by Clarissa Baliu

Millenarian practice, meditation currently has thousands of fans, being considered an important resource for those who seek to reduce levels of stress and anxiety.

In order to understand if, in fact, meditation is capable of generating beneficial effects on the brain, contributing to mental balance, researchers around the world have promoted studies on the subject.

In an attempt to identify the changes in the brain caused by different meditation techniques – zen, acem, chakra, buddhist, transcendental, among others – scientists from the Universities of Norway, Oslo and Sydney divided these practices into two groups, the first being focused on focused attention, based on concentration on a specific external body or mental object, ignoring all irrelevant stimuli; and the second to open monitoring, which aims to widen the focus of attention to all the emotions and thoughts of the moment without focusing on any of them.

To compare the two groups, the study had the participation of 14 individuals with experience in both practices, evaluated by magnetic resonance imaging.

Based on the analysis of these images, it was possible to verify that, during the practice of open monitoring, there was an increase in brain activity in the region of the medial prefrontal cortex, responsible for inner thoughts about facts and feelings, commonly triggered in situations related to the future or affective relationships, while in focused attention the brains behaved as if they participated in a relaxing activity.

In addition to confirming that performance differs among meditative practices, study data showed that brain activity becomes stronger when people allow their minds to remain free, than when the brain is fully focused.