Monthly Archives: February 2012
While mental health professionals often rave about the various therapeutic benefits to incorporating a mindfulness practice into your day, research now indicates that it also produces cognitive and psychological improvements. According to a 2011 study from Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, these improvements may be due to changes in your brain structure.
Participants took part in an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program at the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness, as well as a weekly meditation group. When magnetic resonance (MR) images were examined after the program was completed, researches found the following structural changes that were not found in the control group:
- Increased grey-matter density in the hippocampus, important for learning and memory
- Increased grey-matter in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection
- Decreased grey-matter density in the amygdala, which is responsible for anxiety
Studies, such as this one are very exciting, as we now know that mindfulness is not just “relaxing,” but also that it allows us to actively change our brains. Read the rest of this entry