A recent study by the University of California Los Angeles Brain Mapping Center proposed that long term meditation may have some important positive effects on the brain: over the course of 20 years, participants who practiced meditation had higher brain volumes than those who didn’t meditate. This is strong evidence that you can help preserve your brain with meditation.
Brain volume and age
A loss of brain volume as you age is tied to certain age-related brain maladies, and the typical aging of the brain. Since a loss of brain volume may be a key indicator of aging, researchers say that more brain volume loss can signify an early or premature aging of the brain. On the flip side, a larger brain volume, or a smaller decrease in brain volume than the norm can mean the brain is “younger” that it actually is – some may say, sharper.
Exercise your brain with meditation
However, researchers liken the improved brain volume, and proposed function, to keeping a muscle in shape by exercising it. The interesting thing is that the study simply asked if those that practiced meditation did just that — practiced meditation. There was no specialization into nondirective or meditative methods, mindfulness, how long each session was, or how often the participant meditated. This could mean that meditating – any meditating — could be beneficial for your brain.
As we all know, meditation is an important aspect of our daily lives. Whether we practice daily, weekly or monthly, we’re very familiar with the many benefits of meditation: focus, mental and emotional clarity, a way to deal with the stress of daily life, and many more. Now, there’s one more added bonus of keeping your brain sharper as you age. The list of benefits keeps on growing!