Meditating for 10 to 15 minutes each day helps boost the brain’s ability to concentrate, according to a new study

After taking up meditation five times a week over an eight-week period, students at Birmingham University (in New York) found they could quickly change between states of consciousness.

Scans showed real changes in brain patterns, and those taking part in the study could switch from the default mode network and dorsal attention network much easier. The ‘default mode network’ is when the brain is awake but not focused (you could be daydreaming). When the brain needs to concentrate it switches on the ‘dorsal attention network’.

Meditation also gave students a better ability to focus once their attention had been engaged.

How to start meditating

  • Put aside some time each day for yourself. But remember meditation is all about frequency, not about the length of time.
  • Find a place where you can sit without being disturbed for 10 minutes
  • Wear comfortable clothes.
  • If you are going to do it sitting in a chair, make sure your feet are flat and your back is nice and straight. If you are sitting on the floor, try to make sure your knees are below your hips.
  • Relax your arms and shoulders.

You also must decide are you going to do this with your eyes open or closed. What do you prefer? Find out what works best for you.

Once ready take five deep breaths in through your nose and through your mouth. Don’t worry if your brain is still ‘on’, just try to concentrate on the parts of your body that feel tense and how you are feeling emotionally. Now repeat the cycle up to ten times.

At the end of the session allow your brain to be free to focus for about 20 seconds before returning to the room and your surroundings.