The word “Meditation” needs no introduction today but when Dalai Lama spoke about “Meditation” in 1980s, most either did not understand it or were not interested in it. However, things have changed since 1980s. Hundreds of research papers have been published on meditation in reputed international scientific medical journals. This article is a summary of impact of meditation on our brain.
Meditation in simple words means focusing. There are various types of meditations, for our convenience, we can classify them into three – focused attention, mindfulness and compassion. Focused attention is a type of meditation where the practitioner focuses his attention to something like breathing or an imaginary object like “Om”. In mindfulness meditation, a practitioner does not focus on anything but let’s all thoughts pass through but he does not attach himself to passing thoughts. In compassion meditation, the practitioner pays attention to everything around and he is compassionate to it. According to scientific research, all three types of meditations work differently on our brain.
Meditation has direct effect on brain
If we do an activity repeatedly over a period of time, our brain adapts to that activity and areas or regions of brain responsible for controlling that activity becomes bigger. For example, as you learn to play piano (or as you learn to type on computer key board for that matter), areas of brain which control the fingers becomes bigger. Similarly, when you do focused meditation, areas of brain which process attention, sensory information (information from sense organs like eye, ear, etc.) and internal bodily sensations grow bigger. This helps one to stay focused on the activity amidst distractions.
In mindfulness meditation, the parts of brain that are responsible for anxiety diminish. There is a decrease in production of hormones that are responsible for stress. Mindfulness meditation helps you to emotionally disconnect from stressful situations or emotional situations. It helps you to think and react pragmatically to situations. It is a very good stress buster as well.
Like focused meditation, compassion is part of preaching of all religions of the world. Compassion is showing unconditional love and affection to all beings. Advanced practitioners of compassionate meditation are found to have balanced mind, mental strength and willingness to help others.
“In mindfulness meditation, the parts of brain that are responsible for anxiety diminish. There is a decrease in production of hormones that are responsible for stress.”
Meditation improves well-being
Research shows that those who regularly meditate have a strong sense of well-being. They are emotionally and psychologically stable and can take right decisions in life due to clarity of perceptions and thoughts.
Meditation is surely a rescue process in today’s stressful life of corporate world. According to research “yoga interventions, which include mindfulness meditation help in bringing improvement in awareness, let go of feeling, quality of life, and reduction in psychological, interpersonal issues” at workplace.
Disclaimer: This article is for educational purpose only. Please consult a qualified doctor before taking any decisions regarding recommendations in the article or for more information.
- Ricard A, Lutz A, Davidson RJ, Mind of the meditator. November 2014, ScientificAmerican.com.
- Dwivedi UC, Kumari S, Nagendra HR. Model of yoga intervention in industrial organizational psychology for counterproductive work behaviour. Ind Psychiatry J. 2015;24:119–124.