Hi mama birds,
I am reposting this article from Glisten. I love talking about mindfulness for children and mamas. This is a great article that talks about the science behind meditation and some of its benefits. Remember mamas, just try to do 10 minutes a day. It will ground you and help you connect to your intuitive self.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND MINDFULNESS MEDITATION
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the majority of diseases can be prevented by healthy behaviors and by people managing their own stress and lifestyle. Science is proving that mindfulness meditation is an effective tool in helping people manage stress, improve health and prevent and reverse disease.
6 Scientific Reasons to Practice Mindfulness Meditation
1. Meditation rebuilds the brain's gray matter
A study led by a Harvard-affiliated team of researchers used MRI scans to document how meditation affected the brain's gray matter. The team's MRI scans documented for the very first time in medical history how meditation produced massive changes inside he brain's gray matter. “Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day,” said study senior author Sara Lazar of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program and a Harvard Medical School instructor in psychology. “This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.”
2. Parts of the brain correlated to compassion and positive emotional states are activated
A 2003 study published in the Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine demonstrated that with regular mindfulness practices, the electrical brain activity shifted from right to left, “left-sided anterior activation,” indicating a transition to more positive emotional states. A 2013 study from Harvard University and Northeastern University researchers published in the Journal of Psychological Science showed that meditation can also improve compassion.
3. The practice can help to improve memory and cognitive function
A recent UCLA study published in late 2014 concluded that a comprehensive approach to preventing and treating mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease was effective in improving memory and cognitive function in participants. The comprehensive protocol included teaching participants how to meditate twice a day.
4. The practice supports a stronger immune system
Dr. Richie Davidson, from the Center For Investigating Healthy Minds concluded in a study in 2003 that a mindfulness training program resulted in participants developing a stronger immune response when challenged with the flu injection.
5. Protection against age-related DNA damage
A groundbreaking study by Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD explored the effects of mindfulness meditation on an enzyme in the body called telomerase, which functions to protect DNA from age and stress-related damage. Telomerase was increased in the group of regular meditators, suggesting that meditation can protect the cells from age-related damage.
6. Meditation can help alleviate anxiety and depression
Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, a psychiatrist at the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital and an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, says that mindfulness meditation makes perfect sense for treating anxiety. “People with anxiety have a problem dealing with distracting thoughts that have too much power,” she explains. “They can’t distinguish between a problem-solving thought and a nagging worry that has no benefit.”
A rigorous study by Teasdale and Segal revealed that mindfulness meditation could reduce the rate of relapse of depression by up to 44% in people who had suffered previous episodes. This effect was comparable with staying on a maintenance dose of anti-depressants.
So what exactly is meditation?
Meditation means to quietly rest the mind while attaining a higher state of awareness. The practice requires an inner state that is still and one-pointed so we become aware of our thoughts and slowly train the mind to observe the thoughts and rest in awareness. There is no judgment as thoughts will continue to be present. We simply begin to train the mind to rest and relax through establishing a consistent practice of one-pointed awareness.
Meditation is a science and process that follows a particular order and produces results that can be verified. Let go of anymyths you may associate with meditation. It is not specific to any religion and does not involve chanting or any specific beliefs nor does it interfere with any beliefs. Learning how to practice meditation will simply have a positive impact on your health and overall well-being.
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