Neuroscientist Sara Lazar from Harvard Medical School has published research that flouts the commonly held belief that the human brain shrinks with age. Her research shows that when people meditate frequently, the area of the brain responsible for executive decision making and memory does not change over the decades.
The study concluded that 27 minutes of meditation each day for eight weeks can create positive, measurable changes in the brain.
The link between high stress levels and physical signs of ageing has long been accepted by science, with patients who have higher stress levels also finding it more difficult to recover from surgery, experiencing delayed healing and poorer immune defences to infection. From yoga through to tai chi and other more unstructured forms of relaxation techniques, there are numerous benefits of meditation, including better decision making, lower blood pressure and improved mental health. Best of all, it doesn’t require expensive gym memberships or equipment - and can be done literally anywhere.
And it’s never too late. Dr Lazar’s research showed that when non-meditators began mediating daily, their grey matter actually grew. That’s as good a reason as any to tap into your inner yogi.
Watch Dr Lazar’s TEDx presentation about meditation and stress here: