Meditation is a mind and body practice and helps train your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts. The popularity of mediation is increasing as more people discover the health benefits. The process also appears to have some amazing neurological benefits that you may not know about. Studies have shown that mediation can help relieve our subjective levels of depression and anxiety, improve attention, concentration, and overall well being. We want to go into a few benefits mediation can have on your brain.
Helps Preserve the Aging Brain
A study from UCLA found that people who meditate for long periods of time have better-preserved brains than those who do not. Participants that had been meditating for an average of 20 years have more grey matter throughout their brain than those who did not. The study author, Florian Kurth, said they observed a widespread effect of meditation that encompassed regions throughout the entire brain when they expected small and distinct effects in only some regions.
Effects on Depression and Anxiety
A study done by Madhav Goyal looked at the relationship between mindfulness meditation and the ability to reduce symptoms that are often associated with depression, anxiety, and pain. His team found that the effect of mediation was moderate and about the same as antidepressants when treating depression and anxiety. Mediation is a form of brain training and increasing your awareness; while it is not the magic answer for depression, it can be a tool that can help manage the symptoms.
Can Lead to Volume Changes in Key Areas of Brain
In another study done by Sara Lazar in 2011, her team found that mindfulness meditation can also change the brain’s structure. After just 8 weeks of a meditation genre called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, it was found to increase the cortical thickness in the hippocampus. This part of the brain governs learning and memory, and in certain areas, that can also play a role in emotion regulation and self-referential processing.
There was also a decrease in brain cell volume in the amygdala. This is responsible for fear, anxiety, and stress. This helps indicate that meditation changes the brain and changes our subjective perception and our feelings as well.
Improves Concentration and Attention
Having problems with concentrating is something that can affect adults, those with an ADD diagnosis or not. One of the benefits of meditation is, it can improve your attention and your concentration. One recent study found that meditating for just a couple of weeks helped participants with their focus and memory. Meditation can help your cognitive skills at work or just give you a little more assistance to pay attention at home.
There are lots of people who start meditating for the stress-reduction benefits. A newer genre of meditation called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn aims to reduce physical and mental stress levels. Studies have even shown that anxiety can be reduced for years after the initial eight-week course. Research also shows that mindfulness meditation can help reduce anxiety and social anxiety compared to just breathing techniques.
Help With Addiction
Studies have also shown that given the effects that mediation has on the brain, it also can help people recover from different types of addiction. This can include drugs, alcohol, and smoking. This could be because mediation helps people separate the craving from the actual act, so one does not always lead to another. It teaches you to ride out the desire until it passes.
Ready to Try Mediation
There is so much evidence that shows mediation can be good for those who practice it regularly. Some even feel the benefits after a short amount of practice. If you have a few short minutes in the morning or at night, it is worth a shot. If you are ready to see if a few minutes of meditation is right for you, check out our other website, Morning Upgrade. Our goal at Meditationly is to keep growing our meditation directory, blog, and resources so that more people like you can see the benefits of meditation and fall in love with it.