As humanity has evolved into a society that always seems a little too busy just to sit back and reflect; to breathe and be truly aware of our surroundings, we’ve also seen big changes to our brains and physiology.
We’ve become smarter in terms of doing tasks efficiently, but our health and innate intelligence have also suffered.
Even as we spend our days hammering away at keyboards and glued to social media, there is still one simple practice that can transport us back to a time when all the intelligence we needed could be found deep inside of us (and to help us grow new cortical tissue in the brain, as one Harvard study showed).
“If there was something that could make you happier, healthier, and reduce your stress, make you more calm, would you do it?” asks author Abel James in the movie ‘Origins.’
“Because that thing exists…and a lot of people aren’t doing it. And you don’t have to start big, you can start with just a few minutes a day, but once you build that habit it changes your life.”
Meditation Does More Than Just Calm Our Brains
While it is widely assumed that meditation serves only to “calm” the mind, brain disorder specialist and author Dr. Daniel Amen noted that the Harvard research shows that it does the opposite.
“So (the meditation studies) fooled us….When we started studying it we thought it might calm the brain, in fact it doesn’t do that at all, it fires it up, especially the most human, thoughtful part of it, the frontal lobes.”
Amen adds that since meditating can help to supercharge this important part of the brain, it also helps us to make better decisions.
Perhaps even more remarkable is the physiological component to meditation, a phenomenon that so few people realized before Harvard began studying it.
“There’s a Harvard study that showed when you take people that don’t know how to meditate and you teach them how to meditate, six weeks later you do a functional MRI, you do a brain image and you find that they have a 10% increase in cortical density,” says best-selling author Dr. Sara Gottfried.
As detailed in the Origins film, bigger brains began developing in humans when they found new ways to get more Omega-3 fats in their diet from sources like wild caught fish.
An organic (and now non-GMO), healthy and diverse diet has always played the biggest role in shaping our physiology, but as this Harvard research shows, our thoughts can also shape our health in profound ways.
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