Surprisingly, the simple minor exercise of closing one’s eyes and tuning inwards has major effects. Meditation is known to reduce stress levels in everyday life, when practiced at least once a day for just 5 to 15 minutes. Meditation causes calmness, a good or better sleep pattern and helps you to focus at work or in class. But next to these well-known benefits, the long-lasting effects to your physical body do not stop here. Specifically, meditation can change your brain! When practiced for 30 minutes a day, the long-term change meditation causes is clearly visible on a brain scan. Amazing isn’t it?
How to create your very own new brain cells!
The brain, like the rest of our body, is growing and developing all our lives. Not so long ago, scientists believed the brain to be static, but since a decade or two the human brain is discovered to be adapting all the time, all our lives. Just like we can train the muscles in the body (f.e. with yoga exercises in preparation for meditation), we can train the brain as well. It is a fact that when we meditate, we stimulate our cells, the micro-part of our body, to create new brain cells! When we grow older, we lose brain cells bit by bit. We have to maintain these cells with brain games, but even better… we can slow the aging of our brain with a nice daily session of meditation! Anti-aging is no use from the outside, if we not work the inside first.
Be the change you wish to see – Ghandi
Meditation helps us focus through daily live. Scientists say meditation helps the long term memory to process and remember new information. It helps to absorb knowledge and new skills just a little faster, just a little better. The grey matter forms in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that turns short memories into long memories.
This ‘little’ grey matter in your pre-frontal cortex also regulates your emotions. The more grey matter you have, the more in control you are. It is amazing; meditation not only causes calmness for just the time you sit quietly crossed-legged on your mat, but actually helps you long-term as well. It is like watering a plant! Although you cannot stop aging (not even with yoga), you yourself decide how beautiful your tree will blossom. I think this is a beautiful thought.
Whenever you stress about something, the amygdala is activated. The amygdala is the epicenter of stress in the brain, the only part that reduces when meditating. Whenever we are anxious, the amygdala activates our fight-or-flight instinct which partly shuts down all kind of different systems in the body, which gives us the change to fight or flight (like in the old days). If we have too much stress, we disturb these systems to much for no good reason. Your amygdala is the only part of the brain that reduces during meditation, keeping it in a neutral healthy state throughout the day. So stress in a nutshell: very bad. Meditation: it will definitely not hurt you the way you hurt yourself with a good dose of good-for-nothing stress.