Meditation Is Good For Your Brain

Pedro Gargantilla Madera published an article on with the title, “La meditación es buena para el cerebro.” The photo is from that site.

The article was sent to me by my daughter, Jessica, who lives and works in Quito, Ecuador.

I find the article to be quite interesting and related to other posts on this blog (see below).

Buddhist Monk

Buddhist Monk

I’ve adopted the English translation to point out the relevance to Meditation Practices.

Meditation and mindfulness practices can change not only the way we work certain brain areas but also increase its size.

Millions of people flock to gyms several times a week to strengthen their abdominal muscles, weight lifting, cycling or aerobics. There are many strategies to strengthen our muscles, but what can improve the quality and quantity of gray matter that is in our brain? And, if so, how?

Meditation Is Good For Your Brain

There are many forms of meditation including different methods of mental concentration, mindfulness of breathing and active visualization, among others.  This makes meditation difficult to define.

All forms of meditation practices have been proven to involve important changes in brain functioning. One of the most important studies was conducted by a team of scientists at the Waisman Center (University of Wisconsin, USA) in collaboration with Schechen Monastery, Kathmandu (Nepal). [The Waisman Center is directed by Dr. Richie Davidson, whom we have written several articles about.] American researchers analyzed the brains of Buddhist monks who had practiced meditation in the Tibetan Nyingmapa and Kagyupa traditions for 10000-50000 hours, over a period of time between 15 and 40 years.

When compared to the brains of a group of American students who had not previously practiced meditation, the brains of the Buddhist monks demonstrated remarkable and valid results.
The researchers conducted studies of brain activity using EEG before, during and after a meditation practices. They found that there were significant differences between the brains of monks and students. The most striking was that Buddhist monks had gamma synchrony in the brain, which implies that there is enormous neuronal coordination in the brain.

Meditation Increases The Gray Matter

In a study conducted by experts from the universities of Yale and Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital and Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that the practice of meditation can increase the amount of cerebral gray matter.

The researchers analyzed the fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans of the cebral gray matter of 20 people who are known to practice Buddhist meditation averaging 40 minutes a day. Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated that when people meditate regularly an increase in thickness of certain areas of the cerebral cortex occurs (related to sensory, auditory and visual perception) and also slows the thinning process of the cerebral cortex associated with aging.

Unfortunately, these benefits do not occur in all brain regions. The researchers found that they are primarily concentrated in the area of the right hemisphere.

Meditation Improves Emotional Intelligence

A group of scientists from the University of California, at Los Angeles (UCLA), found by brain resonance that there are areas of the brain that reach a larger size in those who meditate for long periods of time.

Areas that have a significantly greater volume are the hippocampus, the frontal cortex, the thalamus and the convolutions of the lower temporal lobe, which have in common that they are involved in the regulation of emotions. This finding would endorse the fact that people who meditate have a greater capacity to generate positive emotions, maintain a greater emotional stability and reduce levels of stress.

What remains to be answered is why there is an increase in volume: is it due to an increase in the number of neurons? Are the neurons larger? Are there a greater number of interneuronal connections?

In conclusion, meditation not only improves coordination between our neurons, but slows brain aging, increases the size of certain brain areas related to emotional intelligence and reduces stress levels.

I believe that all of these and more findings related to the scientific basis of how meditation is good for your brain have been presented before in other posts on this blog and it’s sister site, Best Meditation Videos. See the tabs below for more details and related posts.

The amount of scientific evidence is growing by leaps and bound, as the tabs indicate.

The bottom line is that meditation practices are good for your brain, longevity, and emotional intelligence.

Are you not yet convinced that you should have a daily meditation practice?

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  1. meditation music buddhist says:

    meditation music buddhist

    Meditation Is Good For Your Brain