Research on meditation and the brain have already been quickly expanding since a few years ago, with new ones appearing nearly weekly and highlighting various benefits of meditation.

The practice appears to give an incredible array of neurological benefits, from improvements in grey matter thickness to lower activity in the brain's "me" regions to increased communication between brain areas. Meditation does, in truth, affect our most important organ in ways that can be measured.

Of course, if the psychological effects weren't also shown, doubters could question how useful a few brain changes would be. Fortunately, science backs up those assertions as well, demonstrating that meditation’s effects on our brains include reducing anxiety and hopelessness, boosting concentration and attention, and generally promoting psychological wellness.

Read on as we explore some of meditation’s effects on our brains.

Helps Preserve the Aging Brain

According to UCLA research published, a larger number of meditators who practiced it long-term reflected better-maintained brains than non-meditators as they aged. A larger grey matter volume was found across the brains of participants who had been meditating for an average of 20 years. Although senior meditators still had some volume loss as compared to those who were younger, it wasn't as severe as in non-meditators. It was shown that practicing meditation has a broad impact on many parts of the entire brain.

Reduces Activity in The Brain’s “Me Center"

The default mode network (DMN) is the network in the brain that is in charge of daydreaming and thinking that is self-referential. It is therefore known as the “monkey mind”. At Yale University, one of the more intriguing recent research found that practicing mindfulness meditation lowers activity in the DMN.

Since mind-wandering is typically associated with sadness, brooding, and worrying about the past and the future, many people seek to reduce it. Studies have shown that meditation appears to achieve this through calming the DMN. Therefore, even when their minds do start to stray, meditators are better at snapping back out of their thoughts because of the new connections that arise.

Its Effects Rival Antidepressants for Depression and Anxiety

Review research conducted at Johns Hopkins examined the connection between mindfulness meditation and its capacity to lessen the signs of pain, anxiety, and sadness.

Different meditation schools take a different approach to this since meditation is an active training of the mind to develop awareness. Although there is no cure-all for depression and anxiety, meditation is one of the methods that can help manage symptoms.

Lead to Volume Changes in Key Areas of the Brain

The brain's architecture can truly alter as a result of mindfulness meditation. The hippocampus, which controls learning and memory, as well as several regions of the brain that are involved in emotion regulation and self-referential processing, showed increased cortical thickness after eight weeks of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).

The amygdala, which regulates stress, anxiety, and fear, also had cell volume declines. These modifications were connected with the individuals' self-reported levels of stress, proving that meditation affects not only the brain but also our moods and subjective perception.