MEDITATION CAN HELP CONCENTRATION, ALERTNESS, shrinkage

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by victoria, Dec 3, 2005.

  1. victoria

    victoria New Member

    Parts of an article from USA Today about unexpected benefits from meditation:
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    Say 'OMMMM': Meditation may aid in brain function
    By Kathleen Fackelmann, USA TODAY

    WASHINGTON — The ancient practice of meditation may change the brain in a way that helps boost attention, according to studies out Sunday at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.

    Buddhist monks have been saying for years that meditation helps increase attention and concentration. The new findings now offer some support for the notion.

    Sara Lazar of Harvard Medical School studied Westerners who meditated for about 20 minutes every day but didn't necessarily believe in the tenets of Buddhism. Lazar and colleagues used MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to look at brain parts involved in memory and attention. She found that meditators had increased thickness in those regions.

    Those areas shrink as people get older, but this study found that older meditators were able to ward off some of that shrinkage. That finding is preliminary but suggests that a regular meditation practice might help people maintain their ability to remember and focus on details, Lazar says.

    .......... Another study suggests meditation boosts performance on tests that measure attention. Bruce O'Hara at the U. of Kentucky and colleagues wanted to see how meditation might affect the ability to attend to a boring task during the mid-afternoon, a time when attention often flags.

    He found that 10 people taught to meditate for 40 minutes did better on a test of attention compared with their own performance after reading for 40 minutes.

    Too little sleep can impair performance on such tests, so the group repeated the experiment after subjects had lost a night's sleep. Meditation improved their performance even then, a finding that suggests that meditation might give the sleepy brain an edge.

    In a study of mostly Buddhist monks, Richard Davidson at the U. of Wisconsin found meditation produced a jump in brain waves associated with vigilance. His study also found meditation activated brain regions involved in attention.

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    Hmmm, it would be interesting to see what would happen with a study of this type on our population with brain fog...

    I think I'm going to go back to meditating!

    Especially after watching my poor 88 yo MIL these days... used to be sharp as anything but doesn't now remember hardly anything, altho she is good at acting like she does.

    food for thought!

    Victoria
    [This Message was Edited on 12/03/2005]
  2. Kacjac

    Kacjac New Member

    How do I learn how to do this?
    How do I get started?
    TIA for any info...:)
  3. vickiw

    vickiw Member

    I meditate once or twice each day and find it invaluable. I started in the last 3 months or so.

    I didn't know where to start either, so I ordered a few guided meditation CD's that walk you through relaxation and meditation exercises. They were a huge help. I searched on Amazon and B&N. They each have some that you can listen to samples in order to help make a decision on which is right for you. The consumer reviews are somewhat helpful too.

    Vicki
  4. victoria

    victoria New Member

    there's a book written quite a while ago by Herbert Benson, MD called 'The Relaxation Response" that explains how to do it easily...

    essentially the same as what I was taught to do when I learned Transcendental Meditation (except the book only costs a few dollars instead of hundreds):

    Find a meaningless one or 2-syllable word (could even be the word one) and just repeat it silently with eyes closed and sitting in comfortable position; when you notice you are thinking about or paying attention to something else, just go back to saying the "word."

    You can open your eyes to check the time, the aim usually is for 20 minute session. Usually after a week or so you will find that the time goes by quickly and you don't realize you've been in an altered state of non-thinking.........

    Hope this helps,
    Victoria