"I’ll admit I’m a skeptic."
Meanwhile, though, she pointed to a new study, not the first, which suggests that 8 weeks of meditation can produce important physical improvements in the brain that lead to more well-being in life!
The Harvard research suggests that individuals who meditated for about 30 minutes a day for eight weeks had measurable changes in gray-matter density in the gray matter of the hippocampus (associated with increased learning and memory) and importantly, a reduction of gray matter in the amygdala, that chunk of the brain associated with anxiety and stress! The control group showed no such changes.
The fact that only eight weeks of meditation produced brain changes that could be detected by MRI imaging is remarkable. What does this suggest for individuals who, like the husband of the The New York Times writer, are committed to trying to make mindfulness meditation part of their regular practice? Quite ironically, as I am writing this post, I hear my own husband upstairs. He just started chanting the "om" that signals the start of his own meditation. He's been meditating for almost four years now. He started during a time of great stress; he came home one day and I had set up a small meditation space for him in the bedroom, a quilt on the floor, a small table and a candle. (Later he got rid of the table, and we bought him a fancy round pillow.)
Try it? Take a class!
To all those people who are contemplating trying meditation, I say, go for it. Don't start by trying for half an hour though. To start, set a timer for say, five or eight minutes max.