Growing Your Brain with Meditation

Growing Your Brain with Meditation

I am old. As a Baby Boomer, I am interested in how to get myself back to feeling young, energetic, and healthy. I am grateful to live in this amazing world and want to stick around and continue to contribute.

Meditation is turning out to be one of the best ways to improve and enhance my life. I use Autogenic Training and try to do 15 – 20 minutes every day at noon. I have been doing that for thirty years, more the past few years. You can get my audio file on how to do Autogenic Training here.

There are lots of other ways to meditate. YouTube has many many good videos.

Richie Davidson is perhaps the premier researcher on meditation and the brain. Here is a new article on his findings:

Here is a short link: http://bit.ly/k9sUcg

The core finding is that while most training develops a specific part of the brain, meditation seems to grow the entire brain. So learning a new language or how to play a musical instrument develop those particular parts of the brain that are involved, they do no good for other parts.

Here is an excerpt: “To summarize, mental training of cognitive skills as cultivated by FA and OM meditation has been associated with changes in brain structure and function, as well as improved task performance. These findings provide initial support for the idea that systematic mental training of cognitive skills, as cultivated by meditation, can improve performance on external tasks that call upon the trained skills, and hence can strengthen specific cognitive processes. These findings also add to a growing body of literature demonstrating plasticity in the adult brain, and may provide initial insights into the basic mechanisms that underlie cognitive process-specific learning.”

Tackle this report. Read it yourself and ponder. I so appreciate open source publishing, where I can download the whole report and read it.

ANOTHER RECENT REPORT: While many reports on meditation tell us it makes us happier (higher energy in the left prefrontal lobe, the happiness center), usually subjects meditate for an hour a day for eight to twelve weeks. Lots of practice. Many expert meditators have ten thousand hours or more of practice.

A new report is “Frontal Electroencephalographic Asymmetry Associated With Positive Emotion Is Produced by Very Brief Meditation Training.” by Christopher A. Moyer, Michael P. W. Donnelly, Jane C. Anderson, Kally C. Valek, Sarah J. Huckaby, Derek A. Wiederholt, Rachel L. Doty, Aaron S. Rehlinger, and Brianna L. Rice.

The findings tell us that 5 – 16 minutes a day for five weeks produce a significant increase on the left prefrontal activity, and that means increased happiness. In only five weeks! This is very encouraging.

There are lots of ways to meditate. They all work. I use Autogenic Training. I have never been associated with Buddhists. But all these mental disciplines help grow your brain and make you happier and more effective. Whatever model you want to follow, develop your brain, develop your capacity. You won’t be sorry.

You can request a copy of this article from the first author. Christopher A. Moyer, University of Wisconsin-Stout, 220 10th Ave. East, Menomonie, WI 54751 E-mail: christopher.a.moyer@gmail.com

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One Comment

  1. Anda Jines January 13, 2012 at 11:00 am - Reply

    I have been incorporating meditation into my counseling ever since I worked in the stress management program at a university wellness center. But I didn’t realize how powerful it can be until I was trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and saw the benefits of mindfulness meditation in my DBT patients. I feel that the biggest challenge is finding a way to practice consistently.

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