Focussed meditation involves focusing on something intently as a way of staying in the present moment and slowing down the inner dialogue.
Unlike classic meditation, where you focus on nothing to quiet your mind, with focused meditation, you still remain in the present, but focus wholly on one thing. Typically, you focus on sensory stimuli like sounds, visual items, tactile sensations, tastes, smells, and even your own breathing—much like mindfulness meditation techniques.
Focused meditation, also called focused attention meditation (FAM) can be a useful tool for people who want to try using meditation for stress relief.
This meditation style allows you to focus your attention on an object, sound, or sensation rather than trying to achieve a clear mind without a specific focal point. Focused meditation is also feasible without an instructor or teacher, which makes it accessible to anyone with a few minutes of time, something to focus on, and a quiet place.
Focused meditation can help you improve your attention and maintain your focus for longer periods of time. When you stare at a particular object during the meditation, you learn to pay less attention to other distractions. Over time, focused meditation helps many people feel less bothered by disturbances—like a loud car alarm or the sounds of people arguing.
Focused meditation can also improve your emotional regulation. You learn to respond to your internal feelings the same way you’d respond to a loud car alarm. You observe and accept the feeling of distraction, but you don’t fixate on it.
Team Inspiring Life provides you with 5 health benefits of focussed meditation.
5 health benefit of focussed meditation.
1. Increased Memory.
Several studies show that meditation enhances. It improves blood flow in the brain, which may account for the improvements in memory.
Although research has not shown that one form of meditation is superior to another, it has shown that it only takes about ten minutes of meditation each day for someone to experience these benefits. Moreover, the improvements in memory begin to show up soon after someone begins to make meditation a daily habit.
An example of this is found in a study that compared two groups of subjects. The first group consisted of people who listened to a 13-minute guided meditation recording each day. The other group of subjects listened to a 13-minute podcast (unrelated to meditation).
At the end of eight weeks, both groups were tested and the one that performed daily focussed meditation showed significant improvement in both long-term memory and recognition memory. Not surprisingly, those that meditated also showed less stress.
2. Decreased Anxiety.
Anxiety is part of life that everyone experiences from time to time. It arises, becomes a momentary nuisance, is dealt with, and resolved.
For some people, however, anxiety becomes a major source of concern—one that has life-changing consequences: loss of employment, ruined relationships, squandered opportunities, and physical illness. Even milder (but chronic) anxiety can have a significant impact on one’s happiness and ability to function at his or her best.
Fortunately, many effective approaches reduce or eliminate anxiety. These include Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), medication, Exposure Therapy, Corrective Experience Focused Therapy, and others. But none of these approaches can compete with the simplicity and ease of meditation. A 2010 review of 39 studies involving 1,140 participants concluded that meditation has a positive impact on reducing anxiety. Interestingly, the authors also found that focussed meditation is sometimes helpful in reducing anxiety that arises as a function of chronic pain, and cancer treatments.
3. Enhanced Quality of Sleep.
Everyone has experienced how much sleep impacts their mood and their ability to function effectively. A good night’s rest sets the foundation for the day ahead. Likewise, a night of tossing and turning creates an obstacle to pushing forward toward your goals the following day.
One study that supports this idea included a group of participants that were studied for one year. All participants presented with significantly disturbed sleep. The researchers divided the group into two subgroups. One was taught simple focussed meditation techniques. The other group was given instructions on how to get a better night’s rest (e.g., establish routines, decrease caffeine intake, etc.).
At the end of the year, these two groups showed significant differences in their quality of sleep. The meditation group had markedly improved sleep—similar to what is found with those who use medication to treat sleep problems. They found that the power of meditation to improve the quality of sleep was roughly equal to that of medication or cognitive behavior therapy.
The other group—the one that was provided sleep education/instruction—showed only mild improvement in sleep.
But it is not just one study that supports the link between focussed meditation and improved sleep. A 2018 review of 18 studies on meditation, including a total of 1654 participants, found that meditation improved the quality of sleep much more than using a “wait and see” approach.
4. Decreased Psychological Stress.
Everyone experiences stress. If you are conscious, then you experience stress. Some sources of stress are pleasant, such as getting married, going on a vacation, moving into your dream home. Many sources of stress are unpleasant, like being fired from work, the loss of a loved one, the cost of having your car repaired.
No matter the source and no matter whether the stress is pleasant or cringeworthy, it can take a toll on your mental and physical reserves. Consequently, finding effective ways to control your stress is important for living a full and rewarding life.
Meditation can be one of the tools used to reach this goal. This has been shown in many studies. For example, researchers Cara Geary and Susan Rosenthal compared stress levels in two groups of subjects over the course of eight weeks. One group received training in meditation (and then performed it consistently) while the other group coped with stress in their usual manner.
Not surprisingly, the focussed meditation group had significantly less stress after eight weeks. But what is more surprising is that the focussed meditation group continued to have lower stress levels one year later. Moreover, they also rated their overall sense of well-being as higher than those who had not received training in meditation.
5. Stronger the Immune System.
One of the more surprising aspects of meditation is its impact on your immune system. It turns out that regularly calming your mind has a way of building up resistance to various illnesses. That’s not to say that meditation is a firewall that will prevent you from ever getting the flu again. Even so, the evidence is pretty strong that it can significantly reduce the chances of your becoming sick.