<!–[CDATA[You’re probably aware that people practice meditation for all sorts of benefits. Some meditate at work to relieve stress. Others practice this ancient technique in order to deal with unpleasant life events, like a divorce or the loss of a loved one. Many derive spirituality and balance from meditation.
Did you know that meditation may actually make your brain healthier, too?
Meditation as a Brain-Booster
People have long suspected that meditation somehow helps improve brain function. Not until recently, however, has the matter been studied in such depth and detail. Recent innovations in brain imaging technology have resulted in scientific support of what lots of practitioners already felt to be true: meditation makes your brain healthier.
What, exactly, does that mean?
It just so happens that the term ‘healthier brain’ can mean a lot of things. Some studies show increased brain matter. Others show stronger connections among receptors throughout the brain. The list goes on but here are a few of the exciting findings researchers are publishing, showing evidence that meditation really might make for a healthier brain.
Meditation May Help Fight Aging in the Brain
A UCLA study found, incredibly, that people who meditated for an average of 20 years had bigger brains! The study showed evidence of increased grey matter in the brains of long-term meditators.
A special note for seniors: loss of grey matter volume is a symptom of aging. The senior meditators in the study still experienced some loss of gray matter as they aged. However, that loss wasn’t as significant as the grey matter loss experienced by the non-meditators.
Physical Evidence of Decreased Stress, Anxiety, and Fear
Meditation seems to make other brain-centered physical alterations, too. A Harvard study found that mindfulness meditation changed the structure of the brain.
Parts of the brain responsible for stress, anxiety, and fear actually decreased in size. People in the study also reported lower stress levels, too. That speaks to meditation’s possible ability to not only change the physical makeup of our brains but also our perceptions.
It’s also good to know that you don’t have to practice meditation for decades in order to receive its brain-boosting benefits. The Harvard researchers observed these changes after just eight weeks of mindfulness meditation!
Help With Addiction?
Researchers now suspect that meditation may even help people with their addiction problems. Since meditation seems to have an effect on the self-control areas of the brain, it may be effective in recovery situations where addiction is involved.
These are only some of the possible brain-boosting effects of meditation. It’s certainly a promising direction and an exciting field. We’ll be keeping tabs on the constant stream of research flowing from labs across the world.
Meditation is Just One Way of Finding Purpose and Improving Brain Health
As an advocate for senior health and wellness, Five Star Senior Living is dedicated to providing an environment where seniors can thrive. Our communities feature the Lifestyle360 Program, where every dimension of wellness is nurtured.
Through this program, we offer life enrichment programs for our residents, along with other spiritual wellness options like pet therapy, religious studies, horticulture therapy, and more. Want to learn more? Call us today.