Meditation.. Just saying the word has us taking a deep, cleansing breath. Meditation usually evokes the image of a monk, or a person engaged in the practice of a particular religion. But the reality is that meditation is a human enterprise, and a gift to each and every person who engages in it. And now we have yet another reason to take it more seriously…
According to a recent (2011) article in Time Magazine, How Meditation May Change the Brain, by Sindya N. Bhanoo, researchers show that thirty minutes of daily mindfulness meditation can actually change your brain!
Judging by the MRI scans of participants’ brains before and after the eight week study, marked changes in gray matter were recorded in areas of the brain correlating to reduction in stress and anxiety and an increase in memory and learning, while no changes were noticeable in the control group.
In the past, meditation has been linked to health benefits like lower blood pressure, reduced anxiety, and even increased levels of empathy, but this is the first time scientists have actually documented changes in gray matter accumulation. And those other health benefits are not too shabby either!
Dr. Britta Hӧlza, the lead researcher in the study, says that the ultimate goal is to demonstrate how meditation positively changes people’s well-being. While there is still a long way to go before hard science catches up, people who are dedicated to the practice of meditation will swear that it has an incredible impact on their lives, and we think that we should all consider giving it a try.
We’re sure some of our readers are practiced at the art (or science?) of meditation… Share with us how it has changed your life. If you have a form of meditation that you think would be a perfect place for a novice to begin, please share it with us. We think we could all use a little more peace, patience, and empathy in our lives. Share any thoughts or experiences you have below, we would love to hear from you!