Mindful matters.

February 4th, 2011

I’m guessing most of us have a weather story or two to tell this week. I’m on a ski vacation in the Colorado Rockies, so my tale is numerical: 46 degrees below zero.

Monday had been a dazzlingly beautiful blue-sky ski day. My friend Susan and I had a blast our first day on the mountain. We were ecstatic and eager for six more days of the same.

That night I read Katherine Harmon’s newly published “Observations” blog post for Scientific American magazine and was pleased to learn that in addition to having fun on the slopes, I’d been improving the health of my brain.  She reported on the findings of a new study published online earlier that day in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that indicate even modest amounts of aerobic exercise can increase the volume of the brain’s hippocampus structure. Yes!

But when the temps dropped overnight to minus double-digit degrees, I took advantage of my housebound status to catch up on less physically active pursuits: reading, writing and meditative time.  So no coincidence that Minneapolis friend Craig Borden had sent me the link to a New York Times article, titled How Meditation May Change the Brain. This piece cites findings of a a Massachusetts General Hospital study published Jan. 30 in the “Neuroimaging” section of Psychiatry Research, that reports those who meditate daily for 30 minutes had increased gray matter in the hippocampus. A Scientific American magazine podcast on the same study can be found here.

Today, as temperatures are back on the rise, I’m headed to Copper Mountain Resort. And I’m happy to know I can be “sharpening my saw” all day long, be it a peaceful ride up the chairlift or cruising down a wide, groomed blue run.

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2 Responses to “Mindful matters.”

  1. Most of the critical elements in the world happen to be accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nancy Darcy Gallant and Athena Staik, Ph.D., Julie Tarney. Julie Tarney said: Sharpening the saw. http://bit.ly/ffTZzq #success #neuroscience #brain studies #personal effectiveness […]