This Is How Meditation Literally Changes Your Brain!

in #health6 years ago

Meditation is a very fascinating practice with countless benefits for body and mind.

One of my first Steemit posts was actually dedicated to the art of meditation!
We all know that meditation can help us focus, it can calm us down and release tension - you sit down comfortably, focus on your breathing, and let go of all of your thoughts.

But did you know that meditation literally changes your brain structure ?!

Meditation reduces activity in the "Me" Center (Less Anxiety)

The Medial prefrontal cortex, also nicknamed the "Me" center, is a part of the brain that processes information related to you personally. This could be when you are reflecting on yourself, daydreaming, thinking about your future or past, engaging in social situations etc.
When you experience something scary or upsetting, your Me center is being triggered, making you feel anxious and stressed.
Recent studies conducted at Yale University have shown that activity from this area of the brain was decreased in people who meditate regularly.
Meditation helps to weaken the neural connection with the me-center, so that you will feel less anxious when you're in a scary situation.
Instead, the connection between our assessment center (the part of our brain that manages reasonable thinking) and our bodily fears is strengthened - meaning that it will be easier to come to a rational conclusion rather than an emotional decision if we're in a frightening situation.


Meditation slows down the aging brain and increases grey matter

A study from UCLA from last year has shown that people who meditated long-term had better-preserved brains as they aged.
The participants who had been meditating for 20 years showed increased grey matter compared to those who never meditated.
Study author Florian Kurth stated that "(...) what we actually observed was a widespread effect of meditation that encompassed regions throughout the entire brain."

Faster Learning / Better Focus / Ability to ignore distractions

Everybody who meditates knows that a quiet environment without disturbances is the key to a good meditation session.
Studies have shown that people who meditate regularly were less startled by sudden distractions, and they could focus more easily in an environment full of disturbances - because they simply **blocked them out. **
Also, people who recently meditated were able to get into a deeper state of focus quicker - which in turn increased their learning ability and -speed.

Different changes in key areas of the brain

In 2011, a research team from Harvard University conducted a study where the participants joined an 8-week program of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).
The results were incredible, they showed changes in different key areas for the brain:

  • Increase of cortical thickness of the hippocampus (which manages learning and memory)
  • Increase of cortical thickness in areas of the brain that control self-referential processing and emotion regulation
  • Decrease in brain cell volume of the amygdala (which is responsible for negative emotions like stress, anxiety and fear)

Other benefits of meditation

Of course, meditation has countless other benefits as well - for example decreased blood pressure, improved memory, increased empathy, decreased fatigue, improved attention span and concentration.


All-in-all, meditation is a practice that offers countless benefits, so you should give it a try!

It's so easy to do: you need no knowledge and no equipment, all you need is a quiet place where you can sit comfortably.
Many people think that meditation is hard, but that's often just because they're not patient enough! In our world that is so fast-paced, most people can't even sit down for 2 minutes without doing anything.
Don't give up too quickly, focus on your breathing, close your eyes, and try to stay in this relaxed position for at least 10 minutes - you will soon get into it!

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

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Meditation balances the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Giving you the chance to align to your emotions and true emotional needs.
We use our brain mainly for physical and mechanical functioning, using our body. Leaving the emotions and spirit dormant until we are at a point of standstill, hence then we can shift the focus to our inner worlds.
Beautiful post. Keep up the good work!

Very true - meditation has been practiced for thousands of years and scientists are just now proving all the benefits scientifically!
Thanks for your inspiring comment!

we all need to have a brake some time and meditation is great
you may wont to read my post on smiling

An altrenative MD who cures people of cancer naturally and without toxins (and whose name I cannot remember right now) says "If meditiation were a drug it would be a trillion dollar a year drug. That's how good it is."

Wow, that's an amazing quote! thanks for sharing!

Very interesting, especially the stuff about cortical folding, which I wasn't aware of. I found that once I realised that meditation was more a test of will than a way to relax, I could slip into it a lot more easily.

Before that I would get agitated as I waited for this famed relaxed state, that I'd heard so much about.

Now I am always up for finding more techniques to hone my meditation skills.


Yes it can be quite tough for people who just get started, especially when they're impatient!
Thanks for your comment!

Excellent post and good info @sirwinchester

Thank you, glad you enjoyed it!

Meditation does make a difference. I do not do it every day, but I try to a few times a week. Especially now that we are always connected to our phones and computers. I think this mind clearing quiet is needed more than ever.

Good point. Most people have lost track with nature because it's so easy to get distracted by all our electronic devices! Meditation helps to really wind down and unplug from our hectic everyday lives online

GREAT POST!!! @Sirwinchester i would love to force myself to do more meditation. I think i need a meditation buddy. lol

you now have a new follower and hope you follow me.

A meditation buddy would be a great way to keep you motivated!
You should really try to do it more, for example 2 times a week or on a sunday when you have nothing else to do.

I think that is a good way to begin, certainly. Finding books on the subject - ideally ones written quite some time ago - and then meeting others is also a good way to point the way into an effective practice. Eventually, you'll want to establish a time of day (i.e. morning) and ensure there is nothing else to do. I'm happy to converse more on the subject, and am new to Steemit, so it would be a pleasure to connect with people interested in the subject of meditation. #meditatedaily :)

Very good post as always! Thank you for sharing.

Thank you, glad you liked it!

My Rheumatolgist has advised me to learn Mindfulness Meditation to help with my pain, I have been doing it for a few months now, wrote a few posts about it. I do feel better after meditating but haven't learned how to help with my pain.

Hmm, interesting. I really believe that meditation can help! A friend of mine has rheuma as well, and
got prescribed medical marijuana - it really eased the pain.

Mine won't prescribe that, the UK is living in the old ages, wouldn't mind trying it though for a pain break :)

Man I really need to learn how to clam my mind. I feel like I'm always racing. Great post my friend!

Thank you! Yes you should really try, we need a break once in a while.. I mean, you turn off or restart your computer once in a while too! ;)

Thanks for taking the time to write this up and help promote the value of meditation. With all the "technology solutions" available to help people calm down, sleep better, relax, or enjoy life more, I'm glad there's still enough sanity in the world to realize that the solutions we want and need are still between our ears. Off to meditate now!

Glad to hear that you enjoyed the post, thank you!
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years, and some people still underestimate its powers.. and especially in our current world it's so important to unplug and focus on yourself!

This is great! Thank you 🔥💞🙏

Glad you enjoyed it! :)

Awesome article man. Thank you =) Is it okay for you if I refer to this article in one of my posts?

Wow! Scientific findings on the benefits of meditation. Thanks for sharing, upvoted... To steemians please follow me @arnel

Thank you! happy to hear that you enjoyed it.

Great post and well written! Amazing right. the effect of meditation on the brain. Think this topic needs more attention though, people need to know! Thanks for sharing, I'll resteem it!

Thank you for your support! :)
And yes this really is a topic that more people should know about, it's not just something you believe in or a placebo effect, meditation has real scientific benefits!

Nope, that's sort of thinking about meditation is olllld! lol. We know the scientific effects for a while now, but still people think it's placebo or bullshit :-). You are most welcome!

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Awesome post, thanks for this. I've added meditation to my world for the last three months and it's made a positive difference in my life. Appreciate seeing more of the science behind meditation here. Danielle LaPorte posted a great image on Instagram saying to "Meditate Before You Medicate"... she's right, definitely a healthier way to go!

I would like to start meditating but know nothing about it. Any suggestions on where to start?

Thanks a lot for the post. I started meditating about a year ago when I discovered Headspace and I can reckon the benefits you mention. Being my favourites: less stress, more focus and better mood :D

If you hear meditation and think knee breaking sits, ding-dong-somethings, smoke and strange music and don't like hat, then I strongly suggest The Mindful Geek by Taft.

Lots of scientific background and you get the bonuses of meditation without the spiritual brimborium.

Thanks for your suggestion, I'll check it out!
And yes you're right, meditation is so much more than that!

hey bro, fellow artist here! Saw this post and just had to extend an invite your way.. Hosting a guided mediation this Sunday!

It is true, everything you said. Meditation is the key to understanding the simplicity of life itself.

Can you use meditation for Your goals and Dreams? How can you implement your goals within meditation.

Yes you can! While meditating, you should visualize your goal / dream - you have to be in the moment when you've already achieved it, and really FEEL how it feels. then afterwards you write down your thoughts and make a plan, without a plan you can't act! And then after that... go for it !

Okay, when do I start with the visualization? Meditators nevertheless think of nothing just your breathing and then you come deeper into your meditation. When comes the point that you can start visualizing?

The most important part for you is focus. Just sit down, close your eyes and focus on your goal and visualize it.
Traditional breathing techniques are more for other uses of meditation like astral travel or other things, but you dont want to calm down, you dont need to get into that deeply meditative state, you only want to get motivated.
So just visualize your goal and specifically you feeling you get in that moment when you've achieved it !
If you close your eyes now and imagine a house, then you can do it instantly, so that's really all you need to do without paying attention to breathing or rules much.

Many thanks you are a great help. I will try it out.

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