Today it is more difficult for us to focus on one thing for a long time, we are increasingly doing (or, rather, we try to do) ten things at the same time-we work, we read news headlines, respond to emails and text messages, listen to music, watch video on YouTube,We communicate on social networks.
In most cases, such multitasking prevents us from focusing on one main task, as a result, productivity suffers.
Various techniques of meditation since ancient times have been used, including for training attention and concentration. Can a simple meditation session that does not require a lot of time and any preparation help us return the concentration of attention, weakened by constant switching?
American psychologists Thomas Gorman and Sean Green decided to check this. To do this, they conducted a series of experiments in which 48 students participated, some of them, according to the results of the preliminary survey, were especially prone to multitasking (in this case, this understood the constant switching of attention between various sources of information) in everyday life, study and work.
During the experiments, students were tested for concentration of attention. In front of the tests and in the intervals between them, some of the students looked at the sites on the Internet (switching between three different sites), and the other part was engaged in conscious meditation within 10 minutes – they
needed to focus on their breathing, considering the exhalation and pressing the button on the keyboard after each exhalation. After 9 exhalations, it was necessary to press another button and start the account again from scratch. A day or two, the experiment was repeated, only groups of students changed places (those who first meditated for the first time, now watched sites, and vice versa).
All participants showed the best results in tests for attention after meditation (compared to watching sites). Those who were prone to multitasking were generally worse than tests, but it was they who were most helped by meditation.
“We decided that it is conscious meditation that can suit those who are fond of multitasking well. In a sense, awareness is opposite to multitasking-it requires a deep concentration on one thing, ”says Sean Green Green.
As Thomas Gorman explains, during meditation, our attention and thoughts inevitably begin to “wander”. Constantly returning attention to the desired object or process (for example, breathing), we train to manage it.
The effect of one short meditation session does not last a very long time (less than a day), however, these results show that problems with attention as a result of enthusiasm for multi -collection are not irreversible.
Conscious meditation (one of the options):
- Exercise can be performed with closed or open eyes. Breathe in a natural rhythm and focus on the physical sensations from breathing. Start counting breaths and exhalations (each cycle “inhale-out of the way” is “one”), having read to 10, start again. If you begin to be distracted and lose concentration on breathing, do not consider it as a failure, just transfer your attention to the breathing process again, while “back the counter” and start the score again.
For more details see. T. Gorman & S. Green “Short-Term MindFulness International Reduces The Negation Attenation Effects Associated with Heavy Media Multitasking”, Scientific Reports, 2016, No. 6.