When I work with a client, I encourage them to start meditating. Meditation is important for our overall physical and emotional health.
In the article, “Harnessing Neuroplasticity: 9 Key Brain Regions Upgraded Through Meditation,” the EOC Institute talks about enhancing regions of the brain through meditation. The article says that the parietal lobe is one area of the brain that can be enhanced through mediation. The parietal lobe is located at the top of our head above our ears. It is responsible for sensory perception and integration. We take care of the parietal lobe physically by getting enough sleep, eating nutritious food and exercising. We take care of the parietal lobe emotionally when we make connections with others. The parietal lobe regulates our emotional well-being by making neuronal connections. Research has found that there are many health benefits to feeling connected to others such as improved immunity, decreased depression and improved self-esteem.
When the brain becomes overheated with obsessive thoughts about the past or worry about the future, the parietal lobe can act like a radiator to cool things down. The parietal lobe can help us focus on the present in order to regulate our thoughts and emotions. Meditation and mindfulness help the parietal lobe develop much needed regulation skills.
Mindful.org lists 5 reasons why everyone should meditate –
- Understand Pain: Mental pain and anxiety are background noise that can underlie the things we do. Meditation helps us break through the noise and see what is causing the pain.
- Lower Stress: There is evidence that excess stress causes illnesses and makes other illnesses worse. Mindfulness decreases stress.
- Connect Better: Ever find yourself zoning out during a conversation? Mindfulness helps you give others your full attention.
- Improve Focus: It can be frustrating when our mind wanders off from what we are doing. Meditation helps develop our ability to focus.
- Reduce Brain Chatter: The background noise of our brain chatter never seems to stop. Meditation helps us to quiet this chatter.
It takes time and effort to develop meditation skills. Here are a few exercises that can help.
Diaphragmatic Breathing – is also called the natural relaxation response. Deep breathing that is done by contracting the diaphragm. It helps you relax, lowers heart rate, blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol.
Body Scan – these exercises allow you to tune out distractions and focus on various areas of the body.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation – you focus on a group of muscles (e.g. neck, shoulders and arms). You tense the various muscle groups as you breathe in and relax them as you breathe out.
Yoga – breath control with body positions or postures used for health and relaxation
Mediation is an important and productive way to care for our physical and mental health. Try to find a few minutes every day to practice some type of meditation exercise. Meditation will help you focus on the present. It will enable you to be more aware of what is happening in your body and in the environment. It will enable you to calm both your mind and body. Overall, it can reduce our stress and help us feel less isolated.
*If you would like more information about how meditation helps our brain functioning, please see the article, “Harnessing Neuroplasticity: 9 Key Brain Regions Upgraded Through Meditation.”