Mindfulness Meditation

As we have seen, meditation has a great impact on the mind. Why is that?
The simple answer is this: meditation enlarges regions of the brain
associated with good behavior while it shrinks areas associated with bad
behavior. Let’s look deeper into the science of mindfulness meditation.

Buddha

Left Hippocampus

The left hippocampus is the area of the brain that allows us to learn.
Cognitive ability, memory, emotional regulators, self-awareness, and
empathy are all related to the left hippocampus and its functionality.
The functionality of the hippocampus is measured based on the volume or
grey-matter in the region. If the hippocampus has a lot of grey-matter, the person will experience more cognitive and empathetic abilities.
Mindfulness meditation increases the volume of the left hippocampus. As a result, the meditator experiences an increase in cognitive ability, emotional regulation, self-awareness, and empathy, all of which are positive attributes.

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Posterior Cingulate

The posterior cingulate is responsible for your wandering thoughts and
sense of self. The larger the posterior cingulate, the more capable the
person is at staying focused and having a realistic notion of the self.
Mindfulness meditation increases the volume of the posterior cingulate, making it more functional. This results in enhanced concentration and a more fine-tuned sense of self. This fine-tuned sense of self is extremely important when talking about the mind since the mind is responsible for the understanding and projection of the self.

Without the mind, you would not have an understanding of yourself. Since
meditation increases the part of the brain that regulates the self, meditation
can allow your mind to more clearly conceive of your self and your place in
the world.


Temporo Parietal Junction (TPJ)

The TPJ is the part of the brain that allows us to be empathetic and
compassionate. More so, the TPJ is associated with our sense of perspective, which often allows us to be more compassionate and empathetic. When we put ourselves in another person’s shoes, the TPJ becomes active. Meditation increases the volume of the TPJ. Increasing the volume of TPJ allows us to become better people and achieve certain personal goals we
set for ourselves. As a result, meditation allows us to take the image we have for ourselves and turn it into reality.

Empathy

Amygdala

The amygdala is responsible for feelings of anxiety, fear, and stress. It is
responsible for fight or flight behaviors whenever we find ourselves in
stressful, confrontational, or dangerous situations. In certain situations, the
amygdala can save our lives, but it often causes unnecessary stress, which
is unhealthy and damaging to our well-being.

Unlike the other parts of the brain, the amygdala shrinks after meditation.
When the amygdala shrinks, you experience less anxiety and stress, which
allows you to feel more positively about yourself and your situations. As
your amygdala shrinks, you experience an increase in your psychological
well-being.


Hiking

Putting it all together

Once again, meditation causes the left hippocampus, posterior cingulate,
and TPJ to expand, while it causes the amygdala to shrink. As a result,
meditators experience more cognitive function, emotion regulation,
concentration, realistic notions of the self, and compassion. All the while,
they experience less fear, anxiety, and stress.
These effects allow for your mind to function in a way that is more efficient,
gentle, and conducive to a healthy and happy life. In other words,
mindfulness meditation has a positive impact on the mind in that it makes it work in a
way that improves your intellect, memory, concentration, and emotional
well-being.

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