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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Separation anxiety can come with a tail whip - not only does it swipe at kids, but it will so often feel brutal for their important adults too.

If your child struggle to separate at school, or if bedtimes tougher than you’d like them to be, or if ‘goodbye’ often come with tears or pleas to stay, or the ‘fun’ from activities or play dates get lost in the anxiety of being away from you, I hear you.

There’s a really good reason for all of these, and none of them have anything to do with your parenting, or your child not being ‘brave enough’. Promise. And I have something for you. 

My 2 hour on-demand separation anxiety webinar is now available for purchase. 

This webinar is full of practical, powerful strategies and information to support your young person to feel safer, calmer, and braver when they are away from you. 

We’ll explore why separation anxiety happens and powerful strategies you can use straight away to support your child. Most importantly, you’ll be strengthening them in ways that serve them not just for now but for the rest of their lives.

Access to the recording will be available for 30 days from the date of purchase.

Link to shop in bio. 

https://www.heysigmund.com/products/separation-anxiety-how-to-build-their-brave/
The more we treat anxiety as a problem, or as something to be avoided, the more we inadvertently turn them away from the safe, growthful, brave things that drive it. 

On the other hand, when we make space for anxiety, let it in, welcome it, be with it, the more we make way for them to recognise that anxiety isn’t something they need to avoid. They can feel anxious and do brave. 

As long as they are safe, let them know this. Let them see you believing them that this feels big, and believing in them, that they can handle the big. 

‘Yes this feels scary. Of course it does - you’re doing something important/ new/ hard. I know you can do this. How can I help you feel brave?’♥️
I’ve loved working with @sccrcentre over the last 10 years. They do profoundly important work with families - keeping connections, reducing clinflict, building relationships - and they do it so incredibly well. @sccrcentre thank you for everything you do, and for letting me be a part of it. I love what you do and what you stand for. Your work over the last decade has been life-changing for so many. I know the next decade will be even more so.♥️

In their words …
Posted @withregram • @sccrcentre Over the next fortnight, as we prepare to mark our 10th anniversary (28 March), we want to re-share the great partners we’ve worked with over the past decade. We start today with Karen Young of Hey Sigmund.

Back in 2021, when we were still struggling with covid and lockdowns, Karen spoke as part of our online conference on ‘Strengthening the relationship between you & your teen’. It was a great talk and I’m delighted that you can still listen to it via the link in the bio.

Karen also blogged about our work for the Hey Sigmund website in 2018. ‘How to Strengthen Your Relationship With Your Children and Teens by Understanding Their Unique Brain Chemistry (by SCCR)’, which is still available to read - see link in bio.

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I often go into schools to talk to kids and teens about anxiety and big feelings. 

I always ask, ‘Who’s tried breathing through big feels and thinks it’s a load of rubbish?’ Most of them put their hand up. I put my hand up too, ‘Me too,’ I tell them, ‘I used to think the same as you. But now I know why it didn’t work, and what I needed to do to give me this powerful tool (and it’s so powerful!) that can calm anxiety, anger - all big feelings.’

The thing is though, all powertools need a little instruction and practice to use them well. Breathing is no different. Even though we’ve been breathing since we were born, we haven’t been strong breathing through big feelings. 

When the ‘feeling brain’ is upset, it drives short shallow breathing. This is instinctive. In the same ways we have to teach our bodies how to walk, ride a bike, talk, we also have to teach our brains how to breathe during big feelings. We do this by practising slow, strong breathing when we’re calm. 

We also have to make the ‘why’ clear. I talk about the ‘why’ for strong breathing in Hey Warrior, Dear You Love From Your Brain, and Ups and Downs. Our kids are hungry for the science, and they deserve the information that will make this all make sense. Breathing is like a lullaby for the amygdala - but only when it’s practised lots during calm.♥️
When it’s time to do brave, we can’t always be beside them, and we don’t need to be. What we can do is see them and help them feel us holding on, even in absence, while we also believe in their brave.♥️

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