ORLANDO, FLA. – Scientists estimate that between 200 million to 500 million people meditate worldwide. And more than 14-percent of Americans have meditated at least once. This popular practice is known to improve focus and make you feel better, but research is also showing it has powerful effects on the brain.
It can help you focus… keep you calm… and now research is showing meditation may also improve the way your brain works!
A study out of UCLA found people who meditated for an average of 20 years had more gray matter volume throughout their brains. Gray matter helps you control movements, maintain memories, regulate emotions, and more.
A review from Johns Hopkins found mindfulness meditation helped reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and pain. And a team of researchers at Harvard found eight weeks of mindfulness meditation actually increased cortical thickness in regions of the brain including the hippocampus, an area that rules learning and memory.
Anyone can meditate. If you’re new to the practice, try to set aside five to ten minutes each day. Find a place where you feel calm. Sit and focus on your body and your breath. If your mind wanders, gently guide it back. Popular apps like Headspace, Calm, and Buddhify are good resources and many offer guided meditation options. Remember, this simple practice could have a big impact on your brain!
Other studies have shown meditation can reduce the risk of being hospitalized for coronary disease by 87-percent. And it can relieve the symptoms of insomnia 75-percent of the time!