If you thought meditation is an abstract phenomenon and just a concentration technique, you need to rethink. For, a research study shows that meditation actually brings physical changes in the brain. Experienced meditators were found to have enhanced areas in their brain as compared to people who don't meditate.
In a study done by UCLA's Laboratory of Neuro Imaging (LONI) using MRI scans, the hippocampus and right frontal cortex of the brain (responsible for emotional control) were seen to be thickened and larger (see Fig. a) in individuals who meditated regularly for several years.
Eileen Luders, the lead researcher said, “The observed anatomical differences might explain people why those who consistently meditate have a singular and exceptional ability, which enables them to nurture positive emotions, stay emotionally stable, and exhibit a mindful behaviour.” “The outstanding ability of meditators exhibiting regulated emotions and well-adjusted responses to whatever life throws their way might be due to the neuronal underpinnings observed in these areas (hippocampus and right frontal cortex), which are closely linked to emotion.” Eileen added.
Interestingly, though many performed studies have reported psychological benefits of meditation, not much information is available on any relationship between meditation and changes in the brain's anatomical structure. However, this study particularly aimed at finding the effect of meditation on gross changes in the brain's physical structure and its psychological implication. Importantly, the results of this study reinforce the indicative findings from numerous other previous studies, which talk about the brain's remarkable plasticity and how environment enrichment changes the brain structure.
In conclusion, with more ongoing research studies trying to explore a relationship between meditation and brain structure, it wouldn't be long before we would have undeniable evidence that meditation doesn't just have a faith-healing or placebo effect (as felt by many), but it actually modifies the anatomy and physiology of the brain, with consequent beneficial insinuated effects. So, keep a tab on this column to keep you abreast with more scientific researches trying to understand and gather evidence on the oceanic effect of the metaphysical aspects of life on our physical and mental health. But till then, don't lose out on time and meditate, for man might take a long time to potentially discover the complete potential of the unexplored supernatural, metaphysical world.