If you have problems retaining information and want to improve your memory, research at George Mason University and the University of Illinois points the way to an almost effortless way to make your mind better at learning.
The solution is to meditate right before attempting to digest knowledge you wish to keep.
In three classroom experiments, the scientists found that meditating right before a lecture helped students focus better and retain information. Students who meditated before the lecture scored better on a quiz that followed than students who did not meditate. In one test, the meditators passed the quiz at a significantly higher rate than students who had not settled their minds.
“Personally, I have found meditation to be helpful for mental clarity, focus and self-discipline,” says researcher Jared Ramsburg, lead author of the study and a practicing Buddhist. “I think that if mindfulness can improve mental clarity, focus and self-discipline, then it might be useful in a variety of settings and for a variety of goals.”
Researcher Robert Youmans notes that, in theory, other forms of active self-reflection such as prayer, taking long walks or even just taking the time to mindfully plan out your day in the morning could have some of the same positive effects as meditation. “Basically, becoming just a little bit more mindful about yourself and your place in the world might have a very important, practical benefit …”