In our digital age of endless distractions, it can be all too easy for your mind to wander on a tangent. From packed calendars to mile-long to-do lists, it can be a task to get five minutes to eat, let alone sit down with your favourite book. However, it is wise to never underestimate the power of the written word and the places a gripping story can take you; they can evoke memories, give us a fresh perspective on our lives, and it is said that reading is even the key to a longer, happier life.
If you can’t wait to get stuck into your next book distraction free, a new study has shed light on how to train our brain to concentrate better when reading, and it appears to be down to meditation.
The study, recently published in the Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice journal, sent half of its participants on an intensive Vipassana Meditation program for a month. This form of meditation is an ancient Buddhist tradition, focused on the mindfulness of breathing.
After four weeks of training, participants who had learned how to meditate were able to spot grammatical errors and incoherent phrases text better than those who hadn’t meditated, indicating a significant improvement in concentration.
“Meditation practitioners across both studies demonstrated greater levels of error monitoring following training,” said the study authors.
“This suggests that training group participants were more attentive to the story content and ongoing text, allowing them to better detect these salient text discrepancies.”
This could be worth a try the next time you feel your mind begin to wander. And breathe…