Modern science no longer treats intelligence as a fixed trait.
Instead, it’s now universally accepted that cognitive abilities can change in both positive and negative ways. For example, stress has a damaging effect on mental functioning whereas practices such as meditation clearly enhance one’s intelligence.
The Transcendental Meditation technique
One of proven brain-boosting meditation techniques is Transcendental Meditation (TM). When it comes to intelligence, the technique works in two beneficial directions. First of all, TM has been proven to counteract the negative effects of stress. Secondly, TM produces changes in the brain which are positively linked to better mental functioning, such as:
- increased cerebral blood flow;
- increased broadband frontal coherence, power ratios, and preparatory brain responses (measures correlated with improved cognitive functioning);
- reduced stress hormone (cortisol) levels.
Better skills and abilities: Studies with adults
Studies with adults in different work settings have found that Transcendental Meditation practice improves:
- employee effectiveness
- physiological settledness and stability during mental task performance (measured by skin conductance levels)
- leadership abilities
Read more about TM and work efficiency
Better skills and abilities: Studies with children
In experiments comparing the effect of Transcendental Meditation, napping and contemplative meditation on high school students, TM practice was found to improve test scores in the following areas:
- ability to successfully reason in new situations;
- speed of information processing;
- ability to achieve and maintain emotional and physical well-being, succeed in work, love, social relationships;
- a cluster of traits including cognitive functioning, personality and social behavior;
- balanced use of cognitive, affective and volitional domains (traits like comprehension, analysis, curiosity, unconventionality, synthesis, and measured risk-taking);
- reduction of anxiety.
Napping/resting group did not improve on any of the above mentioned test scores. Contemplative meditation group only improved on two measures.
For children aged 4-9, there exists a form of Transcendental Meditation practice suitable for their age called the Word of Wisdom technique. Compared to controls, preschoolers and elementary school students practicing either Transcendental Meditation or Word of Wisdom, improved on following variables:
- focus and attention;
- intellectual/cognitive performance;
- general intelligence;
- analytical ability.
This article originally appeared on TM Home at: www.tmhome.com
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