Meditation Can Change the Brain


Recent research reveals that meditating regularly can change the brain in a positive way. The findings of this research were published in a recent issue of Psychiatric Research: Neuroimaging. The research found that regular meditators experienced positive changes in their brain areas associated with stress, empathy, sense of self and memory.

Meditation Reduces Stress
Brain scans found more gray matter in the brain areas important for memory and learning. The MRI images also revealed reduced gray matter in regions connected to stress and anxiety. Another group in the research, who did not meditate, did not show any change.

Mindfulness Meditation
The participants in the study practiced mindfulness meditation, which is a Buddhist technique. In this type of meditation, one focuses on an object of attention such as one’s thoughts, emotions, breathing or body sensations. During the practice, whenever the mind drifts, one should bring it back to the focus of attention and concentrate on the present.

Benefits of Meditation

A previous study in 2009 found that meditation reduced blood pressure in those suffering from coronary heart disease. In 2007, another study revealed that meditators have better concentration and their attention spans are also longer. Other research studies have found structural differences in the brains of meditators and non-meditators. The researchers involved in the latest study say they would like to show how meditation can definitely improve one’s life.

Meditation has also been found to reduce stress and promote self-healing. Meditation practice positively impacts the brain, reducing the secretion of stress hormones such as cortisol.

Meditators Have More Empathy
In 2008, the journal PloS One published a study which found that meditators’ brains got more activated in the areas related to empathy, when they heard sounds of suffering. This shows that meditators may have more empathy and compassion to others’ suffering.

Benefits of Transcendental Meditation (TM)
A 2009 study published in The American Journal of Hypertension revealed the impact of Transcendental Meditation on youngsters. It found that TM could improve the mood of stressed college students. Those who had hypertension reduced both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Students at American University in Washington took part in the study.

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