After you meditate, your state of mindfulness will result in a feeling of calm and relaxation of thoughts.
According to neuroscience Richie Davidson, the brain is always capable of changing throughout its lifetime. In scientific studies such as this one, it has been proven that mindful meditation “is associated with changes in gray matter concentration in brain regions involved in learning and memory processes, emotion regulation, self-referential processing, and perspective taking.” In other words, mindful meditation affects the parts of our brains that translate to wellness.
Jennifer Wolkin, Ph D., for mindful.org explains a few examples of where the brain changes after mindful meditation and those parts’ responsibilities related to wellness.
Below, I further break down the certain parts of the brain affected based on Wolkin’s article:
- Anterior Cingulate Cortex: Self-regulatory process. Deals with handling conflicts
- Prefrontal Cortex: Executive functioning. Decisions in planning, problem solving, and emotion regulation
- Hippocampus: Part of limbic system involved in learning and memory. Susceptible to stress related disorders like depression
- Amygdala: Base of anxiousness and fear
- Connections between Amygdala and pre-frontal cortex: Can potentially strengthen awareness
- Default Mode Network (DMN): The wandering of thoughts in our minds
Mindful meditation can improve the functionings of these parts of the brain. Entering a state of mindfulness can calm our emotions in stressful times to make rational decisions, calm anxious feelings, and ease wild thoughts. More importantly, with the brain’s constant ability to change, it is possible to make habits of mindfulness. Mindful habits can result in a more stable state of each mentioned part of the brain.
Some affects will be felt immediately after entering a state of mindfulness, and with frequent practice, may be present often. Science has proven the positive affects of mindfulness on the brain; why not give mindful meditation a shot?