Though meditation or ‘dhyana’ is an age-old practice, the modern world is newly introduced to its multi-faceted benefits. With the scientific momentum of the present age, we, however, get more inclined to scientifically proven phenomenon. People get more convinced with findings and proofs based on science.
Fortunately, scientific results have now proved that ‘ Meditation affects the CEO of the brain’. As our brain is not a static organ, it has the full ability to respond to external as well as internal stimuli, which is known as the neuroplasticity of the brain. Therefore meditation is found to have the clinical capacity to create and recreate new experiences, affecting the plasticity of the brain.
The three main scientifically proven changes that meditation brings to our body are:
Increases the gray matter of our brain: Gray matter is ash-grey tissue, located in the cerebral cortex of a brain. It forms an important part of our central nervous system, directly responsible for functions like seeing, hearing, memory, emotions, self-control, decision-making etc.
Our age is negatively related with the gray matter in our brain. With our progressing age, the amount of gray matter in our brain decreases. Scientific studies have now revealed that mindfulness or practising meditation, allows the recovery of the hippocampus, and thereby increases the thickness of cortical, amount of the gray matter, which governs learning and memory.
Decreases beta waves frequency in the brain: There are four main categories of brain waves, namely Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta waves which forms the root cause of all our thoughts and emotions. The lower the frequency of waves, the more in harmony.
Beta waves range from 13 to 30 hertz, it is produced in our normal alert state of daily activities, our interaction with the outer world. Alpha waves range from 9 to 13 hertz, it is produced in the state of relaxed, calm mood i.e when enjoying the present. Theta waves range from 4 to 8 Hz, it is produced in case of a composed and meditative mind. A sense of deep inner awareness. Delta waves range from 0.5 to 8 Hz, a state of deepest meditation or sound sleep.
Therefore, the more we meditate, the more we stay in harmony with our mind.
Brings relaxation to our nervous system: Meditation has been proved to induce natural relaxation in our autonomic nervous system. Our nervous system consists of two important parts, sympathetic and parasympathetic. Sympathetic is commonly responsible for ‘flight or fight’ and acts its own unconsciously. The parasympathetic part is responsible for ‘rest and digest’ actions and regulates our heart rate, respiration and digestive tract.
Vagus nerve is the main nerve of the parasympathetic division of the automatic nervous system. It is the longest nerve, running from neck, chest to abdomen. It is also called the wandering nerve because it is mainly responsible for our wandering thoughts. It is the key to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. When the sympathetic nervous system is activated, our stress hormone cortisol floods. Though it is the natural tendency to convert from the sympathetic nervous system to parasympathetic, after any stressful situation, yet prolonged stress for longer period fails to auto-generate the system, and therefore we suffer from stress-related illness. In this case, breathing and related meditation does reverse action of reminding the brain and stimulation of vagus nerve which again causes the parasympathetic nervous system to function properly.
With wishes of a happy life, try meditation.