Meditation Can Rewire the Brain

Posted on 21st June, 2022

by Shawna

Did you know that your brain's activity changes during profound meditation? Scientists are just beginning to discover the benefits of meditation and its incredible transformative power on the human brain. Scientific measurements have shown that regular meditation practice can lead to changes in brainwave activity and enhances communication between the brain's two hemispheres, conferring a state of inner balance.

Meditation was seen as an esoteric practice not so long ago, relevant only to those preoccupied with spirituality. However, advances in neuroscience have shown that meditation considerably affects the brain's activity.

Our brain constantly changes according to our experiences, but how is meditation connected to the brain? Meditation is an excellent way to relax, regenerate, reducing stress and anxiety. These benefits occur due to the changes in brainwave activity during profound meditations.

Meditation Can Lead to Volume Changes in Brain Areas

A research conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital by scientists from Harvard University and published in 2011 documented for the first time the physical changes in the brain caused by meditation. The research showed that meditation builds brain cells and increases gray matter in the brain. Using MRI, the researchers found that meditation produced physiological changes in the brain's gray matter. Different areas in the brains of the study participants thickened after only eight weeks of meditation. According to this study, meditation increases the density of regions of the brain that promote health while the areas linked to undesirable behavior, shrink.

Here are some examples of areas that can present changes during meditation:

  • Posterior cingulate, the larger and stronger this area is, the fewer wandering thoughts we have, and our brain's ability to focus on the present moment improves.
  • The left hippocampus is the area of the brain that governs certain regions of the brain that play roles in emotion regulation and makes it possible for us to learn new things.
  • Pons is one of the essential parts of the brain as the neurotransmitters that regulate brain activities are produced here. This brain area is responsible for important functions, such as facial expressions, physical functioning, and sleep.
  • Amygdala is responsible for producing feelings of fear, anxiety, and stress, and fear and dictates emotional responses like fight or flight. Researchers have shown that this brain area shrinks during deep meditation and actually is physically smaller in meditation practitioners' brains.

Various meditation techniques come from different spiritual traditions, and no matter the daily schedule, social status, or lifestyle, there's at least one meditation type for everyone. No matter what meditation types we decide to practice, their common result is a sense of centeredness and mindfulness.

Meditation and Brain Waves

Our mood and overall well-being depend on the frequency of our brainwaves -: gamma, beta, alpha, theta, and delta. EEG (electroencephalogram) tests can evaluate the electrical activity in the brain and record the brainwaves that occur at different times based on our feelings, thoughts, and experiences. All brainwaves have different roles to play and are active at different times of the day, and that's completely normal.

When we are in profound meditation, our brain shows theta waves predominantly. The theta waves are associated with a relaxed mind, centeredness, calm, and peace. The brain produces theta waves before we wake up when we're sleeping, dreaming, or drifting off to sleep. Theta brain waves can also occur when we are meditating.

How, When, and Where to Meditate?

A few key factors such as vitality, mental focus, and relaxation ensure the efficiency of your meditation practice. You can meditate almost everywhere, but a clean and quiet place can help you enter deep meditative states more easily. Therefore, I recommend creating a pure, tranquil space where you can feel safe, relax, and focus on your meditation.

Only twenty minutes of daily mediation will lead to beneficial changes in your brain's activity, transforming you and your life for the better. For me, meditation is not just a simple technique that can make me feel better; it's a way of self-transformation that allows me to improve many aspects of my life and connect to the Creator. There are dozens of guides and mediation apps for beginners, but sometimes it can be challenging to choose the right one. I hope this excerpt from my award-winning book Knowing pg. 193. will be helpful in starting your meditation practice:

" For optimum success in meditation, these are some bullet points to remember:

  1. Create a special space or chair for your meditation.
  2. Sit with spine straight, in the lotus position, or straight-back chair.
  3. Practice meditation at the same time each day.
  4. Morning and evening are the best times.
  5. Close your eyes and turn them upward to gaze upon the location of the third eye. This is a reference to the chakra located in the forehead. The third eye is not a physical eye. It is located in the center of the forehead just above the level of the eyebrows. This is the center that must awaken for intuition.
  6. Focus inward on the breath completely. Do not try to control the breath, just observe.
  7. Focus upon each nuance of the cool air entering your nostrils, and the warmer air leaving out the mouth.
  8. Notice how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation.

Pay attention to the breath as if you are responsible for watching a toddler near the water's edge and you can't let your mind lose track of this breath for a moment. Meditation is easier said than done but well worth the effort."

My dear, when you need guidance with your meditation practice, feel free to contact me. Namaste.