The Remarkable Findings on Meditation and Brain Health

Meditation and Brain Health

When your brain is thriving, you’ll be thriving too. Brain health is vital for a healthy life, so it’s important to nurture it and take care of it as much as we would our physical health.

We humans have found a way to keep ourselves alive and longer than any generation that came before us. With our extended life spans it’s more important than ever that our brains are able to perform as best they can. There is plenty we can do to support this and ensure that our brains are on board with powering our fully-lived lives.

Throughout our entire life span, our brains will continue to grow new brain cells – provided we love them up and give them what they needs to do this. This becomes particularly important from our mid to late 20s, which is when our brains start to wither. They slowly lose density and they weight less. That’s the bad news. The good news is that we can slow the loss and stop stress, illness and whatever else comes with living life from falling our precious neurons. In fact, we have to. It’s vital to healthy living and to protect ourselves from mental illness and other diseases.

Meditation, which mindfulness is a powerful way to do this.

Recent research by UCLA has discovered that meditation seems to preserve the brain’s gray matter, which is the tissue that contains the neurons.

The researchers compared two groups of people. One had meditated for years and the other hadn’t. Both groups showed some loss of gray matter, which is to be expected as it’s a normal part of aging, but the group that had meditated had lost much less.

It’s not clear whether this was because meditation rebuilds the amount of gray matter that is lost as a normal part of aging, or whether it’s because meditation slows the rate of gray matter loss, perhaps by reducing stress and increasing general overall health. Perhaps both mechanisms are at play. At this stage we can only speculate, but what does seem clear is that meditation makes a difference and works hard to protect the brain.

We’re pretty clued in on what causes brain health to decline, but now the focus is shifting towards what flourishes it. Meditation or mindfulness is a way to to do this, to ensure we’re living a fully charged life for as well into our golden, no – platinum – years.

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2 Comments

Dr Lovegrove

Although depression & anxiety are distinct diagnoses, they both can be treated successfully using a holistic approach that integrates modern medicine with natural therapies. Maintain a healthy lifestyle and eat foods like fatty fish and blueberries to keep your brain working on top condition.

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Anxiety will always tilt our focus to the risks, often at the expense of the very real rewards. It does this to keep us safe. We’re more likely to run into trouble if we miss the potential risks than if we miss the potential gains. 

This means that anxiety will swell just as much in reaction to a real life-threat, as it will to the things that might cause heartache (feels awful, but not life-threatening), but which will more likely come with great rewards. Wholehearted living means actively shifting our awareness to what we have to gain by taking a safe risk. 

Sometimes staying safe will be the exactly right thing to do, but sometimes we need to fight for that important or meaningful thing by hushing the noise of anxiety and moving bravely forward. 

When children or teens are on the edge of brave, but anxiety is pushing them back, ask, ‘But what would it be like if you could?’ ♥️

#parenting #parent #mindfulparenting #childanxiety #positiveparenting #heywarrior #heyawesome
Except I don’t do hungry me or tired me or intolerant me, as, you know … intolerably. Most of the time. Sometimes.
Growth doesn’t always announce itself in ways that feel safe or invited. Often, it can leave us exhausted and confused and with dirt in our pores from the fury of the battle. It is this way for all of us, our children too. 

The truth of it all is that we are all born with a profound and immense capacity to rise through challenges, changes and heartache. There is something else we are born with too, and it is the capacity to add softness, strength, and safety for each other when the movement towards growth feels too big. Not always by finding the answer, but by being it - just by being - safe, warm, vulnerable, real. As it turns out, sometimes, this is the richest source of growth for all of us.
When the world feel sunsettled, the ripple can reach the hearts, minds and spirits of kids and teens whether or not they are directly affected. As the important adult in the life of any child or teen, you have a profound capacity to give them what they need to steady their world again.

When their fears are really big, such as the death of a parent, being alone in the world, being separated from people they love, children might put this into something else. 

This can also happen because they can’t always articulate the fear. Emotional ‘experiences’ don’t lay in the brain as words, they lay down as images and sensory experiences. This is why smells and sounds can trigger anxiety, even if they aren’t connected to a scary experience. The ‘experiences’ also don’t need to be theirs. Hearing ‘about’ is enough.

The content of the fear might seem irrational but the feeling will be valid. Think of it as the feeling being the part that needs you. Their anxiety, sadness, anger (which happens to hold down other more vulnerable emotions) needs to be seen, held, contained and soothed, so they can feel safe again - and you have so much power to make that happen. 

‘I can see how worried you are. There are some big things happening in the world at the moment, but my darling, you are safe. I promise. You are so safe.’ 

If they have been through something big, the truth is that they have been through something frightening AND they are safe, ‘We’re going through some big things and it can be confusing and scary. We’ll get through this. It’s okay to feel scared or sad or angry. Whatever you feel is okay, and I’m here and I love you and we are safe. We can get through anything together.’
I love being a parent. I love it with every part of my being and more than I ever thought I could love anything. Honestly though, nothing has brought out my insecurities or vulnerabilities as much. This is so normal. Confusing, and normal. 

However many children we have, and whatever age they are, each child and each new stage will bring something new for us to learn. It will always be this way. Our children will each do life differently, and along the way we will need to adapt and bend ourselves around their path to light their way as best we can. But we won't do this perfectly, because we can't always know what mountains they'll need to climb, or what dragons they'll need to slay. We won't always know what they’ll need, and we won't always be able to give it. We don't need to. But we'll want to. Sometimes we’ll ache because of this and we’ll blame ourselves for not being ‘enough’. Sometimes we won't. This is the vulnerability that comes with parenting. 

We love them so much, and that never changes, but the way we feel about parenting might change a thousand times before breakfast. Parenting is tough. It's worth every second - every second - but it's tough. Great parents can feel everything, and sometimes it can turn from moment to moment - loving, furious, resentful, compassionate, gentle, tough, joyful, selfish, confused and wise - all of it. Great parents can feel all of it.

Because parenting is pure joy, but not always. We are strong, nurturing, selfless, loving, but not always. Parents aren't perfect. Love isn't perfect. And it was meant to be. We’re raising humans - real ones, with feelings, who don't need to be perfect, and wont  need others to be perfect. Humans who can be kind to others, and to themselves first. But they will learn this from us. Parenting is the role which needs us to be our most human, beautifully imperfect, flawed, vulnerable selves. Let's not judge ourselves for our shortcomings and the imperfections, and the necessary human-ness of us.❤️

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