With hectic lifestyles and an increased pace in life in general, the last decade there has been an increased awareness of alternative approaches to learning and development. One such method that is starting to feature more and more within educational pedagogy is meditation.
What is meditation and what are the benefits of meditation?
In most basic terms, meditation is a way to transform the way you think. Meditation teaches techniques that develop concentration, clarity of purpose, emotional resilience and an overall calm approach to the challenges of life. Who couldn’t do with that?! There are many things in life that are beyond our control. However, it is possible to take responsibility for our own states of mind and to change them for the better.
How does meditation work?
Scientists have concluded that the brain is a trainable ‘muscle’ that requires daily exercise. Therefore, increasingly, neuroscientific research has been evidencing the benefits of meditation as one of the best ways to train the brain for learning purposes.
This is because meditation techniques will enable you to stretch the cerebral cortex. Consequentially, it will increase your overall ability to comprehend and retain information. You may also find that you become more adaptable to new situations and develop qualities that can help with learning; such as focus and resilience.
An eight week research study conducted at Harvard medical school established that students who practise simple meditation techniques, such as concentrating on breathing, experienced a wide range of associated benefits. These techniques can then lead to greater development in those areas of the brain linked to memory and learning. This study also showed that meditation also helped with the management of emotions.
The participants in the Harvard study took part in a mindfulness meditation program. However, there are a number of other types of meditation, including Transcendental Meditation, which may suit different individuals.
Therefore, as a student, taking part in a program of meditation may lead you to have a more stress-free study experience. This may be especially relevant to distance learning students, who are trying to juggle a number of different commitments alongside their studies.
If nothing else, meditation will at least allow you a break from thinking about all your different deadlines!