Your Brain Changes in These Six Surprising Ways Through Meditation
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years of your life, someone has undoubtedly mentioned the benefits of meditation to you. Most people think that they don’t have the time in their busy schedules to meditate but studies show that those who lead stressful lives are the ones to get the most benefit out of mindful meditation. So here are six ways meditation changes your brain in a positive way.
Meditation Can Keep Your Brain Young
A study conducted recently found that meditation can delay the signs of mental aging by enhancing various parts of the brain and reducing the chances of memory loss in old age. Long-term meditators were more likely to preserve the volume of grey matter in their brain than their non-meditating counterparts, which reduced their risk of brain-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Meditation can Reduce Mind-Wandering
An interesting research conducted at Yale University discovered that people who practice mindful meditation are more able to control mind-wandering – a condition where your brain randomly shifts from one thought to another – by decreasing the activity in brain’s region responsible for self-referential thoughts.
Mind-wandering can often lead to unhappy or stressful feelings about the past or the future, which is why most people need to be able to control their thoughts better – and meditation can help you with that. This stress-relieving practice dials down the effects of DMN, a brain region responsible for mind-wandering, helping you focus on positive thoughts and feelings throughout the day.
Meditation is an Effective Antidepressant
A John Hopkins review from last year found out that mindful meditation can have the same effect on the brain as an antidepressant medication. The lead researcher, Madhav Goyal, says that the meditation isn’t as simple as sitting in a quiet place and doing nothing. It is one of the most effective brain exercises which can actively reduce the severity of depression, pain or stress.
Meditation Changes the Structure of the Brain
A Harvard research in 2011 concluded that people who participated in mindful meditation for eight weeks increased the volume of certain brain areas crucial for memory, emotional regulation and decision-making.
It was also found that meditation decreased the number of brain cells in amygdala which were linked with stress, fear and depression. Not only did the medical scans prove that meditative practices affected brain volume in a positive way, but self-reports from the study confirmed this theory after participants admitted to feeling less stressed after eight weeks of mindful meditation.
Meditation Improves Attention and Concentration
Millions of adults around the world struggle with attention and concentration problems, even if they’re not suffering from ADD. Surprisingly, people who meditate are able to maintain focus and reap the central benefits of mindful meditation by improving concentration and memory.
Since the main aim of meditation is to help people focus their attention on the task at hand, it doesn’t come as a surprise that frequent meditators develop better cognitive skills and are able to perform their jobs in a more efficient way.
Meditation Can Help in Recovering from Addiction
A large number of researches have shown that the effects of meditation on improving self-control can be great in helping people overcome serious addictions. In one study, the benefits of mindful meditation were pitted against the conventional treatment methods for addiction and it was found that smokers who received meditative training were more likely to quit smoking for good than those who went through a conventional treatment program.
Meditation Can be Helpful for Children
Meditation isn’t just beneficial for adults but also for young children who are exposed to daily stressors at homes and schools. There is a growing interest among educational institutions in introducing various mindfulness activities to school kids to enhance their cognition and foster a more positive environment in classrooms.
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