Recently, we posted an article on Facebook about the connection between meditation and the amount of gray matter in the human brain.
The study showed some fascinating results.
- “… results showed that those with a strong meditation background had increased gray matter in several areas of the brain, including the auditory and sensory cortex, as well as insula and sensory regions. “
- “… also found that the meditators had more gray matter in another brain region, this time linked to decision-making and working memory: the frontal cortex. In fact, while most people see their cortexes shrink as they age, 50-year-old meditators in the study had the same amount of gray matter as those half their age.”
But what about folks who are just beginners at meditation?
- “Even just eight weeks of meditation changed people’s brains for the better. There was thickening in several regions of the brain, including the left hippocampus (involved in learning, memory, and emotional regulation); the TPJ (involved in empathy and the ability to take multiple perspectives); and a part of the brainstem called the pons (where regulatory neurotransmitters are generated).
- “Plus, the brains of the new meditators saw shrinkage of the amygdala, a region of the brain associated with fear, anxiety, and aggression. This reduction in size of the amygdala correlated to reduced stress levels in those participants.”
Our digital devices offer a variety of ways to explore the world of meditation. Here are three apps you might enjoy; they all have free components, plus options to invest in courses.
7 Minute Chi
A guided practice with visuals leads the viewer through seven minutes of stretching, breathing, and meditation. This app provides a healthy way to escape the frenetic pace of life for a few minutes each day.
The user has a variety of options: listen to music as you meditate on your own, participate in a guided mediation, or just use a timer. The meditations range from 5 minutes to 30+ minute sessions that focus on a myriad of topics (sleep, anxiety, motivation, relaxation, and many more).
This app also provides a variety of topics to focus on: calmness, sleep, happiness, and others. There are several series of “7 Days of…” Each provides a guided meditation with different focus for each day.
Looking for other information about the brain and aging? Try the Dana Foundation’s website that has a section dedicated to the brain and successful aging. https://www.dana.org/Publications/SuccessfulAging/