Many people wonder if meditation can improve memory and, indeed, what the best meditation for memory power is.
Thanks to modern scientific research we know that meditation has a significant impact on the brain. For instance, meditation can reverse cognitive decline.
And thankfully, one of the benefits of meditation is for memory power.
Numerous studies from neuroscientists show a link between meditation and memory power. Specifically, there have been studies into Tibetan monks that show that monks have better memories than the average person. However, research also shows that you don’t need to meditate for long to benefit from it.
Anyone can use mindfulness and meditation to improve memory and concentration. [Read: Best meditations for concentration].
Let’s look at the science. And then I’ll show you how to use meditation for memory power.
Science on Meditation for Memory Power
Research by Boston University shows that meditation can improve memory.
Researcher Gaëlle Desbordes split test participants into three groups. One group was taught mindful attention meditation. This is a meditation that involves focusing on the breath and on emotions in the present moment. Another group was taught Loving Kindness meditation. And a third group was taught general health education instead of meditation.
Desbordes then conducted brain scans of the participants. The scans showed that meditation strengthened the right amygdala. This is a part of the brain used in processing memory. The groups who had meditated had increased activity in the right amygdala. The control group did not.
A second study by Boston University showed that daily meditation strengthens the cerebral cortex. This is a part of the brain involved with learning, concentration and memory.
Meditation increases blood flow to the brain. And this strengthens the cerebral cortex to improve memory. Plus, further research shows that just twenty minutes of daily meditation is enough to see these benefits. However, researchers state that guided meditation is much less effective than traditional meditation.
A paper in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Journal states, “Meditation training can enhance various cognitive processes, such as emotional regulation, executive control and attention, particularly sustained attention.”
Stress, Memory & Meditation
You might have noticed that when you’re having a stressful day it is harder to remember. There’s a reason for that. It’s because of the effect of the stress hormone cortisol.
Stress increases the flow of cortisol into the hippocampus. This is a part of the brain involved with memory. Cortisol impedes the hippocampus and makes it harder to remember things. Indeed, too much cortisol in the long term will have a serious effect on cognitive performance. Plus, it will cause bad memory.
So, if you’ve ever thought, “Why can’t I ever remember anything?” it could be because of cortisol.
Thankfully, meditation can help. 2013 research at UC Davis shows that meditation reduces cortisol secretion after just a few weeks. In fact, a doctor at Rutgers University stated that meditation could even reduce cortisol levels by up to fifty per cent.
Brain fog is closely related to both memory loss and lack of concentration. Plus, it can cause mental fatigue.
The main causes of brain fog are stress, lack of sleep, hormonal changes, poor diet, and certain medical conditions.
However, meditation can help to reduce brain fog according to Diane Malaspina, PhD. You can read about this in my article, Meditation for Brain Fog.
Best Types of Meditation for Memory Power
Some types of meditation improve memory more than others.
Here are the most effective techniques.
Mindfulness meditation is non-judgmental awareness of the present moment, including awareness of breath, thoughts, and feelings. It improves memory because it makes us more aware of the object we are focusing on. For instance, if you’re studying for school, mindfulness will make you more aware as you study. And this awareness, in turn, helps you to remember.
Plus, research shows that mindfulness meditation increases the density of the hippocampus. This is a region of the brain involved in learning and memory. Research suggests that just eight weeks of mindfulness is enough to see benefits.
- Sit comfortably with good posture. Make sure your spine is straight but relaxed. Roll your shoulders back then let them relax. In turn, this will open your heart space.
- Begin to breathe. Now focus on your breath as it moves through your body. Aim for non-judgmental awareness of the breath. And do not try to control the breath, simply observe it.
- When thoughts or feelings enter your mind, simply let them come and go as they will, without judging them.
- Continue for 108 breaths.
Mindfulness improves brain structure and strengthens regions of the brain involved with remembering. Plus, it balances cortisol, which is vital because cortisol inhibits memory.
In the article “Eight weeks to a better brain”, the Harvard Gazettes states that mindfulness is one of the best types of meditation for memory power.
Many of the common causes of bad memory are stress, anxiety, and depression. When you’re feeling down and you’re full of negative thoughts, it can be hard to remember. And at times like these, the best thing you can do is relax.
Thankfully, there are lots of meditations that help with relaxation:
- Meditation music
- Mantra meditation
- Loving Kindness
- Open Meditation
- Take a look at these meditations for relaxation.
When you’re relaxed, you will have a more positive mood and less stress. In turn, this will help your brain to function properly. Ultimately, relaxation improves memory power.
While bad memory can be a sign of illness, it is often caused by stress, anxiety, and depression. When we meditate, we unwind and balance our emotions. In turn, this helps the brain to operate properly. And the result is improved memory power.
However, it is important to learn meditation properly. Studies show that a proper meditation training program is the best way to benefit from meditation. Why not contact me today and book a meditation lesson with me.