A new study by Massachusetts General Hospital shows that the brain literally changes its structure after just 8 weeks of mindfulness meditation—including an increase in grey matter in the part of the brain associated with learning.
I've never tried meditation because so far I haven't found a good iPhone app for it. But this might change everything: Scientists took MRI images before enrolling participants in an 8 week "mindfulness-based stress reduction program." Pre-meditation, their brains were normally addled from our modern technologies and plastic wraps. But then after 8 weeks in the course—which consisted of around a half-hour daily of "mindfulness exercises"—here's what they found.
From the press release:
The analysis of MR images... found increased grey-matter density in the hippocampus, known to be important for learning and memory, and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection. Participant-reported reductions in stress also were correlated with decreased grey-matter density in the amygdala, which is known to play an important role in anxiety and stress.
Pretty cool! Now what meditation people need to do is rebrand: Instead of emaciated dudes in ponytails trying to center their Chi, they should be promoting meditation as, like, an intense core workout—for the hippocampus. They can call it MINDX or something and Underamour can start selling special padded hats.
[Image via shutterstock; via Boing Boing]