Just ten minutes of mindfulness each day is effective against repetitive anxious thoughts, new research reveals.
The practice can also help stop your mind from wandering.
People in the study who meditated for only a short period found it easier to focus on their present-moment external experience rather than their internal thoughts.
Mr Mengran Xu, the study’s first author, said:
“Our results indicate that mindfulness training may have protective effects on mind wandering for anxious individuals.
We also found that meditation practice appears to help anxious people to shift their attention from their own internal worries to the present-moment external world, which enables better focus on a task at hand.”
82 participants in the study either did 10 minutes meditation or listened to an audio story.
Those who meditated were better able to stay focused on a subsequent task they were given.
Mr Xu said:
“Mind wandering accounts for nearly half of any person’s daily stream of consciousness.
For people with anxiety, repetitive off-task thoughts can negatively affect their ability to learn, to complete tasks, or even function safely.
“It would be interesting to see what the impacts would be if mindful meditation was practiced by anxious populations more widely.”
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The study was published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition (Xu et al., 2017).