I may talk about the power of Meditation a lot, in fact every client I work with on a 1:1 level is gifted my course to ensure that this becomes a part of their daily practice. Yet one thing we seem to over look is the science behind Meditation – and so, if you do one thing today, please take a look at how you can change your brain through meditation. It really is a gift.
After searching through many studies I became (and I still am) fascinated with neuroplasticity: the ability of the brain to change and create new neural connections throughout your life, and the most powerful way to do this, you guessed it: meditation. I appreciate that as a mindset coach and meditation teacher it is so easy for me to say this, but even if this resonates with one person, it would make me so happy.
It is incredibly easy for me to talk about the benefits from my subjective point of view yet when there is scientific proof about the effects that it has on us, people start to listen. I’m not saying that it’s like proving gravity or that the earth is round (how is this still in dispute) but in proving that meditation can change the way your brain functions daily and the fact you can biohack is something not to be taken lightly.
A study that grabbed my attention the most was by Harvard neuroscientist Dr. Sara Lazar. Her 2005 findings were groundbreaking and showed a brain similarity with someone who I think you might know. Dr. Lazar discovered that experienced meditators had much more neural density, folds, electrical activity and thickness in their prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain responsible for cognitive behaviour and essentially our personality). Fear, anxiety, and stress are often a catalyst for so many people to start meditating but what would happen if we started thinking about the practice before it got to this stage? In addition to this study, there are numerous findings that show that meditation “thickens” and grows the prefrontal cortex. This type of brain function is what made Albert Einstein’s brain so unique: needless to say the ability to create this through neuroplasticity and meditation is such a simple tool with life changing benefits.
When I read about this brain functioning, I went on to search for the part of the brain that is responsible for our emotions, survival instinct and memory: the amygdala. The simplest way to understand this is the fight or flight process with fear and how we both perceive and deal with any situation controlled by the amygdala. In 2016, a team of Spanish and German (Yang et. al) fMRI imaged the brains of meditation beginners before and after 40 days of mindfulness training to see the differences. Naturally, after the six weeks, their anxiety and depression scores had decreased. The part of the study that is truly phenomenal is that the participants had dramatically decreased their amygdala in size and volume- in only six weeks. Six weeks in our busy lives in manageable and completely measurable.
The implications of this study show that we can learn to control our primitive brain and teach ourselves to build up a protective layer against the negative effects of stress and anxiety before they take control of us. Interestingly, this study also found out that we can strengthen the Temporoparietal Junction (TPJ) associated with our emotional intelligence (EQ) through meditation.
Our intelligence is not set the day we are born, we have the power to take control.
When delving further into neuroplasticity there is one more part of the brain that I wanted to mention and that is the Hippocampi. This part of the brain is responsible for learning and memory and again I wanted to see if, through neuroplasticity, the way we meditate would physically effect this. In another study by Dr. Lazar her research shows that meditation dramatically increased Hippocampal cortical thickness, with a magnitude determined by experience. This means that meditation has the power to shape the learning and memory centre of the brain into something phenomenal. If you want to create a strong memory capability and become a super learner… start with meditation.
I believe that meditation is the greatest gift that we can give to ourselves that can be done anywhere, anytime and it costs us nothing but time.
I have a plethora of free meditations YOU CAN ACCESS HERE so please try them out. If perhaps, you want to try the 7 day meditation course I mentioned in the beginning then CLICK HERE. It starts with you…