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Train Your Brain

The buzz about meditation for good health and relieving stress is more common in today’s society than ever. Scientists are finding ways to explain exactly how meditation helps people. For a long time, practitioners noticed the correlation between meditation and mood. Having been skeptical until now, I started meditating at the behest of a friend and vowed to keep my mind open. I like the way I feel after, and while I have yet to recognize firm results, I’m convinced enough to continue. Andre Fenton’s connection between meditation and running makes a lot of sense to me.

I will become a neurobiologist… I will become a neurobiologist…

Electrical activity occurs in the brain no matter what a person is doing – resting, problem-solving, meditating, or sleeping. Different brain waves predominate during the different activities. Alpha waves are characteristic of wakeful rest. They also show up during meditation.

Trials have shown that individuals who have meditated for many years are less disturbed by distractions. Apparently, their brains are trained to focus or concentrate better. Trials have also shown that meditation increased activity in regions of the brain used for paying attention and decision-making.

Since minds tend to wander off, concentrating on one specific stimulus is harder than it appears, especially for several minutes. Concentration takes some focus. Andre Fenton’s focus on the run seems to hold his thoughts in place.

Improving your brain to concentrate in an effortless way can be a bonus in a busy, distracting world. Meditation appears to improve concentration on the idea at hand – and the bonus is reaping the benefits in every day life. Your body can be trained to better fitness – so why not train your brain? It’s worth a try.

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Shirley Duke

    Shirley Duke writes for children in a variety of genres. She is the author of a picture book, “No Bows!,” a YA novel, “Unthinkable,” and most recently, two science books, “Infections, Infestations, and Disease” and “You Can’t Wear These Genes.” She’s written commissioned novels, teacher guides, and teen magazine articles. She taught science and ESL in public schools for twenty-five years at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. She holds degrees in Biology and Education. She’s on a TWU book review committee and blogs weekly about books and science ideas at SimplyScience. Shirley is excited about science and loves NOVA.