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Meditation Facts

THE BENEFITS OF MEDITATION

One of the most powerful ways to relax your brain in a short amount of time is a session of meditation. In the image shown top left you can see how the beta waves (shown in bright colours on the left) are dramatically reduced during meditation (on the right).

Meditation lowers stress levels and improves overall health as well as creativity.

How meditation affects us

Now that we know what’s going on inside our brains, let’s look at the research into the ways it affects our health. It’s in fact very similar to how exercising affects our brains.

  1. Better focus

Because meditation is a practice in focusing our attention and being aware of when it drifts, this improves our focus when we’re not meditating, as well. It’s a lasting effect that comes from regular bouts of meditation. Focused attention is very much like a muscle, one that needs to be strengthened through exercise.

  1. Less anxiety

This point is rather technical, but really interesting. The more we meditate, the less anxiety we have, and it turns out this is because we’re actually loosing the connections of particular neural pathways. This sounds bad, but it’s not.

What happens without meditation is that there’s a section of our brains that’s sometimes called the Me Centre (it’s technically the medial prefrontal cortex). This is the part that processes information relating to ourselves and our experiences. Normally the neural pathways from the bodily sensation and fear centre of the brain to the Me Centre are really strong. When you experience a scary or upsetting sensation, it triggers a strong reaction in your Me Centre, making you feel scared and under attack.

When we meditate, we weaken this neural connection. This means that we don’t react as strongly to sensations that might have once lit up our Me Centres. As we weaken this connection, we simultaneously strengthen the connection between what’s known as our Assessment Centre (the part of our brains known for reasoning) and our bodily sensation and fear centres. So, when we experience scary or upsetting sensations, we can more easily look at them rationally. Here’s a good example:

When you experience pain, rather than becoming anxious and assuming it means something is wrong with you, you can watch the pain rise and fall without becoming ensnared in a story about what it might mean.

  1. Less stress

Mindful meditation has been shown to help people perform under pressure while feeling less stressed. A 2012 study split a group of human resources managers into three, which one third participating in mindful meditation training, another third taking body relaxation training and the last third given no training at all. A stressful multitasking test was given to all the managers before and after the eight-week experiment. In the final test, the group that had participated in the meditation training reported less stress during the test than both of the other groups.

  1. More grey matter

Meditation has been linked to larger amounts of grey matter in the hippocampus and frontal areas of the brain. I didn’t know what this meant at first, but it turns out it’s great. More grey matter can lead to more positive emotions, longer-lasting emotional stability and heightened focus during daily life. Meditation has also been shown to diminish age-related effects on grey matter and reduce the decline of our cognitive functioning.

  1. Better memory

One of the things meditation has been linked to is improving rapid memory recall. Catherine Kerr, a researcher at the Martinos Centre for Biomedical Imaging and the Osher Research Centre found that people who practiced mindful meditation were able to adjust the brain wave that screens out distractions and increase their productivity more quickly that those that did not meditate. She said that this ability to ignore distractions could explain “their superior ability to rapidly remember and incorporate new facts.” This seems to be very similar to the power of being exposed to new situations that will also dramatically improve our memory of things. – by Belle Beth Cooper

Here’s Why Meditation Is So Amazing for Your Mental Health

There’s no denying that meditation has officially gone mainstream. Gone are the days where people turned their noses up and wrote it off as a hippy-dippy practice. Now, there are posh meditation studios Worldwide and a handful of smartphone apps to help us find our calm anytime, anywhere.

Taking a few minutes to meditate every day with the goal of becoming more mindful, or focused on and accepting of the present, is a great way to relieve stress. But it’s even more powerful than you think. Mindfulness meditation helps ease mental health conditions like depression and anxiety—so much so, that some clinicians are trying it as a course of treatment before turning to medication.

Here’s how meditation can help put you in control of your Mental Health

Meditating actually changes your brain, and with it, the way your body responds to stress. Which works wonders on depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Studies have been suggesting for the past decade that meditation can bring big health benefits, but it wasn’t until recent years that research has looked into exactly how it can change the brain.

The latest study, published July 1, 2016 in the journal Biological Psychiatry, studied 35 unemployed men and women experiencing the major stress of searching for a job, and found significant changes to the brain on scans done after just three days of mindfulness meditation. Specifically, there was more activity in the portions dedicated to processing stress, focus, and calmness. In blood tests, the subjects also showed lower levels of an important marker of inflammation, even four months after the study.

It’s this impact on the body’s stress response that seems to make meditation so effective in treating mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

Meditation

Although there’s not one single activity that calms all, our Serenity Pods are a great place to start. Oxygen infused meditation in one of our Serenity Pods, can help remove stress and replace it with a calmer you. Meditation is an incredible practice that benefits us in so many different areas of life. It reduces stress, allows us to focus our minds and teaches us the joy of truly living in the moment.

Some people are comfortable sitting back with relaxing music and settling into meditation. But some of us prefer guided meditations, because it can be tough to meditate without a teacher or guide. Guided meditations walk you through a meditation, and help you find your own calm and peaceful mind.

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