On the surface level, mindfulness meditation helps us think and act differently. Beneath the surface, there are many things happening with our brains that are driving these changes. Meditation enables us to move from higher frequency brain waves to lower frequency, which activates different centers in the brain. This means that you can access parts of the brain that help us think rationally, helps us not respond so quickly to bodily sensations and fears, and allows us to have more empathy and understand others. What this means in your day to day life
is that you are able to be more present and see yourself and everyone around you from a clearer perspective.
The other exciting fact is that a regular meditation practice can actually change the shape of your brain by strengthening important areas and decreasing others. Neuroimaging studies show that after 8 weeks of meditation, meditators have increased grey matter density in their brain. Why is this important? Grey matter is responsible for executive functioning, such as emotional regulation, planning and problem-solving. The cortical thickness of the brain also increases, which has an impact on our learning and memory processes. Finally, the “fight or flight” center of our brain, the amygdala, that is in charge of how we feel stress, fear, and anxiety actually shrinks with a mindfulness practice. All of this means that with a meditation practice you have the chance to rewire your brain towards more positive thoughts and experiences long-term.
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