Meditation has for a long time been a technique used throughout the East for the purpose of finding peace in everyday life. In recent years it has become a growing practice within Western countries with those who are seeking to find some balance in their lives or simply reduce everyday stresses. Now it seems that science is providing the proof for why meditation is so beneficial.
Meditation actually changes the brain
Meditation has proven to have a very real effect on the brain, changing the volume of certain areas. Areas that deal with memory, emotional regulation, empathy and compassion all saw an increase in volume after 8 weeks of mindfulness meditation. In addition, the amygdala – the part of your brain that regulates fear, stress and anxiety – reduced in size.
Meditation helps to separate thoughts and feelings
A thought is simply a collection of ideas your brain has matched together. Without any emotional attachment a thought is just a thought and means nothing. When we attach a feeling such as fear or stress to the ideas going through our mind we begin to give the thought more importance than it deserves. Detaching the two allows you to gain control of what’s going on inside your head.
Meditations reduces stress
Meditation reduces the chatter we so often experience in our minds. By practising meditation we lower our stress levels by clearing our minds of unwanted thoughts. That’s not to say the will go away completely, but when they do arise you’ll be much better equipped at letting them go. Meditation causes a reduction in the grey matter density in areas of the brain associated with stress and anxiety. Additionally grey matter increases in areas of the brain related to memory, regulating emotions and perspective.
Meditation increases focus
Meditation studies have proven that in the aftermath of meditation subjects are better at maintaining focus, especially concerning mundane and repetitive tasks. A 2012 study reported on in the Journal of Neuroscience found that regular meditators are less susceptible to mind-wandering than those who do not meditate.
Meditation increases mental strength
Our overall ability to cope with day to day, or even out of the ordinary, tasks improves. We find that we are able to approach them in a calmer and more balanced manner making them less stressful and mentally challenging.
These benefits are just the tip of the iceberg, so why not give meditation a go and experience the life changing effect it has to offer?!
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