I’m reading the book Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love & Wisdom by Rick Hanson PhD and Richard Mendius MD and can’t resist sharing something I just read. It’s about how meditation affects the body/mind. It cites studies (which I won’t do here) showing that meditation does the following:
- Increases gray matter in the insula, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex.
- Reduces cortical thinning due to aging in prefrontal regions strengthened by meditation.
- Improves psychological functions associated with these regions, including attention, compassion, and empathy.
- Increases activation of left prefrontal regions, which lifts mood.
- Increases gamma-range brainwaves (above beta, optimal cognitive functioning) in experienced meditators.
- Decreases stress-related cortisol.
- Strengthens the immune system.
- Helps a variety of medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease, asthma, type II diabetes, PMS, and chronic pain.
- Helps numerous psychological conditions, including insomnia, anxiety, phobias, and eating disorders.
The key is to develop a regular daily practice, no matter how brief. Even one minute before sleep makes a difference, if done consistently.