Why You Need to Do Nothing More

We all have those days where we just sit around and do nothing. Perhaps you're spending the day at the beach or at a lake, or you've headed out to your local park or forest for a picnic and a day off. Or maybe you're at home, where there is very little to do after a week of work. Whatever the case, it's always nice to be able to sit back and do nothing. It makes life so much easier for a few minutes or hours.

But did you know that doing nothing is actually incredibly beneficial to your health? According to the University of California, it could help to save your brain!

The Reason to Do Nothing A Whole Lot More

A team of researchers at the University of California examined scans of people's brains. The scans showed that younger people had more brain tissue than older people. Everyone knows that the brain tissues begin to shrink with age--possibly starting as early as in your 20s. This is what leads to a decline in your brain function, increases your risk of Alzhemier's and Parkinson's, and can cause memory loss.

But some of the brains scanned belonged to people who regularly meditated. Whether they did an hour or two or just a few minutes per day, their brain tissue had not degraded to the extent of the others. In fact, their brains deteriorated at a much slower rate than those who did not meditate.

How can meditation stop your brain tissue from being degraded? Well, according to one of the authors of the study, meditation is just like doing exercise, but with your brain instead of your muscles. Mental activities--things that force your brain to work, including meditation, doing crosswords, jigsaw puzzles, Sudoku, etc.--helps to increase brain volume, as the brain has to form new tissue to accommodate the strain placed upon it. If the brain is growing, it cannot shrink at the same time.

This is why it's so important that you do nothing as often as you can. Meditation--sitting, relaxing, and being mindful of the world around you--is going to counteract the atrophy that happens when you age. You'll keep your brain in good shape simply because you are giving it a workout. Just like working out stops your muscles from atrophying and shrinking, meditation does the same, but for your brain.

Another benefit of meditation for your health: it reduces stress. Everyone knows that stress is harmful, but do you know to what extent it can damage your body? Studies have proven that stress leads to a number of serious health consequences, and it can speed up the degeneration in your brain. If you want to have a strong, healthy brain as you get older, it's time to add meditation to your life to both fight stress and get in that mental workout.

Want to meditate but aren't sure how to do it? It's as easy as:

Take a deep breath through your nose. Count to five as you inhale, hold the breath for a second, then exhale for a five-count. Repeat this a few times until you feel the rhythm of your breath, then stop counting. Sit in a comfortable position--on a chair, on the sofa, on the floor, anywhere that you are comfortable. Close your eyes and clear your mind of any thoughts. Focus on your breath, the way your body feels, and the emotions coursing through you. And just like that, you are meditating!

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