30 Minutes to a Bigger, Better Brain

Here's a relaxing, 30-minute practice that may bulk up your brain while boosting your mood and memory. We're talking about mindfulness meditation.
The stress-reducing benefits of this ancient Zen practice are well documented, but how meditation works to improve well-being is little known. That said, a new study has revealed that meditation may enhance key structures in the brain responsible for learning, memory, and emotion control.
Mind Your Gray Matter
In the small study, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were taken before and after an 8-week program that combined about 30 minutes a day of full-body progressive relaxation, yoga, and seated meditation. Compared to a control group, the mindfulness meditation participants experienced an increase in gray matter concentration in the hippocampus, the cerebellum, and other key brain regions responsible for cognitive function and emotion control. The researchers suggest meditation may be an effective tool to reverse certain downsized brain regions commonly seen in people suffering from depression and anxiety. 
Do Your Homework
Mindfulness meditation is a practice rooted in the ancient Buddhist tradition of quieting the mind and body in order to focus awareness on the present moment rather than dwelling on negative past experiences, today's problems, or worries about the future. The meditators were also asked to integrate mindfulness techniques into everyday tasks, such as shopping, exercising, cleaning house, and eating. Talk about a convenient, do-it-yourself way to build your brain and buoy your mood.


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