What Does Mindfulness Meditation Do to Your Brain?
People today seem to praise meditation as a cure for everything. Pain? Stress? Distraction? Meditation can help. How does meditation affect your brain? As a psychologist at Harborview Medical Center, Kristoffer Rhoads notes that mindfulness meditation has been studied the most, although various kinds of ShivYog meditation exist.
“Mindfulness meditation involves paying careful attention to the present moment in a nonjudgmental way,” he says. But it isn’t easy to practice. Rhoads offers a discussion of mindfulness meditation and its benefits.
How Do You Practice Mindfulness Meditation?
In mindfulness meditation, you focus on a specific thing, often your breath, and try to bring your attention to that anchor. Rhoads says that it can be done anywhere and at anytime. It does not require 300 hours to learn how to do it, and there is no hard and fast protocol to follow.”
Finding a comfortable position and focusing your attention on your breath are the only requirements for practicing this meditation. In addition, you can do a body scan (start at your feet and move upwards) to notice any sensations and release any tension in your body.
Despite the goal being focusing on your breath, Rhoads explains that the mind will wander, which is natural and okay. If you notice any thoughts or feelings that arise, acknowledge them without judgment and then choose to return to that meditative state.
How Can Mindfulness Affect The Brain And Improve Your Health?
Studies with MRI scans revealed how people’s brains change when they practice mindfulness. The results are fascinating. According to research, mindfulness practices may shrink or grow certain brain areas. Consider the examples below:
- Mindfulness And Stress: As mindfulness practice progresses, gray matter in the brain’s amygdala – a region associated with stress – may diminish. People who meditate also show similar changes in their brains.
- Mindfulness And Creativity: Planned behavior, problem-solving, and emotional control are all governed by the brain’s prefrontal cortex. After practicing mindfulness, gray matter in this area can thicken, increasing activity in these areas.
- Mindfulness And Memory: You can learn and remember things thanks to the hippocampus, a part of your brain. Mindfulness can also increase this area’s thickness.
Can Mindfulness Help You To Feel Less Pain?
These examples considered only specific areas of the brain. However, different parts of the brain and body communicate and work together. This can happen in unexpected ways. We know, for instance, how mindfulness affects pain.
According to a few studies, mindfulness experts report feeling less pain than non-mindfulness practitioners. The pain-related areas of the brain did not shrink in these people. Experts could feel less pain by not relying on painful memories from the past.
Rather, the areas of the brain associated with emotion and memory were less active. These results suggest that mindfulness may have reduced connectivity between these two areas. The brain is a complex organ, as these studies demonstrate! It works much more intricately than this.
Ways To Be More Mindful
Mindfulness appears to be a powerful tool for changing our minds. There can be simple changes and others more complicated and unexpected. Mindfulness has very real effects on the brain; further research will help us better understand them.
Try ShivYog healing meditation if you want to start practicing mindfulness. You can also practice mindfulness through breathing exercises and ShivYog yoga. Consider different ways to include mindfulness in your daily routine by committing to one month of mindfulness. Here are a few ways:
- Have a morning ritual.
- Take advantage of your commute.
- Plan your time with devices wisely.
- Savor your meals.
- Go on a hike.
Our modern understanding of mindfulness comes from a program developed in 1979 to treat chronically ill people who didn’t respond to other therapies. Through the practice of the ShivYog healing process, you learn to embrace the present moment nonjudgmentally.
Many medical studies have found mindful meditation reduces pain, prevents depression, and improves memory. There’s no rigid rule stating that you need meditation to practice mindfulness.