Meditation for Brain Health
Yoga and Meditation have been linked to an array of benefits like reducing stress, better sleep, mental clarity, increased energy, improved physical performance, brain health, and overall wellness.
Over the years many studies have been conducted to explain how and why meditation can actually change your BRAIN!
Studies about what happens to the brain during meditation have been going on since the 1970s. In the last 10 years alone, the research has begun to show that meditation can also produce long-term structural changes in the brain.
“Meditation can produce long-term structural changes in the brain.”
Neuroscience & Neuroplasticity
Thanks to Neuroscience, we have learned about “Neuroplasticity”, which refers to the new pathways and neural connections created within the brain.
In other words, we have learned that the brain can change and adapt.
In 2011, Sara Lazar and her team at Harvard found that mindfulness meditation can actually change the structure of the brain! Isn’t that amazing?
Her research found measurable changes in brain regions associated with;
- sense of self
These changes appeared in subjects who practiced mindfulness meditation for only eight weeks.
In only 8 weeks you can change the structure of the brain, increase memory, sense of self, and reduce stress!
Read more about her research and findings here:
New Exciting Findings
Exciting new research and studies are changing the way we analyze and view the brain. In the past, the brain was viewed as a “hard wiring of neural circuits” that we are born with. A brain that cannot change, adapt and re-wire itself.
New research shows that the brain can change, adapt and re-wire itself.
Richie Davidson, a world-renowned neuroscientist at the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, along with his colleagues, learned three important things:
1) you can train your brain to change,
2) that the change is measurable, and
3) new ways of thinking can change it for the better.
Another study showed that long-term meditators showed larger gray matter volume over non-meditators.
Simple Tips to Promote Brain Health
With all of these new findings in mind, here are some key ways to promote Brain Health;
- Cultivate meaningful and loving relationships
- Learn how to reduce stress with mindful practices
- Improve healthy eating habits and include good sources of Omega 3 fats
- Use it or lose…Find ways to challenge your brain and promote thinking. There are great books, apps, and coloring books that can stimulate your brain
- Improve sleeping habits. Make sure you are getting your beauty sleep
- Increase physical activity. Exercising is great for the body and mind!
- Include meditation and yoga as part of your routine
- Improve your gut flora. Your gut is your second brain, so make sure to include a good source of probiotics. In other words, your gut health will affect your brain function.
If you are new to meditation or want to learn how to start, check out this Intro to Meditation blog post. It is a great resource to help you get started.
In addition, you can try a moving meditation (click on the link to read more) into your day as well.
A moving meditation practice can be a fantastic way to help you get grounded, cultivate peace of mind and spend time outdoors.
A regular yoga practice can be wonderful moving meditation helping you connect with your breath, move and stretch your body and cultivate inner peace.
Are you ready to improve your Brain’s health?
You can download two of my guided meditations to help you cultivate self-love and feel empowered regularly.