Discover how mindfulness changes the brain
Mindfulness is the buzz word of the times and we all want to be â€œmindfulâ€. It makes sense that living in an engaged, thoughtful way is a better way to live but it adds impetus living mindfully when a study comes along showing that mindfulness also changes your biology for the better.
The new study involved adults who were job-seeking and therefore under a degree of stress. The subjects were split into two groups. One group received either an intensive three day mindfulness retreat meditation program while the other undertook a well-matched relaxation retreat program that did not include mindfulness.
Before and after the three-day program all subjects had a five-minute resting brain scan. Blood samples were also taken before and after the program and then again four months later.
The results showed that mindfulness meditation increased the â€œfunctional connectivityâ€ within the default network of the subjectâ€™s brains, in areas related to attention and executive control (the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex). Additionally, mindfulness reduced levels a molecule called IL-6 (interleukin-6) indicating that inflammation was reduced.
None of these changes were present in brains of people who undertook relaxation and it indicates that mindfulness meditation helps increase the brainâ€™s resilience to stress. With improvise stress resilience comes a range of beneficial health outcomes.
Everyone benefits from mindfulness but if you are going through a stressful time then mindfulness meditation will be of particular benefit.