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Mapping meditation: Mind's anxiety-fighting power explained

Friday, August 30, 2013 by: Sandeep Godiyal
Tags: meditation, overcoming anxiety, human mind

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(NaturalNews) It's a fact that anxiety and depression affect millions worldwide. It's also true that many still pick medication over meditation for one simple reason - the latter works in a way that (seemingly) can't be explained by science. Well, that should no longer be a valid reason to avoid meditation. Scientific experts from the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center managed to discover how the mind fights inner turmoil.

To learn more about the breakthrough, just continue reading.

Clarifying the Known

Fadel Zeidan spearheaded the mind-mapping study. While he's often asked about his team's findings, he never forgets to emphasize a very important point - meditation's effectiveness against anxiety has been proven over and over again. Dozens (and even hundreds) of scientific inquiries about the mind-calming technique have already been carried out and the results were all encouraging. Zeidan and his colleagues merely wanted to find out how meditation works.

Choosing Participants

To get answers in the most accurate way, Zeidan's team studied 15 individuals. It should be pointed out though, that those volunteers weren't having severe emotional and psychological problems. In the simplest sense, they represent healthy people who still fight anxiety and depression from time to time. Here's what separates them from most - they underwent mindful-meditation training. That means they know how to focus on what happens in their bodies instead of paying too much attention to distractions.

The Detection Process

Detecting how meditation affects the brain (and the mind) was as simple as using a certain technology - Arterial Spin Labeling Magnetic Resonance Imaging. So, the question now is this: what exactly did they find out? They discovered that when a person meditates, two areas of the brain begin to show increased activity. To be a bit more specific, those regions include the Anterior Cingulate Cortex and the Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex, which are both related to emotion control.

All about the Meaning

While it's remarkable that the mind's reaction to meditation has been mapped out, one important question remains: what does it all mean? Well, the Anterior Cingulate Cortex is actually the part of the brain that controls two vital factors - logic and emotion. On the other hand, the Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex manipulates the mind's tendency to worry. Given those facts, it definitely becomes obvious that the brain has all the parts needed to fight inner turmoil.

On Other Implications

The study carried out by Zeidan and his colleagues has been assessed and accepted by the scientific community. In fact, it has already been published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience - a well-known journal. As for those not engaged in scientific endeavors, the study still has a very fascinating implication. It means that thinking more about the present and reacting to emotions in a mindful manner is among the best ways of reducing both anxiety and depression levels.

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About the author:
Sandeep has written many health field articles for both Internet and print publication. He currently writing for insurancetips4u.co.

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