There was one thing, however, that Jobs didn’t know, although he might have guessed it to be true. Meditation does more than just calm you down and make you (as Jobs intuited) a better manager. Meditation literally causes your brain to age backwards.
Under normal circumstances, brains deteriorate as they age. According to Psychology Today:
“Brain-scan technology reveals aging can cause the brain to shrink. Nerve tracts in the brain shrivel, making the cerebrospinal fluid cavities larger and even leaving gaping holes in the brain. Shriveling occurs in the neuron terminal branches that form the contact points among neurons. People may lose 40% or more of dopamine neurons causing Parkinson’s disease.”
The deterioration of the brain has many symptoms. Reflexes become slower. Memory starts to fail. It becomes harder to learn new things. Thinking becomes brittle. Mental stamina declines.
Studies have shown that eating well, exercising and learning new things can ameliorate these difficult symptoms. However, it appears that even when you manage your symptoms, your brain continues deteriorate.
- Thickened the posterior cingulate, thereby increasing focus and self-confidence.
- Thickened the left hippocampus, thereby increasing the ability to regulate emotion, to learn, and to remember.
- Thickened the temporoparietal junction, thereby increasing empathy, compassion, and perspective.
- Shrank the amygdala, thereby decreasing stress and likelihood of a “flight or fight” response.
Meditation is so effective at repairing damage that it make your brain as much as 25 years younger than your chronological age. Since Steve Jobs was a regular meditator, when he died at 56 of pancreatic cancer, his brain was as healthy, active, and creative as when he was much younger. Which shows, I think, in the quality of his work which continued to be superlative right up to his untimely end.
Published on: Feb 17, 2020
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