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Lawyers, here's a method to achieve top performance: Experiment shows brief meditative exercise helps cognition

Posted Apr 15 2010 12:00am

After recently attending this conference [pdf] and hearing all the research on the benefits of meditation and mindfulness, I continue to wonder why any lawyer would not engage in a mindfulness practice, both for him- or herself personally and to better serve clients?

Do you think you don't have enough time? Here's some indication that a mindfulness technique need not be very time-intensive. The press release (EurekAlert):

Contact: James Hathaway
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Experiment shows brief meditative exercise helps cognition

Some of us need regular amounts of coffee or other chemical enhancers to make us cognitively sharper. A newly published study suggests perhaps a brief bit of meditation would prepare us just as well.

While past research using neuroimaging technology has shown that meditation techniques can promote significant changes in brain areas associated with concentration, it has always been assumed that extensive training was required to achieve this effect. Though many people would like to boost their cognitive abilities, the monk-like discipline required seems like a daunting time commitment and financial cost for this benefit.

Surprisingly, the benefits may be achievable even without all the work. Though it sounds almost like an advertisement for a "miracle" weight-loss product, new research now suggests that the mind may be easier to cognitively train than we previously believed. Psychologists studying the effects of a meditation technique known as "mindfulness " found that meditation-trained participants showed a significant improvement in their critical cognitive skills (and performed significantly higher in cognitive tests than a control group) after only four days of training for only 20 minutes each day.

"In the behavioral test results, what we are seeing is something that is somewhat

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