It seems that these days it is so much harder to focus on one thing as there appear to be so many more things going on. In part that is probably true, but in part it undoubtedly also because we have allowed our lives to dictate us rather than the other way round.
With an 80yo father that still skis and seems to ignore the fact that he is getting along a bit, I have always believed in the old “if you don’t use it, you loose it” principle. So, I am not surprised that a number of studies now point at the mental benefits of 20 min of mindful meditation. Essentially exercising your brain and I guess increasing the blood flow to the area.
The proposed benefits:
Brighter and faster: A number of studies studies suggest that long-term meditation will increase the number of folds in the cerebral cortex and higher gray matter density, which leads to faster information processing.
Better multitasking: Scientists have determined that meditation helps us to tame what Buddhists would call our hyperactive “monkey mind”. Meditation allows us to perform tasks for longer with fewer distractions, improves retention, and reduces stress. In a sense by becoming better at focusing on one thing and ignoring distractions, we become better at performing multiple tasks faster.
Increase short term memory: By blocking out the noise of daily distractions, we can soak up more pertinent information.
Feed creativity: It seems that if our attention is more evenly distributed, we can enter a more creative state of mind and we can generate more diverse ideas.
Add to that stress reduction and it would appear to be a mental panacea. It is just such a shame that it is so difficult to keep those random thoughts at bay. Ah well, better get practicing.