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Tricks of the Mind: Meditation

Image by Bianca Mentil from Pixabay

My mind plays tricks on me. Recently, I saw a title of a research article on the relationship between liver cancer and the often prescribed over-the-counter medicines known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Since I was just finishing up a two-week course of PPIs, my mind leapt to the worst possible conclusions. It turns out that researchers found that PPIs don’t increase risk of liver cancer. I was relieved, until I started thinking about why they studied the relationship in the first place. By the time my mind was done weaving a tall tale, I was exhausted. And I was wrong about all my assumptions.

My thinking is unreliable. It’s the number one reason I meditate. Meditation is like a field trip for excavating how untrustworthy and changing my thoughts are.

And then there are the memory issues. Age is no friend of memory. Fortunately, there may be good news on that front. In a recent issue of Nature Neuroscience, Romain Quentin and Leonardo G. Cohen published research on reversing working memory decline in the elderly. When noninvasive high-definition transcranial alternating current stimulation was applied to the brain, older adults showed short-term improvements in memory.

Interestingly, memory improvement was done by stimulating theta-phase synchronization. Meditation is all about increasing theta waves. In light of this research, meditation is looking really appealing to me; I’m sticking with it. Plus. I am seeing changes in my thinking. If nothing else, it’s like being in a playground, having fun learning how to do new things.

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