One of my favorite topics is covered in this below article. Brain neuroplasticity. We are not stuck with what we have!!
Push-ups, crunches, gyms, personal trainers — people have many strategies for building bigger muscles and stronger bones. But what can one do to build a bigger brain?
That’s the finding from a group of researchers at UCLA who used high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to scan the brains of people who meditate. In a study published in the journal NeuroImage and currently available online (by subscription), the researchers report that certain regions in the brains of long-term meditators were larger than in a similar control group.
Specifically, meditators showed significantly larger volumes of the hippocampus and areas within the orbito-frontal cortex, the thalamus and the inferior temporal gyrus — all regions known for regulating emotions.
“We know that people who consistently meditate have a singular ability to cultivate positive emotions, retain emotional stability and engage in mindful behavior,” said Eileen Luders, lead author and a postdoctoral research fellow at the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging. “The observed differences in brain anatomy might give us a clue why meditators have these exceptional abilities.”
Research has confirmed the beneficial aspects of meditation. In addition to having better focus and control over their emotions, many people who meditate regularly have reduced levels of stress and bolstered immune systems. But less is known about the link between meditation and brain structure.
Once you get to the point where you feel joy, it does not seem to be a chore. It might be the only time in that day where you have joy, where you develop the HABIT of joy. I sit, whether I have time or not. I do it first thing in the morning, to make sure I make no excuses later on. Second most important thing is exercise. I do that next. That is also a habit. I am meditating about one hour per day. I am disabled from work, and may just as well meditate one hour or more.
There is something really big to say about meditation. It centers us and probably has untold benefits for all kinds of emotional/mental problems. I wish I was more disciplined to be able to do it more. I should do it a good deal more. I would probably be much better off if I did.
I notice a huge difference on days when I don’t take time to meditate, versus days when I do….
The days I do, I feel much more peace. For me, that’s what I’m really searching for – underneath all of it, is a search for peace inside.
Soundtrack: Plasticities/Andrew Bird! Love Neuroplasticity…wondering how these researchers address similarities between ‘meditation’ and ‘catatonia’?