Do you think meditation could improve your test scores? A University of California preliminary study seems to think so.
Meditation – a form of mindfulness training – reduces the occurrence of mind-wandering, which is the tendency for our minds to drift away onto “task-unrelated thoughts”. It improves focus over time and increases working memory capacity. Oooh, exactly what we all desperately need to remember all those CFA formulae, figure out the differences between All-Current and Temporal method, and know how to tackle those IPS questions.
The theory makes sense so far. Perhaps you’d noticed the countless mind-wandering moments, whether during study time or at work – I know I do. Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to boost your productivity by transforming those cloudy moments to memory enhancing capacity? But amidst all the studying, juggling the work-life balance, eating and sleeping better, there’s not much time for this in your hectic CFA preparation schedule.
OK, so we are all busy. But surely you’ve got a minute to spare? A one minute mini meditation works too. This may be too new age for you, but I assure you it works. Here’s how to do it right.
In short, meditation is all about contemplation, concentration or reflection. It’s a break from the hustle and bustle of your daily life where you get to just be in-the-moment, experiencing mindfulness, focusing on the present.
It’s an intriguing experience to describe – your mind quietens down for that brief moment, combined with slow, deep breathing, somehow manages to relieve some stress and anxiety. It’s normal to have thoughts coming and go during a meditation, practice always helps and you’re already taking baby steps towards perfection just by starting. Your goal is to be quiet and focus within to the best of your ability.
Too Busy? Try the 1 Minute Mini Meditation
The beauty of a one-minute mini meditation is that you can fit it in anytime, anywhere. It’s simple and doesn’t require special tools or outfits. Seems like a no-brainer to try it at least once daily, as it helps focus and calm your mind throughout the day.
Ready for it? Let’s check out these easy steps:
#1. Stop what you’re doing. Completely. Be selfish. Set aside 1 minute for yourself and don’t worry about work for once. It only takes a minute, ideal when you need a study break anyway. It’s just a pause not a complete stop, you can resume studying in a bit with a refreshed mind.
#2. Close your eyes. Let your eyelids close and relax. Yup, that’s it.
#3. Pay attention to breathing. Focus and be aware of your breathing. Just breathe normally, but focus your mind to the sensation of your breath entering and leaving your body. Feel free to breathe a bit slower and more deeply than you ordinarily do, if preferred.
#4. Inhale and exhale x5. Count as you finish a set of inhale-exhale cycle. Repeat until you reach 5.
#5. Get back to business. Slowly open your eyes and resume what you were doing.
That’s it! Easy-peasy. Start small and try to fit in mini-meditations periodically throughout your day. You can easily use this as a stepping stone to scale and practice longer meditation time.
I hope this is useful to help focus and relieve some stress in your exam preparation. Try it over 2 weeks and let me know in the comments below of your thoughts!