- A study Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging where 16 non-meditating participants were tested.
- Long-term meditators had greater brain health than non-meditators as they aged, according to UCLA research.
- To practice meditation, nurture mindfulness and focus.
- Read this article to help yourself with some tips during the meditation process.
Whenever we hear the word meditation, most people think of it as a sleeping technique which has no use in real life, however, meditation has more capacity and capability of doing things that human beings can’t even imagine. Most of us might be familiar with the fact that half the diseases in today’s world are associated with either stress or food habits which tend to attack our strong systems, brain and heart. While food habits are something we can control ourselves, stress is naturally affecting us, in general. Therefore, to treat stress and keep our beautiful brains healthy, we need to make sure to give it right time and space to breath and absorb things without any problems.
Since the last few years, several scientists have come forward to indicate that people who regularly meditate tend to have a separate brain structure from the rest of us. Isn’t that something to pay attention to? We all want stress-free and peaceful lives, nevertheless, we don’t realise that we need to actively work to make that happen.
But how does meditation assist in improving brain function?
US researchers scanned the brain activities of 16 participants who had never meditated before. This was part of a study that was published in Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging. The procedure was then repeated after the group had finished an eight-week meditation programme. The group practised mindfulness meditation throughout that period, a particular form of meditation that focuses on non-judgmental observation of sensations, feelings, and states of mind, for an average of 27 minutes each day.
In the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory, as well as in other brain regions responsible for self-awareness, compassion, and introspection, tests performed on the group after the programme revealed increased grey-matter density. The amygdala, the area of the brain that regulates fear and stress, also shrank in size.
In other words, the quiet practice of meditation alters the structure of our brains, enhancing the regions that support our ability to concentrate, recall information, and be self-aware while decreasing the regions that may cause us to feel agitated and nervous.
The Contribution of Meditation to Preserve Aging Brain
Long-term meditators had greater brain health than non-meditators as they aged, according to UCLA research. More grey matter volume was found across the brains of participants who had been meditating for an average of 20 years. Although senior meditators still had some volume loss relative to younger meditators, it wasn’t as severe as in non-meditators. According to research author Florian Kurth, “We expected rather small and distinct effects located in some of the regions that had previously been associated with meditating.” Instead, what we saw was a broad effect of meditation that covered the entire brain, according to the researchers.
Now that we have understood how largely meditation can help us develop brain power, let’s move on to some steps of procedure one needs to follow while practising meditation.
Start as soon as possible!
You might be surprised to learn that you don’t need to meditate for very long before you start to feel the benefits. One scientific investigation looked at the effects of meditation on a group of pupils. The pupils’ scores considerably improved after just two weeks of meditation practice (10 minutes per day, plus four 45-minute lessons each week).
For effective results, it is best to practise daily. You will be able to improve your memory by doing this. Spreading it out across the day, for example by meditating for 10 minutes in the morning, lunch, and evening, can really be beneficial. If you discover that you can’t practise every day, try to do it as frequently as you can.
Although mindfulness is a component of meditation, you may also practise it in daily life. At its most fundamental level, mindfulness is simply paying attention. Put another way, focus on the now rather than allowing your thoughts to wander. For instance, refrain from worrying about the day ahead while taking a shower. Instead, concentrate on how the shower feels. Feel the soap against your body and the heat of the water on your flesh. Pay attention to how your soap or shampoo smells. Allow yourself to truly experience each feeling.
Enhance your Work Everyday
You may start out by meditating for an hour each day. However, when they have never meditated before, most individuals find it difficult to maintain that type of practice. Start out slowly and increase the amount of time over time. You may begin with just three minutes every day.
During the Meditation Practice
Practice Deep Breathing
Focusing on breathing is highly crucial if you want beneficial results for your body and mind. Try deep breathing as an easy method to get started with meditation. Put a hand on your tummy and a hand on your chest to begin. When you breathe, and you strive to inhale as deeply as you can, you should notice that your stomach expands more than your chest. To relax, try closing your eyes. Slowly inhale through your nose. Hold your breath for seven counts, then gently release it through your lips for an internal eight-count.
Pick a Calm Place
Even though you can meditate anywhere, when you’re initially starting off, it’s a good idea to pick an area that isn’t distracting. Remove yourself from all distractions and turn off the television. You may even create a little meditation area in a room of your home, complete with a candle and an object you enjoy concentrating on.
Sit Straight, Don’t be Lazy
Either a chair or the floor are your options for seating while you meditate. You have the choice. Make sure you are, nevertheless, somewhat at ease. For example, you don’t want a lot of pressure on one area of your body. Try to sit up straight, but not so straight that it becomes uncomfortable.
Be Focused and Present
Set up shop. Simply put, take a few minutes to get yourself in the appropriate frame of mind. If it will help, concentrate on the candle. You don’t have to remain entirely concentrated, but as soon as you notice your thoughts straying, bring them back to the present.
Keep Bringing Your Mind
Your mind is more inclined to wander the longer you sit. That’s alright. It’s actually normal. Acknowledging your wandering and returning to your point of attention are key. When your thoughts stray, try labelling them by stating “thinking” in your brain, and then returning your attention to your breathing.