Harvard study reveals the benefits of meditation on our brain

The eight-week study, conducted by Harvard researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), determined that meditation completely reconstructs the brain’s gray matter in just eight weeks. This is the first study to document that meditation produces changes over time in the gray matter of the human brain. (1)

A Harvard study reveals the benefits of meditation on our brains:

“Although meditation is associated with a sense of calm and physical relaxation, doctors have long claimed that meditation also has cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day. This study shows that changes in brain structure can explain some of the improvements that have been noticed and that people are not only feeling better about practicing meditation and being relaxed. ” – (1) Sara Lazar of Neuroimaging Research Program MGH Psychiatric and Harvard Medical School Instructor in Psychology

The study involved taking magnetic resonance images (MRI) of the brain of 16 participants for 2 weeks. MRI images of participants were also taken after the end of the study.

“The MRI image analysis, which focused on areas where associated meditation differences were observed in previous studies, found an increase in gray matter density in the hippocampus, important for learning and understanding. memory, and in the structures associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection. « (1)

For the study, participants engaged in meditation practice each day for about 30 minutes. These practices consisted of focusing on audio recordings of guided meditation, awareness, non-judgmental sensations, feelings, and state of mind.

“It is fascinating to see the plasticity of the brain and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in the evolution of the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life. Other studies in different patient populations have shown that meditation can make significant improvements in a variety of symptoms, and we are currently studying the underlying mechanisms in the brain that facilitate this change. – (1) Britta Holzel, first author of the article and researcher at the University of Giessen MGH and in Germany

How to meditate

A common misconception about meditation is that you have to sit down in a certain way or do something in particular to achieve the various benefits it can provide. All you have to do is place yourself in a position that is comfortable for you. This can be sitting cross-legged, lying in bed, sitting on a couch, etc., it’s your choice.

Another common misconception about meditation is that you must “try” to clear your mind. An important factor that I appreciated from reading the study mentioned above is that participants were engaged in “awareness of the non-judgment of feelings, feelings and state of mind. As you meditate, you should not try to “empty” your mind. Instead, try to leave your thoughts, feelings, and emotions as you feel the flow of time. Do not judge them, let them come and go and be at peace with her. The emptiness will be later, all alone.

I also believe that this practice is a state of mind more than anything else. I think we should not sit down for half an hour and “meditate”, so to speak, to reap the benefits, or engage in the practice itself. One can be engaged in meditation when one is on one foot, for example, or just before sleep. Throughout the day, we can resist judging our thoughts, let them sink until they are no longer, or simply be in a constant state of peace and self-awareness. Contrary to popular belief, there is more than one way to meditate.

“One of the most basic things about meditation is that no technique leads to meditation. The old so-called techniques and new techniques of scientific biofeedback are the same as far as meditation is concerned. Meditation is not a by-product of a technique. Meditation comes beyond the mind. No technique can go beyond the mind “-. Osho

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