Meditation And Its Positive Effects On The Brain
Meditation, the tradition of concentrated focus, has been practiced since ancient days and its description can be found in the Hindu Vedas. It involves training one’s mind either to realize some benefit or for the mind to simply acknowledge its content. It is a common practice to boost health and fitness, along with yoga, gymming, cycling, swimming and other forms of exercises.
Meditation involves various techniques that promotes relaxation, builds internal energy and develops love, compassion, forgiveness and patience in the persons practicing it. This act of spending time in quite thought has beneficial effects on most parts of body and mostly on the brain and mind. Here are some effects that meditation can have on the brain.
Reduces Depression Anxiety And Stress
Almost all studies have proved that people who practice meditation, feel less stressed and anxious.These effects may start as early as eight weeks after starting meditation and can be explained by the fact that amygdala (an area of the brain involved in the fight or flight response with stress) becomes smaller in size after meditation. Meditation also reduces depression, and its effect is similar to the effects of antidepressants. Even people without any psychological problems have reported an improved mood and a feeling of well-being after starting meditation.
Promotes Learning And Memory
Those who practice meditation have improved learning and memory abilities. Their minds are quieter and they are able to grasp things faster and in a better way. The biological basis of improved memory, is that the cortical thickness in the hippocampus area of the brain (involved in memory) is increased after meditation.
Improves Attention And Concentration
It is not surprising to note that just a few days of meditation can help improve attention and concentration. And this is because, the central theme of meditation is a strong focus of attention. Meditation helps a number of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and also helps those children who cannot pay attention or concentrate on their studies even without ADHD.
“Almost all studies have proved that people who practice meditation, feel less stressed and anxious. And these effects may start as early as eight weeks after starting meditation”
Prevents Or Delays Dementia And Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the commonest cause of memory loss and its prevalence increases with advancing age. And though there is no cure for AD, it is possible to prevent or delay the onset of AD by meditation and yoga. A person practicing meditation for as little as 15-30 minutes a day can benefit as the effect of meditation is on the account of slowing down of the shrinkage of hippocampus and other brain regions that are affected in dementia. This effect is partly because of the reduction of stress and inflammation by meditation, both of which play a prominent role in causing AD.
Helps Self-Control And De-Addiction
Meditation increases activity in the anterior cingulate and prefrontal cortex areas of the brain, related to self control. This activity has been used in smoking cessation too. In a recent study. after a two-week (total five hours) session of meditation, 60 per cent of the smokers could either stop, or significantly reduce their smoking habit. Meditation can also help overcome alcohol and drug addiction.
Regular meditation reduces physiological age and makes people feel younger than their chronological age. This effect is achieved because of the beneficial effects of meditation on the brain, heart and other vital organs. People practicing meditation have lower incidence of brain stroke, heart disease, depression and Alzheimer’s disease. This leads to reduced mortality and an increased lifespan of people practicing regular meditation.