What Meditation Does For The Brain
Meditation does not solve your problems, no. Meditation helps you gain new perspectives on problematic situations. And sometimes, that is all that you need to help you make sense of something puzzling or overwhelming.
A Harvard University study measured the thickness of the cortex of people who meditated and compared it with those who did not.
They discovered that people who meditated had thicker cortexes than those who did not.
Adults no longer generate new brain cells. The thicker cortex does not mean that those who meditate create new brain cells or grow brain cells. But, brain activity is carried out by electric nerve pulses.
The more brain activity, the more neural connections and neural pathways are made between different parts of the brain. When you do not use parts of your brain these parts generally stop making neural connections with other parts of the brain. You use it, or lose it.
This is what meditation can do for the brain – it actually helps make more neural connections.
These kinds of neural activity allow you to process emotions more efficiently, thereby giving you more feelings of calmness. It helps you become more creative in solving problems because you are better able to focus and look at a problem from different perspectives.
There was this lady who had to take a series of licensing tests to qualify and register as a professional. Her future career and future livelihood depended upon her passing the licensing tests so she felt pressured.
The licensing tests were to be given over four consecutive Sundays. In order to pass the licensing tests, she not only had to master eight subjects but she also had to be in good health to be able to actually show up for the tests for four consecutive Sundays. When the bell rang for the start of the exams, she remembered sitting still, breathing deeply and reciting something she learned as a little girl in Sunday School.
She recited Psalm 23 and imagined a little lamb being led by a loving and strong shepherd. She felt safe especially when she repeated the phrase “I will fear no evil.” It calmed her down and helped her focus on the test she was taking. She passed with flying colors.
Meditation helped calm her mind so that she was able to retrieve the information she had stored during her review. Meditation sharpens the mind and gives a sense of well-being.