Meditation has been known for centuries to be a safe, natural, and effective treatment, or supplemental treatment to many kinds of emotional, psychological, and nervous ailments we face in everyday life. In addition to its preventative qualities, meditation also has uplifting and restorative qualities and can be a great mood enhancer even when you aren’t feeling particularly stressed or anxious. Recent studies into to brainwaves of people who actively practice some form of meditation display different types of brainwaves; this increase in alpha waves has been shown to decrease anxiety and depression levels, and a decrease in the activity of the amygdala, the center for processing fear.
Studies at UCLA have recently shown that the act of meditation sustained over several years actually changes the physical shape of the brain, resulting in a thicker, stronger brain. This ‘folding’ of the cortex may allow the brain to process information faster, as well as lead to a greater sense of emotional wellbeing and adaptability. The amount of this insular gyrification can be directly measured to the number of years the meditator has been practicing.
The benefits produced by the physical change in the cortex are not merely psychological; meditators given Structural MRI scans were shown to have a lower sensitivity to the perceptual quality of pain compared to the control group, as well as a greater ability to accept any pain they may be experiencing, thus lessening the perceived qualities of the sensations. In addition to this, meditation has been shown to be very effective(not to mention as safe as you could possible get!) for lowering blood pressure.
Immediate, Tangible Benefits
The immediate benefits of meditation can be easily measured by yourself; if you find yourself feeling calmer, more focused, and all around happier, you can be sure you’re doing it correctly and need only trust yourself to feel these benefits. Daily practiced(or even One Breath whenever you think of it) meditation has an almost instantly measurable effect on our emotional and physiological states. First, when we allow our breathing to become centered and balanced, we are getting more oxygen into the blood stream by increasing our lung capacity to its full extent. This calms the body and mind simultaneously, lessening physical tensions and twitches, and changing our brainwave patterns. Then, through our sustained awareness, we increase our ability to focus, but also our ability to deal with emotional or physical pain sensations, as well as providing a deep sense of insight if turned upon the nature of our own self for sustained periods. Finally, this awareness folded in upon our own minds can act as a kind of ‘reset’ for the rest of our day, and we find less stress and attachment to things going less than ideal in our lives; we are able to accept others and ourselves with increasing ease.
Why not give it a shot for yourself? What benefits does meditation give you?
Check back soon for more Benefits!