Any traceur knows that parkour is a challenge of not only the body, but also the mind. So what exactly do you do to train your mind? Recent studies have shown that meditation provides a variety of health benefits. It is important that we work to improve on both our bodies and minds so that they can work in harmony. Here is an excerpt from "10 Remarkable Ways Meditation Helps Your Mind" by Jeremy Dean that talks about the benefits and research behind meditation, as well as tips on how to start meditating yourself.
1. Lasting emotional control
Meditation may make us feel calmer while we’re doing it, but do these benefits spill over into everyday life?
Desborders et al. (2012) scanned the brains of people taking part in an 8-week meditation program, before and after the course.
While they were scanned, participants looked at pictures designed to elicit positive, negative and neutral emotional responses.
After the meditation course, activation in the amygdala, the emotional centre of the brain, was reduced to all pictures.
This suggests that meditation can help provide lasting emotional control, even when you are not meditating.
2. Cultivate compassion
Meditation has long been thought to help people be more virtuous and compassionate. Now this has been put to scientific test.
In one study participants who had been meditating were given an undercover test of their compassion (Condon et al., 2013).
They were sat in a staged waiting area with two actors when another actor entered on crutches, pretending to be in great pain. The two actors sat next to the participants both ignored the person who was in pain, sending the unconscious signal not to intervene.
Those who had been meditating, though, were 50% more likely to help the person in pain.
One of the study’s authors, David DeSteno, said:
“The truly surprising aspect of this finding is that meditation made people willing to act virtuous–to help another who was suffering–even in the face of a norm not to do so.”
3. Change brain structures
Meditation is such a powerful technique that, after only 8 weeks, the brain’s structure changes.
To show these effects, images of 16 people’s brains were taken before and after they took a meditation course (Hölzel et al., 2011).
Compared with a control group, grey-matter density in the hippocampus–an area associated with learning and memory–was increased.
The study’s lead author, Britta Hölzel, said:
“It is fascinating to see the brain’s plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life.”
For the full article which has more benefits and instructions on how to meditate, visit the site: