7 Surprising Ways Meditation Changes the Brain
1. Meditation Helps Preserve The Aging Brain
A study from UCLA discovered that long term meditators had better preserved brains than people who don’t meditate. Participants who meditated for an average of 20 years had more gray matter volume in the brain, study author Florian Kurth is quoted saying, “What we observed was a widespread effect of meditation that encompassed regions throughout the entire brain.”
2. Meditation reduces activity in the brain’s “Me Center”
A study from Yale university found that mindfulness meditation decreases activity in the default mode network, the brain network responsible for self-referential thoughts. Since mind-wandering is typically associated to be a negative thing that leads to people being less happy, this helps people achieve the goal of dialing those feelings down.
3. Makes Your Brain It’s Own Antidepressant
A study at Johns Hopkins reviewed the relationship between meditation and reduced levels of anxiety/depression. The research team found that the effect size of meditation was moderate at 0.3, the same size as an antidepressant.
4. Meditation May Lead to Volume Changes in Key Areas of the Brain
A research team at Harvard found that mindfulness meditation actually changes the structure of the brain. After an 8 week study they found that daily meditation had increase cortical thickness in the hippocampus, which handles leaving and memory, and in certain areas of the brain that governs emotional regulation and self-referential processing. There was also decreases in the amygdala which is responsible for fear, stress, and anxiety.
5. Improves Concentration and Attention
One of the central benefits of meditation is it’s strengthening of attention and focus which can prove as a type of treatment for people effected by ADD and ADHD. One study found that after just a couple weeks of meditation peoples scores went up a large amount on the verbal reasoning section of the GRE, which requires focus and memory.
6. It Can Help Cure Addiction
A number of studies have shown that due to it’s expansion of self control regions in the brain, meditation can be very effective for people recovering from various forms of addiction
7. Can Help Kids at School
For younger minds meditation has an even larger impact on the brain. A district in San Francisco has implemented a twice daily meditation schedule and have seen suspension decrease while GPAs and attendance have increased
Written by Gio L'orso