Meditation is a great way to calm your thoughts and center yourself, but did you know how much science there is to back up its benefits?
Some people picture meditation as sitting on a pillow in silence and clearing your mind – while this can be true, there’s so many other ways to meditate – and there’s much more that’s happening in your brain when you do. Let’s dive into the brain science behind meditation. Are you ready? Let’s do this…
Neuroscience and Meditation
Meditation has the power to actually change your brain. On both fundamental and superficial levels, meditation can rewire your brain and change your psychology. Understanding the parts of the brain that meditation can impact is an excellent way to understand its benefits.
The brain has the unique ability to adapt, a principle referred to as neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is one of the reasons why the benefits of meditation exist. The brain is full of neurons and their connections are strengthened when activities are repeated.
The brain has two different types of matter: gray and white. Each of them serves a different purpose and is important for brain function.
Research has found that specific mindfulness practices (like meditation!) can actually increase gray matter density in various parts of the brain. This density change can increase learning capacity, as well as a stronger tendency toward becoming more caring and aware.
The majority of the gray matter changes that were found as a result of meditation occur in the frontal regions of the brain. This part of the brain is often associated with thinking and processing, two things that can significantly impact someone’s life and their meditation practice.
Curious about another factor that gray matter can influence? Aging.
By focusing on strengthening your gray matter and increasing its health, you can actually slow its aging process. One study specifically looked at the effects of meditation on gray matter and subsequent aging, finding that decline occurred slower in individuals that meditated.
Meditation can not only thicken the prefrontal cortex, but also activate it.
The prefrontal cortex is responsible for a large amount of cognition. Interestingly, the size of the prefrontal cortex is what separates humans from animals. Because meditation impacts the prefrontal cortex, that means it can actually make us “more” human.
The prefrontal cortex communicates with a variety of other regions in the brain. Taking control of this part of your brain can have wide implications and benefits, so meditation is something that should be considered.
Neurotransmitters are incredibly important chemicals in the brain. While we have base levels of neurotransmitters, meditation can actually increase those levels. Some neurotransmitters that meditation can impact include:
- Serotonin: Mostly associated with happiness, this neurotransmitter can help with mood regulation.
- GABA: This neurotransmitter can help provide a calming effect for the central nervous system.
- Cortisol: Cortisol = stress. Meditation = lower cortisol levels.
The SOS Method
We’ve gone over the benefits of meditation, but how exactly can you start a daily practice?
It can be overwhelming to start meditating, which is one of the reasons why Marlise Karlin, a Mental Health Pioneer, created SOS Method. When you use this evidence-based technique, you’ll be gently guided with meditations that improve your mental health, release trauma from the body, and rapidly change negative behavior.
Meditation has been around for thousands of years. There are many different techniques, but often people find them boring. That’s why SOS Method is so popular – it’s an innovative, creative meditation option where 97% of people experience deep peace and hope on the very first try.
SOS Method reinvents meditation. It’s both simple and amazingly effective – plus it actually works in only minutes.
SOS Method is available in an app so you can take it with you anywhere and practice the Special Formula Meditations any time. It also offers 7 day guided journeys that walk you through specific topics like stress, sleep, relationships, manifesting and more. It’s a great way to begin your next journey in life – whether you are new or have been meditating for 20 years. As they say, Might as well enjoy the journey, after all… what have you got to lose.