We always enjoy the articles that explore the merits of mindfulness. While the claims of benefits are vast, we love the science behind the studies reported in the New York Times’s article How Meditation Changes the Brain.
One benefit that we enjoyed was there is a significantly greater amount of = activity in the area of communications in the brain that contribute to focus and calm. ‘Four months later, those who had practiced mindfulness showed much lower levels in their blood of a marker of unhealthy inflammation than the relaxation group, even though few were still meditating’. We like this idea that there are long-term benefits to the practice of meditation. It’s also a great thing that the benefit can be both calm and focus.
The grand-daddy of this work is the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts’ Center for Mindfulness (now available all over the country), that aims to reduce a person’s stress level, physically and mentally. Studies have shown its benefits in reducing anxiety, even years after the initial 8-week course. Research has also shown that mindfulness meditation, in contrast to attending to the breath only, can reduce anxiety – and that these changes seem to be mediated through the brain regions associated with those self-referential (“me-centered”) thoughts.
Mindfulness meditation has also been shown to help people with social anxiety disorder: a Stanford University team found that MBSR brought about changes in brain regions involved in attention, as well as relief from symptoms of social anxiety.
It’s exciting to see the work being done in the area of anxiety. It’s interesting timing as well considering that the amount of anxiety has increased and intensified with the use of more technology and social media. This has been found particularly in young teenage girls who seem to suffer the most from the pressure of the need to be perfect on social media feeds.
If you’re interested in trying meditation and not just reading about the benefits here… join the founder and owner of Mindfulyogahealth.com, Liz Eustace right here and right now.
What are you waiting for?