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How Meditation Can Change Your Brain

Posted July 6, 2017.

A study spearheaded by Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School produced some very interesting findings.

People that meditate were found to have more grey matter (compared with non-meditators) in the insula and sensory regions, the auditory and sensory cortex of their brains.

After an 8 week study, participants who meditate regularly experienced a thickening of brain regions that positively affected memory, learning, emotional balance and the ability to be empathetic.

By meditating, you’re effectively shutting cognition down; you’re paying more attention to your breathing, to sounds, and to the present. Here are a few interesting facts about meditation:

Meditation is Helpful to People Suffering from TMJ Disorders.
Meditation can help you release the tension that is locked into your jaw. We have a basic meditation guide available. Contact us for a copy.

Your Mind Will Quiet Itself
When you consciously try to tame your thoughts, you’ll end up multiplying them instead. When you follow your breath or chanting a mantra, you’ll eventually start to “just be.”

It Doesn’t Have to Take More than a Few Minutes
There are no hard rules that your meditation has to take 30 minutes. While a daily formal practice is recommended, you can be present while you’re riding the subway or waiting in line. Incorporate meditation into your daily life that works for you.

You Can Meditate In Any Position
Sitting lotus position (cross-legged on the floor) is usually recommended because it helps you stay focused. But you can meditate while sitting in a chair, lying down or even standing. Whatever position you choose, make sure you feel comfy and relaxed.

It’s as Simple as Observing Your Breathing
Meditation can seem obscure and foreign to someone who has never tried it. In reality it could be simpler. In Zen meditation, you simply sit quietly and keep following and watching your breathing.

Anyone Can Meditate!
There are no age restrictions on meditation. Age, sex, ethnicity or religion is not a barrier to entry. A lot of people meditate for health benefits alone. Parents introduce kids with ADHD to meditation because it has shown to help people concentrate and focus more.

You’ve Always Known How to Be Present, You Just Had to Re-Learn
When you look into a baby’s eyes, there’s no regret, no disappointment or judgment. Babies are always living in the present. Us adults have this experience of “no thinking” before we fall asleep and after waking up. It can be argued that being present is our natural state.

When asked what she would suggest to beginners, Ms. Lazar empathized the importance of finding a good teacher, “It’s simple but it’s also complex. You have to understand what’s going on in your mind. A good teacher is priceless.”

To find out more about Ms. Lazar findings, she has put together lists of FAQ here.

Do you meditate? What difference has it made in your life? Leave a comment and let us know!

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/05/26/harvard-neuroscientist-meditation-not-only-reduces-stress-it-literally-changes-your-brain/

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