Researchers have noted for years that there is a difference in brain structure between experienced meditation practitioners and those who have never meditated. Now a new study proves that it is the meditation itself that causes these changes.
This small study, conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, featured 16 people getting an MRI scan both two weeks prior to an 8-week meditation course and two weeks after the course ended. The students practiced, on average, 27 minutes of mindfulness exercises a day and also participated in a once a week class.
The MR images showed increased “grey matter density in the hippocampus,” the area of the brain that is known for learning, memory, introspection, compassion, and self-awareness.
What this suggests is that the subjects not only have the calming and self-awareness effects of meditation but they would be better able to learn and recall that information later. Excellent on-the-job skills, no?
Me? I’m thinking of signing up for the 8-week class myself since it’s not too far away from where I live. I might even drag my Mom along with me; it’s in her hometown and might help with her fibromyalgia. I’d like to see if it would help with my tendency to stress eat.
Are there any long-term meditation people out there? I’d love to know your thoughts. How has daily or regular meditation changed how you live? Please share.
For more information on meditation, check out my posts on Meditation 101: How to Chill Out Without Driving Yourself Crazy and also How to Find Your Zen Without an Om. If you have other links you like, please share them below.