Sunday, September 29, 2013

This is your brain on Meditation

By Rebecca Gladding M.D., via The Waking Times, 29 September 2013

I realized today that in all my postsregarding the brain and how to sculpt it with mindfulness, I’ve never actually explained how and why meditation works. Specifically, the science behind how your brain changes the longer you meditate. I think this is important for many reasons, but one of the most salient is that this information serves as a great motivator to keep up a daily practice (or start one).
Flickr-color brain-ssoosay
I’m sure you’ve heard people extol the virtues of meditation. You may be skeptical of the claims that it helps with all aspects of life. But, the truth is, it does. Sitting every day, for at least 15-30 minutes, makes a huge difference in how you approach life, how personally you take things and how you interact with others. It enhances compassion, allows you to see things more clearly (including yourself) and creates a sense of calm and centeredness that is indescribable. There really is no substitute.

For those of you who are curious as to how meditation changes the brain, this is for you. Although this may be slightly technical, bear with me because it’s really interesting. The brain, and how we are able to mold it, is fascinating and nothing short of amazing. Here are the brain areas you need to know:
  • Lateral prefrontal cortex: the part of the brain that allows you to look at things from a more rational, logical and balanced perspective. In the book, we call it the Assessment Center. It is involved in modulating emotional responses (originating from the fear center or other parts of the brain), overriding automatic behaviors/habits and decreasing the brain’s tendency to take things personally (by modulating the Me Center of the brain, see below).
  • Medial prefrontal cortex: the part of the brain that constantly references back to you, your perspective and experiences. Many people call this the “Me Center” of the brain because it processes information related to you, including when you are daydreaming, thinking about the future, reflecting on yourself, engaging in social interactions, inferring other people’s state of mind or feelingempathy for others. We call it the Self-Referencing Center.

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1 comment:

dorothi said...

thank you dearest Laron, this lit up my entire day!