You Should Be Writing author Nita Sweeney has written an article for Medium.com on the creative benefits of meditation.
Meditation benefits creative thinking and improves focus
I sometimes surprise my students when I ask them to try meditation during my adult writing classes. “What’s meditation have to do with writing?” more than one has asked over the twenty years I’ve taught. When I first began to teach, meditation was seen as a hippie, woo woo, new age thing. Some students even feared it might interfere with their religion.
But things have changed.
Now, most students are at least familiar with some meditation technique and many have a regular practice. I find that encouraging, especially as evidence through scientific study continues to show temporary and lasting physical, emotional, and cognitive benefits.
In the article “30 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Meditation” Patrick Zeis organizes his list into those categories. I read the piece as part of the 200-Hour Meditation Leader training I’m taking through Sage Institute for Creativity and Consciousness. I joined this intensive training so I might offer a more thorough meditative experience to all types of creative people, not just writers.
While the benefits listed in the article inspired me to deepen my own practice, two stood out as especially helpful to writers and other creative people.
First, meditation improves creative thinking skills.
People seek me out when they are stuck. They want to tell their stories but can’t find the deep well of creativity inside. I offer meditation as part of the solution.
Zeis writes, “Science has shown how untapped creative resources can undoubtedly be found within us all.” It builds creative thinking skills needed to do this work.
The article cites a study from Leiden University in the Netherlands. The research found that “practicing open monitoring meditation techniques resulted in higher divergent thinking test scores.” And practicing “focused attention meditation techniques resulted in higher convergent thinking scores.”
I offer different meditation practices to boost the mind’s natural ability. These same methods enable me to complete projects and helped me find a publisher.
Second, meditation increases focus and productivity.
A vast majority of my clients lament their lack of focus. They can’t finish projects or get started at all. Zeis explains that a University of Washington study showed the effectiveness of meditation. Participants who meditated as part of the study could concentrate longer without being distracted. Meditation improves the skills needed for doing this work.
Since meditation improves creative thinking and focus, I will continue to use it in my classes. If you haven’t considered meditation, add it to your writing toolkit. The results might amaze you!
A Journal of Inspiration & Instruction to Keep Your Pen Moving
Writing Inspiration from Incredible Authors. Gathered by Brenda Knight and writing coach Nita Sweeney, author of Depression Hates a Moving Target, You Should Be Writing provides you with writing wisdom from a variety of accomplished authors.
Writing Practice on Every Page. This journal is a must-have for writers everywhere. With quotes from a diverse group of historical and modern authors to use as creative prompts on every page, you’ll be able to bring your writing inspiration with you wherever you go. You’ll find plenty of great advice, such as Toni Morrison’s encouragement, “As a writer, a failure is just information. It’s something that I’ve done wrong in writing, or is inaccurate or unclear. I recognize failure—which is important; some people don’t—and fix it.”