A long-term study on the brain of a Buddhist monk shows promising results and may encourage you to start meditating.
Studies have shown that meditation is especially useful when it comes to reducing stress, and can have positive effects on your;
- Executive function, eg. Memory, self-control and flexible thinking
- Processing speed
- Overall cognition
Findings published by a team from the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin is the first of its kind. Examining the brain of the Buddhist monk and long time meditator, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, 41, over many years. Comparing those results with the scans from a control group of people who do not meditate.
Rinpoche has practiced meditation almost every day of his life. During the study, his brain was examined 4 times over 18 years. The control group for this study was 105 adults from Madison, Wisconsin that did not meditate.
The results showed that he had the brain scans of an average 33-year-old. Suggesting that meditating daily slowed aging in his brain, by eight years as compared to those who did not meditate. “This raises the possibility that meditation practice may slow the rate with which the brain ages,” said Professor Richard Davidson, of Psychology and Psychiatry, who started the research. “This could have important implications for brain-related diseases of aging such as Alzheimer’s Disease.”
“What I found, while discussing this with scientists, there is a lot of insight and discovery. But there’s not much about how to apply this in your everyday life,” says Rinpoche. “In Buddhism, we have a lot of application practice. How to work with perception. How you perceive the world. How you perceive yourself. How you perceive others. These can affect your entire life. I hope that in the future, whatever discoveries and knowledge can also help people’s lives. Linking practices and scientific discoveries together might be very beneficial.”