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How Meditation Can Reshape Our Brains: Sara Lazar at TEDxCambridge 2011 - YouTube
Sara Lazar: "How Meditation Can Reshape Our Brains"
So I went to the yoga class and I really enjoyed it, except when the teacher would make all sorts of claims, you know, all sorts of medical claims, but also claims about, oh, yes, it will help you... You'll increase your compassion and open your heart…
But what was interesting was that after a couple of weeks I started noticing some of these changes, I started noticing that I was calmer and I was better able to handle difficult situations, and indeed, I was feeling more compassionate and open-hearted towards other people, and I was better able to see things from other people's point of view.
Is there any research on this?
And lo and behold, there was quite a bit showing both yoga and meditation are extremely effective for decreasing stress they're also very good for reducing symptoms associated with numerous diseases including depression, anxiety, pain, and insomnia.
So, we know that whenever you engage in a behavior over and over again, this can lead to changes in your brain (#neuroplasticity)
This means that:
your brain is plastic and that the neurons can change how they talk to each other with experience.
They took people who had never ever juggled before, and they scanned them, and then they taught them how to juggle, and they said, "Keep practicing for three months." And they brought them back after three months, and they scanned them the second time, and they found that they can actually detect with the MRI machine changes in the amount of Grey matter in the brain of these people in areas that are important for detecting visual motion.
We recruited a bunch of people (not monks or meditation teachers), who on average practice meditation about 30-40 minutes a day, and we put them in a scanner, and we compared them to a group of people who were demographically matched, but who don't meditate.
There were indeed several regions of the brain that had more Grey matter in the meditators compared to the controls. …in the front of the brain, the area that's important for #working_memory and #executive_decision making.`
#fact as we get older, not just there, but across most of our cortex, it actually shrinks… it's harder to figure things out and to remember things.
in this one region, the 50 year old meditators had the same amount of cortex as the 25 year olds
…in this one region, the 50 year old meditators had the same amount of cortex as the 25 year olds
"Maybe they were just like that before they started practicing, right?"
"A lot of them were vegetarian, so maybe it had something to do with their diet, or something else with their lifestyle, you know."
we took people who had never meditated before, and we put them in the scanner, and then we put them through an eight-week meditation-based stress reduction program where they were told to meditate every day for 30 to 40 minutes. And then we scanned them again at the end of the eight week.
…in the hippocampus (area important for learning and memory, and also for emotion regulation) there was less Grey matter in this region in people who had depression and PTSD.
…the temporo-parietal junction which is above your ear (important for perspective taking and empathy and compassion) was identified too.
…in the amygdala (fight or flight region) we actually found a decrease in gray matter. Actually the more stress reduction people reported, the smaller the amygdala became.
They took rodents who were just happy, normal rodents, and they had them in their cage, and they measured their amygdala, and then they put them through a ten-day stress regimen.
And they measured their amygdala, and it grew. #opposite
…with the humans nothing has changed with their environment. They still had their stressful jobs, problems, and the economy still sucked, but their amygdala got smaller, and they were reporting less stress. So the change in the amygdala is not responding to the change in the environment.
meditation can literally change your brain.
23 ideas connected
Neuroscientist Sara Lazar's amazing brain scans show meditation can actually change the size of key regions of our brain, improving our memory and making us ...