Of Meditation and Memory


A GoodTherapy.org News Update

Meditation is a practice that has seen a significant boom in the West in recent decades. Appealing to the modern mind, body, and spirit, so often caught up in the fast pace and frequently stressful environment of everyday urban life, meditation offers a way to achieve calm, focus, and a decidedly lighter mood. As one recent study has suggested, meditation –or at least, specific kinds of meditation– may be highly advantageous in improving visual-spatial memory, as well. As more and more people become aware and concerned about the implications of memory loss and lack of focus, such a study offers a practical and potentially very powerful method for taking control, not to mention its possibilities within the realm of therapy.

The study, which was carried out by researchers affiliated with George Mason University, focused on two distinct kinds of meditation in an effort to isolate the specific mental process involved in boosting visual-spatial memory. These consisted of Deity Yoga, in which the subjects visualized a specific deity in their classical representation, and Open Presence, a type of meditation which focuses on a generalized nothingness, rather than incorporating mental images or ideas. Adding subjects both disciplined in these two techniques as well as those who had never practiced before, the researchers set to work supplying subjects with a battery of tests.

The tests involved mentally rotating a 3-D object as well as recalling visual images from a set of similar variations. Subjects were then directed to perform either Deity Yoga or Open Presence meditation, while some were allowed to simply rest. When the subjects were given the tests a second time, those who had practiced Deity Yoga showed a significant superiority in results compared to Open Presence and non-meditative subjects. As meditation becomes an increasingly popular technique employed by therapists, such studies may open doors to additional benefits for clients and professionals alike.

Reference:

ANI. (2009, April 28). Buddhist meditation boosts visual memory. The Times of India. Retrieved from http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2009-04-28/health/28029988_1_meditation-visual-memory-image

© Copyright 2009 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Keira

    Keira

    May 5th, 2009 at 1:37 AM

    It’s great to see studies like these that prove meditation works and has benefits.

  • Cookie

    Cookie

    May 5th, 2009 at 1:54 AM

    This would be a good thing to remember if one wants to improve their memory. I find this could definetly help me when I get frustrated because I can’t seem to recall or remember something.

  • Sandra

    Sandra

    May 5th, 2009 at 5:14 AM

    Yikes! I can hardly remember where my head is after meditation and yoga- that sounds kind of weird that it will help to boost my memory skills. Things like this that take me to such an extreme point of relaxation always have the opposite effect on me.

  • Donnielle

    Donnielle

    May 6th, 2009 at 1:54 AM

    I am hearing so much about yoga and how it helps to clear the mind, bring peace and relax you to a state of well being. I have never tried yoga, but the more I hear about it the more I want to try it.

  • Bob

    Bob

    May 6th, 2009 at 5:03 AM

    Never really thought that meditation would be for me until I began to have some problems with stress and my health and I had an acupuncuturist recommend trying it. That is not only the best advice that I have ever received but that I have taken and I am thankful every day that I gave this a try. Meditating allows to me to just get away from the life stresses for a while and find Bob again, not the old stressed out me. It helps me to stay centered and focused on the positives in my life without spending so much time worrying about the negative.

  • ami

    ami

    May 7th, 2009 at 2:43 AM

    That’s wonderful that Yoga can help improve memory..I already knew that meditation helps, but never heard of yoga helping, which once you think about it, it does make sense.

  • Bethany

    Bethany

    May 14th, 2009 at 3:08 AM

    I sure need help in this area. Sometimes my mind gets so foggy and I get so unfocused. It’s good to hear that something natural as yoga can help.

  • Memorywiz

    Memorywiz

    May 19th, 2009 at 6:30 PM

    The West is only now waking up to the fact of how beneficial ancient arts like meditation and yoga can be on physical and mental health and well being, which can be really tremendous.

  • Gaila

    Gaila

    May 21st, 2009 at 4:14 AM

    Sure would be nice if we see of this in therapists offices.

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