Reduce 25 years of brain aging with one simple habit
(NaturalHealth365) Meditation comes in many forms, and as a general practice it’s been around for thousands of years. For some reason, however, many people write meditation off as a waste of time or something that’s “too hard” to do. Trust us when we say it’s a lot easier than you think.
Now, exciting new research in neuroscience reveals a surprising range of meditation benefits – including some specific anti-aging changes to the brain. You read that right: meditation can actually change the brain, and in a measurable and observable way.
Long-term mindfulness meditation confers anti-aging changes in the brain, says recent neuroscience research
Intuition and experience tells millions of people that mindfulness meditation helps them think more creatively, clearly and calmly. Now, recent advances in neuroscience research provide hard evidence to support this hunch.
For example, a 2006 study published in NeuroReport determined that experienced meditators in their 50s had the same amount of brain tissue thickness as people half their age! Meditation has also been shown to increase the thickness and function of other parts of the brain, including the:
- Corpus callosum, which connects the right and left hemispheres of the brain
- Dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, which helps us process information about others
- Insula, which helps us feel empathy
- Mirror neurons, which also helps us connect with others and intuit their needs and feelings
In addition to these structural changes to the brain, researchers have also learned that experienced meditators actually emit different types of brain waves during their practice. Mindfulness meditation is associated with brain waves called theta, which are associated with deep calm and relaxation. This is distinct from typical waking brain waves called beta, which are associated with problem-solving and thinking.
Lastly, meditation also triggers an influx of feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin. The result? Better mood and health all around!
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These five other proven meditation benefits will inspire you to start a daily practice
In addition to the cognitive boost and brain benefits that meditating can offer you, there are several other research-backed meditation benefits to look forward to if you commit to a regular discipline. These include:
- Reduced pain
- Decreased stress, anxiety and depression
- Improved sleep and insomnia
- Increased sense of kindness and
- Decreased blood pressure (excellent for heart health)
So, what type of “quiet time” should you do? Beyond mindful silence, there are several types you can try, including nishkam karma yoga and transcendental meditation, to name a few. There are also courses, apps, and online guided videos you can access as you build your practice.
As for how long you should meditate, most practitioners recommend doing it every day for at least 15 to 30 minutes, although you’re welcome to gradually build up to that amount.
The key is to find a style of meditation that you like and will look forward to doing. Meditation shouldn’t be seen as a “chore,” but as a relaxing bit of self-care to look forward to. Bottom line, enjoy the process!
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