All it takes is 10 minutes of meditation a day to help prevent your mind from wandering, a new study found.
Daily meditation is particularly effective if you frequently have repetitive, anxious thoughts, according to the research by the University of Waterloo in Canada.
“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.”
Mindfulness is commonly defined as paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and without judgment.
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 random groups 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.”
Source: University of Waterloo