How Meditation Can Help with Stress? Did you know that your brain can generate more than 50,000 thoughts every single day? But, unfortunately, many of those thoughts are not terribly productive. Most are based on fear, false narrative, worry, and things that are outside of your control. These types of ideas are what generate a sizable portion of the stress you feel in your life.
The more stress you feel, the more your body and mind are influenced by this stress, and the more stressed you feel. It is a self-perpetuating cycle, but it is one that you can break if you learn the right techniques.
Meditation can not only help you break the cycle of stress and lower your levels of worry, but it can improve how your mind and body respond to stress in the future.
How Meditation Can Help with Stress?
What is Meditation?
Meditation is an ancient technique that is used to bring clarity and attention to your mind by focusing on one thing, usually your breath, and learning to acknowledge but not engage with distracting thoughts or emotions. By learning to stop paying attention to stressful thoughts and anxieties, you can reduce your body’s stress response and feel better mentally and physically.
When practiced regularly, meditation trains your brain to be less responsive to stressful events or to chronic levels of stress, which can result in fewer negative physiological changes that are brought on by the constant release of stress hormones.
Meditation’s Effects on the Brain
When you meditate regularly, you actually change the structure and neural pathways of your brain. Researchers have learned that mindfulness meditation can decrease activity in the part of your brain where mind wandering, rumination, and self-referential thinking occurs.
By lowering this type of thought activity, you will worry less and feel more able to focus on your present existence, which leads to higher levels of happiness.
Additional research has also noted that meditation reduces symptoms of not only depression and anxiety but also of pain. Many times, the effects of this activity are similar in significance to those of antidepressant medications.
One cause of chronic stress is anxiety, which is constant worry over events of the past or possible future happenings. This type of chronic fretting raises stress levels, but those who meditate consistently learn to ignore these types of worrisome thoughts and to be less distracted by their anxieties. Learning to deal with these unproductive thoughts can leave you feeling more relaxed and engaged in your present life, as well.
Those who meditate daily change the physical structure of their brains, too. With just two months of training, meditation can increase the thickness of brain matter in the hippocampus, which oversees learning and memory. Brain volume also increases in areas of the brain that help with emotional regulation. Finally, decreases are noted in the amygdala, which governs fear and stress. So, meditation can change not only your brain but also your perceptions and feelings, too.
Quieting the Mind
The act of mindfully focusing on your present and of pushing away interrupting thoughts that cause you stress is an excellent strategy for coping with chronic stress. When your brain feels focused, it sends regulatory signals to the rest of your body that help to lower the physical responses to stress, including the release of stress hormones.
Not only will your body and mind feel better in the moment, but you are physically changing how your brain cope with stress when you do this daily. And the more you practice this simple act, the greater the effects will be. If there is one thing you can do to improve your mental, physical, and emotional health, meditating daily is it.