“A Little Meditation Goes a Long Way: A new study offers the strongest evidence to date that meditation can change the structure of your brain”
By Jason Marsh, February 9, 2011, as published online in the “Greater Good” newsletter through the University of California, Berkeley.
This article describes the results of a neuroimaging study that looked at participants of the 8 week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. Participants reported meditating for 30 min. per day on average. Neuroimaging found that the amount of gray matter thickened after 8 weeks of meditating in a number of regions including the hippocampus (involved in memory, learning, and emotion regulation), the temporo-parietal junction and posterior cingulate cortex (involved in empathy), and the cerebellum (which also plays a role in emotion regulation).
The article also points out that exercise can also increase the volume of the hippocampus. They reference a study that was done that compared two groups of 60-somethings. One group walked around the track three times per week for a year and the other group was less physically active. In the walking group the hippocampus increased in volume and in the non-walking group it became smaller.
Walking mediation anyone?