How many times have you settled down to read a good book, only to find your mind wandering off in different tangents?
From mentally planning to-do lists, to wondering what to cook for dinner, it can be difficult to make it through an entire page uninterrupted - particularly in our digital age of endless distractions.
However, a new study has shed light on how to train our brain to concentrate better when reading, and it appears meditation could be the key.
The study, recently published in the Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice journal, sent half of its participants on an intensive vipassana meditation program for a month. An ancient Buddhist tradition, vipassana meditation is focused on the mindfulness of breathing, and has been practised for over 2,500 years.
After the month of training, participants who had learnt how to meditate were better able to spot nonsense words and phrases in text than those who hadn't, indicating that their concentration had improved.
The authors in the study wrote, “Meditation practitioners across both studies demonstrated greater levels of error monitoring following training.
“This suggests that training group participants were more attentive to the story content and ongoing text, allowing them to better detect these salient text discrepancies.”
So next time you want to make it through a book, uninterrupted by your own thoughts, take a deep breath and try a little meditation.