Practising meditation can make you feel calmer, less stressed and generally more resilient to life’s ups and downs. But meditating daily could slow brain ageing too, say experts writing in the journal Neurocase.
The researchers came across this benefit after studying the brain of a Buddhist Tibetan monk called Yongey Minygur Rinpoche. The 41-year-old has practised meditation almost every day of his life, and – as you may imagine – is a renowned meditation expert, and has been teaching others how to meditate for many years.
To find out how his daily meditation practice has affected his brain, the researchers – from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Harvard Medical School – scanned his brain four times over the course of 14 years. They also scanned the brains of 105 other people of a similar age from the monk’s local area. Then the scans were analysed by an AI system called the Brain Age Gap Estimation framework. This system has learned how to estimate people’s ages by looking at scans of their brains. How? By looking at the structure of the grey matter, which decreases the older you get.
The AI system found the scans of the 105 controls to be typical for their age. But Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche’s brain was estimated to be just 33 years old. As a result, the researchers suggest his brain has aged more slowly than the control group. They found evidence that his brain had matured earlier than the control group too
What else can meditating do for your brain? How about helping you make fewer mistakes?
Photo by Simon Rae on Unsplash