Even after eight weeks of regular practice of mindfulness meditation occur measurable changes in the brain. This is the result of a study of American neurologists.
The researchers want to verify reports that mindfulness meditation leads not only for relaxation and a sense of inner peace, but also could cause cognitive and psychological improvements. In their study, they published in the journal “Psychiatry Research Neuroimaging”, they could first prove changes in the gray matter of the brain through meditation. Mindfulness meditation may therefore seem not only can reduce stress, but is also accompanied by structural changes in the brain.
For the study, the subjects received an intensive eight-week mindfulness meditation program. Moreover, the brain structures of the participants, by means of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), were performed at study start and end were measured. It turned out that the, so-called, gray matter, after eight weeks of mindfulness meditation training could have an increased density in those areas of the brain that plays an important role in learning and memory, but also in the structures that are associated with self-awareness and compassion.
Reducing stress in the brain is detectable.
In addition, after the eight-week mindfulness meditation program the density of gray matter in the amygdala was declined. The amygdala plays an important function in the development of anxiety and stress. Consequently, it was the feeling of relaxation, of the report many meditators actually be confirmed by changes in brain structure. None of the members of the control group, who don’t meditate, such changes couldn’t be detected, which proves that it is not simply just about normal changes within a certain time period at the results.
“Although it is well documented for some time, that mindfulness meditation can lead to an improvement of mental well-being in a decrease in stress perception and to a reduction of psychosomatic symptoms, was unclear, are accompanied by the changes in the brain, the positive effects of meditation,” says one of researchers. „It is fascinating to see, how changeable is our brain and perception. We even have it in our hands, to take an active role to increase of our own wellbeing. By practicing meditation we can even change our brain and improve our quality of life.“ The researchers now hope, that the potential of meditation, for example, to protect against stress-related disorders, is belong to further explored.