New findings on Meditation are being released almost daily. This simple practice of mindfulness and focus is proving to have tremendous mental health and physical health benefits. Meditation is an integral part of treatment programs for substance abuse, eating disorders, processing addictions like sex and gambling, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more. Life is generally enhanced by a daily practice of meditation. Brains react positively to the effects produced by meditation.
Here are some of the ways meditation can change your brain:
Meditation has been shown to slow the process of aging in the brain. That is not to say that meditation is a miracle practice leading one to the fountain of youth. Rather, meditation can keep the brain activated and healthy in areas that contribute to dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Stress is an inflammatory hormone. Adrennaline is a stress hormone released in the face of danger. Heart disease, stroke, and illness are cuased by inflammatory diseases fueld by stress. The brain is also vulnerable to stress- it isn’t just a feeling but a chemical reaction. Incoporating mindfulness with physical stretching can alleviate inflammation in the body and the mind. Furthermore, the combination of activities activates the brain in stress-combatting areas, like those that have to do with focus and calm.
The amygdala is responsible for stress, anxiety, fear and the defense mechanism “fight or flight”. With regular meditaiton, this area of the brain can reduce in size. Not only do symptoms and feelings associated with this area of the brain shrink, but the actual brain mass of this area itself.
Bodies play a big role in emotional experience. For example, anxiety is marked by an increase in heart rate, but an increase in heart rate also causes anxiety. Meditation reduces the relationship between the part of the brain that produces phsyical sensationa nd the physical sensations themselves.
Test taking, basic skills, driving, jobs- anything that requires focus and attention can be enhanced by meditation. People who meditate every dya are more likely to persom better in their tasks than those who don’t.