Episode 166

Encore - Sara Lazar - A Neuroscientist Shares How Meditation Changes our Brains

Sara Lazar is a Harvard neuroscientist and Associate Researcher in the psychiatry department at Massachusetts General Hospital. In this episode, she shares research that shows how a regular meditation practice changes our brains--proof positive that mindfulness meditation can positively impact mood, focus, memory, and stress.

In this episode:

“For practice, the people who aim for 30-40 minutes a day seem to have the best outcome.”

“A big part of what happens with yoga and meditation is you start to see your own mind-habits.”

“Good yoga is meditation, though it’s hard to find a good yoga teacher.”

“Long term yoga and meditation practitioners, their IQ was preserved with age.”

“We like to think of meditation as mental exercise.”

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  • Meditation has been proven to have positive impacts on your mood, stress levels, focus and memory.
  • Those who practice mindfulness meditation are said to have a statistically bigger hippocampus (memory area of the brain) than those who don’t practice mindfulness meditation.
  • There are 4-5 brain regions that were measured to change for those who meditated and had their brains scanned: the hippocampus, the amygdala, which was decreased, the brain stem, and the portion of the brain responsible for mind wandering.
  • Meditation often reverses the mental age of practitioners. 
  • Be patient with your progress. Before you chalk it up as a loss, ask those around you if they’ve noticed any differences in your disposition.
  • Meditation will make you less reactive and more compassionate.
  • If you don’t see any results, get a teacher!
  • If you get stuck in the muck, be patient. These things take time.
  • Instead of being carried by the wave, just bob along.