Meditate Already, Dammit
So, you think that meditation doesn’t work? That it may relax you for a moment, but then you just jump right back into the insanity of your day? That’s is too hard to do all the time? Well, if you’re into those pesky little studies, there’s a new one on Mindfulness Meditation that’s about to show up in the January 30th issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging.
According to a post at Science Daily, Mindfulness Meditation can actually re-structure the brain. It’ll make your memory better, improve your sense of self, have more empathy, kill some of that stress. Even better, in just 8 weeks. Here’s what they have to say about it:
For the current study, MR images were take of the brain structure of 16 study participants two weeks before and after they took part in the 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program at the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness. In addition to weekly meetings that included practice of mindfulness meditation — which focuses on nonjudgmental awareness of sensations, feelings and state of mind — participants received audio recordings for guided meditation practice and were asked to keep track of how much time they practiced each day. A set of MR brain images were also taken of a control group of non-meditators over a similar time interval.
Meditation group participants reported spending an average of 27 minutes each day practicing mindfulness exercises, and their responses to a mindfulness questionnaire indicated significant improvements compared with pre-participation responses. The analysis of MR images, which focused on areas where meditation-associated differences were seen in earlier studies, found increased grey-matter density in the hippocampus, known to be important for learning and memory, and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection. Participant-reported reductions in stress also were correlated with decreased grey-matter density in the amygdala, which is known to play an important role in anxiety and stress. Although no change was seen in a self-awareness-associated structure called the insula, which had been identified in earlier studies, the authors suggest that longer-term meditation practice might be needed to produce changes in that area. None of these changes were seen in the control group, indicating that they had not resulted merely from the passage of time.
Time to get crackin’. Here are a few resources to help you get started or take you further in your practice: