Nowadays we spend very little time on what we do now with a focused mind. We are all distracted because of content shelling coming from the internet. Often a large part of our life is spent remembering the past and thinking about what we will do in the future. Meditation is the practice of bringing your thoughts to the present, and it has incredible benefits to our mental abilities. Here are some of the meditation benefits.
It has benefits in many areas such as focus, willpower, problem-solving, discipline, creativity, motivation, self-esteem, calmness, and stress management. Meditation takes you ten steps forward in every area of life by boosting all these abilities directly or indirectly.
The approximate prefrontal cortex for monkeys and chimpanzees accounts for 15% of the entire brain, 7% for dogs, and 3.5% for cats. On the other hand, almost 40% of the brain is the prefrontal cortex in humans. So rational behaviors are completely the result of the prefrontal cortex. When the brain of the Homo sapiens species is examined, its difference from the other 6 human species is obviously the size of the prefrontal cortex.
Meditation Strengthens Will-Power!
Meditation strains and thickens your prefrontal cortex. Neuroscientist Sara Lazar and her research team examined people meditating. They found that their prefrontal cortex is thicker. In addition, the thickness of the prefrontal cortex increased, depending on the frequency and amount of meditation. In addition, meditation has been found to increase the density of gray matter responsible for planning, decision making, problem-solving and emotional regulation.
The prefrontal cortex and amygdala are connected. The amygdala controls emotions. This means that the prefrontal cortex can manipulate your emotional responses to the environment. The weaker the link between the prefrontal context and the amygdala, the less control you have on your emotions. In animals, this connection is much weaker than in humans. So they act almost entirely impulsive. Meditation strengthens the connections between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala, increasing your control over your emotions and shrinking the amygdala over time.
Meditation Improves Your Learning Skill!
One of the biggest meditation benefits is boosting your learning skill. Meditation improves your learning and remembering skills by increasing the amount of gray matter in the prefrontal cortex. If you do not meditate, the prefrontal cortex begins to shrink as it ages. Therefore, our ability to learn and remember decreases. In the researches, the same amount of gray matter was observed in the brains of 50-year-old people who have been meditating for a long time and 25-year-old people who have not meditated.
You can profit by meditation benefits without making meditation. Just experience the meditative mood with any activity that requires your full focus. For example, if you are completely focused on what you are doing when you wash your car; without thinking about another problem, the past or thinking about what to do next. If your mind is not blurred and you are completely focused on the current task, you are in a meditative mood.
Even while we sleep, our subconscious uses our brain’s energy and attention to review and store memories. However, your mind really rests during meditation. It is very difficult to focus your mind on the present, but when you achieve this and don’t think about the past or the future, you will really feel your brain resting. This relaxation will make you more lively and happy.
It Makes You Happy
In a study conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, it was observed that the left prefrontal cortex of happy people was relatively more active and the right prefrontal cortex of depressed people was active. Meditation increases activity in the left prefrontal cortex. Happiness is one of the major meditation benefits.
Meditation Benefits You to Focus On Your Priorities
Have you ever spent hours watching funny videos on youtube while watching an educational video? Things like this happen to everyone. For instant pleasures, we take a little break from the things we have to do and realize that we distracted ourselves.
Meditation allows you to instantly notice the primitive brain (amygdala) that seeps into your thoughts and takes control of you. When you reach a certain level, you feel the changes in your emotions before your emotions begin to change. In this way, you will be less reactive and have great control over your behavior. Meditation saves our focus from distraction.
Our brain works with connotations. It likes to walk between memories. Dreaming and thought-surfing is its biggest hobby. It fills every free time you give him with this hobby and likes to be undisciplined. It does not like to think about things without emotion. The goal during meditation is to resist the impulses of the amygdala and to strengthen the prefrontal cortex like a muscle. The prefrontal cortex makes us superior to other species.
Sometimes your brain is full of countless problems that you really need to work on. It struggles asynchronously with many problems and you feel restless due to rising beta waves. This is not only a problem when you need to sleep, but it also makes you quite inefficient during the day.
However, Meditation gives you the chance to focus on your priorities thanks to the great control it gives to starting and ending your thoughts. In this way, while you take care of things in order of priority, you don’t involuntarily jump from one to another and manage your focus in the best way. It may be the best amongst meditation benefits.
Is Meditation Really Useful?
It is hard to believe all of these meditation benefits. It is hard to grasp that it can be so useful when meditating. You’ll think, “I’m not doing anything right now. How will doing nothing help me?” There is a fact that we must remember before thinking like this. We already spend most of our life on useless things. According to the Pareto principle, even 80% of our time is not productive, and 80% of our results come from 20% of our studies.
At this point, instead of continuing to cut trees with a blind ax, we should sharpen the ax. Meditation sharpens our ax. Meditation does this by increasing our ability to act according to our priorities. Whenever you feel your brain is filled with garbage thoughts, you can use meditation to clear the RAM. You will see that your performance has increased. There are many rich and successful people who meditate every day. Because sharpening the ax is better than working with a blind ax.
Get Rid of Addictions with Meditation
You can do meditation to get rid of your addictions. It will help you a lot to succeed in Nofap. When sexual stimuli trigger you and you want to consume pornography, 5-10 minutes of meditation will be more than enough. Of course, it is important at what level and how well you do. Over time, your mind will become much clearer and you will have much more control over your thoughts.
It will be much easier to resist if you realize and not grow your desire for high dopamine-releasing activities the first time it occurs. You will use your will power much more efficiently with the emotional awareness gained by meditation.
The amygdala has kept us alive for millions of years by its rapid response. But now we have a bigger weapon than the amygdala. The more you resist the urge to surf in your brain, the easier it will be to resist other temptations in your life. If you can control your thoughts at the point where they started, it’s much easier not to do what you shouldn’t do.
Get Rid of Stress and Save Your Energy
Imagine a cheetah running at maximum speed using all its potential. When its energy is exhausted, it stops suddenly, gasps, and begins to feel pain in his muscles. It is exhausted and knows that it can not perform the same again without rest. When we are under constant stress, we can assume that our minds are in a similar situation with the cheetah example above. Thanks to meditation, we can get rid of this effect completely and have more comfortable days in mind.
When we remember a painful traumatic memory from the past and what we feel at that moment or when we worry about something that will occur in the future, these thoughts and emotions cause a chemical called cortisol that increases our stress. After the cortisol release, the learning areas of the brain are suppressed by amygdala and the body goes to escape mode.
It is impossible to be productive and dedicated at this point. It is best to stop feeding these thoughts before they control us. Of course, avoiding your trauma is not a solution. In your spare time, you need to apply therapy to them. Your traumas keep you away from activities that improve you in all areas of life. When you come across a situation similar to your trauma, it prevents and keeps you in the comfort area. Traumas are like a benevolent and harmful mother.
You don’t need a special place to meditate. There are many meditation techniques, but they all have the same purpose. Noticing your inner self that follows your thoughts and just watching them without strengthening or falling in them.
Basic Meditation Guideline
1. Sit in a chair or in a comfortable place. If you are not used to standing upright, sit somewhere. It is important that you are not nervous. You must resist impulses. Ignore itching and your impulses.
2. Many thoughts and memories evoked by these thoughts will come to your mind. Do not escape these thoughts and memories immediately. Don’t just contribute to them. Watch them slowly disappear instead of escaping. It doesn’t matter whether your eyes are open or closed. Focus on something that is happening now, like your breath. Count in as you breathe in and out.
3. Many times you will notice that your mind is cycling through memories. Do not judge these thoughts and just return now. Keep focusing on your breath. Remember that every time you try and fail, you run the prefrontal cortex and relieve the amygdala, which causes emotional deprivation.
4. Stop counting after a few minutes and just focus on how you breathe and how it feels. You can start counting your breath again when you fall into thoughts and when you find it hard to return to now. This will increase your awareness on now.
References: 1. Brain Activation During Compassion Meditation: A Case Study 2. The Corruption of Mindfulness in a Culture of Narcissism 3. Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis 4. Boost Your Willpower with This Meditation Technique 5. The Incredible Benefits of Meditation on Your Willpower 6. Wikipedia / Meditation 7. Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness 8. Amygdala–Prefrontal Cortex Functional Connectivity During Threat-Induced Anxiety and Goal Distraction 9. The Emotional Life of Your Brain