The ancient practice of training the mind to a state of calm and serenity, meditation, has become increasingly popular in our fast-paced and stressful world. The benefits that the constant practice can bring to the mental and physical health have been praised in different cultures over the centuries. Learn more about this topic.
What you didn’t know about meditation, a path to consciousness
1. It makes your brain “is plastic”
Literally, sustained meditation leads to something called neuroplasticity, which is defined as the brain’s ability to change, structurally and functionally, on the basis of the contribution of the environment. During a large part of the last century, scientists believed that the brain essentially stopped changing after adulthood, but with meditation it is possible to maintain a certain plasticity.
2. Meditation leads to the growth of the gray matter
During a 2005 study on american men and women who meditated for at least 40 minutes a day, determined that the participants had cortical walls that are thicker than the non-meditators. What this means is that their brains are aging at a slower pace. The cortical thickness is also associated with decision making, attention and memory.
3. Meditation can even be better than sleep
In a 2006 study, college students were asked to sleep, meditate or watch tv. As a next step in the research, were put to the test in your state of alert that tells them to press a button each time a light flashes on a screen. The students who meditated performed better than those who took naps and those who saw the television, in a considerable margin of 10 percent.
4. It may also be better for the health than taking high blood pressure medicines
In 2008, Dr. Randy Zusman, a doctor at the Massachusetts General Hospital, asked patients suffering from high blood pressure to try a relaxation program based on meditation for three months. It was patients whose blood pressure had not been controlled with medication. After meditating regularly for three months, 40 of the 60 patients showed significant decreases in blood pressure levels and were able to reduce some of your medications. Why? The relaxation results in the formation of nitric oxide which opens up your blood vessels.
5. You can protect your telomeres
These are the protective caps at the end of our chromosomes and are the new frontier of the science of anti-aging. If the telomeres are longer means that the person is likely to live longer. The research conducted by the University of California, the Project Shamatha Davis, has shown that practitioners of meditation have a activity of telomerase significantly higher than those who do not meditate. Telomerase is the enzyme that helps build telomeres, and greater telomerase activity can result in telomere stronger and longer.