Meditation can be conceptualised as a family of complex emotional
and attentional regulatory training practices developed for various ends.
Recently, the therapeutic use of meditation, including mindfulness based techniques, has become increasingly important in the treatment
of physiological and psychological conditions.
A convergent line of neuro scientific evidence suggests that meditation alters the functional and structural plasticity of distributed neural processes underlying attention and emotion. Here are a few ways in which meditation affects the brain :
- Gyrification – MRI scans have shown that meditation increases Gyrification, or cortical folding, which allows the brain to process information faster. The extent of gyrification is highly implicated as being positively related to intelligence.
- Brain Function – Meditation increases whole brain function, by synchronising the right and left hemispheres of the brain while increasing balance and amplitude in alpha, theta and delta brain-wave patterns.
- Focus – Meditation improves focus by causing an increase in cortical thickness in regions of the brain responsible for attention.
- Mood – Meditation increases dopamine and serotonin levels by stimulating regions of the brain which are associated with happiness and positivity.
- Stress Reduction – Meditation decreases stress and anxiety by down regulating cortisol and adrenaline creating a state of deep relaxation in which our breathing, pulse rate, blood pressure, and metabolism are decreased.
- Cognition – Meditation improves cognitive function, mindfulness and the ability to sustain focus by increasing grey matter, brain volume and cerebral blood flow.
In conclusion, mindfulness has the potential to facilitate trainee and therapists’ development, as well as affect change mechanisms known to contribute to successful psychotherapy. The field of psychology could benefit from future research examining cause and effect relationships in addition to meditational models in order to better understand the benefits
of mindfulness and mindfulness meditation practice.