Let’s learn how to calm ourselves; to become the children of God we are meant to be. Whether you use Centering Prayer like I do or meditation or yoga practices, the science is indisputable: We can literally change our minds - for the better. “Thanks to what we know about the science of neuroplasticity - the brain's way of reshaping itself to adapt and grow – Sarah Lazar and her team have shown that the practice of meditating - or quieting the mind - is not a passive act, even if it does involve sitting silently with eyes closed. On the contrary, it's an extremely active endeavor. Meditation significantly alters the regions of the brain associated with stress, overall well-being, and fluid intelligence.
To gain more clarity about meditation's precise effects on the brain, the team delved deeper, attempting to determine whether meditation could alter the brains of subjects who had never meditated. In doing so, they chose to employ Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), an eight-week meditation program, and use it with first-time meditators. Participants, age 25-50, who indicated feeling "stressed" and were in relatively good health, were invited to join the study. Study subjects also had to be free from anxiety and depression and not on any kind of medication, which Lazar explained could skew the study since drugs of all kinds have the potential to affect the brain. As the study got underway, subjects were tasked with completing a questionnaire designed to gather self-reporting on stress levels and general well-being. Next, the subjects were given MRIs that were used for baselining. After half the group completed the eight-week meditation course, those individuals were tasked with completing the same questionnaire and then scanned a second time.
By comparing the subjects' reports with their brain scans, the team observed that participants were feeling less stressed while also expressing feelings of a greater sense of well-being - all that in just eight weeks.
More important for the study, their brain scans reflected the emotional shift. Reports of lower stress levels correlated with reduction in the amygdala, the brain's center of fear and anxiety. (At the time of Lazar's study, it was already well known that the amygdala fluctuates in size, growing larger when exposed to stress hormones.) Lazar's team also showed that a greater sense of well-being correlated with growth in the brain stem, which is where the so-called "mood molecules," dopamine and serotonin, are produced.” ~ see more at http://www.hngn.com/articles/61275/20150116/meditation-changes-brain-s-wiring-mindset-harvard-studies-show-feature.htm
Know you are blessed,