Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Meditate for your memory!

Eisha Sarkar
Posted on Hello Wellness on Mar 16, 2011

Do you keep forgetting your keys, glasses, kids' PTA meetings, friend's anniversary, wife's birthday and even your own for that matter? Stress can cause lapses in memory and make you less accurate in memory recall. But recharging those brain cells may just be a few breaths away.

Meditation, the ultimate stress-buster, can actually help improve your memory. Stress affects certain parts of your brain that hinder the growth and formation of new neurons, which makes it difficult to retain certain memories. Chronic, high stress levels can affect the brain and cause damage to certain parts of it that will cause degeneration in the memory levels themselves. Meditation helps you relax and in turn reduces the production and activity of stress hormones. It also helps build mental focus and concentration.

Studies at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston have shown that regular meditation causes the brain's cerebral cortex to thicken.The cortex is the area of the brain responsible for the higher functions. This happens through an increase in the size of blood vessels and the amount of blood flow to the region.

In February 2010, The Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation data collected during a research conducted by the University of Pennsylvania that demonstrated that a specific meditation performed daily for eight weeks increased brain activity in areas central to memory and actually improved cognition in patients suffering from memory problems.  The frontal lobe of the brain, which became more active as a result of meditation in the study, aids in attention and concentration and has been shown to be affected in patients with dementia disorders.  The frontal lobe and the parietal lobe, another part of the brain positively affected in the study, are both parts of the brain which are involved in retrieving memories.

While meditation and yoga are not performed strictly for their memory benefits, they definitely help you build a better brain!

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