How Does Meditation Change the Physiology of Your Brain.
You’ve probably heard that meditation is a powerful tool for reducing your stress levels, but did you know it can actually change your brain?
Read on to learn the powerful effects of meditation and why you should start practicing it today!
Meditation actually increases the amount of gray matter in the brain – in particular in the areas that are in charge of your senses.
That means you might hear better, see better, and generally do a better job of sensing the world around you.
But it gets even better than that.
People who meditate regularly also have more gray matter in their brain’s frontal cortex.
This part of the brain is responsible for your memory and your ability to make good decisions.
This part of the brain has been shown to get smaller as we age which is why older people tend to have more issues with memory and processing speed.
But by meditating, you can stave off these effects of aging and keep that part of your brain strong.
How Meditation Can Reshape Our Brains: Sara Lazar at TEDxCambridge 2011
Neuroscientist Sara Lazar’s amazing brain scans show meditation can actually change the size of key regions of our brain, improving our memory and making us more empathetic, compassionate, and resilient under stress.
Courtesy of TEDx Talks
Studies have also shown that other areas of the brain become stronger as a result of meditation.
For example, the brain stem is the part of your brain that handles all of your non-conscious needs such as stimulating you to breathe.
It is also an area where chemicals called neurotransmitters are produced.
When people meditate, more of these neurotransmitters are produced and the brain is regulated better.
The area of the brain called the amygdala is also affected, but in the opposite way.
It gets smaller with meditation. But that’s a good thing!
This is the area of the brain that works to fight stress and is responsible for feelings such as anxiety and fear.
So it makes sense that meditation would help to bring on more peaceful feelings.
But do you have to meditate for years to get this affect?
The good news is that in a relatively short amount of time these changes can be found in the brain.
If you meditate regularly (about 30 minutes a day), your brain could make changes in as few as eight weeks.
If 30 minutes a day seems like a lot, you can begin to work up to that amount.
Even a few minutes a day can begin to help you improve your brain health.
And just like anything, the more you meditate the easier it becomes.
Over time developing a meditation practice will protect your brain from many of the negative effects of stress and aging and help you to stay calm, alert, and healthy.