Meditation as Choking Prevention

This blog post is Part 4 of a 4-part blog series featuring the work of University of Chicago psychologist Sian Beilock.

Even a small chunk of meditation practice goes a long way, says Sian Beilock, Ph.D., in a recent interview on the website Brain Science Podcast. At the University of Chicago’s Human Performance Lab, psychologist Sian Beilock has found that simple meditation instruction helps people perform better under pressure.

In the lab, people underwent a mere 10 minutes of meditation instruction before taking a test. This appeared to make a significant “difference in their score.” Beilock quotes research that shows “as little as 10 hours of meditative practice can change some of the wiring of the brain.”

Beilock says research suggests people can use meditation “even sparingly to really improve … performance.”

Why does this practice work so well? Meditation helps us “let go of information—to not perseverate on it.” This lets us focus on the task at hand without worry taking away “our cognitive horsepower” and our ability to perform well.

If you have never explored meditation as a practice, you’ll be relieved to know how simple it is to learn how to meditate. Try Herbert Benson’s relaxation response method, or ask a sport psychologist to teach you the basics of this simple practice.

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