Meditation and Its Effect on Our Brains

Meditation and Its Effect on Our Brains

To our brains, meditation is like exercise. It helps optimize different parts of the brain, such as posterior cingulate, left hippocampus, and amygdala. These parts of the brain are connected to our well being, emotional state, learning abilities, stress, and anxiety.

meditation - a girl is meditating outside

So what is meditation? It is the act of focusing our attention on an object or thought to develop awareness and develop calmness. When you meditate, you are not trying to turn off your feelings or thought. You are training yourself to observe them without judgment. You train in awareness, and this helps you begin to understand your thoughts and feelings well.

But why should you meditate? And what are the psychological benefits you gain from this activity?

Effects of Meditation on the Brain

Meditation experts agree that mindfulness is great for our bodies and our souls. Specifically, there are at least 7 clear-cut benefits that this activity has on the practitioner.

1. Meditation Improves Your Focus

A girl is meditating by the ocean
Silhouette of young woman in lotus position sitting on the beach and medditating

More and more people suffer from a lack of concentration and Attention-Deficit Disorder. This is due to the many distractions around us. Engaging in meditation has a direct effect on increasing our concentration abilities. It stretches the so-called ‘focus muscle’. The more we exercise it, the more it grows. Meditation involves focusing your attention on something (such as focusing on an object, activity, thought). So, it trains your brain to eliminate distractions and practice concentration.

2. Reduces Anxiety

Mindfulness meditation is known to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress to a great extent. So, whenever you meditate, the amygdala, part of our brain related to stress, becomes smaller. A smaller amygdala means our emotional responses to situations are more regulated. Because of this, practicing mindfulness even for a few days in a week shows great improvement in handling stress and social anxiety.

3. Aids Memory Improvement

A girl is meditating at home

Meditation helps you filter out distractions. Because of this, it boots your productivity. It also helps in decreasing the rate of cognitive decline. With age, your short-term memory and cognitive flexibility are lost. Practicing meditation helps in reducing that loss even in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

4. More Grey Matter in the Brain

Meditation triggers an increase in brain cell volume in the hippocampus and frontal area of the brain. This area is responsible for memory and learning. It specifically increases gray matter in the brain. More gray matter in the brain translates into more positive emotions, emotional stability, and focus in your day to day life. Meditation also reduces the age-related effects of gray matter and therefore enhances cognitive functioning even with older age.

5. Meditation Increases Heart Health

zen meditation - a man meditating outside

Heart disease, such as hypertension and heart attack, are some of the leading killers in the world. Therefore, having something that can shield you from such sickness and reduce the risk of contracting them will go a long way. Meditation does exactly that.

If you are suffering from heart disease like hypertension, meditation is a useful adjunct treatment. It is also a prevention for healthy people. Meditation increases the natural variation in the heart rate. This helps in improving your heart health. This increases your chances of surviving a heart attack.

7. Meditation Reduces Psychological Pain

Some psychological pains, such as past trauma and abuse, may cause you to seek out numbing activities such as drugs or pain relievers. Mindful meditation is an excellent adjunct treatment for addiction treatment. It helps you better understand and tolerate your cravings and it assists in avoiding relapse.

Finding time to meditate

A girl is meditating at the home

It is clear that meditation is immensely powerful. The only thing you need to do in order to reap these benefits is this – find time to meditate. Meditating before sleeping or after waking up is a good way to go. It is a perfect way to incorporate meditation into your daily routine. Do not be too hard on yourself and seek out perfect meditation. Your focus may keep changing, but keep practicing. If your brain wanders off, try coming back. With time, it will get easier. You will surely reap many of the benefits mentioned here. Just stay disciplined even when you are not motivated. The results will amaze you.

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