More and more people are giving meditation a go and incorporating a regular practice into everyday life. This surge of interest in meditation has come about as a result of a mounting scientific evidence that shows how it can change people’s lives in drastic ways.
Research shows that it can be used as a treatment for depression and anxiety, it can help people overcome addiction, and it can help victims of past trauma and abuse to heal. Needless to say, regular meditation practice can indeed have a powerful effect on our mental and physical health.
Meditation can help us overcome life’s obstacles
Everyone remembers the infamous line from Forest Gump – “Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get“. This is something that all of us can relate to. Life is inherently unpredictable and sometimes we are dealt bad cards. We regularly come across unexpected obstacles in our life to be overcome, and everyone at some point will have to deal with extremely difficult events like loss, relationship breakdown, or personal health issues.
Given life’s many challenges, it’s important that we put ourselves at the best advantage possible to overcome these difficulties and bounce back stronger so that we can always move forward positively with our lives. Meditation can equip us with the tools we need to do just that.
Learning to live in the present moment
During meditation practice, the mind is focused and calm for long periods. This is an instant stress reliever, that over time can help someone learn how to engage more with the present mind and clear their mind of any unwanted or unhelpful thoughts, worries, or concerns.
Meditation raises our self-awareness
Through meditation, we learn that we are not defined by what has happened to us in our past, or any mental or physical health issues we might have. Instead, we can learn to disassociate and detach ourselves from any unhelpful labels or any recurring negative thought patterns. It brings more peace and calm into our lives and we can learn how to be more composed and thoughtful, as well as developing a greater awareness of ourselves. After just 8 weeks of regular meditation practice, you will start to experience all of the many benefits that meditation can bring.
Meditation changes your brain
Research has shown that regular meditation practice can actually reverse brain patterns associated with mind wandering and poor attention. This is as a result of practice focusing the mind for long periods. This can decrease stress and anxiety and help someone feel much more calm and centred.
Breaking the connection between brain regions associated with depression
Further research has shown that meditation breaks the connection between brain regions linked with anxiety and depression. The medial prefrontal cortex is found to be much more hyperactive in depressed individuals as it is this region that processes stress, worries, and concerns related to yourself and your life. This in turn triggers the amygdala, otherwise known as the fear centre, which releases a stress hormone to deal with these threats that only exist in the mind.
In this way, both of these brain regions actually work together to cause depression and anxiety. Regular meditation practice however, can help to calm down both of these brain regions and break the connection.