Improve Your Brain with Meditation

Meditation is typically well known for its relaxation benefits, but the benefits go way beyond easing stress levels. There are many other kinds of benefits that come out of regular meditation.

Brain by dierk schaefer, on FlickrPhoto credit: “Brain” (CC BY 2.0) by dierk schaefer

In this post, I specifically want to share the results of several scientific studies that analyzed affects on the brain itself.

  • Meditation increases grey matter in the brain.
    What is grey matter? Grey matter is thought to be involved in information processing. Grey matter increases in the posterior cingulate cortex are correlated with creativity, rumination, self-reflection, and the way in which a person assesses how situations relate to them as an individual. Grey matter increases in the temporo-parietal junction are correlated with “perspective-taking and empathy.” Grey matter can also be increased in the hippocampus, which is associated primarily with long-term memory and spatial navigation. Interestingly, meditation also reduces the grey matter density in parts of the brain that are correlated with stress and anxiety. 
  • Long-term meditation enhances the ability to generate gamma waves in the brain.
    What are gamma waves? Gamma brainwaves are the fastest documented brainwave frequency range and are associated with concentration, perception, and consciousness.
  • There is a positive correlation between the number of meditation years and the amount of insular gyrification.
    What is gyrification? It is a process of the cortex which is thought to help the brain in processing information faster. 
  • Meditation prevents the thinning of the prefrontal cortex, which occurs naturally with age. This thinning contributes to cognitive function decline. 
  • Meditation actually relieves pain and pain-related brain activity. 
  • Meditation positively affects distribution of limited brain resources. (Note: Meditation is referred to as “mental training” in the sourced article.)
  • Meditation reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and depression (as well as heart disease and premature death). 

Pretty impressive, right? Who knows how many other brain benefits there could be that we don’t even know about yet…

If you’ve tried meditation and you think it’s not for you, please reconsider, as there are many different kinds of meditation techniques!

There are plenty of resources online, in book stores, and in libraries. I urge you to keep trying until you find a meditation practice that works for you, wherever you are in your life right now. 

Your brain will thank you.

With love & gratitude,

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💬 Comment below: Do you participate in a meditation practice? Why or why not?

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