Human being’s have amazing brains!
They generally function well and keep us alive and thriving.
Sometimes due to stress and trauma, however, our brains do not function at their highest level. We may develop difficulty sleeping, concentrating, communicating.
The practice of meditation is one promising way to help heal the brains of young people according to Detroit’s Wayne State University researcher, Hilary Marusak.
In her study they took a look at children’s activity in the default brain network, which generates negative self talk, a common feature of depression. Children were placed in a Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine (MRI) under one of these conditions: simple distraction (counting backwards from 10) or meditation. The children were then shown a distressing video clip. The MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create a detailed image of a specific body part.
Dr. Marusak and her team discovered that the meditation group had significantly reduced activity in the brain network that produces the negative thought; ie meditation is helpful at reducing factors which could lead to depression.
This is consistent with research that shows that meditation is helpful for adults in reducing stress and coping with life as well as burgeoning research that shows similar impact with youth.
The research is especially hopeful in that learning to meditate is a cost effective, life-enhancing practice that seems to have no harmful effect on the body and can be practiced anywhere that you are at any time!
Questions for Discussion
- What is one feature of the brain’s default network?
- What is an MRI and what does it do?
- What was the independent variable in this research?
- What were the results?
- What would be other research questions you could study to determine whether meditation is effective or not?
The source article was published in The Conversation September 2022.