Meditation Literally Alters Your Brain Matter

Posted by on June 3, 2018 in Conscious Living, Meditation with 9 Comments

Meditation

By Scott Kaufman, Carolyn Gregoire | AlterNet

The following is an excerpt from the new book Wired to Create by Scott Barry Kaufman & Carolyn Gregoire (Perigee, 2015):

Being mindful alters the very structure and function of the brain, supporting executive functions like attention and self-regulation, both of which are valuable assets to creativity–especially when it comes to motivating ourselves to sit down and focus on a challenging creative task for extended periods of time.


Related Article: Meditation for Becoming Perfectly Peaceful with Sonia Choquette

A significant body of research has found mindfulness training to improve key executive attention skills.[i] One of its most valuable benefits of mindfulness training is that it boosts cognitive control, the ability to focus on an important decision while avoiding distractions and impulses. A 2014 study published in Clinical Neurophysiology found that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy was effective in increasing cognitive control among adults with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), leading to reductions in impulsivity and inattention.[ii] Of course, we don’t want to throw out the baby without the bathwater: People with ADHD also tend to show an overactive imagination network.[iii] The key is helping them learn the crucial skills of flexible attention, so that they can pay attention to the outside world when they want or need to, while also helping them put their overactive imagination to good use.[iv]

Mindfulness training can lead to measurable improvements in the ability to focus and to regulate emotions and behavior even in those who do not suffer from attentional disorders. A 2013 study published in the journal Psychological Science showed that a brief mindfulness exercise before an exam helped students identify distracting thoughts, which lead to improvements in reading comprehension and working memory.[v] Overall, the exercise led to a sixteen-point average boost on the GRE exam, largely by reducing disruptive mind wandering.

Clearly, you don’t have to be an experienced meditator to benefit from mindfulness. As little as a single, short meditation session can have a positive impact on mental functioning.

Related Article: 3 Myths About Mindfulness Meditation That Keep People From Its True Benefits


More extensive research conducted on novice meditators who completed an eight-week MBSR course and on experienced meditators who underwent a month-long meditation retreat showed significant improvements in three aspects of attention: alerting (the maintenance of an alert state of mind), orienting (directing and limiting one’s attention to a targeted set of stimuli) and conflict monitoring (the ability to prioritize competing responses).[vi]

So what’s going on neurologically when we’re sitting silently and focusing on the breath or a mantra? Scientists have begun to uncover the changes in neurobiology and brain structure underlying the cognitive improvements linked with meditation. A 2011 Harvard study identified some of the main neural correlates of the positive changes brought about by mindfulness training programs. The study found that just eight weeks of MBSR led to increased grey matter density in areas of the brain associated with executive function—specifically, attention, and emotion regulation.

First, the researchers saw that grey matter density increased in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a brain region located in the frontal lobe that’s associated with self-regulation, thinking, emotion, rational deliberation, and problem solving. (Interestingly, high levels of media multitasking have been linked with reduced density in the ACC.[vii]) The research team also saw increases in grey matter in the hippocampus, a small region within the limbic system that governs memory, learning, and emotion (and plays a crucial role in the imagination network). Increased activity in the ACC and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex—which is involved in processing risk and fear as well as inhibiting emotional responses—have been implicated in the reduction of anxiety, a well-known creativity blocker.[viii] Greater activation in both of these brain areas has been shown to lead to substantial feelings of anxiety relief after a twenty-minute meditation.

Related Article: 11 Ways To Change Your Definition Of Life And Attract Positive Energy

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE…

Tags: , , , , ,

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on YouTube

9 Reader Comments

Trackback URL Comments RSS Feed

  1. 1219190564764918@facebook.com' Shivam Pieter Lalleman says:

    Yes, it’s an old science on which both the buddhist and the hindu-vedic tradition are based. Here in my space we have daily meditations—

  2. 438288283024390@facebook.com' WendyJoy Smith says:

    are they trying so hard so they can develop a chemical to sell to those not willing to keep the practice?

  3. 423549761069857@facebook.com' Ethan Indigo Smith says:

    The mathematics of meditation. 1love…www.amazon.com/Geometry-Energy-How-Meditate/dp/1508464332/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

  4. 1645740532343296@facebook.com' Jasmine Green says:

    I would highly recommend learning how to meditate because ever since I have started I have never been happier. I have improved my life drastically. I have an overall sense of peace with myself and the world. My stress levels have gone to an all time low and It even helps me with my anxiety and panic
    attacks.

    If you want to learn how to meditate I suggest you read this story.

    http://naturalstories.com/meditation/

  5. 1050283325004318@facebook.com' Doug Chapman says:

    Mike Knighton

  6. 1685564435022536@facebook.com' Sugu Na says:

    Thanks for the info

  7. 10206045713960306@facebook.com' Thomas Chenhall says:

    Irreversible improvements.

  8. 955933134499255@facebook.com' Saeeda Rehman says:

    100 percent true

New Title

NOTE: Email is optional. Do NOT enter it if you do NOT want it displayed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

FAIR USE NOTICE. Many of the articles on this site contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making this material available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental issues, human rights, economic and political democracy, and issues of social justice. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law which contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. If you wish to use such copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use'...you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. And, if you are a copyright owner who wishes to have your content removed, let us know via the "Contact Us" link at the top of the site, and we will promptly remove it.

The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Conscious Life News assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms.

Paid advertising on Conscious Life News may not represent the views and opinions of this website and its contributors. No endorsement of products and services advertised is either expressed or implied.
Top

Send this to friend