Growing A Big Healthy Brain During Quarantine Part II

Growing A Big Healthy Brain During Quarantine Part II

Here’s Part II of what is becoming a multipart series on how to keep your brain in top shape in our unusual circumstance.

Do you feel like you’re under house arrest? Have to find a calendar to know if it is Friday or Saturday? You aren’t alone. This is a unique time in history. Suddenly millions of us are now WFM, trying to adjust to Skype and Zoom as a way of life, making sure our Internet connections are working and that we have entered the right password.

Some of us are finding all that, plus cooking more often than we normally do, plus home schooling, plus wearing a hazmat suit to go to the grocery store, is stressing us out.

Stress is not good for brain health. Consider this as a possible stress antidote.

A group of experts on Neurobiology, Neural Science, Nutrition, Exercise and more conducted an experiment on meditation. The researchers, from the New York University Center for Neural Science and the Virginia Tech Carillion Research Institute, recruited a group of younger and middle-aged subjects (18-45). Half practiced meditation for 13 minutes a day. The other half listened to a podcast for the same 13 minutes. (I couldn’t find which podcast(s) out of the hundreds of thousands (millions?) that are out there that they used).  The subjects had not previously tried meditation. Here’s what they found:

“Compared to our control group, we found 8…weeks of brief, daily meditation decreased negative mood state, and enhanced attention, working memory…”

“Meditation decreased mood disturbance, anxiety and fatigue.”

The research contained an important qualifier. When the research team checked at four weeks, there wasn’t any measurable benefit. It seems that eight weeks of meditation training is required before that brain muscle is developed. Look at it this way: it requires a lot less time than training to run a marathon.

One of the authors is TED talk star Wendy A. Suzuki, PhD, and Professor of Neural Science at NYU. Look for more from her in an upcoming post. Other researchers were Julia T. Basso of Virginia Tech, and Alexandra McHale, PhD, Victoria Ende, PhD and Douglas J. Oberlin,PhD, all from NYU.

Reducing anxiety in this current period seems like a good idea. Link to the research here.


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