You may think meditation is some alternative, hippie activity. However, the truth is that meditation can offer plenty of health benefits.
In fact, a new study found that mindfulness helped veterans with PTSD cope with their trauma, feel more grounded and work towards better mental health. The study, conducted by a group of University of Michigan and VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System researchers, looked at 23 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. All of them participated in group therapy sessions. After 4 months of group therapy, many reported that their PTSD symptoms had improved. What was surprising, was that those who had received mindfulness training were actually found to have brain changes.
Changes showed up on MRI brain scans. Before mindfulness training, their brains showed extra activity in certain regions of the brain, such as the area that responds to threats and to other outside problems. After the mindfulness training, the brain appeared to have changed, developing stronger connections between two other brain networks – one involving our inner thoughts and the other part involved in shifting and directing attention. These findings show that the practice of mindfulness may have helped the veterans develop more capacity to shift their attention and get themselves out of being “stuck” in painful cycles of thought brought on by PTSD.
The study is promising as it shows the potential for mindfulness helping those suffering from PTSD.
How does mindfulness work? What is meditation?
Meditation has been practiced for a very long time. The earliest meditators in India practiced mediation for its cognitive enhancements. Meditation is a technique that encourages and develops concentration, clarity, emotional positivity and a calm seeing of the true nature of things.
Meditation can help reduce depression and anxiety, and can boost your mood, creativity and concentration.
Struggling to meditate?
It can be tricky to sit still for a prolonged period of time and completely clear your head. The truth is meditation takes a while to master. Our secret? Taking nootropics before a meditation session. Nootropics are supplements that improve brain function. Nootropics usually help boost memory, concentration, mood, and relaxation. For example, Picamilon, a nootropic created in 1969, brings anxiety and stress relief, boosts learning and memory, improves concentration, alertness and mental stamina, brings a state of relaxation and improves sleep. By taking picamilon before a meditation session, you will find yourself able to sit still longer.