Many people are seeking natural forms of stress relief in order to achieve a sense of balance and calm. They are also using these same strategies to increase their mental focus and boost their overall life qualities. If you are interested in making optimal use of your brain while gaining better control over your emotions and increasing your overall performance, you should learn how meditation develops your brain.
According to one study performed by researchers at Harvard University, meditation can actually diminish the effects of aging on the brain. People who do not meditate were determined to have significantly less grey matter than those who did. Moreover, this study found that rather than having an impact on one or two small, segments of this organ, learning meditation had widespread benefits and a very positive impact on overall brain volume.
Inner Peace Is Just The Beginning
The idea behind this practice is to clear the mind of random thoughts in order to achieve a greater level of clarity, inner peace and focus. Most modern consumers spend their days entertaining a vast number of random thoughts, without every tuning into any ideas of importance. This random thinking tend to be very focused on the individual and can breed feelings of selfishness, jealousy and other self-centered ideas that detract from the individual’s happiness.
Ruminating and worrying about what has happened or what will happen also has a negative impact on the brain, chemical balance and many other aspects of neurological functioning. By meditating, however, people can eliminate their random thoughts, refocus their thinking and use an entirely different portion of their brains for greater happiness. This is what researchers at Yale found in their study that concluded in 2011.
Another benefit gained from this redirected thinking is that people have a greater ability to get their minds back on track when they do start to wander. Thus, not only do they have greater mental focus, but they also have a far better ability to control their thoughts. These effects were especially apparent in those who had been meditating on a regular basis for several years or more.
Meditation Appears To Grow Your Brain
A team of researchers at Harvard lead by Sarah Lazar were also interested in learning whether or not mediation actually expanded grey matter rather than simply protecting it from the natural degeneration that occurs with age. This research centered on a total of eight weeks of mindfulness for alleviating mental stress. Both the hippocampus and cortical thickness were increased within the two month span during which the study subjects were tracked. Moreover, the amygdala actually decreased in size. This is the portion of the brain that is responsible for feelings of anxiety and stress.
By meditating, people are able to reduce the effects of aging on their brains so that cognitive functioning and other mental processes remain at an all time high in spite of the time that has passed. Moreover, mindfulness meditation actually increases areas of this organ that are responsible for mood balance, happiness, positive thinking, rational decision making and other healthy, happy behaviors. Simultaneously, these efforts actually reduce the portion of this organ that is wholly dedicated to stress, nervousness and other negative feelings that do not promote optimal life qualities.
Due to these facts, it can be seen that meditating is one of the most positive and proactive ways for people to gain control over their thinking and their perceptions, particularly when committing themselves to life habits or self-improvement ideas that are wholly centered around positive thinking and the elimination of self-defeating thoughts. Not only can they train their brains to think differently. But they can also create impressive size differences in their grey matter that will support their endeavors.
Benefits Of Meditation Can Be Experienced Relatively Quickly
One of the most surprising facts discovered over the course of these studies is the fact that widespread, noticeable and truly remarkable changes in organ size and organ functioning can be achieved within just eight weeks. While studies showing how this practice protects grey matter from common age-related problems that affect organ size and cognitive thought often tracked people who meditated diligently for a number of years, Sara Lazar and her Harvard Team were able to show that people could promote truly positive changes in their neurological systems and activities within just two months.
It is important to note, however, that mindfulness meditation or the type of meditating that was done for this study is slightly more expansive than simply taking a few minutes in the morning to clear out random thoughts. This is a much deeper and far more expansive practice, given that study participants took time to meditate by themselves but also spent the majority of the eight-week study focusing on each activity and event that was experienced in order to be more mindful and appreciative of these experiences with a purposeful goal of increasing personal happiness.