Studies show that meditation can increase the attention and it was found greater cortical thickness in areas of the brain associated with awareness and sustained attention (7). When the stimulus was expected, there was no difference between concentrative and mindfulness meditation practitioners. However, when the stimulus was unexpected, mindfulness meditation practitioners have shown a better performance than concentrative practitioners. This difference can be caused by that concentrative methods include focusing on a salient stimulus, yet meditation methods help the person to distribute his or her attention and no stimulus becomes salient than others (8).
In a study with 40 undergraduate students given 5 days of 20-min integrative body-mind training (IBMT) showed an improvement in the conflicts in attention, depression, anxiety, fatigue, and anger. IBMT includes several body-mind techniques like breath adjustment, body relaxation, mental imagery and mindfulness training (9).
In another study designed to evaluate the effect of mindfulness on creativity, it was determined that mindfulness enhances creativity, which is defined as insight problem solving depending on the capacity to transcend common and automatic cognitive patterns (10). A study conducted with 10 undergraduate students who were taught relaxation and 24 undergraduate students who were taught Zen meditation demonstrated that the Zen meditation group showed more improvement in creativity, expressing emotion and feelings, humor, and fantasy (11).
7. Jha, A. P., Krompinger, J., & Baime, M. J. (2007). Mindfulness training modifies subsystems of attention. Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience, 7, 109-119.
8. Valentine, E. R., & Sweet, P. L. G. (1999). Meditation and attention: A comparison of the effects of concentrative and mindfulness meditation on sustained attention. Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 2, 59-70.
9. Tang, Y.-Y., Ma, Y., Wang, J., Fan, Y., Feng, S., Lu, Q., … Posner, M. I. (2007). Short-term meditation training improves attention and self-regulation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(43), 17152-17156.
10. Ostafin, B. D., & Kassman, K. T. (2012). Stepping out of history: Mindfulness improves insight problem solving. Consciousness and Cognition: An International Journal, 21, 1031-1036.