Meditation has long been known to relax the body and increase mental health. While these affects might seem to just be in your head, there is a science to it. In fact, studies show that just 8 weeks of meditation can increase the grey matter in a person’s brain.
Studies have found that people who meditate for 7-9 years have increased grey matter in sensory areas of the brain. However, a follow-up study showed that even just 8 weeks of meditation thickened many important areas of the brain, making them more efficient. For example, 50-year-olds were showing the same amount of grey matter as people half their age! As we age, our brains normally begin shrinking and losing brain tissue. Meditation, however, reverses this by sharpening our brains, increasing our focus, and enhancing our memories.
Because our brains operate on the “use it or lose it” principle, we must keep our minds sharpened with quiet, reflective time. Overall, meditation teaches you to be mindful of your body, breath, and physical sensations. Meditating also shrinks the brain’s fear center, which results in lower stress levels. It’s great to calm a racing mind! However, there is a lot more that meditation can do for you, including:
- Better decision making
- More efficient learning and memory
- Regulation of emotions
- Increased empathy
- Seeing ideas or situations from different perspectives
- Better neurotransmitter production
We know it can be hard to prioritize health and start new habits, but setting reasonable goals can help you begin living a healthier lifestyle. And as hard as it can be to get there, we believe that the end result is worth it.
Make Meditation an Achievable Goal
Meditation has wonderful benefits, but it can be difficult to do in our fast-paced culture. How are we supposed to calm our minds when our lives are so hectic? A great first step is to find a meditation partner so you can have some accountability.
When you start meditating, try some soothing, instrumental music in the background. You can even go out to be surrounded by nature. But if a quiet room works for you, great! Just find a place where you are comfortable and can most easily avoid distraction.
Remember to be mindful of the stress in your muscles, and imagine breathing out any stray or anxious thoughts. Try to be still, keeping in mind that at least for this moment, you have no need to move or be busy. All you must do is be in the moment.
Getting used to meditation takes time, and there will be tougher days where you struggle more to focus. The main thing is consistency. Keep practicing—it will get easier, and you will increase your grey matter as you go. Remember, even just 8 weeks of regular meditation can make a significant difference!
If you need help keeping your brain sharp or starting a habit of meditation, ask our office how we can support you.