Meditation is the next big thing in America. But it isn’t confined to the green-conscious hippies of San Francisco. People all over the country are buying into the idea of meditation. One area it has a huge effect on is the brain.
Studies have shown that regular meditation can change the brain in a number of ways. This article will go how meditation improves mental health.
Meditation Stalls the Aging Process
A study conducted by research department of UCLA revealed that long-term meditators have brains that are more well-preserved than those who don’t meditate at all. The participants who had meditated for over 20 years had more grey matter than the participants who had never meditated at all.
Meditation really makes you smarter as you get older. It doesn’t matter how young or old you are. Take up meditation now and you’ll begin to have an impact on the brain’s aging processes.
Addressing Monkey Mind
Monkey mind is the condition people have where their minds are wandering. They are jumping from thought to thought and thinking about everything and nothing at the same time. Meditation helps to calm this condition and creates clarity.
Studies have shown that monkey mind makes you less happy and more stressed because you are constantly thinking about the past and the future. Think of meditation as a way of quieting your mind to these rampant thoughts.
Meditation Can Cure Depression and Anxiety
Meditation and depression/anxiety have always had a strong link. Regular sessions of meditation can reduce the amount of anxiety and depression you feel. While the effect on full blown depression was reasonably low, what startled scientists was the fact that they are just as effective as anti-depressants.
Additionally, meditation is a whole lot healthier. The problem with anti-depressants is they tend to come with undesirable side effects. Many sufferers of depression actually avoid anti-depressants because they feel worse when they take them.
That isn’t to say meditation is somehow a magic bullet, but it can go a long way to helping you deal with the problem.
Volume Changes in Key Brain Areas
What you probably didn’t know is that meditation doesn’t just alter the volume of grey matter you have in general. It can alter the areas of the brain responsible for memory and learning. There is also a reduction in volume within the part of the brain responsible for feelings of fear and anxiety.
Meditation allows you to concentrate your brain power on the things that really matter. As you get older, these changes will become far more profound as your peers begin to lose control of their mental faculties.
Change Your Outlook on Life
Someone with good mental health tends to be optimistic, bright, and happy. Someone with poor mental health is nearly always the exact opposite. Meditation completely alters your outlook on life, and this is an important part of improving your mental health.
It all boils down to the fact you are no longer concentrating on the negative parts of your life. Meditation curtails these toxic thoughts because you are silencing your mind. You are forcing it to think about nothing. It’s like placing ice atop a throbbing wound.
Is it Too Late to Meditate?
The above brain benefits focus on what you can do in the long-term. For readers already in their later years, they may feel that opportunities to meditate have long gone. But that’s not the case. While you need time to maximize the benefits of meditation, there are so many short-term benefits available.
A simple 30 minutes a day dedicated to meditation in a quiet place can entirely change your outlook on life. Most importantly, the monkey mind condition can be addressed in just a few sessions. Manipulating the volume of the brain will come in time. You will find yourself with a sharper mind as you continue to get older.
Here are some tips for making the most of meditation:
- Meditation is like a muscle. The more you do it the better.
- Use aids like scented candles and mood music in order to make it easier to get started.
- Sit in a comfortable place. You can meditate in any position you please.
Meditation is no longer the preserve of hippies and new age advocates. The health benefits of meditation have been backed up by clear scientific results. It’s led to people from all walks of life taking up the practice. Will you be taking up meditation today?