Test subjects participated in an 8 week mindfulness meditation program and for the first time massive changes inside the brain’s gray matter were documented. According to Sara Lazar, changes in brain structure may underlie some of the reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are relaxing. According to the article, participants spent an average of 27 minutes per day practicing mindfulness exercises and this produced an increase in gray matter density in the hippocampus (an area associated with introspection, self-awareness, and compassion). “Participant-reported reductions in stress also were correlated with decreased gray-matter density in the amygdala, which is known to play an important role in anxiety and stress. None of these changes were seen in the control group, indicating that they had not resulted merely from the passage of time.” Read article
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