Different types of meditations affect your brain in unique ways

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We are used to hearing that meditation is good for the brain, but now it seems that not just any kind of meditation will do. Just like physical exercise, the kind of improvements you get depends on exactly how you train – and most of us are doing it all wrong.

[In one study] mindfulness meditation increased thickness in the prefrontal cortex and parietal lobes, both linked to attention control, while compassion-based meditation showed increases in the limbic system, which processes emotions, and the anterior insula, which helps bring emotions into conscious awareness. Perspective-taking training boosted regions involved in theory of mind.

A second study looked at meditation’s impact on stress levels in the same volunteers. Many studies have reported that meditation makes people feel calmer, but the effects on levels of the stress hormone cortisol have been mixed. The problem could be that meditation tends to be a solo activity.

The researchers found that mindfulness meditation alone made the volunteers feel calmer when asked to give a presentation at short notice, but their cortisol levels were no different from those in controls.

[S]tress is linked to mental health problems and disease, and the new findings suggest that mindfulness meditation alone may not save us from it.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Different meditation types train distinct parts of your brain