February 28th, 2015
Meditating to prepare yourself for future emotions. People have been doing it for ages, but the longterm emotional effect was never scientifically proven. Now it has. American researchers recorded activity changes in peoples brain, áfter meditation.
In the study participants were given an eight-week course about compassion meditation, mindfull attention meditation or a non-meditation subject. After the course the subjects, in a non-meditative state, were shown images while their brain was being scanned.
The researchers report in the journal Frontiers in human neuroscience that participants that did mindfull attention training showed decreased activity in the amygdala when looking at pictures that provoked negative, neutral or positive emotions. This suggests that they were better able to cope with stress and be emotionally stable.
The compassion trained subjects also showed decreased amygdala activity when shown neutral or positive images, but an increase when watching negative images, related to suffering. The control group showed no changes in the amygdala after the course.
Brain effects of meditation thus seem to last longer than the meditation itself.
Photo: Flickr, Moyan_Brenn
Desbordes, G., Negi, L., Pace, T., Wallace, B., Raison, C., & Schwartz, E. (2012). Effects of mindful-attention and compassion meditation training on amygdala response to emotional stimuli in an ordinary, non-meditative state Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 6 DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00292