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Neuroscience shows that meditation keeps your brain young.

 

Most peoples’ brain shrinks as they age. But, neuroscientist Sara Lazar discovered that 50-year-old meditators had the same amount of gray matter as people half their age!

Growing evidence shows that meditation decreases stress, depression, anxiety, reduces pain, insomnia, and increases quality of life.

Neuroscientist Sara Lazar, of Mass General and Harvard Medical School wanted to test the evidence. She did a couple of studies and these were her findings:

The first study looked at long-term meditators (seven to nine years of experience) versus a control group. Results showed that the meditators had increased gray matter in several areas of the brain, including the auditory and sensory cortex, as well as the insula and sensory regions. The frontal cortex, linked to decision-making and working memory was also thicker. In fact, the 50 year old meditators had the same amount of gray matter as people half their age.

The second study focused on people who no meditation background other than an eight week course. It showed that their brains also changed for the better.

There was thickening in several regions of the brain, including:

  • the left hippocampus – involved in learning, memory, and emotional regulation
  • the TPJ – involved in empathy and the ability to take multiple perspectives
  • the pons – where regulatory neurotransmitters are generated

and shrinkage of the amygdala – the fear, anxiety, and aggression centre.

The average time people in the study spent meditating was 27mins per day. However, other studies show positive changes occur with 15 to 20mins of daily practice.

So, maybe, it’s time to get serious about your practice!

Read the full story here.

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Joanne O’Malley, Mindfulness at Work provides organisations and individuals with:

Mindful Leadership Training
Mindfulness Workplace Courses
Workplace Wellness Talks / Workshops

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