You may have heard that doing just 5 minutes of meditation a day can greatly improve your health. We all know that it’s good for us, but what does it actually do?

It decreases stress. Stress is something that is experienced when the brain interprets a situation as being threatening or demanding. All situations, however, are neutral. They are a state of being. The way a person interprets a situation is what can potentially cause stress, if interpreted negatively. The amygdala is a part of the brain that plays a part in how we experience stress. This region of the brain becomes more dense the more stress we experience. It’s cumulative. Studies have shown that the amygdala can become less dense over time through a meditation practice. This means that a person will experience fewer feelings of stress with a regular meditation practice.

Slows ageing of the brain. As someone grows older, a part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex begins to thin and deteriorate. This is why some people can experience a decline in cognitive function as they get older. A regular meditation practice has shown that the ageing and thinning of the prefrontal cortex can be halted with meditation, keeping cognitive functions fully alive and firing.

Regulates blood pressure. When someone meditates, their body increases the production of nitric oxide, which is a natural gas in the body which helps to expand blood vessels. When this happens, there is less pressure required for the heart to pump blood through the body.

Improves cognitive function and mental ability. The brain is made up of folded tissues of neurons (nerve cells). Studies have shown that long term meditators have more folds in their brain than those who don’t meditate. More folds in the brain are thought to contribute to better cognitive processing, memory and focused attention.

Increases awareness of your subconscious mind. Our subconscious mind is alive in our beliefs (externally or internally derived) and can show themselves when we react. We often react to a situation, rather than taking time to respond. When we stop moving and take time to be still and to reflect, we are able to notice our actions before they happen. We are able to respond to a situation rather than react.

It makes you happy! When you meditate, you are drawing yourself away from your fight or flight stress response and toward a space of love, empathy and understanding. This heart space helps to be compassionate, rather than judgemental. It helps you to be understanding, rather than accusatory. It helps you to love yourself and others, which promotes happiness for yourself and the world around you.

Sources: LiveAndDare.com  and  HuffingtonPost

Matt

Author Matt

I started YogaHub out of a room at the back of someone else's house back in 2012 with nothing more than an idea. I'd been teaching Yoga since 2008 and had no intention of opening a Yoga Studio. I think, like everything I've done, I just decided one day I was going to give it a try. And try I did and if you're reading this I guess I'm still trying.

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