JUN 24, 2017 5:48 PM PDT

The Science of Meditation


Ommmmm........ommm.....ommmm....Am I relaxed yet? Remember to put green beans on the grocery list. Oh, and pick up the dry cleaning. Stop thinking thoughts! Focus on your breathing. Ommm....is this even working?

As hard as it can be to calm your mind during meditation, even Western science recognizes the benefits that it has for your body and general health. Brain scans have shown that when meditating there is increased activity in regions of the brain related with decreased anxiety and depression, along with increased pain tolerance, memory, self-awareness, and goal-setting. Experienced meditators have also been seen to exhibit different brain waves, with higher levels of alpha waves that are known to be responsible for decreasing feelings of negative mood, tension, sadness, and anger. Furthermore, meditating can even change the size and shape of your brain! People tested after an 8 week meditation program were seen to have increased gray matter in their brains in regions relating to learning, memory, and emotion, while the amygdala, which deals with fear, stress, and blood pressure, had decreased in gray matter.

Meditating can even go so far as to increase your immune system, allowing you to fight back faster and more efficiently against viruses by producing more antibodies. There is even evidence that meditating can lengthen telomeres in your cells, the shortening of which is responsible for some cardiovascular diseases and cancers! So what's the take away from this? Keep breathing and find your om!
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
DEC 10, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 10, 2019
The Real Reason Why Flamingos Are Pink
Flamingos are highly discernable birds best known for their bright pink appearance and long, thin legs. But have you ever wondered why these birds are the...
DEC 15, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 15, 2019
Eagle vs. Octopus
The animal food chain is somewhat straightforward, with larger animals often hunting smaller animals in an attempt to ensure their own survival. Unfortunat...
DEC 29, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 29, 2019
Anthills Are Just the Tip of the Iceberg
At first glance, an anthill looks like a small pile of sand on the Earth with a tiny hole in the top that ants crawl into to evade danger, but they’r...
JAN 02, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JAN 02, 2020
Mushroom Chemistry: Pick Your Poison, or Not
Consuming wild mushrooms is largely frowned upon because it can lead to food poisoning. Its consequence ranges from vomiting and diarrhea to death within d...
FEB 04, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 04, 2020
What Are NASA's 'Great Observatories?'
NASA recently retired its Spitzer Space Telescope, one of four specialized space-based observatories that together made up the American Space Agency’...
FEB 10, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 10, 2020
Mudskippers Aren't Like Most Fish...
Most fish spend almost all of their lives in a body of water, be it the ocean or some smaller lake or stream. Mudskippers, on the other hand, are a unique...
Loading Comments...