A study examining the effects of meditation on the brain has confirmed that many people who practice it have long been skeptical.
Buddhist monks have believed this for centuries, while late adopters in the West have recently come up with the idea. Now American researchers have added scientific weight to the idea that daily meditation can speed up your brain and improve your ability to focus.
Researchers at Binghamton University in New York used brain scans to see how meditating for 10 minutes a day changed the cognitive behavior of 10 students.
A comparison of the scans before and after the eight-week trial showed that meditation leads to a rapid switching between two general states of brain consciousness: the ‘default mode network’, which is activated when the brain is awake. Occurs but does not focus, such as during daydreaming; And the ‘Dorsal Attention Network’, when the brain engages in attention-seeking activities.
Study results, Published in the journal Nature.Demonstrated that after the meditation course, there was better brain communication between the participants and between the two networks.
The study concluded that the potential effects of meditation on enhancing the brain’s ability to move between the mind and its ability to concentrate and maintain one’s focus once in a state of attention have been identified.
The study came after an on-the-spot discussion between two academics at the university: Lecturer George Wenshenk, a proponent of meditation. And Assistant Professor Weing Dai, who was skeptical of the benefits of meditation. Both are from the computer science department of the university.
Just meditating for 10 minutes a day improves concentration and sharpens the brain. Photo: Christina Stalova
“I told Weing, ‘Meditation can really have a transformative effect on the brain,'” Wenshenk said. It will make a difference. He suggested that we could predict such a thing with modern technology.
After using MRI scans to track Alzheimer’s disease in people, the midwife suggested using scans to observe changes in the brains of people who meditated regularly. Weinschenk recruited 10 students, taught them how to meditate, and told them to practice ten to 15 minutes five times a week.
The results indicate the potential effects of meditation on increasing mental capacity.
With so few people taking part in the trial, more research is needed. Nevertheless, the results convince the midwife of the benefits of meditation.
At the same time, the midwife is ready to launch a new line of research on whether regular meditation can help people with Alzheimer’s disease and autism. Two terms are associated with defects in the dorsal focus network.
How to meditate.
Sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, a place where you don’t have to worry. You can also choose to sit cross-legged, kneel or lie on the floor – all is well, as long as you are in a relaxed position for 10 minutes. You want to use the timer so you know when to finish.
Photo: Susanna Marciglia.
Close your eyes and focus on your body, look at any physical feelings and emotions in a moment. Now focus on your breath, inside and out. For example, you can see your breath in your nose, or the sensation of rising and falling in your abdomen. If your brain is spinning, as it will inevitably want, slowly return your attention to your breath. Avoid making your own decisions. Once you realize that you are stuck in thought, just let go of the thoughts and turn your attention to your breath each time.
Photo: Everyday affairs
When 10 minutes have passed, slowly open your eyes. Take a moment to notice your surroundings, including any sounds or smells. Note how you feel. Then continue your day.
See for more meditation tips. mindful.org
Photo: Ameed Armin
Main image: Sasin Tapchai