Meditation and other techniques we expose our brains to can actually affect brain fitness at the level of our genes. This means that we can either turn on or off the genes that are associated with free radicals, cell aging and inflammation which affects cell and tissue damage. Meditation also affects our body’s “fight or fight” response to stressors. It is important to understand that different meditation styles have different points of focus on the brain and this leads to different effects.
Any form of meditation in most cases de-stresses the brain and makes you feel more “centered.” Apart from clearing your mind, it relaxes your body and calms your emotions. This gives you a feeling of integration. Your brain increases its mental powers of concentration, memory and visualization each time you meditate.
Research shows that when you meditate, the grey matter is increased in density in areas of the prefrontal lobe. This is the area responsible for problem solving, emotion regulation and planning. So consistent meditation practice releases layers of inner tension, limitation and traumas so that you can feel emotionally and mentally healthy.
When you visualize in your meditation, this helps in planning and enhances any activity you have always wanted to get better at.
When meditation is practiced consistently and over a long period of time, it has the ability to change the structure of your brain for the better. According to a research done by a group of Harvard neuroscientists, it shows that meditation can affect your brain positively in as little as 8 weeks.
This is the other complex change that occurs in the brain when we meditate. It increases connections throughout the entire brain with regular practice. The changes are actually strongest in the connections involving the anterior cingulate-this is the brain area that’s related to the ability to control behavior and emotions.
According the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, a study published in 2010, meditation affects your brain and shows a great promise for lessening and also reversing the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. This is what happens, when you practice Kirtan Yoga, a form of meditation that’s performed for 12 minutes a day for a period of eight weeks, your brain activity is increased especially in areas central to memory and improved cognition.
These are just but a few examples of how science is confirming what meditation practitioners have for centuries been practicing. Meditation has always been recognized as one of the most powerful tool that not only improves our mental health, but also reduces stress, increase mental-emotion well-being and maintain peak performance.
The changes meditation does to our brains is borne from routine: there is consistent reckoning of our realities, the ability to take a step back, become more accepting, more aware, less reactive and less judgmental. What we need to understand is that most of the health issues that make us run to the doctor originate from the brain. Meditation is good for the body, heart, mind and spirit