Meditation has been proven to have a positive effect on the brain, with studies showing that it can thicken the prefrontal cortex. This area of the brain is responsible for higher-order functions such as awareness, concentration, and decision-making. Neuroscientists at Mass General and Harvard Medical School have conducted research on the effects of meditation on the brain and have found some incredible results. One study compared long-term meditators to a regular control group and found that meditators had increased gray matter in several areas of the brain, including the auditory and sensory cortex.
Clinical trials have also shown that mindfulness meditation can reduce chronic pain by up to 90 percent. Two brain regions were larger in meditators than in non-meditators, while non-meditators showed no advantage in any region of the brain. In addition to these amazing benefits, meditation is easy to do and can be done right away. This means that the more you meditate, the faster and more efficient your brain will be at processing information, which can be especially useful when you need to think quickly.
The prefrontal cortex is associated with attention, planning, higher-order processing, and organization. Long-term meditators have been shown to have a greater amount of gyrification compared to those who don't practice meditation. Neurons are cells that process information in the brain and connect to create neural pathways which are responsible for thoughts, feelings, and actions.
A study conducted at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte tested the effects of meditation on verbal fluency in sixty-three students with no prior experience in meditation.
The results showed that there was a significant improvement in verbal fluency in those who practiced mindfulness meditation compared to those who did not. Another study confirmed that after an eight-week course of mindfulness practice, the brain's “fight or flight” center, the amygdala, shrinks. This is possible because the auditory cortices are located in different cerebral hemispheres and have to work together to decode the 40 Hz binaural signal you hear on Synctuition trips. Different meditation styles can be tried to find one that works best for you and fits your lifestyle. Regular meditation has been shown to significantly improve brain function and mood in fifteen different ways.
Meditators performed significantly better than non-meditators in a study which tested cognitive flexibility. While mindfulness meditation can cause incredible changes in the brain and perspective, this doesn't happen overnight and isn't a panacea. However, there are some key areas such as depression, chronic pain, and anxiety where well-designed studies have demonstrated benefits for patients participating in a mindfulness meditation program with effects similar to those of other existing treatments.