The Power of Meditation and How It Affects Our Brains

2.7K Flares Filament.io Made with Flare More Info'> 2.7K Flares ×

meditationEver since my dad tried to convince me to meditate when I was about 12, I’ve been fairly skeptical of this practice. It always seemed to be so vague and hard to understand that I just decided it wasn’t for me.

More recently, I’ve actually found how simple (not easy, but simple) meditation can be and what huge benefit it can have for my day to day happiness. As an adult, I first started my meditation practice with just two minute per day. Two minutes! I got that idea from Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits blog, where he points out how starting with a tiny habit is the first step to consistently achieving it. So even thought two minutes won’t make much difference, that’s where I started.

Whether you’re as skeptical as I used to be, or you’re well ahead of me with a meditation habit of several hours, I think it’s always interesting to find out how new habits affect our brains. I had a look into meditation to see what’s going on inside our brains when we do this, and what I found is pretty interesting.

What is meditation?

There are different ways to meditate, and since it’s such a personal practice there are probably more than any of us know about. There are a couple that are usually focused on heavily in scientific research, though. These are focused-attention, or mindful meditation, which is where you focus on one specific thing—it could be your breathing, a sensation in your body or a particular object outside of you. The point of this type of meditation is to focus strongly on one point and continually bring your attention back to that focal point when it wanders.

The other type of meditation that’s often used in research is open-monitoring meditation. This is where you pay attention to all of the things happening around you—you simply notice everything without reacting.

What happens in your brain when you meditate

This is where things get really interesting. Using modern technology like fMRI scans, scientists have developed a more thorough understanding of what’s taking place in our brains when we meditate, kind of similar to how scientists have previously looked at measuring creativity in our brains.

The overall difference is that our brains stop processing information as actively as they normally would. We start to show a decrease in beta waves, which indicate that our brains are processing information, even after a single 20-minute meditation session if we’ve never tried it before.

In the image below you can see how the beta waves (shown in bright colors on the left) are dramatically reduced during meditation (on the right).

how meditation affects your brain - beta waves

Below is the best explanation I found of what happens in each part of the brain during meditation:

Frontal lobe
This is the most highly evolved part of the brain, responsible for reasoning, planning, emotions and self-conscious awareness. During meditation, the frontal cortex tends to go offline.

Parietal lobe
This part of the brain processes sensory information about the surrounding world, orienting you in time and space. During meditation, activity in the parietal lobe slows down.

Thalamus
The gatekeeper for the senses, this organ focuses your attention by funneling some sensory data deeper into the brain and stopping other signals in their tracks. Meditation reduces the flow of incoming information to a trickle.

Reticular formation
As the brain’s sentry, this structure receives incoming stimuli and puts the brain on alert, ready to respond. Meditating dials back the arousal signal.

How meditation affects us

Now that we know what’s going on inside our brains, let’s take a look at the research into the ways it affects our health. It’s in fact very similar to how exercising affects our brains.

Better focus

Because meditation is a practice in focusing our attention and being aware of when it drifts, this actually improves our focus when we’re not meditating, as well. It’s a lasting effect that comes from regular bouts of meditation.

Focused attention is very much like a muscle, one that needs to be strengthened through exercise.

Less anxiety

This point is pretty technical, but it’s really interesting. The more we meditate, the less anxiety we have, and it turns out this is because we’re actually loosening the connections of particular neural pathways. This sounds bad, but it’s not.

What happens without meditation is that there’s a section of our brains that’s sometimes called the Me Center (it’s technically the medial prefrontal cortex). This is the part that processes information relating to ourselves and our experiences. Normally the neural pathways from the bodily sensation and fear centers of the brain to the Me Center are really strong. When you experience a scary or upsetting sensation, it triggers a strong reaction in your Me Center, making you feel scared and under attack.

When we meditate, we weaken this neural connection. This means that we don’t react as strongly to sensations that might have once lit up our Me Centers. As we weaken this connection, we simultaneously strengthen the connection between what’s known as our Assessment Center (the part of our brains known for reasoning) and our bodily sensation and fear centers. So when we experience scary or upsetting sensations, we can more easily look at them rationally. Here’s a good example:

For example, when you experience pain, rather than becoming anxious and assuming it means something is wrong with you, you can watch the pain rise and fall without becoming ensnared in a story about what it might mean.

More creativity

As a writer, this is one thing I’m always interested in and we’ve explored the science of creativity in depth before. Unfortunately, it’s not the most easy thing to study, but there is some research into how meditation can affect our creativity. Researchers at Leiden University in the Netherlands studied both focused-attention and open-monitoring mediation to see if there was any improvement in creativity afterwards. They found that people who practiced focused-attention meditation did not show any obvious signs of improvement in the creativity task following their meditation. For those who did open-monitoring meditation, however, they performed better on a task that asked them to come up with new ideas.

More compassion

Research on meditation has shown that empathy and compassion are higher in those who practice meditation regularly. One experiment showed participants images of other people that were either good, bad or neutral in what they called “compassion meditation.” The participants were able to focus their attention and reduce their emotional reactions to these images, even when they weren’t in a meditative state. They also experienced more compassion for others when shown disturbing images.

Part of this comes from activity in the amygdala—the part of the brain that processes emotional stimuli. During meditation, this part of the brain normally shows decreased activity, but in this experiment it was exceptionally responsive when participants were shown images of people.

Another study in 2008 found that people who meditated regularly had stronger activation levels in their temporal parietal junctures (a part of the brain tied to empathy) when they heard the sounds of people suffering, than those who didn’t meditate.

Better memory

One of the things meditation has been linked to is improving rapid memory recall. Catherine Kerr, a researcher at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging and the Osher Research Center found that people who practiced mindful meditation were able to adjust the brain wave that screens out distractions and increase their productivity more quickly that those that did not meditate. She said that this ability to ignore distractions could explain “their superior ability to rapidly remember and incorporate new facts.” This seems to be very similar to the power of being exposed to new situations that will also dramatically improve our memory of things.

Less stress

Mindful meditation has been shown to help people perform under pressure while feeling less stressed. A 2012 study split a group of human resources managers into three, which one third participating in mindful meditation training, another third taking body relaxation training and the last third given no training at all. A stressful multitasking test was given to all the managers before and after the eight-week experiment. In the final test, the group that had participated in the meditation training reported less stress during the test than both of the other groups.

More gray matter

Meditation has been linked to larger amounts of gray matter in the hippocampus and frontal areas of the brain. I didn’t know what this meant at first, but it turns out it’s pretty great. More gray matter can lead to more positive emotions, longer-lasting emotional stability and heightened focus during daily life.

Meditation has also been shown to diminish age-related effects on gray matter and reduce the decline of our cognitive functioning.

how meditation affects your brain - aging

Getting started with Meditation

Here’s a great infographic that gives an overview of the different kinds of meditation and some tips for fitting in meditation at work.

The Meditative Brain

An awesome app to get started with meditation – Getheadspace

Note from Leo: One of the best apps I’ve come across to help you get started with Meditation is called Headspace. Invented by a former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe, this is meditation geared towards busy people like you and me.

The way it works is that Andy guides you through 10 minutes of simple meditation every day. You don’t have to do anything, just sit down and turn on the app and let Andy’s calm voice (his voice is truly amazing – the app is worth trying just for that!) explain to you how to approach meditation.

Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 10.53.33 AM

 

The best part about the app is of course that it’s completely free! For any beginning meditator, this is the best option I’ve come across to start reaping the amazing benefits of meditation and start on a new path to a happier life.

Over to you now. Have you played with the thought of meditation or have you been doing it before? I’d love your comments on the topic below, you can also email me or find me on Twitter at @BelleBethCooper.

Image credits: Free MeditationSuzanne Morgan Yoga, Keith Ramsey

  • http://niel.delarouviere.com NielDLR

    Awesome post Belle! I really like the different kinds of meditation they have in the infographic. I’m particularly fond of sensory meditation. It can sometimes have profound effect on me. I’m going to try and this more often!

    • Belle

      I’ve never tried that one, Niel! I might have to look into it more now :)

  • Marco/Life is a trip

    Thanks for this very informative post! I used to meditate and I think that I will go back to it after reading your post! One thing though: The app is called just ‘headspace’. I am currently downloading it. Thanks again! Marco

    • Belle

      Edited! Thanks for the heads up :) Hope you find it useful!

  • http://www.breakingthehabitofme.com/ Breaking The Habit Of Me

    Hi Belle,

    Superb post.

    I particularly was interested in the creativity difference between focused meditation (that I have recently started practicing) and the open-monitoring. I will definitely be looking at the latter a bit more.

    I also loved the tips for meditating at work.

    Thanks for posting.

    Keith

    • Belle

      Glad you liked it, Keith! Thanks for reading :)

  • Drew Davis

    In, I’m breathing in. Out, I’m breathing out.

  • http://www.cognifit.com/ CogniFit

    Meditation is such an important part of mental and overall brain health. What is important to note is that to truly improve your memory and focus, meditation alone is not enough. Sport, nutrition and brain training actually play also an important role!

  • http://alphaefficiency.com/ Bojan Djordjevic

    This actually makes me consider meditation as a part of my daily routine

  • Aaron Hill

    Thank you for sharing this with the world. I have meditated on and off for 15 years and gifted it to myself as a daily habit about 3 years ago. The trigger at the time was a severe bout of depression. I had the perfect life, love and family, yet all the colour was drained from the world, I felt numb, watching my life like it was a movie in the third-person, was constantly anxious and all round felt miserable. All the time. I had started to withdraw from everything. Then, i was diagnosed and found a wonderful psychologist who took me by the hand and, in a very short time, gave me the tools to heal myself. One of those tools was meditation. I am a different person today as a direct result. Meditation is like a wonderful, free, medication that has helped to discover the true me and understand better what it means to truly experience existence. Thank you Narelle. This gift is priceless to me and my family.

  • theirmind

    Right.

  • yadnesh

    this is just western way of measuring eastern things its far more deeper than that watch this……

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40p2OAcJ8uk

    • zariuq

      We want to do things other than just obtain bliss.

      • Mark

        What about doing things, while in bliss?

  • Anil Tiwari

    Thanks for the great article about meditation. Really it is so much helpful to all the beginners who wants to meditate and bring back charm in their life.

    Really,
    Meditation is about turning our attention inward so that we can better understand how our mind sees things, and how fears and old patterns of thinking affect our
    perceptions. At our core each of us is peaceful and nurturing. But every one of us has
    experienced pain and suffering in our lives. In reaction to these events we’ve
    each devised numerous defense strategies and coping mechanisms that act like a
    pair of sunglasses, coloring the world for us. Meditation is about peeling off
    the layers of distortion so that we can more clearly see our life, and our
    reactions to it.

    Here is also some article about meditation: http://buddhafame.com/buddhism-articles/meditation

    • tony

      Good Explanation. Tony, Chennai

  • http://flowathletics.com/ Gene Kobilansky

    Thanks for the awesome post Belle! It’s the best sum up of meditation benefits I’ve seen online and I’ve already downloaded headspace to give it a shot.

    One group of people I truly believe should add meditation to their daily practices is athletes.

    Meditation primes the brain for learning; it helps establish a mental movement blueprint, making techniques easier to execute and trains you to get into the zone easier and faster. All three benefits are fundamental to athletics success.

    With the help of fitness author Shannon Clark I wrote more about Meditation for Athletes here – http://flowathletics.com/meditation-combat-sports/

  • Raven Michelle

    Lovely and informative article! It makes me want to start working on incorporating meditation into my daily routine.

    I am curious how Headspace works as a free app though. It appears free when I went to Play Store, but after I downloaded it and went to play the first day, it wanted me to pay eight dollars a month for a year subscription. So I uninstalled it.

  • Sandra Guevara

    Hi, Belle Beth, Thank you so much for your post. It is really great. Since I am a blogger interested in the issue, I would love to translate it and post it in my blog (http://inspirarteyser.wordpress.com/) where I share information in Spanish to inspire people to be creative, innovative, … At the same time I share my handicrafts and some other people´s artwork. Meditation is one of the tools we use to get inspiration (in-spirit!), and I have post something about its benefits. May I use your content ? I would of course acknowledge your authorship. Greetings from Spain! Sandra

    • Belle

      Hi Sandra,

      Thanks so much for the kind words! I’m really glad you enjoyed this post! At this stage I’ll have to pass on republishing this one, but I really appreciate your interest! :)

      Belle

  • jimmraz

    Sucker born every day …. BY MY APP . + & – = creation , you need both we can’t all be cows chowing on the grass of knowledge . That’s how you get slaughtered standing in a field doing nothing but thinking about thinking.

    Waste of life these monks and shamans.

    Science and confusion bring real change pills for pain and suffering real knowledge higgs bosons and quasars are the answer not mediators making you tube videos on macs !

  • Tomas

    Great post. Love the scientific data! I wrote a simple post on my own experience when I started to practice meditation:
    “Five minutes that changed my life.” https://medium.com/life-hacks/758bcc28c1cc

  • http://monthhacker.wordpress.com/ Month Hacker

    I have read it on zen habits, heard from so many people and now you. You have finally broken my laziness and I AM going to give it 8 minutes everyday (I’m good at making habits last by making huge commitments). Not from tomorrow, but from the next month.

    Cheers,
    Month Hacker

    • Belle

      Awesome! That’s really exciting – hope it goes well for you :)

  • GREG

    Thank you for sharing !

  • Martijn van Dooren

    Great explanation of what meditation actually is, what the benefits are of meditating and how to get started. This motivated me to start meditating right away. Thanks Belle!

    • Belle

      Thanks Martijn! Really glad you liked it :)

  • http://www.thoughtbrick.com/ Clare

    Hi Belle,
    I’m also fascinated by meditation and how it affects the brain — still got lots to learn though. One thing I’m still unsure about though is the activity in the frontal cortex — I thought that when you meditated, more activity actually takes place in this part of the brain. Is this not true?

    • http://hellocode.co Belle Beth Cooper

      Hi Clare,
      According to my research, the opposite is true—that part of the brain actually goes fairly quiet during meditation.

  • senseyourenergy

    What a wonderful article. You definitely covered all the bases thoroughly. Meditation really is a great practice and can really improve the quality of life as it did for me. I recommend anyone who hasn’t yet to try meditating, especially after absorbing all this knowledge.

    Thanks,
    Brad
    http://www.senseyourenergy.com

  • Matthew Varner

    This was a great article about meditation. In my psychology class we are talking about meditation and the effects it can have on the human body mentally and physically. Meditation; mental or physical techniques used to induce a state of focused attention and heightened awareness. At first learning about this concept I was hesitant that it could work or be true. Like thinking harder and focusing on something would reduce physiological arousal and stress. So, after reading about meditation in my book and reading this article, I decided to try it out. Practicing and focussing I could finally meditate and just be calm. Mediating a couple days out of the week for about three weeks I could start noticing a difference in my stress levels. I was a lot more focused and my memory seemed to be on-point. Meditation is suppose to help one be calm and focused or alert. With practice and focusing it is easy to meditiate correctly.

  • gabriella

    I too have recently started meditating, about five months ago, and have noticed the way if effects my mind and even my body. I have troubles with anxiety and I have started to see myself handling situations a lot better than I would of had prior to me meditating. I can also see changes in the ways I handle stress, it doesn’t seem as overwhelming as it once did.
    The use of meditation has increased throughout the years , especially for psychotherapy. They are starting to use this technique to treat disorders such as: depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and substance abuse (165, Hockenbury).
    This is a great article that really breaks down the points of meditation and the benefits that it can have on your mind and body. I highly recommend those who are looking for a way to better themselves to try meditation. If you have a good mindset it can do wonders!

  • Utsav

    Thank you very much. I think this will be helpful to so many people. I hope u share more information on meditation this will lead many people towards positive life..

  • Kathryn Erskine
  • Kathryn Erskine

    Sahaja Yoga is a unique method of meditation based on an experience called Self Realization (Kundalini awakening) that can occur within each human being.

    Through this process an inner transformation takes place by which one becomes moral, united, integrated and balanced.

    One can actually feel the all pervading divine power as a cool breeze, as described in all religions and spiritual traditions of the world.

    This is the actualization of such transformation, which is taking place now, worldwide, and has been proved and experienced by hundreds of thousands in over 90 countries.

    It is entirely free of charge, as one cannot pay for the experience of Divine Love.

    Experience it now online here :
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3O70RQ6Q2wU#t=726

    To find out more about it here:
    http://www.sahajayoga.org/

  • Anca Dumitru

    Thanks for this post, Belle. I’ve been a mindfulness meditation practitioner for the past year. Was also skeptic about whether it works or not, and until I faced a health scare, I never thought I would ever meditate. Long story short, it has a massive positive effect on me.

    Although I am familiar with a number of calmness/meditation apps out there, I haven’t heard of Headspace yet. I’ll definitely try it. So thanks to Leo also for his note. :)

  • Amanda Kimmerly

    Very nice! I agree and loved seeing just how meditation affects the brain. Thanks for the diagram! Now I’m going to get off this computer and meditate, lol.

  • CraigB.

    Belle, you left out “automatic transcending” as one of the main types of meditation! That is a serious omission considering this:

    Summary of Policy Statement Issued by the American Heart Association

    According to the American Heart Association, the Transcendental Meditation technique is the only meditation practice that has been shown to lower blood pressure. According to the AHA,* “Because of many negative studies or mixed results and a paucity of available trials, all other meditation techniques [including Mindfulness] received a ‘Class III, no benefit, Level of Evidence C’ recommendation. Thus, other meditation techniques are not recommended in clinical practice to lower BP at this time.”

    The AHA scientific statement also reported the finding that lower blood pressure through Transcendental Meditation practice is associated with substantially reduced rates of death, heart attack and stroke.

    The AHA scientific statement concludes that alternative treatments that include the Transcendental Meditation technique are recommended for consideration in treatment plans for all individuals with blood pressure greater than 120/80 mm Hg.

    * Brook RD et al., Beyond Medications and Diet: Alternative Approaches to Lowering Blood Pressure. A Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association. Hypertension, 61:00, 2013.

  • Gita123

    There is Brahmakumaris meditation…that relaxes the mind…nurtures a healthy balance between inner and outer worlds…restore balance through silence… also there is study of spiritual values.

  • selfevidentreality

    This is
    really informative post and I personally would like to appreciate the
    efforts. We are also dealing in same industry hence found this informative to
    add in our process also. Once again thanks for your post.

  • selfevidentreality

    This is
    really informative post and I personally would like to appreciate the
    efforts. We are also dealing in same industry hence found this informative to
    add in our process also. Once again thanks for your post.

  • Kenzie Nguyen

    Has anybody experienced a decrease in reaction time. Reacting faster to things like a ball coming at you, car horn going off, and a noise that gets your attention. I would like to know because this sounds stupid, but like batman his reaction time is super fast and scourge its not real, but I believe your brain can be trained, and not just for a specific sport but for life coming at you dangerous situations, noises, noticing things, and surprises happening in life such as somebody coming up to you to punch you. reacting in life in day, night, and anywhere. Sounds stupid, but think about it pleaseeee helpppp.

  • Amy Lucas

    Thank you for this. I have tried to get the headspace app in the App Store and it’s not there. Has it been released yet?

  • Kashyap

    I often do Empty-minded meditation…where I make the brain go just blank…and can be done anytime you want..whether you are walking in marketplace, cooking or watching tv..Doing 10 sets of 1 min empty-mind meditation daily gives immense control of self and the environment around. Things start happening as you want it to. Achieving the first empty-mind state is tough as it needs to be effortless…for that purpose I use Surya namaskar; 30 cycles done for 2 days brings capacity to achieve effortless empty mind.

  • Jarson

    Hi, Its a very nice article but can you give sources of the research? It all good but everyone can write what one wants so it would be nice to give the sources of the research you are reffering to. I saw some pseudo scientific movies about meditation which I discovered were not based on any real research.

  • http://theuncarvedblog.com/ Ken Chawkin

    There’s another category of meditation — automatic self-transcending. See Are all meditations the same? http://wp.me/pD0BA-1vS

  • http://www.healthy-lifestyle-trainer.com/ Mike Luque

    I love the science of meditation! Thanks for this article. It has so much great information.
    I’m particularly intrigued by the difference in creativity developed between mindfulness meditation and open-monitoring meditation. The full text of the Frontiers in Psychology study is quite extensive, so it’ll take a while to get through!

  • James Bond Bond

    Thanks a lot for publishing the new good stuff for us. I’ll really get the great advantage from your good stuff.stroke symptoms

  • donkowalewski

    This is such a great blog entry. It was like a sign from heaven I found it. So thorough and perfect for a skeptic and beginner like myself. I’ve read it three times and read everything you linked and the app was brilliant – even just for the sound efx.

  • Adv MK Aryan ™

    We have developed a meditation technique which will give result in 5 minuits. Its Name is Power Meditation. It is so simple and Free of cost.
    For more information just mail me @ advmanojkumar@gmail.com

  • Adv MK Aryan ™

    We have developed a meditation technique which will give result in 5 minuits. Its Name is Power Meditation. It is so simple and Free of cost.
    For more information just mail me @ advmanojkumar@gmail.com

  • Fatehjee

    One word. Kundalini Yoga Meditations. ok… 3 words. For those who wish to tailor meditations to specific mental and personal results, the Kundalini Yoga style has 100′s of meditations that work in different ways. Check out meditations like: “Conquering Your Imagined Disabilities” or “KY Meditation to become Sharpwitted” Some of them are fun! Each one is unique, and you will understand that the typical “Gyan Mudra hands on Knees” is just one of thousands of different meditative postures that are each geared to achieve a specific result. And they work exactly as they are named.

  • Vips

    Speaking of neuroscience, two months ago was published a scientific investigation about possibly consider consciousness as a new state of matter. Of course, talking about consciousness in scientific terms is really complex because it includes scientific method we can experiment with observable and measurable things in mathematical terms, and consciousness has consistently eluded all efforts to be measured. And well, see a scientist talk about “science of consciousness” could cost him all credibility, for life. However, it is an issue that will never go away from the talks and that much we can not measure it objectively, it’s there . We have feelings and “life” (what “soul” is called), something that makes us human. That something is what we call consciousness. At least , that’s the name given to understand.

    Yes, it may be pretentious and even absurd for us to think that consciousness is the only thing that makes us human, but with the evolution of our brains inevitably ask explanations to complex issues like this, but for now we our knowledge no of both. By the way, I’m not a believer, but science never lies.

  • AMEY

    Thank you very much for sharing this. Very Useful Knowledge. Thanks a TON. I ll again start doing Meditation Now.

  • prashant

    want to share some knowledge abou tancient indian yoga.i have some
    practical knowledge.it definatly helpful in sorting out problem like
    mental illness ,cancer or any disease.i don’t have plateform to share
    this knowledge plz consider.
    ancient indian yoga
    any human body divided into 2 parts male and female which is called
    ardhnarishwar in sanskrit.indian yogis develop a method called mantra
    or vibratory science.there are many chakras in body.but in present
    time emphesis on 7 chakra.in which 5 having element,6th not having any
    element but vibratory center for which mantra is used.7th is outside
    body.
    meditation is come from ardhnarishwar shiv.as shiv is kriya shakti and
    female part is yoga shakti.we having center in our body.every center
    has having magnetic field and electric field.
    electric field and magnetic field both having to type.hence one center
    or chakra having 4 parts anterior part of chakra i.e. front part is
    for +ive magnetic and electric field and posterior part of chakra is
    made up of -ive type of magnetic and electric field.hence by anterior
    part we digest pure or satvik food i.e. vegetarian feel their chakra
    on front side of bodies while non vegetarian or tamsic people feel
    chakra their behind part of body.this ia way nature autocorrect us.
    these center are present in every organism by which nature controle
    the human being or autocorrect system which is called adaptation in
    biotecnology.antibiotic resistance,why earth is overheated,pollution
    controle or any problem can be solved if we have right knowledge of
    these chakra system.i having knowledge more than 7 chakras.which i
    want to share with this plateform.

  • Callum Landseer

    Meditation is one easy way to combat the effects of daily stress and take back control of your health. Just 20 minutes a day can reduce stress and help your brain to recharge. A wonderful meditation with Lama Surya Das on the great Luminous Perfection teaching of Dzogchen. Watch here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_96eftVWfk

  • Sam Hopes

    Feeling stressed and finding it difficult to fit everything into the day? Perhaps it’s time to join the mindfulness revolution. Here are 5 best iOS apps for meditation this summer.

  • Nessun Niente

    You forgot to mention the most important and powerful kind of meditation: the one in which you are the object of observation. Meditation is simple and to say that it is hard is not completely true since the only thing that prevents us from being our true self is fear and attachment. Trying to focus on one point brings stress to the mind in a long term. In the beginning feels good but as you focus more and more you will be someone trying to stop a train with the hands because that’s the nature of the mind: movement. Instead I would recommend to “pay attention” to yourself. You do not need to focus in one point (meditation is no struggle at all) but rather be aware of your thoughts, emotions, and even your physical body as a witness. (I later found out that someone put a name at this kind of meditation: Vipassana). Each identification with thoughts and emotions will make you forget your own self. Once you abide as the witness the thoughts might come and you can choose to think if you want. Emotions will also come but they will go away or dissolve into consciousness (only natural and health emotions will appear eventually). Again, the only thing that prevents someone from being in the meditative state is fear and attachment. After that concentration, good memory, happiness and all those benefits will be consequence and not the purpose itself.

    Good luck and enjoy life.

  • RandyA

    I have brain and spinal tumors. I have never meditated before, but my friend thought this could really help me. Have there been any studies on meditation helping illnesses?

  • Ram

    Hi Belle Very good article.

    I read something on similar lines which I would like to share.

    http://warrenstagg22.com/2014/07/11/meditation-3/

    Thank
    you

  • Jack Sydney

    Meditation is the best therapy to healthcare. http://www.acuenergetics.com is
    one of the best place to meditation classes.

  • Outlawpoet

    Hi, I’m an amazon top reviewer. Your blog appears to have been stolen. You’ll find all your words here:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JQRQ3PO/ref=oh_d__o00_details_o00__i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  • http://dani-bang.blogspot.com Danielle Bera

    Thank you very much for the article. It really helped me to understand how meditation works in our brain and behaviour. I used to practice without a tecnique, but now I’ll start to training every day. Thanks again!

  • Anna

    Hi! I am a Buddhist Asian. In Buddhism, the mind is an energy form. We perceive things from our minds and not from our brain. We perceive our environment from the mind, affects our brain function. According to Buddhism, the mind is not an organ in the body, it cannot be seen or touched. When our mind has negative thoughts, we become mentally ill such as depression is caused. Meditation encourages good thoughts on our mind, so our mental illness is cured. What the Western psychologists failed in the 20th century was to see the ‘formless mind’ when treating mentally ill patients. In Buddhism, it says to look after our mind by meditating since the healthy mind has an over all physical health on our body. That is why meditation is used in some countries to not only cure cancer but even to treat HIV patients. May all beings be well and happy! With metta