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Does Meditation Improve Your Memory? Experts Say ‘YES’

Let’s face it: we’re all forgetting things all the time – and we get angry about it. How many times did you run late because you forgot the keys or your wallet? What about future appointments or making important calls? Everybody gets there at some point, but if it happens too often, it may be a problem.

Surprisingly, though, a habit as simple as meditation can actually help your memory functions in the long run. From reducing stress and anxiety to improving some of your core brain functions, this practice can help you finally remember where you left your smartphone. Of course, meditation can’t cure mental illnesses or solve age-related memory problems; however, it can help you stay calm, regulate hormonal imbalances, and improve your overall focus.

If you’re looking for those benefits (and more), this article is definitely worth reading. Want to know everything? Just keep reading…

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How Can Meditation Improve Your Memory?

Before I started writing this article, I knew I had to gather some facts and check my theory. The first evidence I’ve found on meditation and memory comes from a study where adults participated in an eight-week mindfulness meditation program. At the end of their trial, they showed significant improvement in measures of verbal memory, compared to a control group. Meanwhile, another study found that adults who participated in a three-month mindfulness meditation program showed significant improvement in measures of working memory and cognitive flexibility. Amazing, right?

But that’s not the only explanation. Another theory is that meditation may help improve memory by reducing stress and anxiety, which can have a negative impact on memory and cognitive function. Once you get the hang of it, meditation can relax you better than ever (yes, even better than binge-watching Netflix)!

Curious to know more? Let’s get into detail to see how meditation might work wonders for your memory:


Reducing stress

There’s no doubt about it: chronic stress can impact on memory and cognitive function. Sadly, most of us are experiencing this issue these days, right?

Luckily, studies have already proven that meditation reduces stress and improve overall well-being, which may in turn help to improve memory. How?

When you’re under stress, your body releases stress hormones such as cortisol. This hormone can interfere with the brain’s ability to process and store information. Further, stress can also disrupt the brain’s ability to consolidate memories, – the process of transferring newly learned information from short-term memory to long-term memory.

Here’s the worst part: research showed that chronic stress can impair the function of the hippocampus. This complicated name stands for a brain area involved in memory formation and consolidation. Additionally, stress can lead to a lack of sleep, which is important for the consolidation of memories.

SPECIAL NOTE: While stress can have negative effects on memory, not EVERY type of stress is bad. In fact, some stress can be helpful and may even improve memory. For example, studies have found that short-term stress can improve memory consolidation and lead to better performance on memory tasks.


Increasing Focus and Attention

With so many gadgets, screens, and tasks on our daily to-do list, staying focused on a single activity is harder than ever. Regardless if you’re a happy retiree, a tired parent, or a full-time working citizen, we’re all surrounded by distractions. How can you avoid scrolling endlessly just to see useless content? How can you stop multi-tasking and doing one thing right? We all share the same burdens – and meditation can help.

Meditation can improve your focus – a key component for memory consolidation.

Research has shown that meditation can lead to changes in brain structure and function, including increased activity in the areas of the brain involved in attention and decreased activity in the areas of the brain responsible for distracting thoughts. These changes can lead to improved focus and concentration.

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Improving Brain Function

Our brain needs just as much training and relaxation as our body – whether we like it or not. In fact, you can think of your brain as any other muscle in your body: the more you train it, the stronger it gets in the long run! When you meditate, you bring your attention to your breath or a mantra, which can help you relax and clear your mind. Here are the main areas of the brain you may improve by meditating:

  • Attention and concentration: Meditation can help improve focus and concentration by increasing activity in the areas of the brain involved in attention and decreasing activity in the areas of the brain responsible for distracting thoughts.
  • Memory: Meditation may help improve memory by increasing blood flow to the brain and boosting the production of new brain cells in the brain area involved in memory formation: the Hippocamus.
  • Emotional regulation: Meditation can help improve emotional regulation by decreasing activity in the amygdala, an area of the brain responsible for emotions, and increasing activity in the prefrontal cortex (that’s where decision-making and emotional control are).
  • Creativity: Meditation has been shown to improve creativity by increasing flexibility and openness in the mind, which can lead to more creative thinking and problem-solving.

What’s more, some research suggests that meditation may have a positive effect on brain function, including increased blood flow to the brain and increased activation in multiple brain regions. Although the science may sound complicated, your main takeaway is that when you meditate, your brain starts functioning better. Remember: don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Beginners can get positive effects from just 5 minutes of meditation daily!

Related: 6 Basic Meditation Practice Tips That Might Change Your Life


Enhancing Self-Awareness

Meditation can increase your self-awareness and improve overall cognitive function. But what is self awareness anyway?

In short, self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand your own thoughts, feelings, and emotions. It’s an essential aspect of emotional intelligence and is considered to be a key factor in personal growth and development.

The first step to becoming self aware is observing and acknowleding your emotions and to recognize how they influence thoughts and behaviors. Of course, it’s just as important to take a step back and observe one’s own thoughts and actions from a detached perspective, rather than being completely immersed in them.

In general, self-awareness can help anybody make better decisions, communicate more effectively, and manage their emotions and behaviors in a healthy way. It can also help you create and grow stronger relationships and create a sense of personal meaning and purpose.

There are several practices that can help individuals develop self-awareness, including mindfulness meditation and journaling. Don’t know where to start? You can always look for meditation classes in your area to learn this habit from a professional. This option also helps you socialize, which might reduce stress and boost your memory, right?

If you’ve come this far, congrats! Now you know more about how meditation can improve your memory in the long run. To me, it’s obvious you need a positive change in your life and meditation can be a great starting point for anybody. If you’re looking for more fascinating content on meditation and mindfulness, I highly recommend our post on 8 Popular Types of Meditation to find out which one works best for you!

Passionate about cognitive psychology and data research, Tudor aims to highlight the importance of prioritizing self-care regardless of age, gender, or nationality. For over two years, he has been prioritizing extensive research in mindfulness and meditation techniques delivered to everyday people in a simple, meaningful manner.

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