It’s no secret that our brains begin to lose function as we age. However, it’s surprising to learn that this decline begins in the mid-to-late 20s. A new study shows that a simple practice may help preserve the gray matter in the brain—the tissue that contains cells responsible for processing information.

Meditation is a mind and body practice that people have used for centuries to relax, improve their mental health, cope with pain or illness, and boost feelings of well-being. Mind and body practices work to induce change through the interplay between the physical body and brain consciousness or behavior.

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, examined 100 people ages 24 to 77. Half of the participants had never meditated while the other half had meditated regularly for at least four years. The researchers scanned the participants’ brains using magnetic resonance imaging. They found that the individuals in the meditation groups had significantly less gray matter loss in numerous brain regions compared with the non-meditating group. The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

“We expected rather small and distinct effects located in some of the regions that had previously been associated with meditating. Instead, what we actually observed was a widespread effect of meditation that encompassed regions throughout the entire brain,” says Florian Kurth, MD, of the Brain Mapping Center at UCLA.

The study did not account for other potential confounding factors, such as participants’ lifestyle choices, personality, and genetic brain differences, so it does not prove a causal association between meditation and the volume of gray matter. However, other research has also demonstrated the benefits of meditation, including a recent study linking meditation to reduced pain, anxiety, and depression.

Just What Is Meditation and How Do You Begin?

Just What Is Meditation and How Do You Begin?

One easy way to learn about meditation is by taking a yoga class, which typically includes at least a few minutes of meditation.
While specific types of meditation vary, most techniques share these four instructions:

  • Choose a quiet location free from distractions.
  • Find a comfortable posture. Common ones include sitting cross-legged, lying down, or walking.
  • Focus your attention on your breathing, an object, or a word or phrase (mantra).
  • Maintain an open attitude, acknowledging physical or mental distractions without judging them as annoying or bad.
Call us Now at (800) 429-5058 or Get a Quote Online