A new study has found that mindfulness can help boost our concentration, here’s how to get started with some introductory techniques
It’s the wellbeing technique that’s commonly used to soothe a host of mental health experiences. Now, a new study, published in the Journal of Cognitive Enhancement, has found that mindfulness meditation may reduce interference from emotional distractions.
The study looked at the effects of mindfulness on perceptual load. Perceptual load refers to the amount of attention that is required for a task, and researchers were interested in investigating how mindfulness meditation can influence behaviours in goal-oriented tasks.
In order to do this, the researchers first compared the effects of emotional distractions on individuals who had experience with mindfulness meditation, and those without. The participant took part in a letter search task, while emotional stimuli was used to distract their attention. They used both pleasurable and unpleasurable distractions, in order to test how mindfulness and perceptual load interacted with emotions of different intensities.
What they saw was that those without mindfulness experience were significantly affected by both the positive and the negative distractions, which impaired their performance in the task. Their findings suggest that training our minds to be present and attentive, as is the case with mindfulness meditation, can have benefits beyond wellbeing as it can improve our ability to seek satisfaction from external distractions.
Ready to give mindfulness a go yourself?
What is mindfulness?
Broadly speaking, mindfulness is a technique which involves maintaining a present awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and what’s going on around us. It’s become an increasingly popular wellbeing technique over recent years, and mindfulness-based therapies are recommended by the National institute for Health and Care Excellence as a way to treat less severe depression.
Basic mindfulness techniques
You can bring mindfulness into your everyday routine, by trying to notice sensations as you go about your day – think about how the temperature of the air feels on your skin, the tastes of the foods you eat, or the feeling on the ground under your feet. You can also bring attention to your thoughts, and name your feelings as they come up – for example, ‘this is anxiety’, ‘this is relief’.
As well as incorporating these techniques into your daily life, you can also try more structured approaches…
Try a Happiful guided meditation
Head over to the Happiful YouTube channel where you can find a selection of guided meditations to help you slow down and return to the present moment. Sit or lie down, get comfortable, and take some deep breaths as you follow along with this journey through mindfulness.
Explore mindful practices
Yoga has been used throughout history to aid in wellbeing, and the deliberate, mindful movements are great for helping you to develop an awareness of your thoughts and feelings, as well as incorporating gentle exercise into your routine.
Ready to give it a go?
- Try the yoga routine designed for low energy
- Discover seven free yoga classes to start your journey
- Learn more about yoga for beginners
So, could mindfulness be the key to improving your concentration, and your overall wellbeing? There’s only one way to find out, and the time is now.