The Science of Meditation

Meditation is a word of many different connotations depending on the person. For me, meditation is like an escape into my own inner world but if you asked my boyfriend he would have a very different answer. No matter what your opinion on meditation is, you can’t deny that it has been scientifically proven to be good for you. From a spiritual standpoint, meditation can be the difference between clarity and confusion or it can heighten your extrasensory perception. If you are one of the debbie downers who thinks that they can’t meditate or it isn’t for you, this article is for you.

   Let’s start with the science behind meditating, scientists say that meditating is like working out for your brain. With technology like FMRI scientists have observed positive effects on the brain with just 10 minutes of meditation a day. Meditation stimulates the brain and when observing brain scans scientists noticed that the meditator’s brain had more connections than the normal brain. Meditation has been proven to slow down aging of the brain. When studying this, scientists observed that 40-50 year olds who meditated had the brain of a 20 year old non meditator. Meditation also increases the prefrontal cortex which is in charge of focus, problem solving, behaviour, and emotion. The hippocampus enlarges which improves memory and keeps you in the moment; decreasing anxiety. It even decreases the amygdala which governs the fear response. Meditation even increases serotonin which can combat depression and anxiety. If you thought this was a lot of benefits, this isn’t even all of them. 

   Although meditation has mostly amazing effects there are obviously going to be adverse side effects as well. One side effect is getting headaches and other body pain. Although this is just your consciousness expanding, this can be startling to beginners. These headaches are usually caused by the consciousness expanding or an imbalance of energy in the body and they are usually minor. These pains can also point to pent up emotion that you are releasing through meditation. Another adverse effect is being sad after meditating. Because meditating is such a reflective exercise, it is going to point out all of your negative traits and worries and force you to deal with them. This is what shadow work is and I have a whole other post on that. You may get sad or anxious after meditating because this is your pent up negative emotion leaving your body. Although it may get intense sometimes, this feeling is temporary (disclaimer: meditation cannot replace therapy). 

   So now that you know the science, you have no excuse to not meditate. For me, all it took was the spiritual aspects of meditation to put me on but I know for some people it seems like a chore. At first, meditation is difficult so don’t let the spiritual influencers fool you into thinking it’s so easy because in reality it isn’t. They try to make it seem like it’s all sunshine and rainbows when really it takes practice. Don’t let this deter you because the only way to manifest your truth is to get to know your shadow and meditation is an amazing way to dive into the self.

Sources:

Benefits of Meditation (yogajournal.com)

Why meditation can be bad for you (insider.com)

Disadvantages of Meditation Which Nobody Talks About – Baggout.com

3 Hidden Dangers of Meditation You Should Know (lifehack.org)

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