5 Amazing Things Mindfulness Meditation Does to Your Brain
Mindfulness is an ancient practice originating across Asia, but in recent years it has taken a strong upsurge of interest in the West, particularly within scientific research communities regarding its impact on the brain.
An article in the Harvard Gazette, “Eight weeks to a better brain”, shares the results of a study conducted in an eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program, founded by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, at the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness. Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical school, tested the benefits of mindfulness meditation, at this center, in a series of brain scans.
In an interview with the Washington Post, she shared 5 amazing ways that the brain of study participants changed.
Growth, or ‘thickening’, was found in:
1- The Posterior Cingulate: the part of the brain related to the tendency for the mind to wander, as well as related to self-relevance (the degree to which you implicate your ‘self’ in an experience, processing of information, etc).
2- The Left Hippocampus: related to learning, cognition, memory and emotional regulation.
3- The Temporo-Parietal Junction (TPJ): related to perspective, empathy, and compassion.
4- The Pons (an area of the brain stem): related to the production of regulatory neurotransmitters.
A reduction in size was found in:
5- The Amygdala: related to the fight or flight response part of the brain (central to stress, anxiety and fear)
So mindfulness meditation literally changes your brain in a way that allows you to process stress and fear more effectively, have more empathy and compassion, learn faster, and better regulate your emotions and perception. That’s a pretty big benefit!
Watch this wonderful little video of Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn speaking about the ways you get healing and transformation through the science of mindfulness, changing your brain and your relationship to your emotions:
Are you ready to give it a try? Here is a guided mindfulness meditation for beginners designed and led byDr. Robert E. Dinenberg.
Why don’t you give it a try every day for 8 weeks? You can see the results for yourself. Let us know how it works for you in the comments. We love hearing from you!