Most people would probably agree that it would be wonderful to be able to restore the human brain naturally. Surely, being able to rewire your brain and shape it organically, so that specific functions are enhanced, is the stuff of fairy tales. However, research shows that the simple act of meditating regularly has the power to increase or reduce connections in the brain that influence health, feelings and behavior.
It has long been recognized that monks who meditate for periods over countless years have certain qualities that others admire. They tend to be wise, discerning, intelligent, and most notably, calm. Their ability to empathize with people and show compassion is amazing, and their quiet, contemplative nature, and often their sense of humor, is commendable. However, such qualities are often produced or enhanced via meditation.
While you might not want to spend years sitting in a crossed legged position and live in a monastery, you could still benefit greatly by meditating every day. The qualities mentioned can certainly be useful for anyone. Just imagine for a moment that you could increase your capacity for perceiving and understanding other people’s emotions. You would be able to connect with everyone instead of feeling separate. All concepts of ‘them and us’ would disappear, leaving you free to enjoy a sense of contentment and completion. In fact, one of the wonderful benefits of meditating is that the connections in the region of your brain that lead to greater empathy grow. Even if you did not desire to become kinder than you currently are, although meditating would develop this trait, being able to understand people well could be highly advantageous in your professional and personal life in other ways.
Studies reveal that meditating can influence the immune system by making it stronger. An enhancement of health and the body’s ability to protect itself from disease can arise from a reduction in stress. People who meditate are able to cope with stress well since their capacity to deal calmly with dramatic situations and upset is increased. Furthermore, connections in their brain to the amygdala, the fear center, are reduced. Some studies even suggest that the amygdala itself becomes smaller when people meditate over a period of years. Being confident and unafraid of events such as death, illness, and natural calamities could make you resilient, strong, and fortunate enough to let worries go before you have even experienced them fully.
When we think about restoration, we tend to imagine rebuilding something. Meditation is not simply about making new connections in your brain since it can play a part in reconnecting neurons. Each neuron communicates with other neurons in your brain in order to function via electrical impulses. Through meditation, you can cause neurons that previously gave up the ghost to fire again. Some people even believe that meditating might be able to encourage new brain cells to actually grow as well as repairing neural firing.
References: jonlieffmd.com, books.gooogle.co.uk, eap.com, bodyandsoul.com