What would you do if I told you sitting in silence and active meditation can be hugely beneficial for your brain? In recent studies, there appears to be immeasurable benefits in our most important organ with the practice of meditation: from changes in grey matter volume to reduced activity in the “me” centers of the brain to enhanced connectivity between brain regions.
1. Your Brain “Ages Slower” with Meditation
Findings from a recent UCLA study indicated that participants who’d been meditating for an average of 20 years preserved more grey matter volume throughout the brain than their non-meditating counterparts, despite older meditators having some volume loss compared to younger meditators, it wasn’t as pronounced as the non-meditators.
2. Puts A Leash On Our Wandering Minds
When our minds wander, it is often associated with being less happy, or worrying about the past and future. In a study conducted by Yale University, it was found that mindfulness meditation helps to reduce activity in the Default Mode Network (DMN), which is responsible for mind-wandering and self-referential thoughts. When our minds wander from thought to thought, the DMN is ‘active’ and we are not thinking about specific things – when the mind wanders, meditators are better at snapping back out of it.
3. Meditation – A Dear Neighbor to Antidepressants
Researcher Madhav Goyal and his team found that the effect size of meditation was moderate in the treatment of depression – 0.3, this comes on the same level as the effect size for antidepressants (also 0.3) which is astounding. Though meditation isnt’ a magic bullet for the treatment of depression, keep in mind that no treatment is. Meditation is, after all, an active form of brain training, the training of the mind to increase awareness.
We just explored the full practice of Meditation and Yoga Nidra at my YTT course today which makes this the perfect time for me to learn about the benefits of meditation. I can’t wait to continue with the practice!