How Mindfulness Meditation Impacts The Human Brain
“In mindfulness one is not only restful and happy, but alert and awake. Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh
If you are searching for a mental practice that has withstood both the test of time, as well as lab testing, then meditation it is. Humans have a habit of seeking external solutions to enhance cognitive performance and attention. In the majority of cases, they look for ways to relieve stress and feel less depressed. The majority of folks are unable to see that the best solution, might actually be practicing mindfulness to harness and enhance mental attention.
Mindfulness basically refers to one’s level of consciousness; the technique of mindfulness meditation is a mental practice that helps you cut out all the distractions in your head, and shifts focus to the present moment. To achieve this, one must not wage a war against the other feelings and shut them out, but accept other thoughts calmly.
Common scenarios like business people spending time watching YouTube videos and browsing Facebook instead of working spring to mind instantly. Learning about mindfulness meditation by reading various books and articles can go a long way. A typical scenario is when a person decides to start going to gym, but is always distracted and never does. This technique can help you eliminate all the things that do not matter at the very same moment.
Mindfulness has a much larger positive impact in addition to all the general effects associated with meditating. Some recent work on the subject showcases a few ways mindfulness can literally change your brain.
Brain Empowerment Effects
If you are looking for a great study that highlights the potency of this technique, then look no further than this post in the Harvard Business Review. A rise in grey matter in two regions called the anterior cingulate cortex and the prefrontal cortex was recorded when practicing mindfulness meditation. These regions together shape and manage functions like self-regulation, cognitive flexibility, emotions and problem solving respectively.
As you can see, these functions are vital to any person, not just for those in the business world. You will encounter situations where, you need to plan and problem solve on a regular basis in your life.
If you are suffering or know someone who is suffering from PTSD or depression, then mindfulness meditation is just what they need. The technique increases the size of a part in your brain called the hippocampus which is responsible for memory and learning too.
Studies have also found that the habit of wandering, and not focusing on particular thoughts is linked with unhappiness and past problems. Hence, it is probably best for you to mitigate the effect that the brain’s “Me Center” has on your body.
Effects in Certain Scenarios
A ton of research has taken place on this intriguing field, and it has been concluded that even a small amount of mindfulness training can have a substantial impact on your ability to handle stress in general.
You can find a lot of information available through the US National Institute of health, that specifically deals with how different control groups overcome stress. A highly notable study was conducted by a leading author on the subject David Creswell. Creswell and his team at the Carnegie Mellon University tried to ascertain the effect a little mindfulness training has on people. In this case study, two groups were formed where one was subjected to 25 min stretches of mindfulness practice for 3 days. The other group was made to analyse poetry (a proven technique to enhance critical thinking). Following this, the two groups were placed in stressful environments and it was noted that those who had training in mindfulness were far more relaxed.
With things like YouTube, 9Gag, SnapChat and Facebook around, people are more distracted than ever before, so meditation can be a huge ace up anyone’s sleeve. Self-regulation is something meditators excel at. The goal is to acknowledge distractions calmly and refocus.
According to Christina Congleton, who is a consultant at Axon Coaching, “mindfulness should no longer be considered a “nice-to-have” for executives. It’s a “must-have”: a way to keep our brains healthy, to support self-regulation and effective decision-making capabilities, and to protect ourselves from toxic stress.”
You can seamlessly integrate mindfulness meditation into your spiritual life. The technique is in sync with the teachings of Buddha. If you are seeking answers to attain a higher level of creativity and awareness, then practicing mindfulness is essential in your daily life. Focusing on breathing, can really make the process easier as you might find that, initially, your mind tends to wander a surprising amount. That’s fine, just focus on your breathing again, notice every time you inhale and exhale, observe how you do it and may nothing be on your way.
As they say, a healthy mind is a healthy body.
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