How Meditation Affects the Brain to Improve Your Life – 3 Huge Changes in the Mind and Body

Everyone talks about the benefits of meditation, from calmer states, increased joy, and improved physical wellbeing.

However, a lot of these benefits sound self reported, just word of mouth.

Are there any benefits that can be measured physically?

Person meditation, smiling in joy.
Add joy to your life, one day at a time – Photo by Omid Armin


Like the benefits of breathing, individuals who meditate have physical marks.

The brain undergoes a transformation during meditation, both physically and in the way it reacts.

Similar to how breathing relaxes you, meditation reconditions you, resulting in many benefits.

What is Meditation?

Meditation has been around for thousands of years.

It is used as a way to clear the mind, relax the body, and become aware of the present moment.

Meditation is one of the simplest ways to improve wellbeing.

It can be done by anyone, in a variety of different ways, with any amount of free time.

What are the Actual Effects of Meditation on the Brain?

Here are three big changes mediation has on the brain!

Changes in Communication

During meditation, there are physical markers of clearing your mind. 

Different parts of the brain slow and relax.

Frontal lobe activity decreases, which is the part of the brain responsible for planning, reasoning, and consciousness. 

Parietal lobe activity also decreases, the part of the brain that processes sensory information, such as touch, language, and orientation in space and time.

The thalamus slows as well, the part of the brain responsible for relaying sensory data to other parts of the brain and the major pain processing center. 

The reticular formation, a key role in consciousness, reduces incoming signals.

All of this indicates to the body to relax, return to homeostasis, and rest.

Changes in Brainwave Activity

Meditation changes the way the brain processes information. 

This leads to increases in mental wellbeing, better control over emotion, and more tranquility.

With MRI and fMRI, we are able to get a clear picture of what happens to the brain during meditation.

This is usually seen after meditation occurs as a habit, such as once a day. 

Scientists have compared the brain activity of participants before and after an 8-week training and the results were pronounced.

The brain alpha waves, consciousness thought waves shift to theta waves, which are responsible for relaxation.

Scientists call this ‘Mediation brain.’

There is also a reduction in beta waves, which are waves involved in processing information. 

The effects last well after a meditation session, however, allowing for individuals to have less negative responses to their environment. 

Physical Changes in the Brain

Meditation can actually have physical changes in the brain as well.

It is self-directed neuroplasticity, neuroplasticity being the brain’s ability to adjust, change, and make new neural connections. 

You are using the mind to rewire your mind.

Like play-dough, you can mold and teach new connections, directing your attention and thoughts in a more productive and joyful way.

Studies have found an increase in the area of the prefrontal cortex.

The amygdala shrinks, the fear and emotion center of the brain, and a smaller amygdala is found in individuals with more emotional control.

The hippocampus is an area of the brain involved in learning and memory. In just a couple of weeks of meditation, this area gets thicker.

Brain cell bodies called grey matter, important in processing information and linked to intelligence, also increase.

The Takeaway

Meditation causes changes that can be measured.

This includes more emotional control, an increase in memory, intelligence, and increased states of relaxation.

This can be due to the state of focus meditation brings, as well as breathing used during meditation.

Add different breathing techniques or physical activity to increase the benefits meditation can bring.

Remember, health starts from within. Give your body the tools to live well, thrive, and watch how wellness improves.

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