Scientific reasons why you should meditate

Have you ever wondered why millions of people today are taking up meditation? It is estimated around 500 million people are meditating world wide. Why is meditation gaining so much popularity? Well the answer is meditation is a powerful tool to reduce anxiety, stress, depression, improve energy, cognitive function and overall well being. It is used as a self care tool. Many highly influential CEOs, famous celebrities, popular Athletes, and successful entrepreneurs have integrated meditation in their daily life. With increasing levels of cortisol in today’s world, everyone is looking how to transcend and supercharge everyday with meditation. Here are 12 scientific reasons why you should meditate.

  1. Brain Changes

It’s scientifically proven that those who meditate have a much thicker prefrontal cortex that is responsible for better executive control, such as your impulse control, emotional response and your decisions. Increased grey matter in the anterior cortex behind the frontal lobe shows improved cognitive flexibility. Thickening of hippocampus shows increased learning and memory. Decrease in the size of amygdala shows greater emotional control. You are more centered and grounded, not swayed easily by emotions. 

  1. Neuroplasticity

Neuroscientists have confirmed that meditation increases neuroplasticity, another incredible benefit of meditation. When we meditate, the brain is capable of developing new neural pathways and connections referred to as neuroplasticity. We can model new behaviour patterns with repetition and rewire the brain positively. 

  1. DNA Protection

Meditation protects the DNA by increasing the telomere length. ‘Telomere’ acts like a cap that protects our DNA. With elevated stress levels, the telomere activity slows down, shortening the length of telomere and damaging the DNA. Meditation is proven to increase the length of the telomere, thereby protecting DNA, preventing cell damage and slowing down aging.

  1. Hormonal health

Meditation boosts neurotransmitter ‘Serotonin’ that has a profound impact on our mood and well being. Elevated endorphin levels make you experience a highly pleasurable state of bliss. Reduces stress hormone cortisol levels. 

  1. Slows Down Aging

Boosts DHEA hormone levels that determine the physiological true age of the person and increases longevity. Elevate the levels of growth hormone that is responsible to look and feel healthy. 

  1. Good Sleep/Insomnia

Boosts the GABA neurotransmitter that is responsible to make you feel calm. Boosts melatonin production that is responsible for deep restful sleep.

  1. Whole Brain Synchronization

Meditation balances both brain hemispheres resulting in whole brain synchronization. This shows faster learning, higher memory retention, creativity and high performance. 

  1. Vagus Nerve Stimulation

Research shows that meditation stimulates the vagus nerve, the longest nerve that stems from the brain to the abdomen. It regulates the parasympathetic nervous system that guides our stress and relaxation response. 

“The vagal response reduces stress. It reduces our heart rate and blood pressure. It changes the function of certain parts of the brain, stimulates digestion, all those things that happen when we are relaxed.” — Dr. Mladen Golubic, MD, Medical Director of the Cleveland Clinic.

  1. Heart Brain connection

In 1991, Dr. Andrew Armour of UCLA Neurocardiology Research Center discovered that the heart has 40,000 sensory neurons sending information to the brain. Scientists at HeartMath Institute have researched that the heart sends 60 times more signals to the brain than the brain sends to the heart. These heart signals have a significant effect on the brain influencing the emotional and cognitive functions. During stress or negative emotion, the heart rhythm pattern is erratic, corresponding neural signals sent to the brain, inhibits brain from higher cognitive function. A heartfelt positive emotional state creates a beautiful sine wave leading to heart coherence. Higher heart coherence has been linked to more efficient functioning of  cardiovascular, nervous, hormonal, and immune systems. You can intentionally create good heart coherence by feeling a positive emotion of love and gratitude and alter the brain signal to experience benefits in a positive way. This is a powerful technique to change the state of mind. More on Heart Coherence 

  1. Brain and Gut  connection

The human gut has been referred to by some scientists as the “enteric nervous system.” widely-regarded as our second brain. It consists of a sophisticated network of 100 million neurons fixed in the walls of our guts. Gut bacteria produce serotonin, which influences both mood and GI activity. Studies have shown two way exchanges in which digestive issues could be the main reason for having mood problems. 

  1. Brain waves

When you meditate, you experience a whole spectrum of brainwaves. Studies have shown that tibetian monks who meditated with love produced Gamma Synchrony — a pattern associated with robust brain function. Heartfulness meditation with transmission, the meditator gravitates to the deepest state of consciousness experiencing delta frequency completely relaxed and rejuvenated. It is highly recommended to meditate with love and gratitude to elevate your  consciousness to deeper states. 

  1. Self Healing

When we meditate,  the body is relaxed and the brain is at optimum performance. Dr. Bruce Lipton, a renowned developmental biologist, famous for his views on epigenetics, in his bestseller ‘The Biology of Belief’ has confirmed that since our cells, genes and our DNA can be manipulated by the mind, then we can think our way to great health. Thoughts do heal, meditation is the key. 

There were the 12 scientific reasons why you should meditate. Hope I have convinced you enough to integrate meditation into your life to become your best version. Thank you for your precious time and hope you found the information insightful. Below are the resources used for curating this content. 

Source:

 

https://www.heartmath.org/research/research-library/basic/coherent-heart-heart-brain-interactions-psychophysiological-coherence-emergence-system-wide-order/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0019483217308878

https://blog.smilingmind.com.au/take-your-brain-to-the-gym-with-mindfulness-neuroplasticity-and-meditation

https://heartfulness.org/en/faq/what-is-the-role-of-science-in-heartfulness/

https://www.scienceofpeople.com/meditation-benefits/

https://owlcation.com/stem/your-second-brain-is-in-your-heart

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-brain-gut-connection

https://buddhaweekly.com/science-center-vagus-nerve-meditation-highway-parasympathetic-nervous-system-meditation-works-body/

https://sass.uottawa.ca/sites/sass.uottawa.ca/files/how_to_stimulate_your_vagus_nerve_for_better_mental_health_1.pdf

https://heartfulness.org/en/faq/what-is-the-role-of-science-in-heartfulness/

https://www.heartmath.com/science/

https://eocinstitute.org/meditation/how-meditation-boosts-your-dhea-levels/

 

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