Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Here's Why Meditation Actually Works

Harvard MRI Study Shows That Meditation Literally Rebuilds Your Brain

Do you think meditation is a waste of time? I know I did. However, a new study out of Harvard finds that 27 minutes of meditation a day can lead to massive growth in your brain's grey matter. What is grey matter, you ask? It's brain tissue made up of unmyelinated axons. Basically, it's the part of your brain that makes you smart. Harvard's eight-week study found that meditation grew and rebuilt the brain tissue of patients who took part in active meditation. This not only boosted cognitive abilities, it increased self-awareness, compassion, and introspection. Furthermore, the study found that meditation even reduced anxiety and stress, something we've studied in Health class. Basically, it's awesome. Give it a gander.

Personally, I never gave meditation much thought. However, this study showed that mindful introspection (self-reflection) has tangible effects. I think it's important to take the time to slow down and reflect on your life. Not just for yourself, but for the people around you. Because, let's face it. No one likes it when you're cranky. Except me. I love you. But that's because I meditate.

Before you go off to read this fascinating article, I have some questions for you to keep in mind. Why do you think this study found such positive effects on the brain? Why is meditation different from other relaxing activities? Do you think you would be a more positive and relaxed person if you meditated?

Read the article and let me know what you think below.





8 comments:

  1. I have used meditation as a means to clear my mind and help me wind down before sleeping, but I never knew that it had cognitive health benefits. I believe this has positive effects on the brain because it allows the brain to take a break from working and also allows your body to only focus on your brain. Meditation is different from other relaxing activities because it allows your mind to go blank instead of focusing on a task. I think that I would definitely be less stressed if I had time to meditate everyday and I think I would sleep better and have a better attitude.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I had never taken meditation into the consideration that the physical areas of my brain could be improved. It's unfortunate, but the only times I turn to meditation is during times of extreme stress and anxiety such as days where I can't handle a work load or I'm crying after a fight. I thought it was interesting how the article mentioned "attention and emotional integration" and "self-awareness, compassion, and introspection". Meditation helps me put my frustrations into order to make me feel more confident and aware of what it is that I have to do to get past my struggle. Maybe if I did meditate more often (not just during a desperate attempt to calm down), I would be more positive.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's unclear to me if there's any difference between "meditation" and deep thought itself, but regardless, I think we could all benefit from being a little bit more introspective. I'd be curious to see if there was any observable difference in these peoples' lives; if meditating did more for them than simply raising a number. Also, I would like to know what factors affect this growth - evidently, 27 minutes provides the best ROI, but if one took extra time, but it help in your growth?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have used meditation to relax, but I have never considered that it's improving brain functionality or actually affecting it structurally. I find that really fascinating. After reading this article, I'm probably going to meditate more frequently, as it seems it will have even more positive effects on my daily life. Meditation is different from other relaxing activities because it allows us to block everything out and either make our minds blank, or think about something on a deeper level. Most other relaxing activities are physically relaxing but don't have as much focus on mindfulness and our thoughts. I'm curious to know if the effects of the study are long lasting, or if they would need to continue to meditate to keep and expand the positive effects.
    -Arianna Richwood

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have never used meditation before however I am thinking about using meditation to help me relax. I never believed that meditating can help me however my friends have tried it and they love it therefore I think I should try it as well. I have been really stressed lately because of school and other personal reasons. The other reason is because it is hard for me to fall asleep. I hope it can help me relax and fall asleep.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh yeah meditation is great, a perfect way to relax. Sit down, crack open a window, light some incense, play some soothing relaxing music, and just meditate. Yeah there's nothing bad about mediation, it will only help relax and help you reach your zen. The study obviously promotes meditation because meditation is great. Meditation was used by monks from so many centuries before, and it is still a technique used today. It's just great.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think the breakthrough in the scientific field of the discovery that you can actually reshape your brain is extremely valuable. Mediation is a great resource, its free, requires no medication or drugs and can be done almost anywhere. I think we should find a way to incorporate this into our daily routines. To be able to come home after a long day at work or school and reflect on the positive and negative moments of the day is a skill that can be used to better yourself. I would love to know the actual science behind why meditation grows grey matter, and if meditation works, can yoga also be beneficial in this way?

    ReplyDelete
  8. I agree with this article that meditation does help create positive and relaxed feelings in your body. I found it interesting that not only does meditation help you prevent or decrease stress, but that it creates "massive changes" in the brain structure. I currently do meditation almost daily. Ever since I started I noticed that I became a more aware person about my feelings, more relaxed after I was done, and I have became a more optimistic person as well.

    ReplyDelete