Melanie Curtin (a writer for inc.com) wrote a beautiful article about how meditation can help us to reshape our brains (check out the full article here). In this article she shared the findings of Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist at Mass General and Harvard Medical School. The findings of Sara’s work is astonishing. She discovered that people who meditate “had more gray matter in the part of the brain linked to decision-making and working memory.”
More gray matter is a beautiful thing. Gray matter can be found in the frontal cortex, and it generally shrinks as we age. Lazar’s study showed that 50-year-old meditators “had the same amount of gray matter as those half their age.” Half their age!
Your brain can be 25 again! The participants in the study meditated on average about 27 minutes a day. Other studies, however, have demonstrated, “that you can see significant positive changes in just 15 minutes a day. Lazar’s personal recovery journey from an injury led her to dive deeper into the research for meditation. She discovered an “ever-increasing body of evidence that shows that meditation decreases stress, depression, and anxiety, reduces pain and insomnia, and increase quality of life. Stress. Depression. Anxiety. Pain. Insomnia. How many of us struggle with or know someone that struggles with one, some, or all of these?!
In another study, Lazar was able to demonstrate that in just 8 weeks of meditation, people can change their brains for the better. The study showed: “There was thickening in several regions of the brain, including the left hippocampus (involved in learning, memory, and emotional regulation); the TPJ (involved in empathy and the ability to take multiple perspectives); and a part of the brainstem called the pons (where regulatory neurotransmitters are generated).
The study also showed that the amygdala began to shrink. Fear, anxiety, and aggression are associated with this region of the brain. These findings also correlated with “reduced stress levels in those participants.” What does all that mean? Your brain is healing and getting stronger.
What does that look like? Reduced stress, increased calm, reduced anxiety, increased peace, and more. Let’s get meditating. I can help you get started. I have recommendations for meditation apps with these two posts: https://www.jasonkeilmancounseling.com/post/make-space-for-your-head https://www.jasonkeilmancounseling.com/post/take-a-seat I help people with anxiety, depression, and trauma. Contact me today to begin your healing journey!