Meditate your way to a healthier brain and better memory

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© Jack Frog
Meditation can improve memory.

JUGGLING family-life, work, shopping and bills are a few of the daily tasks that can make us feel overwhelmed. When there are so many jobs landing on our plate every day, always pushing ourselves to achieve as much as much as possible isn’t always easy when anxiety or stress start creeping in. 

Sit down, Close your eyes. Feel your chest rise and fall with every inhaled and exhaled breath. Meditate. 

Meditation can help ease stress but it comes with another benefit too. New research shows regular meditation may be able to physically change your brain for the better. 

Yoga instructor Joy Hmielewski says: “Our culture is very go-go all the time. It can be very demanding.’

‘People don’t rest, they don’t know how to take care of themselves.”

Whether you are practising yoga, meditation or just taking an hour a day to be with yourself and concentrate on your thoughts and breathing, studies are increasingly showing that meditation may boost brain function. 

In a recent American study from the Massachusetts General Hospital, volunteers new to meditation took part in a weekly class and also spent half an hour a day at home meditating alone. When looking at how the volunteers’ brains had changed, researchers found through regular scans that there was an increase in the grey matter. Grey matter contains most of the brain’s neuron cells. It is a region of the brain involved in muscle control and sensory perception such as seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision making, and self-control.

Brain’s tend to shrink with age but other studies have shown that regular meditation keeps the brain looking younger. One study showed regular meditators at the age of 50 had brains that resembled those of people half their age, especially when looking at the frontal cortex, responsible for tasks such as memory. 

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