30 Minutes to Better Brain Power
Here's a relaxing, 30-minute practice that may boost brain power while lifting your mood and your memory. We're talking about mindfulness meditation.
The stress-reducing benefits of meditation are well documented, but how this ancient Zen practice works to improve well-being is little known. That said, a new study has revealed that meditation may enhance key structures in the brain responsible for learning, memory, and emotion control.
Mind Your Gray Matter
In the small study, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were taken before and after an 8-week program that combined about 30 minutes a day of full-body progressive relaxation, yoga, and seated meditation. Compared to a control group, the mindfulness meditation participants experienced an increase in gray matter concentration in the hippocampus, the cerebellum, and other key brain regions responsible for cognitive function and emotion control. The researchers suggest the benefits of meditation may be an effective tool to reverse certain downsized brain regions commonly seen in people suffering from depression and anxiety. (Related: Learn more about how to cope with anxiety and depression.)
Do Your Homework
Mindfulness meditation is a practice rooted in the ancient Buddhist tradition of quieting the mind and body in order to focus awareness on the present moment rather than dwelling on negative past experiences, today's problems, or worries about the future. The meditators were also asked to integrate mindfulness techniques into everyday tasks, such as shopping, exercising, cleaning house, and eating. Talk about a convenient, do-it-yourself way to boost brain power and buoy your mood. (Related: Practice mindful eating to eat less and lose weight.)
Getting started takes just 10 minutes. Use these 5 how-to steps to launch your practice and discover the benefits of meditation for yourself.
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