But what is meditation and how can it benefit you?
Meditation is all about the art of relaxation. It doesn’t involve concentration or focusing your thoughts on one thing. It is actually the opposite, trying to silence your mind by controlling the focus of your attention.
Simple right? It sounds easy but it does take some practice. Nevertheless, the rewards are well worth it.
What happens to your brain when you meditate?
Through modern technology like MRI scans, we can start to understand what is taking place in our brains when we meditate. A major difference is that our brains stop processing information as actively as they would normally. This can be seen by a decrease in beta waves, having positive effects on different areas of the brain. There are a number of health benefits related to relaxation and meditation.
Benefits associated with meditation
– Reduced stress: Meditation has been shown to help people reduce levels of stress and perform better under pressure.
– Better focus: Regular bouts of meditation help to maintain focus because you become more aware of your focus drifting.
– Less anxiety: When we meditate, there is a reduction in the neural connections to the medial prefrontal cortex in the brain. This means we don’t react as strongly to sensations and situations that might make us feel scared or vulnerable. Therefore, when in challenging situations we can deal with them in a more rational and calm manner.
– Enhanced immune system: Areas of the brain acting as the immune command centre are stimulated through meditation. It is thought this plays a role in improving the efficiency of the immune system.
– Improved circulation: Meditation reduces your heart rate while dramatically improving circulation efficiency and lowering blood pressure.
Regular practice is important to get the best out of meditation. If possible daily practice even for a short time period of 10-20 minutes is best. This is to ensure the positive effects on different areas of the brain last; if you stop meditating regularly the changes will reverse back.
There are different methods to meditate by. Many prefer to meditate alone, while others choose to participant in group meditation. While it is important to note that meditation is not an act, yoga has also been associated with encouraging focus and turning your attention inwards. Therefore, meditation plays a role in the majority of yoga classes too. Click here for more information on yoga and a beginner’s guide to getting started.