Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Benefits of Meditation

7 ways meditation affects the brain

1. Meditation promotes new connections in the brain.

editation stimulates growth of new brain cells, promoting more gray matter (the part of the brain whereby neurons connect to one another and which is activated in the process of learning new skills). As we age, we naturally begin to lose some of the mass of the grey matter. However, meditation can help slow this process down.

2. Meditation improves your memory
Due to the effects that meditation has on gray matter, it has also been found to affect the hippocampus, the area of the brain that focuses on memory, helping us learn and internalize new skills and information. Furthermore, research conducted by Osher Research Center and Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, illustrated that people practicing mindful meditation have the ability to adjust their brain waves, tuning out distraction. Consequently, this increases productivity and boosts memory.  

3. Meditation helps control emotions
Meditation affects the pre-frontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for regulating emotions, by increasing the amount of gray matter in this area. As a result, meditation enables us to deal better with our emotions and feelings.

4. Meditation diminishes stress
Meditation affects the amygdala center - most commonly associated with fear and stress. When we feel stressed, this part of the brain becomes activated, triggering the fight or flight response. Meditation can reduce the activity of the amygdala, enabling us to control our anxiety and stress levels that come about for no apparent reason.  Furthermore, a study conducted to discover the benefits of meditation in 2012, analyzed three groups to test which of the three can handle stress better. The first group practiced mindful meditation; the second focused on body relaxation training and the third were given no training whatsoever. A multi-tasking, stress inducing test portrayed that those who meditated showed less stress than the group that didn't.

5. Meditation promotes a relaxed state of mind
In its aroused state, your brain releases alpha waves, keeping you alert and hyped up. However, MRI scans have shown that during meditation, your brain predominantly releases theta waves - associated with a relaxed state of mind.

6. Meditation reduces anxiety
In an upsetting situation, the prefrontal cortex causes you to feel anxious. This response can be controlled with regular meditation. Meditating enables a lesser reaction in the prefrontal cortex, reducing pangs of anxiety, enabling you to evaluate the situation in a rational way.

7. Meditation increases resilience
Researchers at Wisconsin Madison University analyzed MRI images of Tibetan monks and discovered that meditation and resilience have a deep-rooted connection.