How a little meditation each day helps transform your brain in a huge way
Our brains are plastic organs that respond to our activities. Much like strengthening muscles through weight training, we can neuro-engineer our brains to behave differently.
The brain develops through neural connections. Neurons, the information-processing cells in your brain, connect to make neural pathways, which are responsible for your thoughts, sensations, feelings and actions.
When you repeat an activity, you strengthen the neural connections involved, which develop the associated regions of your brain.
Scientific studies have found that over time mindfulness meditation can increase grey matter density in the hippocampus and other frontal regions of the brain as well as increases in the anterior insula and cortical thickness.
These changes in the hippocampus mean enhanced learning, cognition and memory, and better retention of facts. Increases in the anterior insula and in cortical thickness bolster cognitive function, attention and self-awareness.
Mindfulness meditation also deactivates your sympathetic nervous system (your fight or flight response) and activates the parasympathetic branch, which allows you to rest and relax. Over time this can help reduce pain, depression, stress and anxiety.
Meditation is a powerful transformation tool. It doesn’t have to be difficult. It starts with intention and breath. Research shows that a little every day can go a long way.