Meditation is a mental exercise which acts as a coach for creating attention and awareness. Its major purpose is to control reaction towards negative thoughts and feelings. Meditation is relaxation of the mind and body which tranquil mind, enhance concentration, improved clarity and communication. Meditation is a key ingredient for ensuring brain health and maintaining good mental performance.
It can slow down ageing
According to one study, neurological differences were found between meditators and non-meditators, Normally, the human brain shrinks an average of 5% per decade after 40 years, but meditators were found to be younger than their chronological age and showed a less age-related decline in the thickness of their brain’s cerebral cortexes, the volume of their brain grey matter, the density and functionality of their brain white matter.
Findings illustrated that daily meditation has a huge impact on brain areas and networks that results in positive effects. Altogether, these findings conclude meditation is beneficial for brain preservation, effectively protecting against age-related atrophy with a consistently slower rate of brain ageing throughout life.
It’s a way to release ‘feel-good hormones’
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter called ‘chemical of reward’. It is a ‘feel-good hormone’ released when in love. Research has shown that meditators were found to have a 64% increase in dopamine production after meditating for one hour, compared to when resting quietly.
Serotonin is accountable for maintaining mood balance and when a person meditates the level of serotonin rises. Meditation also increases our bonding, romantic attachment and level of empathy with the secretion of oxytocin, also known as the love hormone.
It decreases activity in the brain ‘me centre’
The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) is known as ‘me centre’. This is where information is processed about yourself like, worrying about future and contemplate about the past. Generally, when people are tensed, the activity in mPFC escalate. Other is the amygdala, often called ‘fear centre’. This is generally activated during a flight-or-fight situation and triggers the adrenal glands to release the stress hormone cortisol in response to fear and perceived danger.
These two brain areas complement each other to cause depression. In today’s world, depression continues to be a major health issue. Stress and anxiety are major triggers of depression. Meditation helps to break the link between these two brain areas. Meditation trains the brain to achieve sustained focus, and to return to that focus when negative thinking, emotions, and physical sensations intrude – which happens a lot when you feel stressed and anxious.
It helps to fight insomnia
Meditation gives a way to treat insomnia. It influences sleep and its functions by releasing melatonin, a ‘sleep hormone’ produced by the pineal gland. Researches showed that various components of sleep generating mechanisms can be altered with meditation. Meditation, with its global effects on body and brain functions, helps to establish a body and mind harmony. As a relaxation technique, it can quiet the mind and body while enhancing inner peace
Meditation is a healthy form of self-care. It has the potential to radically transform our everyday experiences. It also affects many aspects of our psychological well-being – improving our mood, increasing positive emotions, and decreasing our anxiety. Meditation cultivates a feeling of gratitude, compassion and heightened perception which results in joy and happiness.
Manisha Dhami is a PhD student at Punjab Agricultural University. She carries out research in human development.
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