We often hear that the meditation practices, somehow, make the stress go away and promote mental peace and calm. Is that a scientifically proven fact? Fortunately, yes, many experiments have been carried out that support the theory that meditation alters brain chemistry in a positive way. So how does meditation achieve this? How does meditation work scientifically?
Meditation Benefits for Brain
Meditation preserves an aging brain
After a comprehensive research of a monk’s brain using MRI and machine learning tools, teams of scientists have concluded that the meditation, in fact, slows down the aging process in humans. Mindfulness meditation could effectively preserve cognitive and emotional reserves, and maintain brain tissue. Consequently, it reduces the risk of dementia and the other age-related neurodegenerative diseases.
More gray matter
Gray matter has a vital role in the cognitive capabilities of the brain. Intelligence is often associated with the gray matter as it participates in the information processing by the brain. Brian imaging researches have revealed that meditation boosts the number of gray matter in the brain. An increase in the volume of gray matter affects mental health, behavior, and cognitive functions.
Increased gray matter also result is long-lasting emotional stability and heightened focus throughout the day. If you wish to be productive in your work, meditation can surely be helpful.
Reduced activity in the DMN
The Mind wandering tendencies, which is also called as the ‘monkey’ nature of the mind is usually associated with the DMN region of the brain. DMN or Default Mode Network is a major source of the ‘me’ thinking. Excessive self-related thinking is attributed to this region of the brain and in a majority of cases, is the cause of misery. It can lead to various anxiety and fears. Meditation helps reduce activity in this region, thus creating the feeling of calm in mind.
Brain regions communicate better
Another study that answers the question ‘how does meditation change the brain?’ is about communication between different parts of the brain. Meditation at length can stimulate brain regions to communicate better with each other. This will, of course, result in heightened intelligence and creativity. It will also boost several cognitive functions in the person. Monks and Yogis have been examined for years with medical brain mapping equipment before making these claims.
Parts of the brain that meditation affects
There have been many scientific studies that have photographed changes in various parts of the brain. Some regions of the brain that meditation practices affect are; insular cortex, rostrolateral prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulated cortex, and hippocampus, ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, fusiform gyrus, somatomorot cortices, etc.
Examination of the changes in these regions has helped answer the question, ‘how does meditation work scientifically?’ So, now you know why those who mediate regularly talk about being in a tranquil state of mind at all times, regardless of the circumstances. Visit GospelThemes for more informative content like this.
How to meditate for these benefits
Well, there are several interpretations of what meditation is. There are also countless methods being taught to help with meditation. However, unless you understand the core idea behind meditation, you may stay stuck with the method and never reach the meditative state.
Mental concentration can be the first step towards meditation. An easily distracted mind gains strength and stability by concentrating on any object. It could be a physical object, your breath movement, an imaginary point at the center of your forehead, or anything that can consume your attention. Concentration is nothing but single-minded focus on an object.
Once you have practiced concentration for a while, you can start to practice mindfulness, which means that you don’t focus on any specific object but just stay aware of the emptiness within your mind. You can simply relax, having no objective, no goals, just being aware of the formless vastness that expands in the infinite space of your mind.
Researches by reputed international institutions have affirmed that meditation has many positive effects on the brain structure. Their studies have finally answered ‘how does meditation work scientifically?’ and this has been a great achievement for those looking for alternative solutions to mental and physical illnesses. Such scientifically proven benefits of meditation do compel us to practice on a regular basis.