Mindfulness Training Can Enhance Attention and Help Boost Memory, Studies Find
Sometimes you have to stop and smell the roses. Mindfulness techniques have been shown to lower stress levels, improve one’s attention span, and provide a greater appreciation for life. The practices also can boost one’s memory and even increase brain mass, according to research.
The benefits of mindfulness on brain health have been demonstrated in multiple studies. On improving memory, researchers found the practices help individuals retain and retrieve newer memories by reducing the interference of older memories, a condition known as “proactive interference.”
Participants who engaged in mindfulness techniques experienced significantly less proactive interference during a memory test than those in a control group, according to one study. Researchers also found mindfulness is associated with increased volume of the hippocampus and other brain regions involved in learning, memory processes, emotional regulation, and perspective.
A quick internet search will pull up many resources on practicing mindfulness exercises. They include:
- Focusing on taking deep, deliberate breaths.
- Purposefully feeling in the moment and blocking out distractions.
- Directing your thoughts away from negative emotions and ideations.
- Lying or sitting still and focusing attention on your different body parts and sensations, and
- Carefully observing and appreciating details of everyday objects and activities.
Pharmacists can recommend their patients consider taking up such practices, especially if they complain of feeling stressed, anxious, or not in top mental shape.
Bottom line: mindfulness meditation provides beneficial effects on physical and mental health and cognitive performance. That’s a rose worth smelling.