There is a rising trend of people incorporating meditation in their daily lives. We often hear this term thrown around a lot as well as its so-called benefits. It turns out; meditation isn’t just a fad that will come and go–in fact, it is here to stay! As people deal with day-to-day stressors, meditation can be one of the tools to help achieve balance and experience a sense of peace.
Dr. Summit Shah of Premier Allergy and Asthma states that there are many benefits in doing meditation. As an allergy doctor, he understands that stress can be one of the reasons for flare-ups and other health problems. Dr. Shah encourages patients to try meditation because of these following benefits:
Stress reduction: Life will always be full of changes, and stress is our way to respond to these changes. Meditation is known to reduce the way our body and minds negatively react to stress.
Controls anxiety: Anxiety is another condition related to stress. People diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder have intrusive thoughts and harmful thinking patterns that can cause various physiological problems.
Improves focus: When people are busy, it can be challenging to focus on one task at a time. Meditation trains the mind to be more at present to have a greater sense of focus.
Prevents depression: Depression is more common than most of us think. 17.1 million people are currently diagnosed with clinical depression in the US alone, and the numbers are steadily increasing. Meditation is one way to battle the symptoms of depression.
How exactly does the process of meditation help fight physiological stressors in our lives? Dr. Summit Shah of Premier Allergy and Asthma shares his insight about how meditation affects our bodies.
Our brains have five categories of brain waves
To understand how meditation works, we need to know the five different categories of brain waves. Brain waves are the various frequencies that our minds respond. For each brain wave, there are corresponding thoughts and activities. The longer the wave, the longer the span between thoughts and actions. The five categories of brain waves include the following:
Gamma State: This brain wave is considered the state of hyperactivity and active learning. It is regarded as the shortest brain wave and is conducive to stimulation. However, the constant state of the brain under this type of wave can cause overstimulation and anxiety.
Beta State: This wave is known as the state of daily functions. When people go about their activities during the day, beta waves are the most common types of frequencies. It is the alert state or the working mind.
Alpha State: At this frequency, brain waves are much more subdued. These are related to pleasurable, relaxing experiences such as walking in the woods, enjoying a peaceful vacation, or engaging in a low-intensity exercise.
Theta State: Theta frequency is associated with the visual mind. It is experienced when the person may be tired but has a deeper intuitive and visualization capacity.
Delta State: This brain wave is found in a dreamless sleep for most people. The brain is at the most relaxed within this frequency.
Meditation can help actively change the brain’s frequency through constant practice
The practice of meditation often involves sitting in a quiet space and being aware of one’s thoughts. It also requires deep breathing, sensing the surroundings, and clearing one’s mind about random thought patterns.
Thus, the brain is encouraged to move from higher to lower states of frequency, reducing the chances of overstimulation, stress, and anxiety.
Often, the source of physiological stressors is external. People may have demanding jobs, conflicts in relationships, or taking care of the household. These are factors that many people cannot change or control. However, meditation allows a person to take charge of what can be controlled, which is the mind.
Our minds can get used to thought patterns that may be beneficial or harmful to us. When our brains are always in the Gamma State, it can lead to a constant state of stress. We all know that stress is related to many ailments.
The brain restructures due to meditation practice
After practicing meditation for some time, research has shown that the brain does not only change in frequency states, but it also restructures biologically.
The hippocampus area, which is responsible for learning and memory have a thicker volume for people who practice meditation. It is because meditation helps increase one’s ability to practice attention, leading to improved information retention as well as the application of learnings.
If you are contemplating on including meditation as a daily habit, hopefully, these benefits can help you decide. Meditation may not be for everyone, but it may be worth a try for those who would want to reduce stress in their lives.