Meditation more efficient than brain drugs
Students who don’t have ADHD have started using drugs that treat the condition because it gives them a boost when they are tired or need to turn in a paper before deadline.
Margaret Talbot reports in a New Yorker article that in recent years Adderall and Ritalin,(stimulants), have been adopted as cognitive enhancers: drugs that high-functioning, overcommitted people take to become higher-functioning and more overcommitted.
She also gives examples of some of the side-effects the drugs have.
When I read the article, I knew that meditation would give a similar high-efficiency boost to students without having to take drugs. I knew this because I recently interviewed students across the U.S. on how meditation helped them at school.
Seattle resident, Kabar Trust Bolack is just one of those students. He practices Sahaja meditation regularly and tells of how meditation helped him during his last quarter completing his Bachelor of nursing degree at University of Washington.
After staying up till 4a.m. to turn in a complex essay, he was exhausted.
“No amount of caffeine was improving my ability to formulate intelligent ideas regarding my subject. At that moment I took a 10-minute break and used the time wisely; I meditated,” recalls Bolack.
Following the meditation he managed to complete the essay and turn it in on time getting a grade of 95 percent on the paper.
“The time we spend in meditation clears our mind and rejuvenates our stores of mental energy,” says Bolack.
Research done in Australia shows the beneficial effects of meditation on the brain.
In a clinical trial meditators were asked to signal when they had reached a state of mental silence called “thoughtless awareness” in Sahaja terminology.
The subjects’ brain wave activity was measured using EEG, which is a test that measures electrical signals in the brain by attaching special sensors to the subjects’ heads. Wires are also hooked to a computer where one can see the changes in brain activity.
In the trial, the subjects’ had increased “Alpha activity” which is associated with relaxation and considered beneficial.
Another change, occurred when the subjects’ signaled during meditation that they had reached complete mental silence or “thoughtless awareness.” At that point there was an increase in “Theta brain waves,” which are associated with emotions and memory. This theta activity was not seen in non-sahaja meditators.
Overall, the results showed that Sahaja Yoga meditation techniques have a positive effect on the brain and its functioning. Perhaps, this is how after a short meditation Bolack could complete his essay despite being overwhelmingly exhausted. Meditation gave him an almost instant boost without the side effects of stimulant drugs.