Good news if you want to age well. Meditation techniques that keep your brain young, healthy and connected have been proven in this new research from ULCA.
We use situps, yoga, exercise machines, personal trainers and gym memberships to keep our bodies in top shape – building bigger muscles, stronger bones, leaner, healthier bodies.
It turns out that 20 minutes of mindfulness meditation techniques has a similar effect on the structures of your brain.
Meditation Techniques That Keep Your Brain Young
“We know that people who consistently meditate have a singular ability to cultivate positive emotions, retain emotional stability and engage in mindful behavior,” said Eileen Luders, lead author and a postdoctoral research fellow at the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging. “The observed differences in brain anatomy might give us a clue why meditators have these exceptional abilities.”
Research has confirmed the beneficial aspects of meditation. In addition to having better focus and control over their emotions, many people who meditate regularly have reduced levels of stress and bolstered immune systems.
The research strongly suggests that meditators have younger brains. It turns out that most brains shrink with age. But meditators have more white matter (the good stuff) in almost all areas of their brains.
Two years ago, researchers at UCLA found that specific regions in the brains of long-term meditators were larger and had more gray matter than the brains of individuals in a control group. This suggested that meditation may indeed be good for all of us since, alas, our brains shrink naturally with age.Now, a follow-up study suggests that people who meditate also have stronger connections between brain regions and show less age-related brain atrophy. Having stronger connections influences the ability to rapidly relay electrical signals in the brain. And significantly, these effects are evident throughout the entire brain, not just in specific areas.Eileen Luders, a visiting assistant professor at the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, and colleagues used a type of brain imaging known as diffusion tensor imaging, or DTI, a relatively new imaging mode that provides insights into the structural connectivity of the brain. They found that the differences between meditators and controls are not confined to a particular core region of the brain but involve large-scale networks that include the frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital lobes and the anterior corpus callosum, as well as limbic structures and the brain stem.The study appears in the current online edition of the journal NeuroImage.“Our results suggest that long-term meditators have white-matter fibers that are either more numerous, more dense or more insulated throughout the brain,”Luders said. “We also found that the normal age-related decline of white-matter tissue is considerably reduced in active meditation practitioners.” Original story here.