Meditation provides calm that lasts

Meditation provides calm that lasts

Mediation provides calm that lasts.

Meditation has been known for a long time as an excellent way to relieve stress  and calm the soul. But can it help our emotional responses to the negative things that happen to us daily?

  • A  study shows that after two months of daily meditation, emotional responses to negative images were moderated. The researchers also discovered different results depending on the type of meditation that was performed. “The two different types of meditation training our study participants completed yielded some differences in the response of the amygdala. – A part of the brain known for decades to be important for emotion to images with emotional content,” said lead author Gaëlle Desbordes, Ph.D.
  • This is the first time that meditation training has been shown to affect emotional processing in the brain outside of a meditative state.”

Brain studies that were done in the past showed that meditation decreased the activity of the amygdala, which is the part of brain that is highly involved in moderating emotions and memories. However these results only occurred during mediation.

The objective of the new study was to test if the same lowering in activity of the amygdala would occur after meditation. This study was done using “function magnetic resonance imaging” or fMRI.

  • The study:
  • This study was done by scientists from the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston University, and a couple of other facilities.
  • They focused on two types of meditation:
  • Mindful attention meditation
  • Compassion meditation
  • The Results:
  • The people who participated showed reduction in amygdala activity to negative images, even after mediation was over. In the mindful attention group, there was less activity to all images in the right amygdala, and in the compassion meditation group, right amygdala activity increased in response to positive or neutral images.  Dr. Desbordes concluded that meditation is useful for those who wish to control their emotions: “Overall, these results are consistent with the overarching hypothesis that meditation may result in enduring, beneficial changes in brain function, especially in the area of emotional processing.”

 

  • SOURCES:
  • Desbordes G, Negi LT, Pace TW, Wallace BA, Raison CL, Schwartz EL. Effects of mindful-attention and compassion meditation training on amygdala response to emotional stimuli in an ordinary, non-meditative state. Front Hum Neurosci. 2012;6:292. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00292. Epub 2012 Nov 1.
  • Lee TM, Leung MK, Hou WK, Tang JC, Yin J, So KF, Lee CF, Chan CC. Distinct neural activity associated with focused-attention meditation and loving-kindness meditation. PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e40054. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0040054. Epub 2012 Aug 15.
  • Lutz A, Brefczynski-Lewis J, Johnstone T, Davidson RJ. Regulation of the neural circuitry of emotion by compassion meditation: effects of meditative expertise. PLoS One. 2008 Mar 26;3(3):e1897.
  • Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Meditation appears to produce enduring changes in emotional processing in the brain. November 12, 2012. Accessed at http://www.massgeneral.org/about/pressrelease.aspx?id=1520
  • Taylor VA, Grant J, Daneault V, Scavone G, Breton E, Roffe-Vidal S, Courtemanche J, Lavarenne AS, Beauregard M. Impact of mindfulness on the neural responses to emotional pictures in experienced and beginner meditators. Neuroimage. 2011 Aug 15;57(4):1524-33. Epub 2011 Jun 12.
  • Note: None of the information in our website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. The content on our website is for educational purposes only.

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