(NaturalNews) A team of researchers from China and the University of Oregon have developed an approach for neuroscientists to study how meditation can improve a person's attention and response to stress.
The study, done in China, randomly assigned college undergraduate students to 40-person experimental and control groups. The experimental group received five days of meditation training. The control group got five days of relaxation training. Both groups took tests that assessed their attention and reaction to mental stress before and after their training.
The experimental group showed greater improvement than the control to dealing with stress. Stress was induced by mental arithmetic. Both groups initially showed elevated release of the stress hormone cortisol following the math task, but after training, the experimental group showed less cortisol release, indicating a greater ability to cope with stress. The experimental group also showed lower levels of anxiety, depression, anger and fatigue than the control group.
And the study was only for five days. Imagine people who have been meditating for many years.Meditation Changes the Brain
The brain waves of meditators show they are healthier. Neuroscientists have found that meditators shift their brain activity to different areas of the cortex, for example brain waves in the stress-prone right frontal cortex move to the calmer left frontal cortex. This mental shift decreases the negative effects of stress, depression and anxiety. There is also less activity in the amygdala, where the brain processes fear.Other Benefits of meditation include:Health Benefits
Numerous studies have shown that meditation has health benefits, generally related to the decrease in stress that occurs through meditation. Lower blood pressure, decreased risk for heart disease, and chronic pain relief are some of the health benefits of meditation.Control Your Own Thoughts
Most people are victims of their own thoughts, and have no means to control what goes on in their minds. Regular meditation leads to the ability to control our thoughts, and even the ability to stop them completely. This creates peace of mind
and enables us to achieve what we want to.Detachment
When our minds are in control, certain things, even little things annoy and irritate us. The only effective solution is to develop detachment and keep things in perspective. A powerful benefit of meditation is that it helps us to gain a broader perspective and detach ourselves from what is insignificant so that we experience equanimity under any circumstance.Happiness and Peace of Mind
Meditation offers peace of mind and takes us to the source of happiness. If our minds are all over the place, then we are constantly being attacked by limited patterns of thinking. If we can meditate with a still mind, we will discover a deep and peaceful happiness.Concentration
Meditation helps people to build concentration. Whether through work, sport or music, concentration is essential to achieve our best. When we are able to focus on one thing at a time, we become far more powerful, and our energy does not have to cut through many different layers of thinking and distraction.Spontaneity and Creativity
When we live in the thinking mind, we are usually preoccupied with the past or future. If we can learn to silence the mind, we can realize that anything is possible, and our creativity and spontaneity in life can come alive.Discovering Your Life Purpose
Many people feel that there is something missing. They may have relationships, children, a good job etc, and still something feels missing. Usually we look for meaning in life in the outside world. However, everything we need is right here inside. In meditation we gain a new perspective of life, without being filtered through our ego. Meditation can become a lifelong process of answering the eternal question: "Who am I?"
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