For years, many entrepreneurs have been relentlessly touting the benefits of mindfulness meditation, from a younger brain to better decision-making. So why haven't you started yet?
Is it because you think it would be hard to start? If so, science says no.
If you think you're too busy for a meditation practice, sorry, that doesn't fly either.
And how about if you think it's just too much of a commitment. Maybe you're under the impression it takes years of disciplined practice to start to see results.
If that's your worry, the latest research should reassure you. According to a new meta-analysis of all the existing studies on the subject, simple mindfulness meditation has profound, physical effects on the brain in only eight short weeks.
Just two months to a better brain?
The new analysis, recently published in Brain and Cognition and highlighted on the British Psychological Society Research Digest blog, examined the results of 30 previous studies that used MRI brain scans to measure the physical changes meditation causes in the brain. For those looking for a relatively deep dive into the neuroscience, here's what the researchers uncovered, according to BPS:
Associated brain changes, in terms of activity levels and volume and connectivity changes, have been reported in the prefrontal cortex (a region associated with conscious decision making and emotional regulation and other functions), the insula (which represents internal body states among other things), the cingulate cortex (decision making), the hippocampus (memory) and the amygdala (emotion).
All of which is fascinating. But what do those changes boil down to in terms of noticeable shifts in brain performance? "Based on what we know about the function of these brain regions, [lead author Rinske] Gotink's team said these changes appear to be consistent with the idea that mindfulness helps your brain regulate your emotions," sums up the BPS post.
While the exact interpretation of any particular brain change is always open to scientific debate, these results strongly suggest that just two months of meditation is enough to rewire your brain in ways that could encourage greater focus, emotional control, and thoughtful decision making.
So, in short, no, it doesn't take forever for meditation to make a measurable difference in your brain, and most likely in your behavior either.
What's stopping you from trying out mindfulness meditation?
Published on: Oct 28, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
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