Grow Your Brain

It appears that the western world has just discovered the benefits of mindfulness!  For the last several of weeks my email inbox has been happily flooded with links to various articles singing the praises of mindfulness meditation training...I love this!!!  But what, you may ask, has fueled this sudden interest in mindfulness, and its ancient roots in eastern meditation practices?  Neuroimaging.  Yes, evidence-based biomedical research has finally caught up to our observational, and albeit anecdotal, research that has long suggested a positive psychosocial and physical benefit to mindfulness training. 

A new study, based on MRI scans of participants' brains pre and post an 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) revealed structural changes, an increase of 1-3%, in the grey matter of the brain.  These changes were most significant in the areas responsible for learning, memory and emotional regulation.  Earlier studies have suggested an increase in brain activity/function in areas of the brain associated with positive emotion, optimism and focus.  Very powerful evidence that we have much more control than we imagine in growing and changing our brain and emotions.  Here is a link to an article which appeared this week, "Brain Gain" by Deborah Kotz in the Boston Globe

What are your experiences with mindfulness?  Do you need a refresher or are you interested in learning mindfulness skills?  I invite you to take a look at my website, Stress Resources, for ways to grow your brain and integrate mindfulness into your life.  I look forward to hearing from you and growing our brains together.