Meditation: It Changes Your Brain

Stressed out, depressed, anxious, frazzled: All those words have probably been used to describe a day that you’ve had this year—if not this week. Some days it may be hard to keep everything, and everyone, together, and solving those feelings of being pulled in multiple directions may seem insurmountable.

Luckily, there’s something that can help you, every day—and it doesn’t actually cost much or take anything special. What’s this magical cure? Meditation.

Meditation has been practiced by people around the globe for thousands of years. At first, it was created to help with a deeper understanding of what was at work in life and all around us—what connected us, what universal truths were at work. Today, meditation has been found to do more than just that: It can reduce pain and inflammation. It can ease depression. It may boost your brain and ease cravings caused by substance addiction.

BUT. Here’s the really cool part. Meditation literally changes your brain.

Without getting too far into the nerdy stuff, meditation rewires the way your brain processes thoughts through the “Me Center” (medial prefrontal cortex). Which is basically the part of the brain that causes you to take things too personally. Or, when you’re in pain, it’s the part of the brain that makes you think, “Oh my gosh, what’s wrong, am I dying, I need to Google this, holy crap I am dying.” The part of the brain that allows that anxiety (not a doctor here, but paraphrasing what I’ve read).

Meditation shifts the way the brain is wired  by breaking down the neural pathways between and in the “Me Center.”

Put a better way (from the article linked above):

The strong, tightly held connection between the Me Center (specifically the unhelpful vmPFC) and the bodily sensation/fear centers begins to break down. As this connection withers, you will no longer assume that a bodily sensation or momentary feeling of fear means something is wrong with you or that you are the problem!

Still don’t believe me? Check out these articles:

So, if I have you convinced to start meditating, but you’re not quite sure how to begin, check out the infographic below on types of meditation and how you can find something that works for you.

Click to Enlarge Image

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I overcame an eating disorder, anxiety, and depression with the help of this wonderfully amazing thing called running. And that's why I'm here - to share my story and to help those who are going through what I've already gone through. On this blog you'll find running tips, mental health tips, and lots of joy. Join me as we piece life together one run at a time.

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