In recent years, many scientific studies have been interested in the benefits of meditation on our brain. And what is amazing is that each study attributes a “new” blessing to meditation. But are these benefits really new?
Indeed, meditation has been practiced by our ancestors for centuries. Finally, science and new technologies only confirm the benefits of meditation on the brain.
Meditation has a surprising variety of benefits for our neurons: preserving the gray matter, reducing activity in the brain region linked to the consciousness of the “ego” (and thus of the egos) and improved connection between the regions of the brain. In this article we have compiled the most interesting research on meditation.
All indicate that meditation produces measurable results on the most important organ of our organism: the brain.
The most interesting thing is that these physiological changes on the brain also have psychological benefits.
A number of researches have focused on the psychic benefits of meditation. They show that meditation relieves anxiety and depression.
Generally speaking, meditation improves concentration and psychological well-being.
Here are the 7 scientifically proven benefits of meditation on your brain:
1. Slows the aging of the brain.
According to a study by the University of California (UCLA) that looked at aging, the brains of people who have been practicing meditation for several years are better preserved than those who do not practice meditation.
People who have been meditating for more than 20 years have a greater amount of grey matter in their brains.
This is not to say that there is no loss of gray matter over time in people who meditate.
On the other hand, this loss is less pronounced than in people who never practice meditation.
“It was thought that the effects of meditation were very localized to a limited number of regions of the brain,” says Florian Kurth, the author of this study.
“Instead, it has been discovered that meditation has a global effect on the whole brain, which spans a large number of regions.”
2. Calms the activity of the brain.
One of the most interesting studies of recent years, which was made by Yale University in the United States, revealed that meditation calms the activity of the brain.
In fact, meditation diminishes the tendency of our brain to stray from thoughts into thoughts and thus generate stress.
And as wandering thoughts into thoughts is one of the causes of people who are less happy, who cud and who are worried about the past and the future, meditation is a good remedy to feel better quickly.
Several studies show that meditation helps to reduce the number of thoughts in the brain. As a result, you feel less stressed and calmer on a daily basis.
3. Reduces symptoms of depression as well as antidepressants.
A study by Johns-Hopkin University in Baltimore analyzed the relationship between meditation and its ability to reduce symptoms of depression, as well as alleviate anxiety and pain.
The results of the researcher Madhav Goyal and his team indicate that the effect of meditation is of a magnitude of 0.03.
If this value seems low, keep in mind that the effect of antidepressants is also of a magnitude of 0.03. In light of this study, we understand that the effects of meditation on our brain have incredible power. Meditation is therefore an active form of brain training. “Many people think that doing meditation is just sitting down and doing nothing.” explains Mr. Goyal. “But this perception is wrong.
Meditation is an active training of the mind, to increase our ability to be in “full consciousness.” And all forms of meditation have their techniques to actively increase full consciousness. »
There is no miracle cure — Meditation is no exception — to cure people who suffer from depression.
On the other hand, meditation is an effective tool to relieve symptoms and better manage this disease.
4. Improves the brain’s capabilities.
In 2011, a Harvard University study showed that full-consciousness meditation can actually change the structure of the brain. Reducing stress from full consciousness, in English “Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction” (MBSR), is a form of full-consciousness meditation.
In the Harvard study, participants attended MBSR sessions. After 8 weeks of sessions, the researchers found an increase in the thickness of the hippocampus ‘ cerebral cortex (an area associated with memory and our ability to learn).
Similarly, the MBSR has the same effect on the cerebral cortex of the brain that regulates the control of our emotions and our “self-referential logic”, that is, our way of thinking in correlation with our ego. But that’s not all: MBSR meditation sessions have also reduced the cerebral volume of the amygdala — the brain area responsible for fear, anxiety, and stress.
In addition, all these changes were confirmed by the self-evaluations of the participants: they all stated that the sessions lowered their stress levels.
This indicates that meditation does not only alter the structure of the brain, it also modifies our subjective perceptions and emotions.
Moreover, in another study, the same researchers discovered that when meditation modifies the brain regions related to mood and awakening, participants report an improvement in their overall well-being. Of course, even if it is proven that meditation changes the structure of the brain, some skeptics will always think that it does not mean anything.
Yet these scientific studies demonstrate that these changes in the structure of the brain coincide with a real psychic change in people who practice meditation: an improvement in mood and sensation of well-being.
5. Improves concentration.
It is not just children who are subject to the problems of concentration. Millions of adults have the same difficulties whether or not they suffer from attention deficit disorder.
That is why it is interesting to note that one of the most important benefits of meditation is that it improves our ability to concentrate.
In a recent study, researchers analyzed the effect of meditation on the performance of participants in an oral reasoning test. Only 2 weeks of meditation training was sufficient to improve the concentration and memory capacity of the participants.
This improvement is important: the scores have indeed increased by 16%. This is surely because one of the main objectives of meditation is to be able to focus all of its attention (on an idea, an object or an activity).
So it’s not surprising that meditation also improves our cognitive abilities when we need them! But it’s still good to know that scientific research confirms it.
Meditation is therefore a great way to improve our concentration at work as well as at school.
6. Helps to overcome an “addiction “.
According to several studies, meditation acts directly on the areas of the brain related to self-control. Therefore, it is a particularly effective technique to help people overcome several types of addiction.
One study focused on the effectiveness of meditation to help people who want to quit smoking.
Specifically, she compared the effectiveness of full-consciousness meditation with that of smoking cessation programs.
The results indicate that people who are learning the full-consciousness technique are much more likely to quit smoking than people who only follow a traditional program to quit smoking.
These results are confirmed at the end of the initial 8-week training, as well as a follow-up study 17 weeks later.
The researchers believe that meditation is effective because it facilitates the dissociation between the mental state of the need for smoking and the physical act of smoking. In practice, this means that the desire to smoke does not necessarily give rise to the act of smoking.
So when former smokers feel the desire to light a cigarette, they are better able to deal with the storm.
Other studies confirm that full-consciousness meditation, as well as cognitive therapy based on full consciousness (TCBPC), can be useful in the treatment of other forms of dependence.
7. Helps children succeed in school.
The brain developing children can also enjoy the benefits of meditation, perhaps even more than adult brains.
This is why more and more educators and researchers are interested in the benefits of meditation on children.
More specifically, they are interested in incorporating yoga and meditation into the school setting.
Children are exposed to several stressors at school but also outside the classroom.
Some American schools have added meditation to their students ‘ daily program and are already benefiting from it.
For example, the city of San Francisco has decided to add a meditation program (2 daily sessions) in some schools in sensitive areas.
The results are surprising: increase of the average of the notes and decrease of the punishments and absences.
Studies confirm the cognitive and emotional benefits of meditation on students. However, it will surely require more research before this technique is accepted and used more widely.
is meditation worthwhile to try?
Certainly, meditation is not a miracle solution to all problems. But there is a lot of evidence that it brings many benefits to people who regularly practice it. More and more people, and even large companies (Apple, Google, etc.), have integrated meditation into their daily agenda. In addition, enjoying the benefits of meditation requires little training.
Meditation deserves to be tried!
So when you have a few minutes free, in the morning or in the evening, instead of going on your smartphone or the Internet, why not try to meditate trying to calm your mind?
Try to become aware of all the thoughts that pass through your head then, let your thoughts simply pass by without giving them importance, nor judging them.
If all these studies are not mistaken, only a few minutes of meditation can suffice to make a big difference in your daily life.
And now you know the 7 blessings of meditation on your brain:-)
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