The benefits of meditation on your brain (and your body)
Many studies have highlighted the positive effects of mindfulness meditation on health. Although it does not officially have the status of medical treatment, mindfulness is being considered more and more seriously in addition to traditional medicine. In France, Christophe Andre, a psychiatrist at Sainte-Anne Hospital (Paris) has contributed greatly to its popularization in hospitals. Mindfulness can, among other things, help to: check this to see the best outdoor lounges for yours discussions and brain relaxation.
Expanding our attention with mindfulness would improve our overall ability to focus and sustain our attention during everyday tasks. In a 2012 study published in Frontiers in human neuroscience, US researchers looked at a group of people who had never meditated before. Some followed a three-hour training in mindfulness meditation. For the next four months, they had to meditate for 10 minutes each day. In the end, the researchers found that this group had better control over tasks that required meticulousness and attention than the control group. Conclusion: even “small doses” of meditation can dramatically alter neuronal functions related to the management of conflicting stimuli.
MANAGE ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
From a publication in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience , Madhav Goyal and her colleagues discovered that mindfulness meditation could play the same role as antidepressants. In the published study, fifteen people who had never meditated before were examined after only four days of mindfulness meditation training: they were much less anxious due to a change in mood and cognitive control abilities.
A study conducted by Dr. Kirk Warren Brown of the University of Richmond in 2013 showed a difference in brain response between people accustomed to meditation compared to non-practitioners when presented with very unpleasant images. In the first group, the answer was weaker. Mindfulness would therefore change the way stress-related emotion centers are stimulated in the brain. These areas appear less sensitive when they are provoked which makes the reaction easier to “regulate”.
EASE THE PAIN
People suffering from severe pain participated in a study in 2011 under the leadership of Fadel Zeidan, a neurobiologist at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina. After four days of mindfulness meditation training, those who meditated found a 57% decrease in uncomfortable sensation and 40% decrease in pain intensity. Researchers identified areas of the brain that appeared to be involved in the pain sensation and determined how they could be modulated through meditation. By modifying the framework of pain through cognitive control and emotional regulation, meditation can change the way we perceive pain (for example, by making it look like an ephemeral phenomenon).
STIMULATE GRAY MATTER
For ten years, several studies have shown that by stimulating gray matter in different areas of the brain, mindfulness can enhance learning, memory, and emotional regulation. In a study published in 2011 in Psychiatry Research scientists ran a brain scanner to participants who had little or no experience in mindfulness meditation. These people then went through a mindfulness-based stress reduction training, and then the scientists again looked at their brains: their brainpower had increased dramatically.
FIGHT AGAINST ALZHEIMER
Mindfulness could slow the brain degeneration that causes Alzheimer’s disease. This is the result of a pilot study published in 2013 by Rebecca Erwin Wells, a research scientist at Wake Forest University. Here is her finding: Among adults with a mild cognitive impairment (between normal age-related memory loss and proven dementia), those who did mindfulness meditation had a hippocampus (the area of the brain that is impaired in neurodegenerative diseases) less atrophied compared to the control group. Second observation: an improvement in the connectivity of neurons in an area of the brain called the default mode network and involved in daydreams, past thoughts or future. These first results will have to be confirmed by other more in-depth studies,
AVOID COLD AND INFLUENZA
Mindfulness meditation can help strengthen immunity. A study cited in Annals of Family Medicine for adults 50 years of age and older has shown that it is almost as effective as exercise in controlling acute respiratory infections such as colds and flu. These results corroborate previous studies that demonstrated support for meditation in the fight against the disease. It is the reduction of stress that helps to improve the immune response.