Practicing Different Meditation Techniques Can Change the Structure of Your Brain

Practicing Different Meditation Techniques Can Change the Structure of Your Brain

Meditation practices – rewire the brain and improve life

People have been engaged in practicing meditation for almost thousands of years. Research shows that meditation has strong, powerful and measurable impacts in different regions of the human brain, especially the areas associated with the aspects of empathy, stress and a sense of self.

Although meditation is identified with a feeling of peacefulness, serenity and physical relaxation, practitioners have proclaimed long back that a meditation technique can also offer numerous cognitive and psychological merits that linger throughout the day. Studies have shown that various forms of meditation have unique positive influence in the mind. This can make you more attentive, empathetic. This can also bring down your levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. This can embolden you to remain cool and composed under tough and demanding situations. It is truly remarkable to realize that practicing meditation technique can bring about a change in the overall physical structure of the brain. Results based on research also showed the awe-inspiring manifestation of improvement in brain plasticity through an intensely concentrated but brief daily practice of meditation, developing into an increased social intelligence.

One study comprised of 300 participants. They took part in three separate training sessions, each focusing on a certain meditation technique. One of the techniques centered on mindfulness form of meditation. This is ascribed to a psychological approach of helping to pay attention to experiences happening in present mainly through simple styles of breathing.

The other two techniques were more socially inclined. The second technique facilitated people to express emotion, by communicating with a stranger on issues of daily struggles and annoyances. The third and the final one persuaded the participants to ponder and reflect on issues following an independent perspective inside their personality. They were asked to think like a “worried mother” or a “curious child” to nurture senses of deep empathy and understanding.

They were trained in all three meditation techniques. They followed up with an analysis of their brain sensitivity and performance through an MRI scan, a behavioral test, and a psychometric test. It was found that the thickness of certain parts of the brain has altered significantly depending upon the meditation that was practiced. Compassion-based meditation displayed a rise in the limbic system, a region in the brain concerned with emotional control and management. In the mindfulness-based techniques, conspicuous changes in cortex structure were observed, which is related to traits like attentiveness, awareness, recognition, and decision-making.

All the three groups of trainees reported reduced measures of stress after going through the meditation training. The group which practiced socially inclined mediation, showed a diminishing trend in physical stress. A drastic fall by 51% in the level of cortisol, a stress-induced hormone was also observed among the participants as compared with pre-training findings.

Thus, a focus on socio-cognitive or socio-affective competencies in meditation technique revealed discernible improvements in behavior with respect to compassion and executive powers in managerial and administrative domains. These changes corresponded to a degree of variation in brain plasticity in typical regions like the cortex layer that carry these attributes.

The inference that we gather from this study is that Meditation has justifiable positive benefits for the mental health and well-being of an individual.

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