We all know that meditation calms us down. It helps with anxiety and depression and can even be useful when dealing with pain and high blood pressure. The truth is, no other practice other than meditation can give you the clarity of thought that comes from quietly observing the comings and goings of your mind.
In this recent Seattle-Times post, Dr. Kay Judge and Dr. Maxine Barish-Wreden report on a new field of inquiry called contemplative neuroscience. According to Judge and Barish-Wreden, researches are finding big correlation between people who meditate and increased neurological activity as well as an increase in the size of the parts of the brain associated with memory, compassion, learning, and self-awareness.
In fact, there’s a new field of inquiry known as contemplative neuroscience, which is the study of how the brain physically changes when people meditate. This area of science has exploded in the past 10 years, especially with the development of functional MRI scans that allow scientists to literally see how brain structure and function change in response to meditation and other interventions.
Researchers have found that people who meditate on a regular basis actually develop thicker brains — they increase the connections between their brain cells, and they also increase the network of blood vessels in the brain, especially in those areas that help us to focus and pay attention, as well as areas of the brain involved with self-awareness and empathy.
Read more from Kudge and Barish-Wreden on how meditation feeds your brain here.