It turns out meditation can result in parts of our brain becoming thicker, and help us become less depressed and more emotionally attuned.
“It turns out meditating is good for more than just quiet time: It can actually help us fight the cripplingly high stress levels we experience during our busy lives, in the office or elsewhere.
Scientists from Harvard University and the University of Sienna recently found that meditation is so powerful it can change the physiology of a person’s brain, resulting in positive changes like a decrease in anxiety and depression.”
The study was conducted on a team of 24 participants, and the results they found were surprising:
“Scientists put 24 participants with no history of meditation through an eight-week course on best practices for, “mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR),” fancy science talk for meditation. The course consisted of 2.5 hour sessions each week where participants learned “body scanning, sitting meditation, walking meditation and mindful stretching movements.” The scientists also requested each participant perform at least 45 minutes of meditation each day. MRIs were performed before and after the meditation boot camp, and each participant answered a series of psychological evaluations to determine their stress and anxiety levels before and after the MBSR course as well.
The team compared these results to a control group who went through no meditation training at all during the eight weeks.
The comparison demonstrated “an increase of cortical thickness in the right insular lobe and somatosensory cortex” of the meditation group. In layman’s terms, meditation made parts of the brain corresponding to emotion and perception thicker. This ultimately resulted in “a significant after-training reduction of several psychological indices related to worry, state anxiety, depression and alexithymia.”
So ultimately, meditation made people more emotionally attuned and less depressed — a pretty good argument to spend time solemnly reflecting each day.”
With stress and mental illnesses at and all time high, these findings are yet another great step towards illuminating all the wonderful benefits of meditation.
We’re seeing an increase (over the last decade) in media coverage and research being put into meditation and mindfulness, and it is my hope that we soon will see the world’s health care systems adopting more meditation – and less medication – as possible treatment for a variety or diseases and medical conditions.
What do you think about this study? Please comment below.