Meditation may help you catch mental mistakes

In the journals

Published: March, 2020

If you want to make fewer mental mistakes, try meditation, suggests a study in the September 2019 issue of Brain Sciences.

Researchers recruited 200 people who had never meditated and led them through a guided 20-minute meditation called open monitoring. While many styles of meditation have you focus on a single object, like your breathing or a visual image, the goal of open monitoring meditation is to pay more attention to your feelings and body sensations.

After meditating, participants took computerized tests in which they had to complete tasks while exposed to regular distractions. Their brain activity was measured by electroencephalography (EEG) during both meditation and test-taking.

The researchers found that when the meditators made a mistake on the test and recognized it, the EEG showed an increase in specific neural signals known as conscious error recognition — representing the brain's ability to identify mistakes.

While the study did not find that meditation reduced the number of mistakes people made during the test, the practice did increase error awareness. And a crucial step to making fewer errors is to recognize mistakes, so you can keep them from happening again.

Image: SensorSpot/Getty Images

Disclaimer:
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.