Sure, the idea of being that person in the office who’s always blissed out (instead of anxious and overcaffeinated) sounds pretty great—and it’s been said that meditation can help you get there. (That’s in addition to other reputed benefits like relieving pain, slowing down the aging process, and better sex.) But if the idea of carving out time to actually sit down and do it stresses you out, then the findings of the latest meditation study will be good news to you.
Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Canada found that meditating for just 10 minutes a day was enough to see significant results. As long as its done consistently, sitting still and breathing deeply for just 10 minutes can help you concentrate better throughout the day.
As long as its done consistently, sitting still and breathing deeply for just 10 minutes can help you concentrate better throughout the day.
While you can always go longer—like when you’re practicing with a group, or even when you’re at the nail salon—researchers say that a little bit of mindfulness goes a long way in terms of improving your ability to focus. Participants in the study reduced the number of repetitive, off-task thoughts they had, a hallmark of anxiety.
“Meditation practice appears to help anxious people to shift their attention from their own internal worries to the present-moment external world,” says researcher Mengran Xu, a PhD candidate at Waterloo.
That’s major, since mind-wandering accounts for nearly half of any person’s daily stream of consciousness, Xu says, adding: “It would be interesting to see what the impacts would be if mindful meditation was practiced by anxious populations more widely.” Ten minutes for better all-day cognitive function? Sounds like it’s worth adding to your anti-anxiety tool box (along with great workouts and vitamin boosts).
If you’re convinced and want to start meditating, these apps can help get you started. And here’s what to do if you’ve tried and tried, but it just doesn’t seem to work for you.