Boost your grey matter with meditation
Meditation is like taking a mini break in your busy day. It’s a chance to quieten the busy processes of your brain, to find a bit of peace and hopefully achieve a whole lot of nirvana on the way. The benefits of meditation have been known for thousands of years. Meditation brings peace and relaxation, enhances clarity and increases self-awareness. Physical health also benefits immensely from meditation, resulting in improved overall wellbeing, improving the overall wellbeing of a person.
One area of concern has been the health of our brain – an integral part of our physical and mental processes. If the brain is not functioning, then we are not either. Of particular interest is Grey Matter Volume (GMV) which is involved in muscle-control, sensory perception, cognitive functioning, speech, emotions, decision-making and self-control. However, as we age, the volume of grey matter progressively reduces due to aging and other factors, affecting normal bodily functioning.
But there is some good news!
Research shows that long term meditation practise can increase grey matter volume and has enhanced positive effects on our physical and mental wellbeing.
Meditation has been associated with changes in brain structure in many studies across various meditation practices.
Researchers studied the effects of long term Sahaja Yoga Meditation (SYM) which shares the same goals as other meditation techniques; but in SYM the practitioner experiences a state of mental silence (described as a state of pure attention without any thought) which is the primary goal of traditional meditation as was conceived in the East.
Twenty three SYM experienced practitioners and 23 non-meditators were matched on age, gender and education level and they were scanned using structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Their grey matter was examined and compared and it was found that grey matter volume was larger across the whole brain in the group that meditated compared to those that did not.
In addition, it was found that the volume of grey matter was larger in predominate areas of the right hemispheric regions of the brain. This part of the brain is associated with sustained attention, self-control, cognitive abilities, feelings of compassion and interoceptive perception.
It was established that the non-meditators did not have the same results and no larger areas of grey matter were found.
Long term Sahaja Yoga Meditation practice can potentially re-wire the brain according to the researchers, leading to neuroplastic enlargements.
With that kind of research, you have another reason to meditate.
So the next time you close your eyes, regulate your breathing and just before your mind slips into nothingness think about how much your grey matter is going to grow and how great you’re going to feel after that.
Source: Plos One
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