Zen Meditation Study

A recent Zen meditation study reveals that experienced meditators have a high degree of resilience when it comes to dealing with distractions. This implies that distractions caused by thoughts can be noted and discarded easily as well. They can dismiss the negative effects of stress and let them go.

Silhouette of a man figure meditating in the outdoors

“Researchers conducting the Zen meditation study wanted to know if meditation practice changed people’s ability to recover from the intrusion of a word that unexpectedly appeared on the computer screen, which would strongly suggest that meditation improved recovery from the distractions induced by spontaneous thought as well. After the interruptions, the experienced meditator’s brains did indeed return faster to a relaxed state than nonmeditator’s brains. Intensive meditation practice seems to reduce the elaborative thinking that normally occurs when we evaluate a thought and meditators are able to clear their minds of distractions more quickly than those who don’t meditate.

Obviously, this type of thought control could be useful in dealing with worries that arise in stressful testing situations. Worries about screwing up often cause flubbed performances because they use up valuable working-memory resources that could otherwise be devoted to test taking. By training the brain to discard negative thoughts, you can thwart the negative effects of stress. Discarding these thoughts is not the same as trying to ignore them or dismiss or suppress them, which uses up working-memory. When a worrisome thought arises, you acknowledge it, name it (as if actually identifying it and writing it down), but then let go of it. You don’t attach any more brainpower to it.”

Sian Beilock from Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To

Sian Beilock is a psychology professor at The University of Chicago (where I got a master’s degree in physics 🙂 ) and one of the world’s leading experts on the brain science behind “choking under pressure” and the many brain and body factors influencing all types of performance: from test-taking to public speaking to your golf swing. [Sein Beilock…]

This study confirms much of what I have written in my colorful book, Seven Secrets to Stop Interruptions in Meditation: How to Concentrate and Focus on Your Meditation and Deal with Distractions (Meditation Practices Book. I’ll send you the pdf for free if you are a member of Meditation Practices and you make your request in a comment below.

Seven Secrets to Stop Interruptions in Meditation
Seven Secrets to Stop Interruptions in Meditation
Paper: $13.97
PDF: $9.97

Books by Sian Beilock

Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To

Sian Beilock

Choke provides the missing link between brain and body, science and life. Here’s what really happens during mental and physical performance when we crack under pressure, and here are simple ways not to choke in stressful situations.

Why do the smartest students often do po…

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