May 3, 2017: Do you find it hard to concentrate? Meditating for just 10 minutes every day can help prevent your mind from wandering and reduce repetitive, anxious thoughts, say researchers.
Mindfulness is commonly defined as paying attention on purpose, in the present moment and without judgement, and meditating would help you achieve just that.
The study 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 doctoral student at the University of Waterloo in Canada.
“We also found that meditation practice appears to help anxious people to shift their attention from their own internal worries to the present moment – the external world, which enables better focus on a task at hand,” Xu added.
The study, detailed in the journal Consciousness and Cognition, assessed the impact of meditation with 82 participants who experienced anxiety. The participants were asked to perform a task on a computer while experiencing interruptions to gauge their ability to stay focused on the task.
“Mind wandering accounts for nearly half of any person’s daily stream of consciousness,” Xu said.
For people with anxiety, repetitive off-task thoughts can negatively affect their ability to learn, to complete tasks, or even function safely, the researchers said.