How Regular Meditation Can Benefit Your BrainMar 21, 2023
Healthy habits take time to form, but if you stick to them they can pay off with enormous benefits!
I first learned to meditate at a very young age. During the sessions, I felt a greater sense of calm and serenity, but it wasn’t until later in my life, when I persevered and made it into a daily habit, that those feelings became more central to my day-to-day life experience. Why?
Because meditation trains your brain to build and strengthen neural pathways that can have a real impact on many aspects of your health and well-being, so beyond that instant feeling of calm, meditation also has many long-term benefits.
The first time I noticed a significant change happening within myself was when my husband said something to me that would have normally triggered an unpleasant reaction. Rather than falling into the drama of my ego-centric self, I remained still, whilst inwardly watching the once habitual neurotic tendency simply float by and vanish into space. That is meditation off the cushion, I thought to myself, and I like it!
Steady research on meditation and its benefits to the brain has been rolling out for some years now. This research might seem new to a modern MRI scan however, it is illustrating and confirming the benefits of meditation that the ancient science of Yoga has been teaching for thousands of years.
The brain is quite a complex organ that performs critical tasks to support our survival, mental health, emotional stability, cognitive function, memory, and central nervous system communications. Neuroscientists refer to the brain as the CEO of the nervous system, its optimal performance can dramatically improve our quality of life on many levels.
Some of the central benefits of meditation are that it improves concentration, attention, memory and focus. It also invites a more peaceful, calm and serene response to life, which means less anxiety, fear or depression.
The main regions where meditation offers its impact on the brain are the frontal lobe and the limbic system. Research shows an increase in the development of the frontal lobe region and a decrease in the limbic system.
The frontal lobe area, in particular the pre-frontal cortex, is also the seat of concentration, inspiration, creativity and expanded states of awareness. This area helps to take us beyond our limited perceptions to find solutions and make better decisions.
The limbic system helps to bring our emotions into conscious awareness. This region of the brain is often responsible for thoughts associated with stress and negativity. It wanders out of the present moment, worrying about the past and future. It is typically associated with being unhappy, anxious, fearful and in a 'fight or flight' response to life, so it does serve to wind it down!