As people age, their brain’s lose weight and volume. These changes may start to occur in people as early as their mid to late 20s. Previous research has shown people who meditate to lose less brain mass over time than those who do not. In particular, the research concluded people who meditated showed less of a decrease in their white brain matter.
White brain matter acts as a connector and insulator for gray brain matter. It carries nerve impulses between the functional parts of the brain. Gray brain matter houses the various neurological centers of the brain, which direct speech, motor skills, memory, etc.
Meditation is something practiced by more than 15 million Americans and many more people around the world. It has its roots in eastern culture but has been wholeheartedly embraced in western societies.
Meditation has a wide variety of benefits, including:
• Improves sleep
• Inner peace and tranquility
• Reduces chronic pain
• Reduces stress and anxiety
• Reduces depression
• Boosts attention
• Improves immunity
• Helps with weight loss
• Boosts memory
• Improves heart health and lowers blood pressure
• Improves wellbeing and allows for deeper relationships
Now it seems that meditation may also help to keep our brains young.
Interesting Experiments In Meditation and Brain Research
A team of researchers from UCLA wondered if meditation preserves the gray matter of people who meditate as well. The researchers found meditation to have a widespread effect on the entire brain not just specific regions of the brain associated with meditation.
The study compared people having years of meditation experience with those who had none. The meditators had an average of 20 years of experience with meditation practice. The age range of the study participants included people in their mid-20s to their late 70s.
Nearly equal numbers of men and women participated in the study with 28 men and 22 women. They found the meditators still experienced a decline in gray matter with age but less than non-meditators.
The researchers noted the positive outcome of the study but caution people reviewing the results; they were unable to establish a direct link to meditation and the preservation of gray matter.
Another UCLA study conducted in 2012, showed meditators to have more gyrification, folds in their brains, which may contribute to an ability to process information faster than usual.
Meditation appears to allow practitioners to maintain both white and gray matter and form increased connections in the brain; it seems to keep the brain young.
Along with its positive effects on white and gray brain matter, meditation appears to have a positive effect on other body functions.
Anti-Aging Benefits Of Meditation
The youth-preserving and renewing benefits of meditation include:
• Meditation increases DHEA, which facilitates the production of the hormones that maintain fat and mineral metabolism.
• An increase in Melatonin, which acts as antioxidant, supplies immune support and fights depression.
• A decrease in cortisol, the stress hormone that encourages the body to retain dangerous belly fat associated with heart disease and diabetes.
The Effects Of Meditation
Part of feeling and maintaining a youthful mental outlook centers around the quality of one’s thinking patterns. Meditators learn to quiet the mental chaos and build their ability to concentrate.
They experience greater clarity of thought and tend to react less and respond more to circumstances. In short, they maintain their ability to be highly adaptive and think quickly with the additional benefit of choosing their response to situations rather than reacting to them.
How To Meditate For Beginners
Meditators typically meditate at least twice a day for twenty minutes per sitting. Most schools of thought recommend meditation to start the day and to close it.
However, a person may meditate whenever they have time in their schedule to accommodate it.
Meditation is not an all or nothing proposition. It is also beneficial to meditate in shorter increments of time, sitting for 5, 10, or 15 minutes.
There are also several different methods of meditation, including:
• Primordial Sound Meditation
• Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
• Transcendental Meditation
• Yoga Meditation (Kundalini)
• Focused Attention Meditation
• Open Monitoring Meditation
• Vipassana Meditation
• Loving Kindness Meditation (Metta Meditation)
• Mantra Meditation (OM Meditation)
• Qigong (Chi kung)
How To Meditate At Home
A person new to meditation needs to be patient; it takes time to train the mind to focus and settle into a meditation practice. The first step is to decide which form of meditation you wish to practice, and then learn how to do it. If possible, obtain the services of an expert, and there are also many books, DVD’s and free information available online that can teach the exact steps of the particular method preferred.
When beginning, try to meditate at the same time every day. If this is not possible, you can still meditate at a different time. Building a meditation practice is more important than when you do it. The benefits of a consistent meditation practice can develop in a few weeks with continued practice preserving your brain’s youthful dynamics for years to come.
How Meditation Helps Your Body And Brain
There is constant two-way communication going on between your body and your brain. Do you remember a time when you may have thought of something that was just terrible or maybe you had a “sinking feeling” in your stomach area? That is the kind of communication that goes on between your brain and your body. Meditation can help relax your mind so it can help train your body to relax and your brain to be clear.
Recent research has found that not only does your brain communicate with your cells, but your cells will also communicate with your brain and also with other parts of your body. In fact, a scientist has recently discovered that we think with not only our brain but our bodies as well. Meditation can help us to also understand our brain.
It is not inaccurate to look at your entire body as being part of your brain…
That may be a new fact that may startle you, but do not reject it. Many scientists are now starting to believe that we are actually a “body-brain”. You can communicate with your body and brain through meditation. A key part of your body’s incredible communication system involves your cells’ receptors. This means every call in your body can have millions of receptors on its face, and each cell has perhaps seventy different types of receptors.
While meditating as I learned more I discovered that in the early 1970s, Candace Pert, PhD.D, was the first scientist to prove that the existence of these receptors with her own discovery of the opiate receptor. These receptor molecules float on the cell’s oily outer part of the membrane and also have roots that can reach deep inside the cell.
I’m sure that Dr. Pert had to do a lot of meditating as she wrote her wonderful book The Molecules Of Emotion, Dr. Pert says that “the life of a cell, what it is up to at any moment, is determined by which receptors are on its surface, and whether those receptors are occupied by ligands or not. A ligand is described as a small molecule that will bind itself to a cellular receptor.
Using mediation to keep my mind clear I learned that there are three chemical types of ligands. They are the neurotransmitters, the steroids, and the ones that we are most interested in at this time, the peptides. According to Dr.Pert, as many as 95 percent of all ligands may be peptides.
The receptors and their ligands have come to be seen as “information molecules’- the basic units of a language that are used by cells throughout the organism to communicate across systems such as the endocrine, neurological, gastrointestinal, and even the immune system.” I would say as much knowledge as Dr.Pert has on this subject meditation would be what kept her mind in focus.
Meditation For Physical Pain Can Make You Feel Better
Painkillers are addictive and potentially dangerous. Some drugs could cause a host of long-term health problems even if they are used correctly. Fortunately, there is a safe, low-cost alternative to painkillers. Meditation relieves pain without the many side effects that you get from painkillers and other drugs. Some say that meditation can be addictive, but there have been no dangers associated with “too much” meditation.
Meditation For Pain Relief Is Backed By Science
Meditation for pain relief has been used for hundreds of years, but its efficacy has been proven by science. After assessing 34 trials in evaluating the effectiveness of meditation on pain relief, the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research Quality has reported that meditation programs can indeed help reduce pain intensity.
Researchers at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have found that meditation can reduce pain intensity by about 40 percent and decrease the unpleasantness by as much as 57 percent. Typically, morphine and other painkillers usually reduce pain by about 25 percent. This means that meditation may even be more effective than medication when it comes to pain relief.
Meditation For Physical Pain – How Does Meditation Stop Pain?
Pain activates the body’s stress response. Stress has been found to exacerbate pain especially in diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. In other words, when you are in pain, your body becomes stressed. The more stressed you are, the more intense your pain becomes. Meditation relieves stress by inducing a relaxed state. When stress dissipates, so does your pain. When you meditate, biochemical changes also start happening inside your body. Your body releases, endorphins, a natural painkiller that also produces a feeling of well-being.
Can Meditation Help You With Emotional and Psychological Pain?
Meditation can help heal psychological trauma and emotional scars. Army veterans take meditation classes to help them overcome negative thoughts and emotions associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The American Psychological Association has reported that people who have meditated for a considerable amount of time are able to detach themselves from emotionally upsetting images.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism reported that meditation can reduce PTSD symptoms by up to 41 percent, which is more than twice the expected outcome of 20 percent.
People who suffer from depression can benefit from meditation. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter that influences mood and behavior. Low serotonin levels are associated with depression. Meditation has been found to increase a person’s serotonin level and to elevate one’s mood.
Antidepressants, especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors like Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil, are widely prescribed by mental health professionals for depression, but these medications do have adverse side effects. If you are using these medications, you can use meditation in conjunction with your treatment.
However, you should ask your doctor if you could be weaned off the medications if you feel that they are no longer necessary. Do not make this decision on your own.
Benefits of Healing Meditation
The type of healing meditation can provide comes from within. Meditation can reap a number of benefits for people who practice it as a daily routine. Here are just some of the many benefits that meditation can have in your life.
One of the most important benefits that meditation can have on a person’s life is inner peace. A lot of people today, in this stressful world that we live in, would like to experience more inner peace in their lives. Inner peace can, at times, seem elusive because life in these modern times has become so hectic.
It is through meditation that we can be taught how to switch off the noise of the mind brought about by this busy and stressful world. Through meditation, we are taught not to focus on all the various passing thoughts which clog our mind. Meditation can teach individuals how to gain a clear state of mind. And through this, the secret of feeling real inner peace can be achieved.
Meditation can also provide some health benefits. Numerous studies have shown some links between meditation and improved health. One of the health benefits that meditation provides is that it is a practical solution to combat stress. It is through the stress that a lot of health problems may come from. By relieving stress through meditation people may be able to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart-related diseases.
Through meditation, people may also be able to discover a real sense of who they are. Intelligence may be able to seek and discover the answer to many questions in the world. But the one question that asks who we really always remain unanswered. In order to discover our real selves, depending solely on the intellect may not be enough. We need to be aware of our own soul and we may need to go beyond the mind. Through meditation, people can become more aware of a spiritual essence in life. Discovering this would help us feel a new purpose in life.
Meditation can help make our lives simpler. Life today consists of a lot of clutter and unwanted baggage that we can actually live without but do not realize it. A troubled life can contain nothing but teeming problems and worries. By learning how to meditate, people can develop an appreciation for the simplicity of life.
Meditation may also help a person know happiness. Learning how to meditate can help people feel real happiness because it allows people to become more in tune with their inner selves. When we become more aware of our own heart and mind, we can experience a sense of unity with others and the things all around us. This will bring about a sense of happiness that is not caused by mere external events.
Healing meditation can also help foster better relationships with other people. People can easily create minor conflicts with other people by bringing to light the minor faults of the other person. Fault-finding becomes a common source of unhappiness and division among people. Through meditation, people can develop a sense of giving minor thoughts of lesser importance. Meditation can also help develop a sense of unity with other people by naturally looking to their good qualities. By doing this, the minor faults of other people become less important.
Using A Guided Meditation Script For Healing and Relaxation
If you suffer from physical or psychological pain and you want to use meditation in conjunction with your current treatment, you should know that there are guided meditation programs that are tailor-fitted to your needs. Guided meditation is a form of meditation where a voice guides you as you enter a meditative state.
Can You Meditate Without A Guide Or Meditation Teacher?
Meditating on your own can be challenging. Besides, guided meditation can help you attain a specific goal or meet a particular need.
Meditation is a practice that has been around for as long as the world can remember. There are those who meditate in an attempt to diminish the stress from their busy minds, and there are others who do it to bring peace in their minds and their bodies.
There are many different types and methods of meditation techniques, but they all give the same amazingly simple end result. Total inner peace and a strong sense of well-being for anyone who will practice the calming methods of meditation.
What Is Meditation? How Do You Meditate
Meditation has been defined in many different ways with many different words, terms, and phrases. Meditation affects everybody differently, so your definition of meditation may be different than the next person’s definition of meditation.
Overall, meditation is something that has always been for bringing a person to a calm and peaceful place in their minds and creating a certain consciousness that can bring many positive thoughts in the brain and make that person’s world seem a little brighter, a lot less foggy and confusing.
The term “meditation” itself is in reference to a number of different mediation practices, all giving the same result, and are being labeled as a form of meditation. Meditation is meant to include techniques that can promote relaxation, build life force and internal energy, and develop a sense of compassion and understanding for other people.
Meditation For Beginners – What Are Some Meditation Techniques For Beginners
Meditation for beginners and experienced alike is something that crosses everyone’s mind at some point in their lives. Over 20 million people meditate every day! Everyone wants to feel a little bit better with themselves and others, but aren’t sure how to go about creating that mindset for themselves to accomplish this.
When you want to feel more compassion, understanding, and love for other people, meditation is the way to go in order to achieve more of what you want out of your life. Not everyone is going to know exactly how to meditate at first and that is completely alright.
That is why guided meditation exists, just for those people who aren’t sure how to begin the meditation part of their lives. Guided meditation means that someone will take you through all of the steps of meditation, while you are meditating like the meditation video above.
The meditation instructor will tell you what to do, and how to reach that sense of inner peace. There are places online that you can visit in order to find a guided meditation practice, but it is always the best idea to find someone who can help you through your first meditation in person so that there can be a personal connection in the teachings that you are receiving.
You can Google “guided meditation for beginners” with the quotes and find many videos and mp3s to help you on your journey. Just remember to get started, and remember that you can not meditate wrong. Learn and discover what type of meditation works for you will be exploring the many different types of guided meditations for beginners and move forward with confidence!
Many scientific studies support the use of meditation in medical treatment. However, before you use meditation in conjunction with your current treatment, discuss this with your health practitioner. Do not make decisions regarding your treatment on your own.