The Scientific Impact of Meditation

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I am not commencing it with the same-old preaching and lecturing you to indulge in Meditation by telling you thing you already know. I will talk just about the scientific aspects of it. And let’s get real, in spite of knowing it is good for the wellbeing and rhythmic collaboration of the brain, soul and the body, we tend to ignore even the thoughts of meditating. So, yes! Here I will focus mainly on two aspects- Easy Ways of Meditating and the Scientific Benefits of Meditation.

Being an age-old and worldwide accepted legacy, there are lesser chances you do not know what Meditation is. But, in case you don’t- Meditation is a practice that enables an individual to gain relaxation and consciousness by controlling random and constant voices inside the head.

Different ways of meditating

There are many ways of meditating, and believe me, it is simple. You would only need to dig out merely two to ten minutes for your own betterment.

One such, very common, way of meditation is Focused Attention Meditation (also known as Mindful Meditation). This requires the individual to focus on any ONE thing in particular and ignore other thoughts that flow in. Focus could be laid upon breathing, mantra, sensations that could even be the taste of your favorite food.

Other type of meditation is Open-Monitoring Meditation. This is rather the opposite of the former, as it requires the individual to notice everything happening around but not react to any of it.

Effect of Meditation on our brain

Since ages, we have been told about the pros of Meditation and it’s time to turn up to a rather more scientific side of all of this. Gratitude to all the incredible scientists who monitored and studied the differences taking place inside our brain while it delves in meditation.

Here goes a detailed breakdown of what happens in different parts of our brain after meditation:

  • Reticular Formation

Reticular Formation works as a guard and quickly puts the brain on alert on receiving stimuli. With meditation the arousal signals gets slowed gets dialed back.

  • Frontal Lobe

This part works on planning, reasoning, emotions and self-conscious awareness. When we meditate, the frontal cortex becomes inactive.

  • Thalamus

This is rather an entranceway for the senses. It organ focuses your attention by funneling some sensory data in the brain and by blocking other signals on the way. During meditation the flow of incoming information gets slowed down.

  • Parietal Lobe

Parietal Lobe works to gather sensory information about the environment around, and orients an individual in time and space. While we meditate, parietal lobe’s activity slows down.

Effect of Meditation in our day to day life

This was all about the effect of meditation on the brain, now let us talk about how meditation affects our health and makes it better:

  • Makes us focus better

This is not just for the time you are meditating, the effect stays in for a longer while.

  • Flushes anxiety-

A part of the brain, known as Me Center, is responsible for making you feel scared. This is done because of a neural connection built due to sensation etc. Meditation weakens this neural connection and another part of the brain known as Assessment Center gets more active. Assessment Center works for reasoning and thus when we experience that would have been otherwise scary, Assessment Center starts taking it rationally.

  • Makes us more creative

This particular aspect however is subject to the method of meditation you choose. In a study done by Researchers at Leiden University in the Netherlands, it was found that people performing Open-Monitoring Meditation showed more participation in tasks that involved creative thinking. While, those indulge in Focused Attention Meditation didn’t not give as good results as the formers.

  • Raises Compassion

In an experiment, participants were shown photographs of people who were good, bad and neutral. The participants could focus their attention and reduce their emotions. As a contrast, when they were showed disturbing photographs of people, they experienced more compassion for the people in it.

These reactions come from an activity in amygdala, responsible for producing stimuli. Normally this part stays inactive, but in this case it was exceptionally active when participants were shown images.

In similar experiment held in 2008, it was researched that people had their parietal junctures had stronger activation levels, when they heard sounds of people in pain. When this was compared to people who didn’t meditate, the results were astonishingly in favor of those who meditated.

  • Enhances memory

A researcher at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging and the Osher Research Center Catherine Kerr, said “their (people who meditate) superior ability to rapidly remember and incorporate new facts.”

  • Eradicates stress

In an experiment 2012, a group of hr managers were divided into three groups. Of the three, one participated in mindful meditation training, one was given body relaxation training and the last group wasn’t given any training.

A stressful multi-tasking task was given to these three groups before and after training of this eight-week experiment. And after the training and practices, it was found that the group practicing meditation showed less stress during the task, when compared to other two groups.

  • More grey matter

In the frontal areas and hippocampus of the brain, more grey matter is seen around. This grey matter further lead to longer-lasting emotional stability, more positive emotions and more ability of focusing in day to day life.

Getting started with Meditation

TYPES:

  1. Guided Meditation– A meditation session, wherein an instructor guides an individual for getting into a meditative state.
  2. Moving Meditation: The act of ignoring everything around and only focusing on whatever you are doing.
  3. Sensory Meditation– This requires an individual to only focus on sensation, such as sight, sound, taste, smell etc.
  4. Mindful Meditation– In this, the individual focuses on the mind. The main aim is realizing that a person is not his thoughts, emotion or actions.

HOW TO TAKE TIME FOR MEDITATION

  1. You can leave a little bit earlier and meditate in your car itself for about ten to fifteen minutes.
  2. Listen to meditation audios
  3. If you cannot move or leave your position, simply focus on any object in front of you and take deep breaths
  4. This is a number one way of meditating- sitting in a silent spot, closing eyes and focusing on breath, mantra, sensation etc.

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