For many of us, accessing that settled, contented state is difficult to do in meditation. Meditation requires patience and—even more challenging for most Westerners—time. So, why would you put yourself through the struggle? Quite simply, meditation can profoundly alter your experience of life.
What does meditating do for you? Most meditators report feeling an increase in positive emotion, less anxiety, greater mental clarity and focus, and a feeling of connectedness to the present moment.
Neuroscientists have been asking this same question, and their studies have revealed a number of interesting neurological changes that occur with a long term meditation practice. The cerebral cortex is the part of the brain that controls the higher functions, such as language, vision, learning, memory, reasoning, tactile sensations, auditory processing, along with numerous other functions.
The cerebral cortex consists of two halves, referred to as the right and left hemispheres. The left hemisphere is the rational and logical side of the brain. It is concerned with analyzing, planning, evaluating and judging the world around us. It processes information related to language, math, logical reasoning, and it connects the self to the past and the future.
In contrast, the right hemisphere is the feeling side of the brain. The right hemisphere is generally more creative and intuitive. It processes information related to spatial abilities, visual imagery, and is concerned with your experience in the here and now.
Springer and Deutsch, What does all this have to do with meditation? Some of the earliest scientific studies of meditation investigated patterns of brain activity in the right versus left hemisphere.
These studies found a greater degree of activation in the right hemisphere for meditators versus non-meditators. Another important structure that is influenced by a meditation practice is the amygdala.
The amygdala is involved in processing negative emotions, detecting threat, and fear-learning. This allows the amygdala to coordinate physiological responses in the body based on cognitive information processed in the brain.
In other words, the amygdala acts like a bridge between the brain and the body, especially in times of perceived stress. When the amygdala is activated it gears the body up for the fight-or-flight response. Researchers have found that long-term practitioners of mediation show less activity in the amygdala and therefore experience less physiological arousal related to stress.
The way the brain responds to stress is changed by the meditation practice. Long-term meditation practitioners experience an increase in activity in the region of the prefrontal cortex that is responsible for emotional regulation.
This increased activity is what tells the amygdala to calm down. There are other interesting changes that have been found in the prefrontal cortex PFC of meditators. Neuroscience researchers have discovered an interesting pattern of activity in the medial prefrontal cortex in both the left and right hemispheres.
This area in the left PFC is related to the ability to self-reference. Long-term meditators experience a decrease in activity in this area. At the same time, they see an increase in the activation of the same structure in the right PFC. The right dorsal medial PFC is responsible for processing somatic experience in the present moment.
The diagram below shows the frequency of 5 different brain waves. Each frequency of wave is associated with a different type of brain function. Beta waves reflect typical, conscious thought and mental alertness. Alpha waves indicate a state of relaxation, while theta and delta waves are associated with sleep.Below is the best explanation I found of what happens in each part of the brain during meditation.
This is the most highly evolved part of the brain, responsible for reasoning. Meditation works to balance your left & right brain hemispheres, resulting in what doctors call “whole brain synchronization”.
In turn, you tap into a host of amazing benefits: more creativity, faster learning, better emotional health, & more. Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime.
Research on naps, meditation, nature walks and the habits of exceptional artists and athletes reveals how mental breaks increase productivity, replenish. Jan 28, · My Thoughts on the Right Brain Business Plan Simply Art. Loading Unsubscribe from Simply Art?
Deep Meditation Music for Stress Relief, Yoga, Brain Power - Duration: In a study published in the Frontiers of Human Neuroscience, November issue, results showed that the MRIs of individuals who underwent meditation training showed decreased right amygdala activation.
In other words, their brain scans showed that they respond . Left-brain and right-brain women at work. Two types of people opposition: left-brain businesswoman in eyeglasses and suit drawing architecture project with Left Brain & Right Brain. A typical brain with the left side depicting an analytical, structured and logical mind, and the right side depicting a scattered Left-brain and right-brain women at work.