Deep breathing associated with mindfulness meditation has been shown to increase gray matter in the brain. Especially the areas of the hippocampus, the posterior cingulate cortex, the temporoparietal junction, and the cerebellum. These regions of the brain regulate memory, learning, emotional intelligence, social cognition, perspective taking, and self referential processing. Major depression, and post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) have been linked with a decrease in volume or density of the hippocampus.1,2,3 We will discuss more about major depression and PTSD the next couple of times you receive our emails.
Isn’t it neat?! That we can, through our breath and our mind, increase the density and capacity of our brain! The more we use our brain to meditate on positive things and to be more present the more we literally form new neurons and make new connections with other neurons. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to do better in school with learning and memory recall? Or become aware of the emotions and language of others to be sensitive and non-judgemental as we try to serve them?
I know that meditating while deep breathing helps us to become more aware, receive more energy, healing, and the ability to help others more effectively.
Hölzel, B. K., Carmody, J., Vangel, M., Congleton, C., Yerramsetti, S. M., Gard, T., & Lazar, S. W. (2011). Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. Psychiatry research, 191(1), 36–43.
Sheline YI. 3D MRI studies of neuroanatomic changes in unipolar major depression: the role of stress and medical comorbidity. Biological Psychiatry. 2000;48:791–800.
Kasai K, Yamasue H, Gilbertson MW, Shenton ME, Rauch SL, Pitman RK. Evidence for acquired pregenual anterior cingulate gray matter loss from a twin study of combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder. Biological Psychiatry. 2008;63:550–556.
Till next time. Thank you,