The origin of meditation is shrouded in mystery. This has been the view of many eminent spiritual teachers and mystics of the past. However, a recent study by an American school of education has revealed that the usage of meditation during elementary school years to prevent negative behavior on the part of students could have a considerable effect. This has been termed as a breakthrough in the research of meditation, with powerful implications in the study of cognitive behavior.
Meditation has been the predominant mode of self-purification and spiritual growth practiced since ancient times. In the twentieth century, meditation was formally acknowledged as a helpful method for managing stress, although its relation to positive health outcomes remains debatable. The present study measured the association between meditation and emotional control among elementary school students.
A common cause of excessive thought and abstract thoughts is anxiety. Research on the effects of anxiety indicates that it can impair an individual’s performance in academics and cognitive performance. This may be due to an excessive level of tension leading to an exaggerated response of the autonomic nervous system, which in turn leads to hyperventilation, irritability, loss of appetite, difficulty in concentration, increased body temperature, and decreased sleep.
Chinese scientific studies indicate that meditation provides a relaxing environment for the body and mind. Relaxation from meditation prevents tension build-up leading to a tension-free and unperturbed mind. This reduced tension results in a reduction in anxiety, which is directly related to behavior control.
Specially formulated meditation materials are available to enable a conscious effort to enhance awareness and beneficial emotions, based on the literature on meditation. The study compared the effect of meditation after it was introduced into the elementary school curriculum, to the effect of traditional classroom instruction. A group of student participants (aged 9-12 years) were randomly assigned to meditation or traditional instruction, with or without mindfulness training.
The results showed that the meditation experience had an effect on executive function. This is an ability to control internal processes, particularly attention and response to external stimuli. This ability is necessary for focusing attention on the intended task and in this case, it was found that the meditation group showed greater executive function than the control group, despite having less meditation time than the meditation group.
The results indicated that, while controlling for the effect of stress, meditation increased performance on academic measures and other measures of psychometric performance. However, in a follow-up survey, it was found that this was not a general effect on the whole school population, indicating that the experimental manipulation was specific to the non-students.
The results were assessed using comprehensive documentation of the experimental procedures, questionnaire, and results analysis. No differences were noted between the experimental group and the control group in any of the dependent variables. The study concludes that meditation has beneficial effects on cognitive behavior.
This seems to indicate that meditation is beneficial to those who practice it, without the necessity for large amounts of money, time, and resources. Meditation can be considered as a “magical medicine” that can lead to changes in consciousness for the benefit of individuals and society.
Based on the research, meditation can create profound differences in consciousness, physical abilities, emotional states, and behavioral patterns. Meditation can positively influence each of these aspects. If implemented properly, meditation can also allow for positive changes in daily life.
The study has proven a paradigm shift in the world of meditation; it has opened up the new generation’s paradigm for mental health. Meditation can reduce the feeling of stress and help you manage everyday life more effectively.