In the stressful lifestyles of today, it is hard to find time apart for a relaxing activity. The majority of the adults even find it hard to find something that can indulge them fully. Hence, meditation has become extremely popular in the Western world.
If you are asked to name activities which can engage you completely and make you stop thinking about your work project or assignment deadline, how many can you name? Not a lot of them, right?
This is the problems with most of the adults. The things which were once relaxing are no longer relaxing. How can you lay down on the hammock and read your favorite book when your boss keeps on calling even though you had called in sick yesterday?
Meditation is the ultimate solution to all such problems as it starts with letting of thinking about tension inducing things. As a result, almost every other person knows about the benefits of meditation.
There is also abundant medical literature on the advantages of meditation for both mental and physical health. In addition, a new research may give you another reason to join a meditation class as soon as possible.
The study by researchers from the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom concludes that meditation may also help with faster learning from experiences and feedbacks. The findings of the study were published in the Journal of Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience.
How Was the Study Conducted?
The main focus of the study was on one specific form of meditation called focused attention meditation. In this type, a person is asked to divert all their attention to a particular object of their choice, for example, a candle, for a long time.
In the research on focused attention meditation, the researchers worked with both people who were frequent meditators as well as those who did not meditate at all. The participants were thirty-five in number.
These participants were given an activity in which they had to select images they thought would bring them rewards. The researchers showed different images with varying levels of rewards.
It was noted that people who meditated were better at choosing the proper images rather than those who did not. According to the researchers, this is because meditators tend to learn from positive experiences while non-meditators are likely to learn more from negative ones.
One of the researchers Paul Knytl, who is a doctoral student at the University of Surrey says:
“Humans have been meditating for over 2,000 years, but the neural mechanisms of this practice are still relatively unknown,” says Knytl, who is specializing in the neurological mechanisms associated with focused attention meditation”
He further comments:
“[Our current] findings demonstrate that, on a deep level, meditators respond to feedback in a more even-handed way than non-meditators, which may help to explain some of the psychological benefits they experience from the practice,”
What Does the Research Conclude?
In addition to finding out the difference between response in meditators and non-meditators, the researchers also looked at the brain activity of the participants. This was done using the electroencephalogram.
The EEGs taken by the researchers confirmed that non-meditators responded more to the negative feedback rather than positive one. It was the other way around for meditators.
The participants who responded little or not at all to the negative feedback were all the most experienced meditators. In accordance with the researchers, this may be because regular meditation affects dopamine levels.
This claim can also be corroborated with previous studies that have linked low dopamine levels in patients of Parkinson’s disease and poor ability of learning.
Conclusively, it can be said that regular meditation may impact how a person receives feedback which in turn allows him to learn quickly from experience and perform better as well. Hence, meditating may improve learning and work performance of an individual.