Meditation Expert Dipanshu Sharma Discusses Recent Scientific Study On Meditations’ Impact on the Brain
A study published in Psychiatry Res. found that practicing mindfulness can lead to increased regional brain gray matter density, and meditation expert Dipanshu Sharma believes this is only the beginning of the tangible benefits that can be reaped from meditation and mindfulness being integrated into daily life.
The study used Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in a controlled longitudinal study to investigate changes in brain gray matter concentration after using this mindfulness technique. MRI images were taken from 16 adults before and after an eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program, compared with a control group.
After the eight weeks of mindfulness, participants had increases in gray matter concentration in the left hippocampus. Other gray matter concentration increases were seen in other parts of the brain as well, compared to the control group. The results suggest that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is associated with changes in brain regions involved in learning and memory processes, emotion regulation and perspective taking.
In addition to the mindfulness components themselves, other positive impacts of the classes may be group social interaction, stress education, and gentle stretching exercises, which are fostered in most meditation class environments, Dipanshu Sharma said.
“We now see clearly that the adult brain is capable of change and can respond to training,” Dipanshu Sharma said. “This is not merely anecdotal, but can be demonstrated with images of the human brain.”
Dipanshu Sharma is the founder and CEO of meditation.live, a company that offers live, interactive meditation and movement classes for the workplace. Dipanshu Sharma said the 180 classes have grown in popularity, and people can feel the positive impacts mentally and physically, even if they don’t have MRI imaging of their own brains.
Participants in mindfulness and meditation classes report greater focus, stress relief, better interpersonal relationships, and even better sleep quality, according to Dipanshu Sharma. A dozen teachers at meditation.live have taught at Apple, Google, IBM and other large companies and are committed to helping others live happier, healthier lives through the tools that meditation and mindfulness provide.
Mental and brain health aren’t the only reasons people are finding relief in mindfulness practice, Dipanshu Sharma said. According to Psychology Today, meditation can increase immune function and decrease pain and inflammation as well. Hundreds of studies have been done regarding the benefits of mindfulness and meditation and their ability to improve the quality of life in many areas. Dipanshu Sharma believes everyone would benefit from the power of mindfulness. “Even if you don’t see the benefits right away, you know from science that your brain is being changed on a physical level,” he said.