Five Key Articles Written by Peter Malinowski
Neuroscience now proves that by meditating, you can become smarter and happier. In a recent UCLA study, researchers used high-resolution MRI’s to scan the brains of long-time meditators. They found that these individuals’ brains were larger than non-meditators.
The benefits are better cognition, attention, response control, and sensory processing. Meditation can also increase immune function, decrease stress, increase emotional regulation, and slow down the effects of aging.
It Makes Your Brain Adaptable: Quite literally, meditation leads to neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to change, structurally and functionally, on the basis of environmental input. University of Wisconsin research shows that experienced meditators exhibit high levels of gamma wave activity and display an ability to choose their thoughts and respond rather than react. Gamma wave activity is related to subjective awareness.
It Can be Better than Sleep: In a 2006 study, college students were asked to sleep, meditate or watch TV. They were then tested on their alertness by being asked to hit a button every time a light flashed on a screen. The meditators performed 10% better.
It’s Better than Blood Pressure Medication: In 2008, Dr. Zusman asked hospital patients suffering from high blood pressure to try a meditation-based relaxation program for three months instead of medication. Afterwards, 40 of the 60 patients showed significant drops in blood pressure levels. The reason is that relaxation results in the formation of nitric oxide which opens up the blood vessels for better circulation.
Its Pain Relieving Properties Beat Morphine: A study conducted by Wake Forest Baptist University found that meditation can reduce pain intensity by 40% and pain unpleasantness by 57%. Morphine and other pain-relieving drugs typically show a pain reduction of 25%. Meditation works by reducing activity in the somatosensory cortex which controls and interprets the sense of touch.
It Decreases Aging: A 2005 study on American men and women who meditated a mere 40 minutes a day showed that they had thicker cortical walls than non-meditators. What this meant is that their brains were aging at a slower rate. Cortical thickness is also associated with decision making, attention and memory. University of California research shows that meditators have significantly higher telomerase activity than non-meditators. Telomeres are the protective caps at the end of our chromosomes and having longer telomeres mean that you’re also likely to live longer.
#1: Meditation is hard.
#2: You need to quiet your mind completely to meditate successfully.
#3: It takes years of practice to receive any benefits from meditation.
#4: I don’t have enough time to meditate.
#5: Meditation requires spiritual or religious beliefs.
#6: I’m supposed to have transcendent experiences in meditation.
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