The People's Perspective on Medicine

Will Meditation Help You Recognize Errors?

Scientists have found that volunteers recognize errors more quickly after a single 20-minute session of open-monitoring meditation.
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Do you make mistakes when you are in a rush? Who doesn’t? The obvious advice to slow down now has a little data to back it up. Specifically, take the time to do some meditation. It may help you recognize errors more promptly.

Open-Monitoring Meditation:

Scientists at Michigan State University had volunteers undergo EEG while practicing open monitoring meditation (Brain Sciences, Sep. 7, 2019). In this form of meditation, the meditator pays attention to what is going on in both mind and body without attempting to make changes.

A Step to Recognize Errors Sooner:

None of the 212 volunteers were experienced meditators, but the study found that they were able to recognize errors more quickly after a 20-minute open-monitoring meditation session. That one session was not enough to change behavior so that people made fewer errors, but the scientists were enthusiastic that they saw a clear neural signal after a single session.

Open-monitoring meditation is a variant on mindfulness meditation, which may have many other benefits. Some people find mindfulness meditation helpful for managing pain. Others have found it useful in the attempt to lose weight. Certain studies suggest meditators are less prone to depression. Seniors having trouble sleeping find it easier with mindfulness meditation. 

Learn More:

You may wish to listen to one of our podcasts on the topic of meditation, such as Show 999 or Show  1152: Can You Conquer Your Cravings With Mindfulness? You may not be able to recognize your errors any sooner, but you might find it helpful in meeting life’s challenges.

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    About the Author
    Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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