A study by researchers at Harvard University (USA), Justus Liebig Giessen University (Germany) and the University of Massachusetts (USA) showed that meditation can change the brain for the better.
In 2011, researchers investigated how meditation could alter participants’ brains.
16 people who had never meditated before were invited to participate in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program, a practice that focuses on the present time, in which they meditated for 27 minutes a day for eight weeks.
The scientists took MRI images of the brains of all these participants two weeks before and two weeks after the program, comparing them with images of the brains of 17 individuals who had never meditated in a control group.
The images of the brain structure of the group that meditated, compared to those who did not meditate, revealed a higher density of gray matter in the hippocampus and a lower density of gray matter in the amygdala.
These results are very interesting because the hippocampus is an area of the brain associated with introspection, learning, and memory, while the amygdala (which regulates sexual behavior, aggressive behavior, emotional responses and reactivity to biologically relevant stimuli) interacts with the organism’s “fight or flight” system.
This is not the first study to demonstrate the benefits of meditation – other research has already suggested that it can lower blood pressure and symptoms of anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
Besides, another study by the same American and German team found that 50-year-olds who meditate have the same amount of gray matter in the brain as 25-year-olds.
It’s worth a try, don’t you think?
An article about the new study was published in the scientific journal Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging.