Studying the nervous system, scientists showed interest in the influence of meditation on the mental and physiological processes in the body. American scientists in Boston conducted a series of studies using MRI, which helped to find out that people who have been doing meditation regularly for only two months lead to structural changes in the brain. First of all, this applies to centers that are responsible for the emotions, attentiveness and human learning ability. In people who regularly practice meditation, the areas of the prefrontal cortex are activated, which are responsible for thought processes, memory and abstraction. In addition, the activity of the anterior part of the cingulate gyrus, which is responsible for the attention of the Rayleigh island, associated with the manifestation of positive emotions, increased. But the activity of the amygdala was suppressed, so people decreased anxiety and a sense of unaccountable fear.
Meditation and brain aging
It is considered reliable that the cerebral cortex of people who have been practicing meditation for a long time is practically not subject to aging, and their age over 60 years old is practically no different from the cerebral cortex of young people. This made it possible to draw a startling conclusion that the structure of the cerebral cortex is primarily affected by a person’s lifestyle and only in his second age.
When conducting research, control groups were asked to undergo testing in order to determine their cognitive abilities. It turned out that meditation allows a person to focus more clearly, switch it faster, which led to better results during testing. The tests were carried out in parallel in Canada and France, their results were almost identical.
Does meditation help control life processes?
Dawson Church of Ohio University (USA), conducted an interesting experiment, the purpose of which was to establish a direct connection between the psychological state of a person and the healing of injuries. Two groups of couples were recruited who voluntarily received non-dangerous burns on their forearms. After that, the first group was allowed to discuss only neutral topics of interest to both spouses, and the second – conflicting and negative. It turned out that in the first group, healing took place about one and a half times faster. This means that thought processes have a direct impact on the whole body through the hormonal system, and meditation allows you to manage them, improving the health status of the body as a whole.
Harvard scientists in 2000 conducted research to identify the dependence of the state of the body on meditation. To do this, they collaborated with Tibetan monks who have been practicing meditation and yoga for centuries. As the results showed, in a meditative way, monks can change the temperature of parts of the body, and fingers and hands can change the temperature within 8 degrees Celsius. Checking the results obtained by the Americans, Maria Kozhevnikova, a professor at the University of Singapore, repeated the experiment at an air temperature of about -25 degrees Celsius. In the process of meditation, the monks’ body temperature rose to 38.3 degrees and they were completely free from hypothermia. That is, it was proved that the metabolic processes in the body can be controlled through the mind and will, which is another amazing feature of meditation.
The main result of such studies was the conclusion that if the structure of the brain is largely dependent on the hormonal and biochemical processes that take place in the human body, then with the help of meditation you can start feedback. Thanks to meditation practices, a person can change his own body, making it more viable and resilient.