Regardless of religious beliefs, many people attempt to meditate at busy times in their lives.
And now a new study claims that meditation activates parts of the brain that simple ‘relaxing’ cannot.
People who meditate process more ideas and feelings than when they are just resting and letting your mind wander is more effective than concentrating on emptying your head of thoughts, scientists said.
Researchers from St Olavs Hospital in Trondheim, Norway, believe their findings – published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience – suggest that meditation is more than just a way to lower stress.
There are countless techniques such as Zen, Buddhist and transcendental meditation and these can be divided into two main groups known as ‘concentrative’ meditation where the person focuses on breathing and specific thoughts and ‘nondirective’ which allows the mind to wander as it pleases.
All the participants in the study had experience with a nondirective form of meditation practiced in Norway called Acem.
Using an MRI scanner, the experiment showed that the part of their brains dedicated to processing self-related thoughts and feelings were more active during the activity than at rest.