Can Meditation Change Our Brains?
It’s no secret that meditation can prove to be very beneficial in both the short and long term. From the calming effects to the lower blood pressure, to the feeling of peace and well being, meditation benefits the mind and body in ways that we are just beginning to understand.
In a recent article from The Examiner.com titled, “Exercise Your Brain With Meditation“, Dr. Robin Wulffson discusses a recent study done at UCLA that measured the effect of meditation on cortical folding (gyrification). The findings suggest that the longer a person meditates, the more folding is present. This folding increases the brain’s ability to process information.
“The researchers noted that long-term meditators not only have larger amounts of gyrification, which facilitates the brain’s processing of information, but also discovered a direct correlation between the amount of gyrification and the number of meditation years. This finding supports the concept of the brain’s neuroplasticity–its ability to adapt to environmental changes”.
This is a profound finding, and indicates that meditation may be vastly more beneficial than just the surface effects. This indicates that our behavior can have a direct impact on the structure of our brain. We can, in essence, change our minds, both mentally, AND physically through learning and practicing meditation.
“The outermost layer of the brain is the cerebral cortex, which is involved in memory, attention, thought and consciousness. Gyrification is the process whereby the surface of the brain undergoes changes to create narrow furrows and folds known as sulci and gyri. It is thought that gyrification may promote and enhance neural processing. If so, increased gyrification should promote processing of information; thus, facilitating such brain functions as decision making and memory formation”.
As with any study, more research needs to be done to confirm the findings. However, the suggestion that meditation can have a physical affect on the brain and enhance the brain’s plasticity is profound. Imagine the possibilities? It would probably be a good idea to learn to learn mindfulness meditation, or any style really. If you already do meditate, do your best meditate MORE. The benefits of meditation keep revealing themselves.