If you’re trying to boost your mind, you really should consider all the cognitive benefits of meditation for your brain.
If, like me, you believe in exercising your brain, then meditation is a must. The more you meditate the stronger your brain will become. It even makes you smarter.
For proof, take a look at these cognitive benefits of meditation.
The Best Cognitive Benefits Of Meditation For Your Brain
1. Meditation is of benefit to decision making skills
One of the benefits of meditation that is very well known in the East but still quite unknown in the West is that meditation helps you to make better decisions.
Virginia Tech Crilion Research Center studied the affect of meditation on decision making. They found that meditators actuallyu se different parts of their brains in decision making compared to non-meditators.
The study took 66 people and asked 26 of them to meditate while the other were the control group. They played an “ultimatum game” in which one person is given $20 and asked to share it with someone. The receiver may then accept of refuse the money. If the offer is accepted the participants get a sum of the money but if it is rejected they both get nothing. Essentially, this is a psychological game designed to test your decision making. So what did the results show?
The researchers recorded the activity in each person’s brain when they made these decision. And the results showed that non-meditators mostly use their anterior insula, which is the part of the brain used in emotional disgust. The meditators did not use this part of the brain at all, and this tells us a lot about how meditators make decisions. The researchers say that meditators make decisions more rationally and less based on emotion than non-meditators.
2. Mindfulness Meditation makes us act with more control and in a more constructive manner
One of the best things about meditation is that it increases self control.
When you allow your emotions to get out of control they can affect the way you think and can lead you to make bad decisions and to act in harmful ways. Research has shown that when you meditate you gain control over your emotions and can learn to act rationally despite those emotions.
The journal Current Directions in Psychological Science published an article by researcher Rimma Teper at the University of Toronto which proved that when you practice mindfulness you become more aware and more accepting of your emotions, and that this in turn helps you to act with more self control.
3. Meditation makes us more balanced individuals
One of the general advantages of meditation is it makes us more balanced.
There is so much information constantly entering our brains that it can be difficult to remain emotionally balanced and to keep a healthy perspective on life. Meditation can help to balance the brain.
When you meditate you create inner calm and peace. This allows you to see through many of the phenomena of the mind (such as thoughts and visualisation). Meditation essentially clears those mental toxins from the mind so you are able to see straight and think rationally. This balances your emotions so you are able to see things in better perspective.
I’ve written a guide to using meditation for emotional balance. Take a look.
4. Benefits of meditation for emotional maturity
Meditation can help you control your emotions and can increase emotional maturity.
“Emotional maturity” is a highly subjective thing, because what, precisely, is emotional maturity? Generally speaking, however, we can consider emotional maturity to mean you have control of your emotions, you are not reactive, you don’t blame others for your problems, you are self reliable, and that you are a polite and reasonable member of society.
So how does meditation help with all that. Essentially, it comes down to mindfulness. When you meditate you gain understanding of your emotions and this helps you to master them.
Edward Morler, Ph.D of Moreler International tells us that a big part of emotional maturity is being in the now and letting go of the past. Meditation helps with this. When you meditate you become aware of your thoughts and feelings and you see them for what they are: unreal. This helps you to focus on the present moment and to make rational decisions not influenced by emotion.
5. Meditation improves motor performance
An interesting fact about meditation is that it improves motor performance and thereby helps you with lots of tasks, including sports.
Andy Rimol is a Princeton student and was captain of the basketball team. He wanted to test his theory that meditation made him better at basketball because it improved motor function. He believed that meditation would have long-term and immediate affects on perceptual motor performance.
The results were clear. Meditators performed better at perceptual motor tasks (these are movement related skills). The meditators had far superior coordination. The test showed that meditation helps your motor skills both immediately and in the long term.
6. Benefits of meditation for intellligence
An interesting fact about meditation is that it actually makes you more intelligent.
How does meditation make you more intelligent? Six ways:
—Balances your left and right brain
—Makes your brain bigger
—Improves intuition and insight
—Improves Emotional Intelligence (EQ).
7. of meditation for job satisfaction
Another interesting fact about meditation is that it increases job satisfaction.
Dr Ute Hulsheger and a team of researchers from the Netherlands studied the affect of mindfulness meditation on job satisfaction. As we have seen, mindfulness is very beneficial for controlling your emotions, and that’s true at the office too.
The report , which was published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, asked 219 workers at service jobs, like retail and nursing, to write a diary twice a day for five days. They also rated their job satisfaction. According to their own reports, the people who practiced mindfulness had higher job satisfaction and lower levels of emotional exhaustion.
Source: National Institute of Medicine
8. Meditation helps us to stop thinking too much
It is a well known fact of meditation that it helps you to stop thinking too much. And most of us can appreciate how important that is.
Countless studies have shown that meditation helps you to stop thinking. However, I feel that this doesn’t really need scientific proof. We meditators know full well how meditation stops your thoughts. I’ve written a complete guide to help you to stop thinking too much.
9. of meditation for focus and concentration
This is probably the most commonly known fact about meditation: It helps you focus.
Because this is such a sought-after thing, I’ve created a complete guide to using meditation to improve your focus and concentration.
This is also one of the main benefits of mindfulness for kids–it teaches them to be more focused, which helps with school and exams.
10. Benefits of meditation for creative people
Scientific research shows that certain meditation techniques will boost your creative thinking immediately, even if you have never meditated before.
Cognitive psychologists Lorena Colato and Dominique Lippelt at Leiden University conducted research and discovered that a brief meditation session can have a deep and lasting affect on your creative brain. However, this is only true for certain meditation techniques. After practicing “open” meditation techniques (meditations in which you are receptive to your entire environment and to thoughts and sensations), your creative brain is significantly improved.
If you need to boost your creative brain, meditate on the entirety of your environment, sensations and thoughts (Open meditation).
11. Meditation helps us to learn and to remember
Whether you’re studying to ace that exam or trying to learn a new skill for work, meditation can help you out. This is why meditation helps you study.
There are two parts of the brain that are highly active during memory storage and recall: the frontal lobe and the Hippocampus. These two regions are highly activated during meditation. Meditation acts like exercise for these regions of the brain, making them stronger. This in turns makes you more able to memorise and recall information.
Source: Scientific American
12. Mindfulness helps you to remove bad habits
Let’s be completely honest with one another. We all have some bad habits? After all, imperfections make us human. But there are times when you might like to get a handle on your bad habits.
Both mental and physical habits can interfere with your life. Nail biting, negative thinking, drinking. These bad habits get repeated over and over again until they are so ingrained in you that they happen on auto-pilot. The problem is that because you do these habits on auto-pilot you often don’t notice you’re doing them. So how can you stop them?
The key is to practice mindfulness.
When you are mindful you become more aware of… everything. You become more aware of what you are doing, in particular. And when you are more aware of what you are doing you are more in control. Then you can stop those bad habits.
Mindfulness gives you the ability to be aware of what you are doing. It makes you more conscious of your bad habits so that you can change them more easily.
13. Meditation improves intuition
Everyone is naturally born with intuition. Intuition is the little voice inside that offers you advice and direction. But that little voice can be quiet, and you will miss it if you do not listen attentively. Thankfully, meditation can help.
When you meditate, and particularly when you practice mindfulness meditation, you silence your mind of unnecessary and unhelpful thoughts. That helps you to hear better, which in turn allow you to tune in to your intuition. When you are silent you will hear your intuition. And the best way to find silence is with meditation.
14. Mindfulness training makes you productive (which is why it’s used in business training)
Do you ever wish that you could get more done at work? Do you ever feel that you would be much more productive if only you weren’t constantly distracted and always being pulled this way and that? Meditation can help you to put your energy to good use so that you are more productive.
One study showed that eight weeks of mindfulness training can make employees (in this instance they were human resource managers) less stressed and more able to focus on their jobs, which increases productivity.
15. Meditation helps you see the big picture
When you focus too much on small details you can get bent out of shape over nothing. For instance, if you are too concerned about a minor ailment you might completely forget that you are 99% healthy person. Focusing on the 1% of you that isn’t perfect will then lead to stress, which will cause more of you to become unwell.
When you are able to see the big picture you stop worrying about those little things.
The problem is that sometimes momentary problems seem large simply because they are right in front of us. But meditation let’s you see past the current minor problem so that you can appreciate the full, big picture. And that’s a much healthier way to live.
16. Meditation stops “Monkey Mind”
If you have been meditating for a while you have probably noticed those times when your mind seems to completely stop. You feel as though you’re stepping out of a tight space into a vast open field. There’s freedom and mental liberation. And your monkey mind stops.
“ Monkey Mind ” is a Buddhist term that refers a constantly noisy, ever changing mind.
Buddhist philosophy has told us for millennia that meditation stops monkey mind. Now, science has proven it.
In a study by IONS, PhD student Travy Brandmeyer studied 12 novices and 12 expert meditators and intentionally distracted them in order to see how their minds wandered. The results showed that experienced meditators suffer considerable less monkey mind than novices. But the researchers note that further studies are required to substantiate the findings.
17. Meditation helps us solve complex problems
One of the good things about meditation is that it’s always there whenever you need a little helping hand. For instance, you can turn to meditation when you need help solving a complex problem.
In one study, a group of German psychologists asked volunteers to try to complete a complex problem-solving task before and after meditating. Before meditating most of the group struggled. But when they meditated, the researchers say, they were more able to think outside the box to find solution. The scientists state that this shows that meditation helps you to solve problems in creative ways.
Source: Live Science