Our lives are more hectic than ever! Between work, family, and other responsibilities, most people don’t have time to relax and decompress.
That’s why mobile apps like Headspace and Calm are becoming all the rage! These apps offer guided meditations to help soothe your mind and relax your body wherever you can find a quiet space.
Meditation is fast becoming a popular method of de-stressing for Americans. A CDC study shows that the number of adults who used meditation in the past 12 months has tripled since 2012!
Did you know that meditation is also good for your brain? It’s true! The meditating brain is more able to hold and recall information on demand.
Keep reading to learn 7 ways meditation can help increase your intelligence and boost your brain powers!
1. Reduction of Cell Volume in the Brain’s Stress Center
The amygdala is the part of your brain that controls fear, stress, and anxiety. For most of us, this part of the brain activates often and has become larger than it should be.
Using meditation helps reduce the number of cells in that area, which reduces the size of the amygdala over time. A smaller stress-center means there will be fewer stress hormones pumped into your body.
This is a popular method of reducing the fear of public speaking. So if you have a big presentation coming up, meditating before the meeting will make you feel cool as a cucumber during your meeting!
2. Become More Aware of Your Surroundings
Ever lay awake at night, unable to sleep because you can’t stop thinking about something? Sometimes, when we get very stressed out, our internal thoughts race and become so loud that we are not as observant of the outside world as we should be. Don’t miss out on living life to the fullest because you can’t get out of your own head!
Meditating can help you strengthen your ability to focus on external things. Research shows that meditating reduces activity in the default mode network of the brain which changes your default thoughts from internal to external stimuli.
Stop obsessing over thoughts about yourself and start living in the present!
3. More Tolerance for External Annoyances
We all know the old adage about taking a deep breath and counting to ten when you are angry. That is a form of quick meditation!
When you train your mind to shut out external stimuli and become quiet for a period of time, you will notice your patience increases with things that used to send you into a rage.
We aren’t saying you should meditate while you are in bumper to bumper traffic (trust us, it won’t help). But, regular practice of meditation will prepare your mind to deal with external annoyances when they arise.
4. Improved Focus and Memory Skills
Often, people report feeling a mental clarity right after meditating. But, did you know that frequent meditation over the course of several weeks can help you improve your memory and your ability to focus?
A brain study found that two weeks of meditation caused a notable increase in memory capacity and a reduction in wandering thoughts. In fact, the participants who took part in the study scored an average of 16 points higher on a test after the meditation period!
Students, in particular, should make sure to meditate all semester long, and right before final exams!
Did you know meditation can also help you learn another language? Click here for more info about how the brain-boosting benefits of meditating can also help you become bilingual!
5. A Meditating Brain Increases Self-Control
What do nail biters, knuckle crackers, smokers, and pen tappers all have in common? They all have bad habits!
Meditation is like a workout for your brain. As your mental focus gets stronger, the more self-control you will have over your movements! Surveys show that meditation is more effective than some of the leading methods of smoking cessation!
If you have a bad habit you have been trying to break, but unable to, try meditation. You can increase your ability to exert self-control!
6. Fountain of Youth for Your Brain!
When paired with a healthy diet and exercise plan, meditation can help keep your brain young and agile! We can’t slow the effects of aging (and gravity) on our bodies, but we can keep our minds as sharp as a tack!
A long-term study by UCLA showed that those who practiced meditation for 20 years preserved their mental abilities more than those who had not meditated during that period.
Don’t worry! You don’t need to meditate for 20 years to see benefits! Even a few sessions will yield noticeable results.
7. Increased Memory Capacity
When you use a computer, you save things and delete things. On occasion, it is a good idea to defragment the hard drive to unclutter the computer’s memory. After you finish the defrag, your computer’s memory capacity becomes a bit larger.
The same thing happens with your brain! When we have so much going on in our lives, your mind fills with static and random thoughts. It clouds your memory over time if you let those static thoughts build up.
Meditation is like defragmentation for your brain, allowing your mind to clear up and the capacity of your memory to increase.
Defrag your brain from time to time, it will thank you!
Don’t Hesitate… Meditate!
Now that you know some of the amazing benefits of having a meditating brain, it’s time to go find a quiet place and try it for yourself!
If you don’t want to use a guided meditation, a great way to meditate, without any help from technology, is to light a single candle in a dark, quiet room. Focus on the flame and nothing but the flame. Watch how it moves, watch how it flickers.
As you do this, your field of vision should seem to shrink back so all you can see is the flame. Do this for as long as you can and then blow out the candle as you rejoin the present.
We hope this article helps you get started on your meditation journey. If you have more tips about how to meditate for brain-building benefits, please leave a comment below. If you know someone who could use the amazing brain benefits of meditation, share this article on your favorite social media site!