Meditation May Improve Memory for Teens
A new study has found that adolescents who undergo a mindfulness meditation program may see improvements in memory.
The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, examined 198 public middle school students between the ages of 12 and 15. The students were mostly female and from low-income households that qualified for discounted lunch programs.
Researchers divided the students into three groups: mindfulness meditation, yoga, and a waiting list. The meditation and yoga groups met twice per week for 45 minutes over a four-week period. The team found that memory scores increased among the mindfulness meditation group but did not change for the yoga or waiting list groups. Stress and anxiety decreased in all three groups over the course of the study.
The meditation group was taught breathing techniques, formal meditation, posture, and how to deal with wandering thoughts. The students were also encouraged to listen to guided meditation recordings for 15 to 30 minutes each day while at home.
Similarly, the yoga group was taught by yoga instructors to focus on breathing, yoga poses, and discussion. This group was also encouraged to practice yoga at home, on a daily basis, using a yoga DVD. Both groups of students documented their thoughts in journals, which were collected each week. Before the study began—and once it was completed—the students took part in computer-based memory assessments and reported their stress and anxiety levels.
Coauthor of the study, Kristen E. Jastrowski Mano of the psychology department at the University of Cincinnati, told Reuters,
These results are consistent with a growing body of research in adults that has found mindfulness meditation to be a helpful tool for enhancing working memory capacity.
Mano also noted that theoretical and experimental research “suggests that mindfulness meditation is associated with changes in neural pathways and may be particularly effective in promoting executive functioning.”
In April, Anti-Media reported on another study that confirmed the healing power of mindfulness meditation. The study, published in The Lancet medical journal, found that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) may be just as effective as pharmaceuticals when it comes to preventing chronic depression relapse.
Researchers at Britain’s Oxford University and Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry conducted the first large-scale study to compare the treatment of chronic depression with MBCT and anti-depressants. They found very little difference in the results of the two different treatments, including a minimal difference in the cost of the mindfulness training versus the constant use of pharmaceuticals.
MBCT combines traditional cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) methods with psychological strategies like mindfulness and mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness is the practice of becoming aware and accepting of incoming thoughts without attaching or reacting to them. The practice is common in most meditation practices. MBCT was designed to help those suffering from chronic depression to learn to respond constructively to their emotions.
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