It's hard enough to study for an exam when you're in full-time education, but if you're taking classes part-time at an adult education center, you may find it even more difficult to focus. There are lots of ways that adult students can hone their study skills, and meditation is one way you can sharpen a busy mind. Find out how meditation can help you study, and learn more about the techniques you can use.
How meditation affects your body
Eight percent of American adults meditate, and some experts believe this is the start of a major health revolution. What's more, just under a million American children now use meditation, and an increasing number of parents encourage their kids to adopt these techniques.
Meditation helps restore calm and reduces stress levels. In turn, a healthier state of mind can help ease the symptoms of several underlying medical conditions. Research suggests that meditation can help people cope with asthma, cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure. Of course, the mental benefits of meditation can offer significant benefits during stressful periods, including the time you spend studying for an exam.
How meditation affects your brain
Scientists can now see how meditation affects your brain. Notably, research shows that meditation stops the brain processing information as actively as normal. You may think that's a bad thing if you're trying to study, but it's actually a positive effect. In short, by slowing down brain activity, meditation helps you train your mind to retain useful information.
Meditation can also boost creativity. Studies show that people who use open-monitoring meditation perform better with tasks that need more creative thinking. For example, if you are studying a creative subject like art and design, open-monitoring meditation could become particularly useful.
Types of meditation
People around the world have practiced meditation for centuries. As such, you can choose from many types of meditation, adapting different techniques to suit your personal needs and lifestyle.
Some popular types of meditation include:
- Guided meditation, which helps you form mental images of places or situations that help you relax.
- Mantra meditation, where you silently repeat a calming word or phrase that helps you cope with distracting thoughts.
- Mindfulness meditation that can help you focus on your awareness of the moment.
All of these (and other) types of meditation are effective study tools that can help 'train' your mind to absorb and make use of the information you are trying to learn.
How meditation techniques can boost your learning abilities
When you're trying to learn a lot of complex, technical information, meditation can help you avoid unwanted mental distractions. Meditation is particularly effective for adult students, who may also have to simultaneously deal with stressful jobs, family commitments and other daily pressures.
By learning to form mental images that help you relax, guided meditation can sharpen your cognitive function. Guided meditation helps people concentrate and boosts your memory powers, which can add enormous value when you are trying to absorb a lot of information in a short period. Notably, guided meditation can also improve visualization skills. People with strong visualization skills are often able to speak more confidently in public, which could become a crucial part of many adult learning experiences.
Mantra meditation is a great way to deal with different stressful situations. Accomplished practitioners often have several mantras they can apply to different situations. For example, one mantra could help you clear your mind of emotional clutter while you focus on technical information. Another mantra could help you gain confidence before you need to give a presentation to a large audience.
Crucially, the most effective types of meditation will involve techniques that permanently enhance your life. While meditation is a great way to help you study, the best techniques will stay with you long after you pass your exams.