Several studies have been conducted on the effect of meditation on the brain.
Researchers at UCLA report that a simple meditation programme lasting 8 weeks can reduce feelings of loneliness in older adults. In the online edition of the journal Brain, Behavior and immunity Professor Steve Cole reports that an eight week programme consisting of a single day retreat, a weekly two hour session where the participants learned the techniques of mindfulness, and thirty minutes of meditation at home each day had significant effects on the participants.
In another study by cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato at Leiden University, the study revealed that particular types of meditation have effects which extend beyond that of simply relaxing. The meditation techniques used for the study were Open Monitoring (where the person is open to all thoughts and sensations without any particular focuses) and Focused Attention (where the person focuses on a particular thought or object). The finding of the study were that not all kinds of meditation have the same effect, with some type of meditation promoting creative thinking that can have long lasting effects.
In another study published in the November issue of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience , researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston University also found that different types of meditation can have effect on someone’s brain functions even when they are not meditating.
These finding are probably no surprise to those who have meditated for a long time and are well aware of the benefits associated with regular mediation. It is interesting that the scientific community is starting to pay more attention to the more traditional methods (some of which have been around for a very, very long time) of how us humans seem instinctively know what is good for us.
Perhaps if meditation skills (as well as many more natural approaches to humanity and wellbeing) were part of our education system, it may make the world a much better place to live in.