Harvard Medical School researchers recently published a study showing changes in gray matter density after eight weeks of meditation! Can you imagine? Real physical changes in the brain from meditating!
This was proven with MRI studies taken before and after the eight weeks mediation period.
The Science Behind Meditation: What Researchers Found
They found “increased gray-matter density in the hippocampus, known to be important for learning and memory, and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion, and introspection.”
The MRI studies found decreased density of gray matter in the amygdala, an area of the brain known for its role in anxiety and stress. There is plenty of research to support the benefits of meditation.
Meditation is well known to help with pain management, stress and anxiety, gastrointestinal disorders and more.
Dr. Hedy Koder from Yale University turned to meditation when her heart was broken. She eloquently states that ‘shit happens’ and when things do not go as planned, and your expectations are not met, most people have a difficult time.
How easy or hard we take things that happen to us depend on how we perceive that experience and this is where meditation comes into play.
When you practice mindfulness and the kind of responses that you want to have during your meditation the benefits will spill over into your everyday life.
Dr. Koder is specifically lecturing about mindfulness meditation but the practice of meditation is varied and vast and it all leads to the same results. She mentions over a hundred studies that show the positive effects of meditation on stress, anxiety, cognitive function, depression, addiction, problem eating, chronic pain, blood pressure and even cellular health. In her studies she used functional MRI studies to show changes in the amygdala after meditation practice. Watch her TedX talk.
The Huffington Post has a nice article with a cool diagram that explains the pathways and how meditation affects different areas of the brain and the body.
Are you sold on meditation?
I bet you are.
If you are not familiar with the practice of meditation and you think to yourself that you cannot do it, you are wrong! You can do it.
- You can start by taking a class in a local yoga studio, or by downloading an app on your phone for guided meditation.
- There are YouTube videos if you google the topic and of course books you can read.
- Take a meditation class to see what it feels like.
- Download an app if you feel it will help you get started. Set up a time every day to meditate.
- Start with 5-10 minutes and work yourself up to thirty minutes a day.
You think you do not have time?
Let me tell you something, make the time, and get the health benefits, it is so worth it. You owe it to yourself.
Just do it!
I am going to class today and ‘dragging’ a bunch of friends with me 🙂
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