Forbes:7 Ways Meditation Can Actually Change The Brain – Newton Street Study Guide to the brain
Jan 24 2017

Forbes:7 Ways Meditation Can Actually Change The Brain

This article summarizes the research of key studies from major research institutions.

UCLA (2015) Meditation helps preserve grey matter as the brain ages.

We expected rather small and distinct effects located in some of the regions that had previously been associated with meditating,” said study author Florian Kurth. “Instead, what we actually observed was a widespread effect of meditation that encompassed regions throughout the entire brain.

Yale (2011) Meditation reduces “monkey mind,” the brain network responsible for those annoying mind wandering thoughts that appear as worries about the past or the future.

Several studies have shown that meditation, though its quieting effect on the DMN (default mode network), appears to do just this. And even when the mind does start to wander, because of the new connections that form, meditators are better at snapping back out of it.

John Hopkins (2014) This review study showed meditation reduces symptoms of depression, anxiety and pain. Researchers showed mindfulness meditation produced results similar to antidepressants.

A lot of people have this idea that meditation means sitting down and doing nothing,” says Goyal. “But that’s not true. Meditation is an active training of the mind to increase awareness, and different meditation programs approach this in different ways.”

Harvard (2011) Eight weeks of mindfulness based meditation practice increased cortical thickness in the hippocampus, the area of the brain correlated with learning and memory, decreases in the amygdala, the area correlated with fear, anxiety and depression.

A follow-up study found meditation was linked to improved mood and sense of psychological well being.

UCSB  (2013) Even a few days of meditation can improve concentration, attention and working memory. A couple weeks of meditation practice helped improve focus and concentration during the GRE.

In fact, the increase in score was equivalent to 16 percentile points, which is nothing to sneeze at.

UMass (1995) (2013) Meditation Reduces Anxiety—and social anxiety

UTexas-Austin (2013) (2011) Meditation can help with addiction.

Penn State (2011) Meditation is good for kids!

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