Meditation has been around for thousands of years, and it seems that an increasing number of people have started to show their interest in this practice over the past two decades. Some people are fully aware of the health benefits of meditation and want to make the best of it, while others simply do it in order to relax and let off some steam. Regardless of the reason why you have decided to meditate, one thing is for sure: these meditation techniques are not only cheap and effortless, but they can also benefit you from a mental, physical and emotional standpoint. Here are five amazing facts regarding the impact of meditation on the human brain, facts that are backed up by solid scientific research:
1. Extended Meditation Increases the Gray Matter in the Brain
There was a study conducted almost a decade ago on a group of men and women who meditated half an hour a day, which has revealed that they had thicker cortical walls as opposed to those of non-meditators. Otherwise stated, meditation can increase the production of gray matter in the brain, while slowing down the brain aging process at the same time. Increased gray matter is widely associated with decision making, attention as well as memory, and it is safe to say that meditation has a neuroprotective effect on those who practice it in the long run, on a daily basis!
2. Meditation Protects Your Telomeres
Telomeres are very underrated these days, and few people know what they are. In a nutshell, telomeres are the protective caps found right at the end of our chromosomes, and lengthening the telomeres can actually increase our lifespan. Telomeres play a pivotal role in the anti-aging science, and research done by the University of California has revealed that meditation can protect, strengthen and lengthen the telomeres.
3. It Can Improve Your Memory
Age-related memory loss is normal and natural, but why not slow it down if you can? It turns out that people who meditate regularly can enjoy a more improved memory, as well as a better functioning brain and an improved focus. It seems that there are several different aspects that positively influences the brain during meditation: the cognitive function is improved through regular breathing, a normal body posture as well as the fact that when we meditate, we have more time to reflect and to think about our lives.
4. It Improves Neuroplasticity
Neuroplasticity is the scientific term used to describe the changes that take place in the brain, both on a structural and on a functional level. Not only is neuroplasticity a good thing, but also highly recommended – as long as the environmental input is a positive one. Research has revealed that long-term meditation stimulates positive neuroplasticity and loosens the neural pathways which, in turns, can alleviate depression and anxiety!
5. Reduces Stress, Enhances Focus and Elevates Your Mood
Last, but not least, a study conducted by the University of Miami has shown that meditation can actually reduce stress and enhance focus, as mentioned earlier. The stress reduction that meditators enjoy is by far the most important benefit, as it protects them from mental degradation and it also makes them happier by stimulating the natural production of serotonin, too!