Meditation has been proven to be highly beneficial to us. It can help us control stress, sharpen our focus, and do many other great things. What’s more, meditation has been proven to make changes in our brains, specifically their size and structure. This practice has been around for thousands of years, and today it has finally been recognized as highly beneficial for our health and brain. So, let’s see how meditation can actually change and affect the brain.
Decreased Activity in the ‘Me Center’ of the Brain
There is research on how meditation affects the brain at the Max Planck Institute of Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Germany. This research has found that people who practiced meditation have exhibited a “thickening in the prefrontal cortex of the brain”. This part of the brain is usually called the ‘Me Center’ and it is responsible for our personalities, attention, and complex thinking. What the research found is meditation weakens this neural connection and can strengthen the connection between the sensation of our bodies with our Assessment Center and our fear centers. As a result, people who practice meditation are able to be more rational in upsetting and unnerving situations.
Reduced Anxiety and Social Anxiety
There is also a lot of research that showed that mindfulness meditation can help reduce anxiety. More specifically, it can help reduce social anxiety disorder. Research has shown that meditation can change the brain in those regions involved in attention, which can relieve symptoms of social anxiety. This is the exact reason why many people start practicing meditation. Plus, there are so many ways you can practice it. There are a lot of apps that you can download to help you get started, look for guided meditation videos online, or simply start on your own. Additionally, you can get some gear to help you get started, such as a yoga mat, comfy pillows, and scented candles, and you can even buy ornaments & crystals that you can use in your daily meditation.
Improved Focus and Memory
When you are meditating, your focus of attention is highly engaged. This helps people improve their focus and attention when they are not meditating. There is a study that has found that mindful meditation can improve the working capacity and memory of the brain, and it can reduce mind wandering. The participants of this study found their focus and memory improved, only two weeks after practicing meditation.
The Aging Brain Preservation
People who practice meditation long-term have been found to have better-preserved brains. A UCLA study has found that people who don’t practice meditation frequently experience their brain aging faster. Those people who practice meditation frequently have more grey matter volume in their brains which results in slowing down the aging process of the brain. And even though older meditators do still have some volume loss due to aging, it happens in a much lower amount than with those who don’t practice meditation at all.
Better Stress Management
Meditation is famous for its stress-reducing effects, and there is research to back this up. Some research showed that people who meditate can significantly reduce stress levels and how they actually experience stress. As meditation affects ‘Me Center’ you can more rationally view stressful situations and significantly help your body fight against stress-induced anxiety and irrational feelings and even actions.
Meditation Modifies the Brain Structure
From this article, you can already see that meditation can change your brain in a positive way. What’s more, mindfulness meditation can affect how your brain is wired. It has been found that there are volume changes in the hippocampus, but it is still being studied by scientists. However, it is generally accepted that meditation changes how we associate stress-related negative feelings and our worsened emotional regulation. Additionally, it has been noticed that there is a decrease in the volume and density of the hippocampus in people with mental health conditions, including depression, and PTSD, and that mindful meditation can help with re-wiring of the brain and increase the volume of the hippocampus.
Meditation has been around for thousands of years, but it got lost somewhere for some time. Luckily, today, many people and scientists are now recognizing meditation as a positive method of regulating our emotions. What’s more, there are dozens of studies that have shown that meditation can positively change our brains. It can increase the grey matter volume, and the volume of the hippocampus, and all these changes can affect how we manage stress, improve our memory and simply provide us with peace and balance.