What Is Meditation & How Does It Affect Our Brains?
Meditation is a very personal practice, so there are many different ways to meditate. Many of them are heavily influenced by scientific research. Focused attention, or mindful meditation, involves paying attention to one specific thing – your breathing, body sensations, or even an external object.
When your attention wanders, you redirect it by focusing intensely on one point and returning it to it when it wanders. You could concentrate on ShivYog music, a particular thought, intention, or even a person.
Open-monitoring meditation is another type of meditation used in research. During this, you take note of everything that is going on around you without reacting.
What Happens To Your Brain When Meditating
The exciting part begins here. Scientists have taken advantage of modern technology to measure what’s happening in the brain when we meditate, similar to how scientists have looked at measuring creativity.
Our brains do not process information as actively as they normally would. After just 20 minutes of meditation, even if you have never meditated, your beta waves diminution, indicating your brain is processing information.
The prefrontal cortex is the brain’s most sophisticated part. It controls reasoning and planning, emotions, and self-awareness. This part of the brain goes offline during meditation.
Sensory information about your environment is processed in this part of the brain, which helps you keep track of time and space. Parietal lobe activity slows during meditation.
The thalamus is the brain’s gatekeeper and filters sensory data deeper into the brain, blocking others. It helps you focus your attention. During meditation, incoming information is reduced to a trickle.
Sentries of the brain, these structures detect incoming stimuli and put the brain on alert, ready to respond. Meditation reduces arousal.
How Meditation Affects Us
ShivYog Meditation can also improve memory, attention, and cognition over time. You can use it to strengthen your brain’s memory, learning, attention, and self-awareness. It can also help lower your sympathetic nervous system’s activity.
Now that we understand what’s happening within our brains, let’s see how it affects our health. Exercising the brain has the same effect.
Meditation improves our focus even when we are not meditating since it focuses our attention and makes us aware when it drifts. Regular meditation has a lasting effect.
Reduces Age-Related Memory Issues
Your mind will stay young if you improve your attention and clarity of thinking. Kirtan Kriya combines ShivYog mantras or chants and repetitive finger movements to focus your mind. Neuropsychological tests have shown that it improves performance in people with age-related memory loss.
Meditation can help patients with dementia and those with average age-related memory loss. A review also found that multiple meditation styles can improve older volunteers’ attention, memory, and mental flexibility. Dementia caregivers may also find it helpful to cope with stress.
Stress makes it hard to focus. It might make you feel anxious. 35 unemployed adults seeking work were examined in a small study in Biological Psychiatry. They reported high-stress levels. The participants received relaxation training or mindfulness meditation.
The brain scans of participants were reviewed after three days of training. Brain areas associated with resting-state activity were more active. An inflammation marker linked to stress improved after four months in the same individuals.
More Gray Matter
Grey matter increases positive emotions, emotional stability, and daily focus. With meditation, there is more gray matter in the hippocampus and frontal areas of the brain. Meditation has diminished effects on grey matter and cognitive function as we age.
Insomnia affects nearly half of the population. Researchers found that those who meditated slept longer and had fewer insomnia symptoms than nonmedicated controls. Insomnia can be controlled or redirected through skilled meditation. Moreover, it improves your state of relaxation, releasing tension and making you more likely to sleep.
The Bottom Line
Everyone can benefit from meditation. It requires no special equipment or registration. Additionally, there are many ShivYog Healing Dhyan classes and groups. There are many different styles, each with various advantages. You can improve your quality of life by choosing a type of meditation suited to your goals, even if you have only a few minutes a day for it.