If you feel as though your brain is moving far slower than it should, you are not alone. Many people are feeling tired, stressed, and extremely burned out from the last year and more of pandemic living. Our ability to think quickly has been hindered by the extra stress and workload that has been added to our plates, and now it’s time to start gaining some ground. However, there could be a way to make your brain move faster, and hopefully, it’s something that you may already be doing, meditation.
You are probably already aware of the benefits of meditation which is a practice where you quieten your mind, however, a recent study from Binghamton University, State University of New York, shows that meditation may also make your brain move quicker.
The study, published in May appeared in the journal Scientific Reports, looked at the brain patterns of 10 students over the course of an eight-week meditation training. The student had to meditate for 10–15 minutes a day, five times a week. Once they completed an eight-week course of this, scans revealed an increase in the speed of their brains.
How exactly do they know this? They looked at the brain’s two general states of consciousness, The dorsal attention network, and the default mode network.
The dorsal attention network swings into action when you start to pay attention, while the default mode network activates when you start to zone out or daydream. During this study, it was found that the eight-week meditation led to a stronger connection between the dorsal and default networks, and an increased ability to swap between them as well as a rise in functional connectivity(quickness of the brain). Students were also able to maintain attention for longer periods of time once in the dorsal attention network.
The study was a collaboration between lecturer George Weinschenk and assistant professor Weiying Dai, both in the department of computer science. Dai studies brain research and mapping, and Weinschenk is a passionate meditation practitioner, this has been seen as a little bit of an odd pairing as Chris Kocher notes for BingUNews. During a casual conversation with a next-door officemate, Weinschenk spoke about the meditation class he was teaching and mentioned the impact of the practice on the brain. Skeptical to begin with, Dai wanted to test out Weinschenk’s statement in a quantitative way. And thus, the study was born.
This bit of research may have only looked at the brains of some college students, Dai told Kocher she has future plans to start a similar study that looks at the elderly population. Her plan is to measure a healthy elderly group against a group with Alzheimer’s or similar cognitive impairment to find out if the medication can help to improve brain performance.
If this has given you the want to make your own brain quicker, you can’t be blamed! You can easily get started with a quick 10-minute meditation for stress management, gratitude meditation, or relaxing sleep.