Category: Facts

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT MIND AND MINDFULNESS

Mindfulness is no longer an unfamiliar term. An increasing number of people have adopted this practice for better health, a better mind, and eventually a better life. Mindful meditation has surely got huge popularity over the years and is recommended by many. But do you know that there are a lot of proven scientific facts about mindfulness which has contributed to its popularity? Some of these facts are listed below-

Top 10 facts about Guided Meditation

  • Fact 1: After an eight-week course of mindfulness, the Amygdala part of the brain that is responsible for initiating a response to stress seems to contract. As this part of the brain shrinks, the another part which is the pre-frontal cortex becomes thicker. This part of the brain is responsible for higher-order brain functions such as concertation, decision-making, awareness etc. This has been proved by MRI scans.

Note: If you stay too stressed in life or find it difficult to make decisions, start practicing mindfulness today.

  • Fact 2: On an average, a human brain experiences 70,000 events each day.

Note: If you keep getting frustrated about your mind wandering around, then stay calm because it is a natural thing for humans.

  • Fact 3: Our mind has the ability to process 126 pieces of information each second.

Note: Out of these 126 pieces, most of the pieces are of sensory information which may or may not obstruct us.

  • Fact 4: Mindful meditation is found to help practitioners perform better in divergent thinking and also enable their mind to generate an increased number of new ideas. In other words, practicing mindfulness regularly gives a boost to creative thinking. It has been proved by a study conducted by a few researchers at Leiden University.

Note:  There are different types of meditation techniques but not all promote creative thinking. So, to polish your creative side of the brain, make sure to practice mindfulness daily.

  • Fact 5: The practice of mindfulness has increased drastically over the years and 20 fold since the start of this millennium. It has become very popular in schools, rehabilitation centers, treatment centers and even research labs all over the world.

Note: Mindful meditation can bring positive results to both your mental as well as physical well-being.

  • Fact 6: Practicing guided meditation and other relaxation exercises regularly for a long time results in an increased amount of active genes. These genes help the body to fight serious diseases and disorders like autism, cancer, insomnia etc.

Note: Mindfulness is a medicine without any dangerous side effects. In many cases, it is found to be as effective as drug treatments.

  • Fact 7: Our brain does not have the ability to concentrate regularly for a longer time. The best it can do is to focus continuously for about 90 minutes or so and then one has to take a short break to clear the head.

Note: Do not pressurize your brain to work on something continuously for more than one and half hours. Take short breaks in between which are absolutely needed for effective results.

  • Fact 8: According to recent findings, regular practice of mindfulness can rewire the circuitry of your brain and help you learn and remember things. There is physical evidence obtained from MRI scans which prove that regular practice of mindful meditation increases gray matter in the hippocampus. This part of your brain is associated with your learning and memory powers.

Note: Practice mindfulness daily for at least 10-15 minutes and enhance abilities to learn and remember things. It can also help students in improving their grades.

  • Fact 9: For a long time, scientists believed that brain is the only part of your body which does not generate any new cells. But this was proved wrong by various researches done on mindfulness. It was proved that with regular practice of mindful meditation, the brain produces new cells which help people to fight their stress and helps them live a happy life.
  • Fact 10: Regular practice of mindful meditation helps people develop a positive and healthy outlook towards their life. This has been proven by various studies and researches conducted by scientists and health experts.

5 Interesting Facts About Meditation

1. It makes your brain plastic.

Plastic meaning that our brain can change.  That means our brain’s potential is not set at birth — we can actually strengthen and improve our brains in ways once science said is impossible. When we train our mind to focus  we are happy. Keeping your attention focused on the present, accepting the moment without judgment, has been studied extensively for its infusion of positive psychological benefits. Many scientists are now saying, focusing our awareness is where we find our true happiness. Understanding that the mind and body are one entity and that the energetic quality of the mind is the essence of life, focusing our awareness through meditation is a practical strategy for health, happiness and transformation.

2. Increases your brains gray matter.

One way of measuring brain-change is looking at the distribution of Gray Matter Volume, which plays an important role in mental health, behavior and cognitive functions.  A 2005 study on American men and women who meditated a mere 40 minutes a day showed that their brains displayed thicker cortical walls than non-meditators. What this could possibly mean is that their brains were aging at a slower rate. Cortical thickness is also associated with decision making, attention and memory.

3. Protects your DNA.

Telomeres are the protective caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protects our chromosomes.  They are likened to the plastic tips at the end of our shoelaces. “Telomere length represents our biological age as opposed to our chronological age”. Longer telomeres mean that you’re also likely to live longer. Research done by the University of California, Davis’ Shamatha Project has shown that meditators have significantly higher telomerase activity that non-meditators. Telomerase an enzyme that builds telomeres.

It appears that the more telomerase activity one has, means stronger and longer telomeres. So what you may say?  We know that telomeres shorten over time naturally, and shorter length is linked a number of chronic illnesses, so increasing telomere length is thought to indicate healthier aging.3. Protects your DNA.

4.Improves Immune Function.

Rudolph Tanzi, who holds positions both at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital, stated that “Meditation is one of the ways to engage in restorative activities that may provide relief for our immune systems, easing the day-to-day stress of a body constantly trying to protect itself”. This suggested that meditation  isn’t strictly psychological; but contains a clear and quantifiable change in how our bodies function.

Meditation helps with HIV & AIDS

One type of T-cell, called CD4, gets destroyed by HIV, a virus that causes damage to the immune system leading to AIDS. With more than 40 million cases worldwide, AIDS needs no further introduction.

An 8 week UCLA study found that, for 50 HIV positive men, only 30-45 minutes of mindfulness meditation per day stopped the decline of CD4 T cells, dramatically slowing down the decline of CD4 destruction and in turn the  progression of the virus.

Moreover, the researchers found that the more one engaged in the practice the the higher the CD4 T cells at the study’s conclusion. So the more meditation you do, the more T cells you have, the the stronger you immune system will be to fight off invaders.

5. Helps with Pain Control

In 1991, doctors wrote 76 million prescriptions for opioids to treat pain. By 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written for opioids and about 300 million pain prescriptions in 2015.

Unfortunately, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) report, 40 to 70% of people with chronic pain aren’t actually receiving the proper medical treatment for their pain. In cases where opioids are necessary, there is concern by experts about both the over- and under- pharmacological treatment of chronic pain. Keep in mind that  80% of all opioid prescriptions worldwide are written in the United States. A study conducted in 2016 by Wake Forest Baptist University found that meditation could reduce pain intensity and pain unpleasantness. Meditation in conjunction with traditional allopathic therapies may be beneficial in helping patients reduce their dependency on opiate drugs.  It has been suggested that meditation works by reducing activity in the somatosensory cortex and increasing activity in other areas of the brain. More research is needed to draw definitive conclusions.

6 Mind Blowing Facts About Meditation

As a yoga teacher and a rookie meditator, I’ve tried to convince many others on the benefit of meditation and urged them to give it a try. Many are receptive to the idea, but many still want to see the cold, hard facts – the scientific proofs that meditation is actually good for you.

Working together with other meditation fans at BookMeditationRetreats.com, I’ve come up with these 6 facts about meditation that is certain to convince even the most skeptical among us! Read on, who knows? Maybe they’ll also make a believer out of you too!

Meditation improves your memory

A research at UCLA showed that long-term meditation increases gyrification – which refers to the folding of the cortex. More folds on the cortex create more surface area, which allows for a better ability to retain information. A separate study by the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging also showed that those who practice meditation are able to adjust their brain waves better. Meditation practitioners are able to screen out distractions faster than non-meditators, giving their brains more room to accept and retain new information.

Meditation slows down neurodegenerative diseases

A study at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center suggests a link between positive brain changes like stress reduction as a result of meditation to the slowing of the progression of age-related cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. According to the study, Alzheimer’s patients who were part of the study showed less cognitive decline after an 8-week mindfulness stress reduction program than those who didn’t take part. Instead, these patients showed higher levels of well-being.

Meditation helps to reduce blood pressure

A study at the Massachusetts General Hospital in 2008 showed that meditation was effective in lowering blood pressure because it leads to relaxation, which results in the formation of nitric oxide. This formation opens up blood vessels and reduces blood pressure. The study showed that 64% of patients who tried a meditation-based relaxation program for three months saw a significant drop in blood pressure levels and could reduce their medication.

Meditation increases your ability to multitask

In an article by Scientific American on How to Be a Better Driver, the editors suggested taking up meditation, as it increases the brain’s ability to multitask. A study by the University of Washington showed that people who practiced mindfulness meditation two hours a week for eight weeks had better focus during multitasking tests than those who didn’t. Why is this – you asked? The main reason is because meditation practice allowed them to notice interruptions and distractions without losing focus on their present task!

Meditation is an anti-aging therapy

Forget expensive face creams. If you’re looking for a free yet effective anti-aging ‘miracle’ look no other than meditation! Consider it the new anti-aging therapy! Harvard psychiatrist and researcher Dr. Elizabeth Hoge showed in her study that people who meditated daily for at least four years had longer telomeres. Telomeres are protective caps on the ends of chromosomes, and short telomeres are thought to be markers of accelerated aging. A separate study showed that those who could keep their mind focused on the present had longer telomeres than those who couldn’t. Since meditation teaches its practitioners to keep their mind focused on the present moment, it is no surprise that it could slow down the aging process!

Meditation helps to manage pain

Aside from keeping you healthy in general, meditation can also help you manage pain. A study showed that its participants’ perception of pain reduced significantly after just three 20-minute sessions of meditation! This is because meditation changes the way the mind perceives pain. It trains the brain to be present which helps its practitioners to not anticipate pain.