In January we are starting classes on meditation. Here is a primer on some of meditation’s benefits, written by our guest author and meditation teacher Patricia Lentz of TheClosetAcademic.com
Everyone can learn to meditate. It’s as natural to meditate as it is to eat, breathe and sleep. With our world seemingly spinning out of control, we often feel the stress of it in our daily lives. When we meditate, the momentum of that stress tends to subside. We feel more tenable and attainable, happier and relaxed. In our lives and in our world we are enabled to tap into our natural well-being. Science is discovering why this is so.
In 2011, an eight week study was conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital to determine the effects of meditation on the brain. They applied the MBSR program (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Jon Kabot-Zin) to an experimental group and measured the structural elements within the brain before and after the eight-week course. The findings revealed the profound physical, mental, social and emotional impact of meditation. They observed:
- Thicker cerebral cortex in areas associated with attention and emotional integration
- Increased grey matter in the hippocampus, associated with learning and memory
- Decreased grey matter density in the amygdala, which links to anxiety, fear and stress
- Decreased grey matter in the insula, related to self-awareness
A few minutes of silent meditation changes everything. Benefits Include:
- Social/Emotional – Improves relationships, emotional intelligence, emotional regulation, Increases sense of connectedness, empathy and Reduces stress and risk of depression
- Physical – Increases energy level, Improves sleep, Supports weight loss goals, Lowers blood pressure, Relieves IBS symptoms, Prevents stress induced ailments, Wards off disease, Slows the progress of HIV
- Mental – Improves memory and test scores, cognition and vital functions, concentration and attention, Increases productivity, Protects against mental illness (i.e. Alzheimers), Strengthens areas most susceptible to cognitive decline
It takes only two months of meditation to experience measurable changes in the brain associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress. It takes just a few minutes a day to meditate and you will notice the difference right away – you will notice that brilliant, alive and openness of mindfulness. Meditation is a simple solution to improving anyone’s quality of living. It’s only natural.