Scientific research on the effects of meditation on our brain, emotions and stress levels has been going on steadily for a number of years now, with new studies coming out just about every week to illustrate some new benefit of meditation. Or, should I say, some ancient benefit that is just now being confirmed by science. Even though some still try to dismiss the numerous benefits of meditation as new age, wishful thinking, we actually now have scientific evidence that these claims are quite real.
Scientists today approach meditation as an all-around solution to lifestyle malfunctions and have presented some consistently mind-boggling evidence on how meditation not only reduces stress hormones, but even rewires the neural pathways of the brain to decrease stress and generate inner peace and equilibrium. Here are three pretty amazing ways science has found meditation alleviates stress:
One of the many neurological benefits of meditation is regulation of the functioning of the ventromedial cortex, dorsomedial cortex, amygdala, and insula, all of which are specialised brain centeres that regulate our emotions, reactions to stress, anxiety, fear, and bodily sensations of pain, hunger, and thirst. As these brain centeres become more regulated, we experience less feelings of fear and anxiety in our everyday lives, leading to a significant reduction in our stress levels.
How many of us have let our day get away from us because of a wandering mind and diffused focus? On of the other benefits of meditation is that it helps control the “Default Mode Network” (DMN) of the brain which is responsible for causing the mind to wander and engage in non-targeted pieces of information that distract us. The meditative effects of reduced DMN activity in the brain lead to a more effortlessly focused mind, causing us to remain calmer, less reactive and more present-oriented.
Neuropsychological studies also show that regular meditation regulates the functioning of the lateral prefrontal cortex which is is the center of the brain responsible for logical reasoning and rational thinking. The effects meditation have on this part of the brain cause us to feel more balanced and in control of our thoughts, allowing us to let go of those niggling negative thoughts that bother us each day, and focus on those thoughts and ideas we truly want to experience in our daily lives.
One of the coolest things about practicing meditation, is that studies show that you don’t need to be a monk or live in a cave to do this. You can actually begin to experience these benefits after just 3 days of practice. As you continue to practice, these benefits just continue to deepen and become a permanent part of your life experience.
If you want to try it out for yourself, explore our Yoga Wellness Experiences where you will find different ways of mixing yoga and meditation. All you need to do is choose your favourite, book your time and get started.
See you on the mat!