Benefits of Meditation on the Brain
Practicing meditation daily increases grey matter in the anterior cingulate cortex (which is a structure located behind the brain’s frontal lobe) and the prefrontal cortex (which is found in areas of the prefrontal lobe). By increasing grey matter in our brains we are able to improve the way we regulate our actions or responses. For example, not reacting negatively by reflex, creating a more helpful thought process, better planning, problem solving and emotion control all round.
Meditation increases cortical thickness in the hippocampus which is part of the limbic system that controls learning and memory. This particular region of the brain is extremely susceptible to stress related conditions.
The amygdala (the brains fight or flight function) which is the root of our anxieties, fears and worries actually decreases in brain cell volume when meditation practiced daily. Also the connections between the amygdala and the pre frontal cortex are weakened causing a decrease in reflex reactivity and strengthening connections between areas associated with more useful brain function such as concentration.
The physiological changes to the structure of the brain the we see due to the practice of mindfulness meditation is knows as neuroplacticity in the medical field of science.
Due to the daily practice of meditation there is an increase in blood flow to the brain supplying the brain with more oxygen, glucose and other nutrients allowing all of the beneficial physiological changes to take place. Improved blood flow also helps in transporting deoxygenated blood back to the heart, removing carbon dioxide and lactic acids.