How Mindfulness Meditation Improves Your Mental Abilities
In last week’s post, I talked about some of the health benefits of practicing mindfulness meditation. Believe it or not, I was only scratching the surface. As researchers continue to study the effects of the practice, it is becoming apparent that there are many more benefits of mindfulness meditation. In this article, we’re going to examine how the practice can improve our mental capabilities.
As we saw in last week’s post, high levels of stress can impede our body’s ability to function properly. Essentially, our body is not capable of coping very well with extended periods of stress. It also has a similar effect on the mind.
When we are under high levels of stress, we usually have difficulty thinking clearly. Our minds become clouded and we have a hard time making sound decisions. We also have trouble remembering details. In time, our emotions begin to dominate the decision-making process. Fortunately, there is a mindful way out of this dilemma.
Mindfulness Meditation and Our Mental Capabilities
As you already know, mindfulness meditation will help you calm your mind. But what may not be readily apparent is how the practice translates into improved mental capabilities. Here are some examples:
Increased Ability to Focus
One of the main aspects of the mindfulness meditation practice is developing concentration. Another aspect is living in the present moment. So naturally, these two skills will improve our ability to focus on tasks without being distracted, both in our work and personal lives.
Increased Ability to Think
When we’re agitated, there is a great deal of clutter in our minds. It is like driving on the road during rush hour. You’re not going to be able to move very quickly because of all the other cars in the way. When our mind is calm and steady, distracting thoughts don’t get in the way of what we’re trying to focus on. Studies have, in fact, confirmed that meditation raises your IQ.
Many of us believe that we a have bad memory, when it is actually quite normal. For example, most of us find it hard to remember people’s names when we meet them. The problem is not with our memory, but rather with paying attention when we hear their name. The reason we have trouble remembering people’s names is because we didn’t hear it clearly to begin with.
By being in the present moment and listening deeply, we can properly store information in our minds, which will make it much easier to recall later. Furthermore, since high stress impairs our memory, it would stand to reason that lower stress would improve our memory.
Imagine the possibilities of the increased ability to focus, think, and recall information. We could be more effective in all areas of our lives. Studies have already shown that mindfulness meditation improves academic performance, leadership skills, and creativity. This has tremendous implications for our careers. It also makes for a much more interesting and enjoyable life.
If you need help with your meditation practice, I recommend the book Mindfulness Meditation Made Simple. It gives you detailed instructions on the 12 Steps of the Mindfulness Meditation Practice, and includes exercises for helping you become proficient with the meditation techniques.
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