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Meditation Can Help You Make Fewer Mistakes: Here's How

How Meditation Can Help You Make Fewer Mistakes


Meditation has gained so much mainstream acceptance in recent years for its benefits. It can help you manage stress, increase tolerance and self-awareness, and even reduce negative emotions. But there's more. New research shows that meditation may help you make fewer mistakes.

So if you often make mistakes or forget things, especially when in a hurry, meditation can help you become less error-prone.

However, the type of meditation used in this study isn't the well-known mindfulness meditation that focuses on breathing. This particular one is known as Open Monitoring Meditation.

Open Monitoring Meditation

Open monitoring meditation is a type of meditation where you focus awareness on your thoughts, feelings, and sensations as they flow through your mind and body. Here, you do not focus on just one stimulus, such as breath on sound. Instead, you allow yourself to be open and attentive to everything going on within you.

A study from Michigan State University has now found that open monitoring meditation causes changes in brain activity in a way that suggests error recognition.

The Research FIndings

Jeff Lin, a co-author of the study, acknowledged that meditation has become so mainstream even when science still finds it challenging to prove all the effects and benefits its known for. That was one of the inspirations for the research.

And it was even more surprising to see that just one session of meditation could impact significant changes in someone who hasn't meditated in their entire life.

Lin and his co-authors carried out the study on 200 participants who had never meditated before to understand just how the act affects an individual's mind. They then asked the participants to engage in open monitoring meditation for 20 minutes.

As they meditated, their brain activities were measured using electroencephalography (EEG). They later did a distraction test after the 20-minute session.

The researchers found that a neural signal was triggered immediately after the participants made a mistake during the test. This neural signal is linked to conscious error recognition and was stronger in the meditators than in the control group of non-meditators.


It's worthy of note that the meditators didn't see immediate improvements in their performance and accuracy after the meditation. But this finding is all the more interesting as it opens up a field for further research on how sustained meditation can help the mind become less error-prone.

In layman's terms, we can say that the awareness and consciousness you develop while focusing "pinches" you whenever you're about to err.

How to Practice Open Monitoring Meditation

Amazed by the benefits of meditation and looking to enjoy them too? Here's how to get started with open monitoring meditation as a beginner:

    1. Find a quiet and comfortable space: Choose a place where you can sit comfortably without any distractions or interruptions.

    2. Sit in a comfortable position: You can sit cross-legged on the floor or in a chair with your feet flat on the ground.

    3. Focus your attention: Instead of focusing on your breath, as you would in other types of meditation, in open monitoring meditation, you'll focus on whatever comes into your awareness. This could be physical sensations, thoughts, or emotions.

    4. Be present in the moment: Allow your attention to be fully in the present moment. Observe what comes into your awareness without judging it or getting attached to it.

    5. Notice distractions: If your mind begins to wander, simply acknowledge the distraction and gently bring your attention back to the present moment.

    6. Stay relaxed: Try to maintain a relaxed and open state of mind throughout your practice. This will help you stay alert and receptive to whatever arises in your awareness.

    7. Practice regularly: Try to meditate for a few minutes every day, gradually increasing the length of your sessions as you become more comfortable with the practice.

    Remember, the goal of open monitoring meditation is not to empty your mind or reach a particular state of consciousness. Instead, it's about cultivating awareness and learning to observe your thoughts and emotions without getting caught up in them.

    With regular practice, open monitoring meditation can help you develop greater clarity, focus, and mindfulness in your daily life.
Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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