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Meditation provides a path to take you from pandemonium to harmony…
Can you imagine a contented and successful life without peace of mind? What am I talking about? I am referring to a feeling that grows in the mind when stress and chaos are present. There are millions of people living with turbulent minds and restless souls. It’s a universal truth that you can easily be swept off your feet by your emotions. You might experience agitation because you are overly emotional, which makes you react impulsively in a situation. And after creating chaos in your life with your overreaction, you start thinking about what has happened. There would be the bombardment of confusing thoughts about the future that renders your mind unclear and perplexed. And what can a turbulent mind do? Of course, it drains out your energy and leaves you fatigued and lethargic.
So how do you start a journey from this state of mayhem towards serenity? The answer is meditation!
Meditation is a mind calming practise that silences your mind for a while. It’s a technique that allows you to cultivate the peace and tranquility in life. By practising meditation regularly, you end up improving your communication skills, achieving stillness of the mind, increasing creativity, and getting control over your emotions. Additionally, meditation helps you improve the overall health of your body.
What makes meditation so powerful and magical? The answer lies in the fact that a variety of things happen in the brain when you meditate.
How meditation affects the brain?
What happens to the brain when you meditate? The answer to this question makes the story much more interesting. Research studies have been carried out using the latest technology FMRI to obtain scans of the brain after meditation. It has been observed that after meditation the brain slows down the rate of processing information. Even after a short duration of meditation, a decrease in beta waves (the brain waves that are responsible for waking alertness and consciousness) has been observed, which is an indication that your brain is processing information, just at a slower rate.
So what exactly happens to the brain when you meditate?
Several parts of the brain respond to meditation differently. Let’s start from frontal lobes, which are responsible for controlling your emotions. In fact, the frontal lobes determine your personality. They are located at cerebral cortex. Frontal lobes help you decide, plan, judge, remember, and move. While you meditate, your frontal cortex stops functioning.
Parietal lobes are responsible for processing sensory information. If your parietal lobes get damaged, you won’t be able to feel, touch, and taste. Meditation causes a slowdown in the activity of the parietal lobes.
The Thalamus is another important structure of the brain, which is responsible for processing information about senses and movement. It is situated at the top portion of the brainstem. It passes sensory signals to cerebral cortex. While you’re meditating, the flow of information to the thalamus slows down.
Reticular formation is the neuron network located at the brainstem. It is responsible for regulating sleep, alertness, and focus. Basically, it arouses the brain to readily respond to a signal. When you meditate, the process of stimulation of these signals slows down.
So how do these changes in the brain affect you?
Meditation is practised mainly to improve focus and concentration and to cultivate peace in one’s life. In simpler words, meditation is a technique that allows you to silence your mind for a while so as to listen to yourself. Here is how meditation improves your personality and mental health.
1. Improved Focus
People usually meditate to get better focus. After going through a few sessions of meditation, you will start to feel your focus improved. You will experience alertness of the mind even when you’re not practising meditation. However, in order to make this effect long-lasting, you need to meditate on a regular basis.
2. Enhanced Creativity
When you consciously quiet your mind’s chatter for a while, you allow your soul to express itself. This is the time when you allow the true colors of your personality to transpire. In other words, you let your soul express itself. Meditation helps you tap the wiser and more creative dimensions of the mind, so it turns you into a more dynamic and proactive individual. In short, meditation makes the mind more creative because it improves focus and imagination both of which are essential elements of a creative mind.
3. Less Agitation and Anxiety
In today’s world of hassle and nuisance, there is scarcely a human with a stress-free mind. Several research studies have revealed that mindfulness meditation works effectively against stress and anxiety.
Scientific research studies had been conducted at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center to understand the connection between anxiety and meditation. They chose 15 healthy volunteers to participate. They had normal levels of stress and they were completely new to meditation. All of them were asked to take part in four 20-minute mindfulness meditation classes. In these classes they were taught powerful meditation techniques.
A considerable reduction in anxiety level was observed in each volunteer after every class. Then brain imaging was used to understand the real causes of reduction in anxiety levels. Activation of those areas of the brain that control stress and agitation was observed. So by meditating regularly you can say bye to anxiety and stress without using drugs.
4. Large Amounts of Gray Matter in the Brain
Imaging of the brain after meditation has shown that it increases the amount of gray matter in several parts of the brain. This turns out to be a superb change in the brain. Gray matter is composed of neuronal cell bodies, capillaries, glial bodies, and neuropil. It is one of the main components of the central nervous system.
It is distributed at the surfaces of those parts of brain that are involved in controlling muscle, speech, hearing, perception, and emotions. The major function of gray matter is to carry information from sensory organs to the brain. Scientifically speaking, it also contributes to learning power and intelligence. The more gray matter the more positive the emotions. Additionally, it leads to improved focus and more alertness, so you get improved emotional stability.
5. Upgraded Memory
The research studies at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging have proven that meditation can help you go a long way toward improved memory. It showed that those people who practised mindfulness meditation were more capable of impetuously increasing their productivity and tailoring the brain wave that blocks diversion than those who did not. Meditation enhances memory and makes you more alert.
6. Improved Emotional Health
Meditation has proven to be very helpful in fighting against emotional instability. Life becomes easier when you are successful in gaining emotional freedom, which means that you’re no longer a maladjusted individual. Meditation provides you means to cleanse your consciousness of emotionally charged memories. Meditating lets you enjoy emotional freedom, which allows you respond truly and appropriately to any situation.