Benefits of Meditation for Brain and Body

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What Is Meditation?

You have heard from many people telling you to do meditation if certain thoughts disturb you or keep coming back again and again, but do you know how meditation works? Here it is, meditation helps you in controlling your thoughts. It is a state where you’re not trying to or willing to turn off your thoughts or feelings. Instead you observe them without judgment and try to understand them in a better way. It’s about creating awareness and getting a healthy sense of perspective.

Effects of Meditation on Brain and Body

Scientists are doing various researches to have a more thorough understanding of what’s taking place in your brain when you meditate, by using modern technology like fMRI scans.

Let’s find out what happens to different parts of the brain when you meditate:

•          Frontal lobe:

This is the part of the brain responsible for reasoning, emotions, planning, and self-conscious awareness. During meditation, the frontal cortex tends to go offline and helps you detach and relax.

•          Parietal lobe:

This part of the brain functions in processing the sensory information about the surrounding world, orienting you in time and space. During meditation, activity in the parietal lobe slows down and helps in lowering your stress and anxiety levels.

•          Thalamus:

Also known as the gatekeeper for the senses focuses your attention by funneling some sensory data deeper into the brain and stops other signals in their tracks. Meditation reduces the flow of incoming information enabling you to keep calm.

•          Reticular formation:

In situations, this structure receives incoming stimuli and puts the brain on fight mode, ready to respond. During meditation, the activities in reticular formation slow down, allowing you to keep calm and be peaceful.

•          Gray matter increases in your brain:

The gray matter in your brain is located in the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is crucial for learning and memory. Gray matter is also found to be in other parts of the brain those are associated with self-awareness, compassion, and reflection.

What Happens When You Meditate Every Day?

•          Lowers your Cortisol Level and hence reduces stress:

Cortisol is a hormone that is responsible for stress which means your body releases cortisol when you’re stressed; studies have shown quite a remarkable change in the Cortisol level before and after meditation. Cortisol level drops down or lowered after meditation and you feel better. In a study, it was observed that “mindfulness meditation” reduced the inflammation response in the brain caused by stress. Furthermore, research has also shown that meditation may also improve stress-related symptoms, which may include irritable bowel syndrome, PTSD post-traumatic stress disorder, and fibromyalgia.

•          Controls anxiety:

In a study, it was found that a few weeks of meditation helped reduced anxiety symptoms in people with generalized anxiety disorder, along with increasing positive self-statements and improving stress reactivity and coping. Meditation may also help in workplace-related anxiety. One study found that employees who did mindfulness meditation for 8 weeks experienced improved feelings of well-being and decreased distress and job strain, compared with those in a control group.

•          Increases Brain Wave Activity:

When you’re doing meditation, your brain produces wave-like theta and alpha waves. In your deepest phase of dreamless sleep activity of theta waves if observed according to many studies. Alpha waves which have frequency different from theta waves occur when your mind is in an idle state, like when you’re daydreaming. An increase in brain wave activities during meditation means that, though you are awake, not asleep, but you are in your most relaxed state, just like when you are sleeping.

•          Enhances self-awareness:

Meditation helps you develop a stronger understanding of you, help you grow into your best self. Self-inquiry meditation aims to help you develop a greater understanding of yourself and how your surroundings. Basically, it teaches you to recognize thoughts content that may be irrational or self-defeating. With meditation you gain greater awareness of your thought patterns, you can direct them toward more rational or constructive ways. Meditation also found improved self-efficacy, which is a person’s own belief in his capabilities. In another study, mindfulness meditation practitioners experienced reduced feelings of loneliness and increased social contact as compared to the control group. Meditation also enhances problem-solving skills.

•          Lengthens attention span:

Meditation is known to enhance your memory power and attention span if done on regular basis. It helps in increasing the strength and endurance of individuals’ attention. In one study it was found that people who listened to a meditation tape experienced improved attention and accuracy while completing a task, compared with those in a control group. Studies have shown that regular meditation practitioners perform better on a visual task and have a greater attention span than those without any meditation experience.

•          May reduce age-related memory loss:

With old age comes many age-related issues one of them is memory loss. It is also seen in our culture many old people move to ashrams where they involve in bhakti, kirtan, and devotional activities like mantra chanting. Kirtan Kriya is a method of meditation that helps you to focus on your thoughts. Studies in people who are suffering from age-related memory loss have shown meditation improves performance on neuropsychological tests. It is also found to be effective with patients with dementia.

•          Can generate kindness and compassion:

There are certain types of meditation that particularly increase positive feelings within individuals. In this type of meditation, the person who is performing develops positive feelings and thoughts for himself/herself. Through regular practice, people become calm and compassionate and learn to extend this kindness and forgiveness externally, to the world,  first to friends, then acquaintances, and ultimately to the world around them. Studies have shown it increases peoples’ compassion toward themselves and others.

What Is The Best Time Of Day To Meditate?

When you talk about meditation you usually get stuck at thought of when is the right time to meditate. Is there any ideal time to meditate? According to Monique Derfuss, who is a gong practitioner and KRI-certified Kundalini Yoga instructor, the ideal time to practice yoga and meditation is the “ambrosial hours,” which are meant to be around 2 1/2 hours before sunrise when the sun is at a 60-degree angle to the Earth. The reason behind this is the energy is most supportive of spiritual work, and there’s a unique stillness but it is also true that the same time will not be suitable for everyone as people have a very busy lifestyle.

According to many of the gurus in India, a meditation practice in the morning — around 3 to 6 a.m. is very helpful; “These are considered the ‘magic hours’ where time sits still, and you can connect to the energy of the universe uninterrupted,” as per one instructor.

Is It Better To Meditate Before Or After Physical Exercise?

When you combine meditation with regular exercise it becomes an excellent way to boost your overall physical, emotional, and mental health. It is important to make sure the two complements each other to maximize the benefits.

According to various instructors, meditation is the best after doing yoga and breathing exercise since these practices balance the nervous system and stimulate your subtle energy. However, if you are not a fan of yoga or breathing exercise, then practicing meditation after exercise is beneficial for you. You will enjoy a stress-free day ahead and will feel more relaxed and calm.

It is seen that when you exhaust your muscles, you can more easily sit still and move into a peaceful breathing meditation practice.

People with ADD, anxiety, depression, and compulsive thought patterns get immense benefits from meditation on regular basis. Meditating after exercise is much more beneficial and can support your mind in moving deeper into the practice.

Tips for meditating better

Meditation is also a skill you should incorporate into your lifestyle. Things become easier to learn when you know how much it is going to benefit you in life and in the case of meditation it is not only going to make you physically fit but also mentally and spiritually sound.

Here are a few tips on how to meditate better:

•          Find a peaceful/quiet space:

If you are a beginner try to start your practice in a peaceful environment or in nature. Peaceful means shutting off your gadgets, electronic devices that can cause any distraction but you can sit in nature’s sound like birds chirping, raindrops, the wind blowing these are kind of soothing sounds and can make through your mood for meditation.

•          Make your posture right:

Though there are no such rules a discipline is required, such as sitting in the right posture with your backbone straight, sit up straight so that the energy can move easily through the spine.

•          Take it slow and steady:

Many people have felt anxiety and restlessness in the starting and that is okay, this means you are allowing your emotions to come up and with time you will learn how to manage these feelings so your mind doesn’t get caught up in them. The most important thing mediation will teach you is to be patient, start it slow, and increase your time as you feel more comfortable with the practice.

•          Make a routine:

To get more benefits, make meditation a habit, try to maintain the same time every day, and commit to following through.

•          Walk and meditation:

As there is progress in your practice, consider combining a walk with meditation. Start with a 15-minute walk. Focus on your breath, the movement of your feet, and the sounds around you. When you find your mind wandering, you can choose one of those sensations to focus on again. This will help you feel focused and centered again.

•          You can also try a meditation app:

A meditation app is always there for your rescue you can find various apps available on the app store as per your need. These apps can help you build a habit. Some apps may cost money; you can also find cost-free apps. Always do a trial run before committing to one app.

Know all the correct ways of mindfulness meditation by experts at TALKTOAGEL. Make your life better with us.

If you are looking for a face to face consultation regarding any mental health issues, please visit our clinic PSYCHOWELLNESS CENTER. It’s a mental health well-being center for eliminating all your mental issues.

Read more:

5 Best Way To Control Your Emotions

Why do You Feel Emotionally Numb?

Role of Mindfulness in Treating Fibromyalgia

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