Research has proven that anything we do repeatedly changes brain structure and function. Our brain is a highly sophisticated computer. It is a receiver and programmer.
The brain makes no distinction between what’s happening outside of us in the external world, or internally in our minds.
It interprets all input it receives as real and factual and everything it’s exposed to-whether incidentally or purposefully-is received and perceived as data, then internalized. Whether the data it’s is receiving is good for us, or harmful to us doesn’t matter. The brain is digests and then adapts to what it is fed. With repetition, the brain then goes to work doing it’s job of making us better and better at doing what we are doing, and giving us more and more of that experience; refining and upgrading and perfecting it’s efficiency constantly.
Whether we’re learning a musical instrument, playing video games, watching the news, exercising, repeating an affirmation, being in nature or meditating, around the 2 week mark, the brain begins to restructure itself. Adapting to the input by making new neurons, and creating new pathways so it can function more efficiently at doing the thing, and it even begins recruiting nearby neurons to help give us more and more of what we are experiencing from what we are giving our attention and energy to.
We see, experience and feel more and more of whatever our mental and physical energy is focused on.
Meditation primarily impacts two parts of the brain: the prefrontal lobes which are responsible for our higher functioning capacities such as problem solving, decision making, cooperation with others and creative thinking; and the limbic system which houses our primal survival instincts, our fight or flight mechanism. By focusing our energy and concentration at the point between the eyebrows in meditation we activate and strengthen the prefrontal cortex empowering our high functioning capacities and we quiet the limbic system, reducing the arousal of the lower brain, the fight or flight mechanism, which reduces our experience of anxiety and fear.
Studies have found that meditation is so powerful that just 15 minutes of practice 2x a day produces physiological changes in the brain.
At the 2-4 week mark you will find that your brain is actually functioning differently. You will be more focused, calmer and your interactions with others will be more cooperative.
Elle Gallo is a Certified Ananda Meditation Teacher, a Reiki Master and a Spiritual Life Coach in Southern New Hampshire. For more information visit www.ellegallo.com