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Imparted Wisdom Blog

Personal Growth and Development

How does meditation affect the brain?

July 21, 2022 /By: Jassica Mendez

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In recent years, meditation has become more and more popular. People started working with their minds and trying to maintain good mental health. In reality, meditation is something that all of us can benefit from, especially in the times we are living in now. Everything is so fast-paced and stressful that we rarely take the time to focus on ourselves.

Moreover, the recent pandemic has put a burden on all of us, to varying degrees. As a result, the simplest thing you can do for yourself to improve your state is to take a few minutes each day to meditate.

But what is meditation, and how can it affect your brain? Well, we can explain some of the benefits of meditation and why you should practice it starting today. Continue reading to learn how and why meditation is beneficial to both the body and the mind.

 

What is Meditation?

Meditation is a practice that has been around for centuries that helps people focus and redirect their thoughts. Each person can meditate in their own way and for different reasons. For instance, some people meditate to improve their memory, others to reduce anxiety and depression. Some just want to disconnect from the world, while others only need to relax their muscles. In reality, there is no right way or motive for practicing meditation. You can do it whenever you need it, wherever you feel comfortable, and for whatever reason. 

However, some guidelines can help you accomplish your meditation purpose. So here is how you can ensure that you will have the perfect meditation experience:

  • Find a quiet and peaceful place in your home or outdoors.
  • Choose to wear clothes in which you feel comfortable.
  • Decide how long you will be meditating.
  • Do some stretches before choosing the position you will be sitting in.
  • Sit in a manner that is comfortable for a long time.
  • Straighten your posture once you sit in the meditation position.
  • Close your eyes to help you relax and focus.
  • Control your breathing and try to think of nothing else.
  • If it helps, repeat a mantra.
  • Visualize a calming place if it can help you focus. 
  • Try to meditate each day at the same time.    

How Does Meditation Affect the Brain?

A CT scan of a brain showing how meditation affects the brain.
Meditation can affect your brain in many positive ways. One of the benefits is that you will keep your brain young and active.

 

Meditation can bring lots of benefits to your mind and body. However, we’d like to concentrate on how meditation can affect your brain. So here are the things that you can expect to happen once you start meditating. Meditation can help you preserve your brain.Recent research has found that people who meditate have increased gray matter throughout their brains. Also, the persons that were elderly and meditators had fewer gray matter losses than younger non-meditating persons.

That means that the persons that meditate have a better memory and control over their emotions. In addition, meditators had a lower amygdala volume, according to another study. The amygdala is the part of the brain that regulates stress, anxiety, and fear. As a result, people who meditate have a higher success rate in dealing with these stressors. As you can see, meditation not only helps you deal with emotions, it actually changes the structure of your brain to help you cope with them better.

 

Meditation Reduces Stress and Anxiety.

If stressed, you might find it hard to focus and complete simple tasks. At the same time, you can find it harder and harder to relax, sleep well, and keep your emotions under control. Meditation is what can help you in stressful situations because of how it can affect your brain.

For instance, when you meditate, you are turning off your sympathetic nervous system. This system is responsible for the fight or flight response of your brain. These reactions activate when you encounter a threatening situation and can remain active for an extended time, preventing you from relaxing even after the threat has passed.

However, if you start meditating regularly, you can learn how to shut down the sympathetic nervous system and turn on the parasympathetic one. The parasympathetic nervous system is the one that helps you calm down and relieve pain, stress, anxiety, and depression. 

So if you encounter a stressful situation in your life, such as a relocation, meditation can help you remain calm. Of course, meditation can’t solve all your problems. As a result, while changing homes, you must also be well organized and know how to prioritize. However, you can use meditation to help you stay focused and organize your thoughts.

Woman meditation on the bed.
You can meditate in the comfort of your home whenever you need it.

Meditation Improves Attention and Focus.

All of us have felt distracted at some point. During work, while trying to learn, or just while talking to other people. Your brain just disconnects, and you can’t really hear or see what is happening around you. It is natural for your brain to become bored and wander from time to time. This phenomenon even has its own name. It’s called the monkey mind.

However, when it happens too frequently for your mind to wander, it might be regarded as abnormal. As a result, you can use meditation to stay in the present moment. Meditation helps you increase your attention span and blocks overthinking (which can lead to unhappiness). Therefore, by including meditation in a healthy daily routine, you can better manage your monkey mind. You will be more focused and a lot happier.

 

Meditation Affects the Brain by Helping With Addiction Recovery.

Meditation is proven to affect the self-control regions of the brain. In reality, it helps you manage and control your cravings by making you focus on other things. For instance, if you are craving a cigarette, you can meditate for a couple of minutes until the urge passes. Focus on something else during the meditation time, and you won’t feel the need to smoke any more.

Of course, this technique of giving up on addictions needs time and perseverance. You might not be able to quit smoking after your first meditation session. However, if you continue meditating and stay focused on your goal, you will manage to overcome your addiction.

Final thoughts

Meditation can be done by anyone and for a variety of reasons. You can meditate to relax, destress, or overcome an addiction. Also, you can meditate wherever you feel comfortable, even in your car or at work. All you need is silence and a few minutes to begin benefiting from meditation.

In the end, we hope that our article on what is meditation and how it can affect your brain was informative and that you will start meditating today.

 

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