans Affairs researchers and colleagues.

COVID-19: Considering meditation and yoga as adjunctive treatment
The anti-inflammatory and other beneficial effects of meditation and yoga practices make them potential adjunctive treatments of COVID-19

The practice of meditation leaves marks in the brain
The study conducted at IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca shows that the practice of Transcendental Meditation has positive effects on psychological well-being and that these effects are correlated with measurable changes in the brain.

Certain meditation strategies may help perfectionists
Mindfulness meditation with a focus on nonjudgment of emotions may help perfectionists recover from stress, according to a study published in Psychophysiology.

E-meditation: A new tool for an ancient technique
E-meditation combines meditation with a low-level electrical stimulation that activates areas of the brain associated with meditation.

How meditation can help you make fewer mistakes
New research tested how open monitoring meditation altered brain activity in a way that suggests increased error recognition.

Mindfulness meditation enhances positive effects of psilocybin
Recent years have seen a renewed interest in the clinical application of classic psychedelics in the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders.

Read More: Meditation News and Meditation Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.