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  • For thousands of years, people have practiced meditation for spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being.

  • But from a scientific perspective, how exactly does meditating affect your body?

  • Does it really do anything?

  • It all starts in the brain.

  • During meditation, brain scans see increased activity in regions directly correlated with decreased anxiety and depression, along with increased pain tolerance.

  • The Default Mode Network, in particular, is activated when one's mind is at rest and not focusing on the outside world, and has been found to improve memory, self-awareness, and goal setting.

  • Want to be more caring to your friends and family?

  • When scientists compared the brains of Buddhist monks to new meditators, they found the region of the brain associated with empathy to be much more pronounced in the monks.

  • It also literally changes your brain waves, and we can measure these frequencies.

  • Meditators have higher levels of Alpha waves, which have been shown to reduce feelings of negative mood, tension, sadness, and anger.

  • And if that wasn't enough, it also physically changes our brain shape and size.

  • Studies found that after 8 weeks of a meditation program, gray matter was more dense in areas associated with learning, memory processing, and emotion regulation.

  • And yet the amygdala, which deals with stress, blood pressure, and fear, had decreased gray matter!

  • When we look at the entire body, not only do we see decreased blood pressure, but it can also increase the variability of your heart rate.

  • And while this may sound harmful, it actually plays a critical role in properly transporting oxygen and carbon dioxide throughout your body.

  • Think you're getting sick?

  • In a study where both meditators and non-mediators were given the flu virus, meditators were able to produce a greater number of antibodies and had increased immune function.

  • If we go a little deeper, we can even see changes on a cellular level.

  • Your chromosomes have protective protein complexes called telomeres, which help reduce damage to your DNA and lower cell death.

  • And a shortened telomere length has been linked to several diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and cancer.

  • Amazingly, when cancer survivors completed a meditation program, their bodies showed significant increases in telomere length.

  • It's believed that psychological intervention, particularly decreasing stress, has a direct effect on the enzyme telomerase, which has been shown to counteract shortening by adding DNA to the shrinking telomeres.

  • Of course, meditation is not a substitute for other medical advice or a healthy lifestyle.

  • We don't want you leaving this video thinking it will cure cancer.

  • But much like hitting the gym can grow your muscles and increase your overall health,

  • it seems that meditation may be a way of working out your brain with extra health benefits.

  • And since your brain controls, well, all of you, why not relax and say "om" every once in a while?

  • And if you like working out your brain, be sure to get our AsapSCIENCE book, which is now available for pre-sale at

  • We've got answers to your most asked burning questions, persistent rumors, and unexplained phenomenon!

  • Whether you're a huge science fan or just a curious mind,

  • the book has something for everyone, and we're so excited for you to read it and show off your new found knowledge to all your friends!

  • Thanks again for all the support through the years, helping us share a love of science with the world!

  • And subscribe for more weekly science videos.

For thousands of years, people have practiced meditation for spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being.

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