If you’ve been on any social platform at any point in the last few years, you’ve probably seen the word meditation mentioned a few times. You’ve probably heard about how great meditation is for you and maybe even how it benefits your body, mind, and soul.
But how great is meditation? How do you get started? Isn’t meditating just about being in deep thought about something? The art of meditation is easy but the task of quieting your mind can take years to master. Keep at it! You’ll not only find inner peace, but there’s scientific evidence that backs up the fact that meditation slows the aging of your brain.
The Purpose of Meditation
Meditation is a word defined and used in many ways. The thought of meditation is often mystifying and confusing for the person embarking on this journey.
The goal of meditation is to free the mind of any mental disturbance, but NOT going blank. Since the mind is designed to think many thoughts at once, meditation’s goal is to focus on a single idea.
Being mindful of your mind and soul, essentially the thoughts you’re allowing and how you allow them, can produce a state of awareness and knowledge that you were not able to tap into before. You can find a calm and lasting effect that you’ve never known. All it takes is silencing your mind and finding that inner peace.
Meditation Decreases Depression
Students who practiced an at-home meditation program reported significantly reduced indications of anxiety, stress, and depression up to six months later. These same students were also less likely to develop symptoms of depression.
University of California conducted a study made up of patients with past depression, concluding that mindfulness meditation decreases dysfunctional beliefs and ruminative thinking.
Practicing mindful meditation has also been shown to increase bonding with a mother-to-be and her expected baby if done over a few weeks span. This mindfulness and bond can exponentially decrease the chances of postpartum depression later on.
Mindful Meditation Can Improve Information Processing and Decision Making
Studies have shown that long term mediators have vast amounts of gyrification, which is a “folding” of the cortex that may allow the brain to process information faster. These studies have shown far less of this “fold” in people who do not meditate.
If you feel that you’re suffering from a disorder like ADD or ADHD, meditation may be something you should try before prescribed medication. Scientists theorize that gyrification is responsible for making the brain more efficient at processing information, forming memories, making decisions, and improving attention.
Meditation Can Make You More Tolerant of Pain
A research group from the University of Montreal conducted an experiment in which 13 Zen masters and 13 comparable non-practitioners were exposed to equal degrees of painful heat while measuring their brain activity in a fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) scanner.
What they discovered is that the Zen meditation practitioners reported less pain than their neurological output from the fMRI indicated. So, even though their brain may be receiving the same amount of pain input, in their mind there is actually less pain.
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