Mike Rucker's Lifelog | The Live Life Love project
Meditation Leads to Better Concentration
Well honed concentration skills are a cornerstone of being able to perform at our peak. Concentration is the ability to do a chosen task by focusing on the outcome and either blocking or mitigating distractions.
Recent studies have shown that concentration can be improved through meditation:
- Meditation acutely improves psychomotor vigilance, and may decrease sleep need
- Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness
Meditation is the practice of channeling our own consciousness through various forms of relaxation techniques. One of the many benefits from meditation is a more focused mind. When we are able to channel our focus, we improve our chance of achieving optimum performance. Anecdotal evidence suggests that undisturbed focus can even help people overcome personal limits. Roger Bannister is a perfect example of this. It was a steadfast held belief that no one could ever run a four-minute mile. Yet Mr. Bannister broke this barrier by repeatedly visualizing this accomplishment in his mind’s eye so intensely that he was able to achieve a physical result, a 3:59 mile. He not only overcame a personal limit, he forced people to rethink the limits of human potential. Once Mr. Bannister had set the precedent, and people “knew” it was possible several others duplicated this feat within a year.
Getting back to mere mortals like myself, in the psychomotor study referenced above, meditators took Psychomotor Vigilance Task (PVT) tests after meditating (which is a fancy way of saying they stared at LCD screens, and the response times were measured between seeing an image and pressing a button after being aware of the image’s presence). In this particular study, those who have gone through some sort of meditation (even if they are not experienced meditators) performed better during PVT testing, thus showing measurable improved mental performance.