Feb 152013

Meditation and the brain

Doctors and scientist are still searching for new ways to help people suffering from depression. There are studies being done right now on new medications, treatment plans, therapy programs and how the practice of meditation can help depression.

The Brain and Depression:

The hypothalamus is a small structure located at the base of the brain. This area of the brain regulates behavior and actions such as emotions, sleep, the stress response, hunger, physical actives and sexual drives. The hypothalamus is located in the limbic system; this area of the brain is extremely complex and doctors and scientists believe it holds the key to understanding many emotional disorders.

Neurons and neurotransmitters in the brain is another area which receives a lot of attention from doctors and scientists on how it connects to depression and other emotional disorders. Neurotransmitters are chemicals in the brain that carry messages from one area of the brain to another.

Norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin are the three main neurotransmitters that are associated with depression. These three neurotransmitters have a direct connection to a persons ability to handle stress, get a good night sleep and regulate their emotions and other physical drives such as appetite and sexuality.

How does meditation help depression?

Meditation has been studied by doctors and scientists for the past several years to find out how and if meditation can affect the ist1_3332131-meditation[1]brain in a positive way.

There have been several studies done on monks who meditate on a regular bases, these individuals have undergone MIR’s so that scientists and doctors can get a better look at what is going on inside their brain. The MIR’s have shown proof that meditation can expand certain areas of the brain such as the hypothalamus and the area of the brain where the neurotransmitters are located.

“Doctors can see how parts of the brain actually changed in physical structure when they observed a person who meditates on a regular basis.”

* When a person meditates on a regular basis they are consciously controlling their thoughts; this is like a workout for the brain.

* This type of thinking is bringing the persons focused attention to the present moment, instead of allowing the mind to wander in any direction.

* This deliberate form of thinking, can train a persons mind to have more focus, let go of stress and bring in relaxing thoughts and feelings into their present moment.

* All emotional disorders including depression are tied to negative thoughts and feelings; most of which are created when a person’s mind is allowed to wander.

* Meditation helps depression and other emotional disorders by the practice of focusing a person’s thoughts and not allowing the thoughts to fall into the habit of negative thinking.

* Depression is also linked to sleep disorders, meditation can help the brain by creating healthier sleep states as well, because a meditative state prepares the mind by relaxing it. Again; one of the main reasons why people suffer from sleep disorders is because they cannot control their thoughts.

* A simple way to help prepare the mind for sleep is to listen to meditation music before bed. You can find free meditation music on youtube. Some meditation music is specifically created to gently bring the brainwaves through the different stages of sleep. I do recommend sampling different types of meditation music to find the right one for you.

* Meditation helps the brain to regulate stress; again by focusing thoughts and relaxing the mind. When you take the time to relax the brain it replaces a stressed-out mind with  relaxation, the fact is you cannot be stressed and relaxed at the same time it has to be one or the other. Kind of like replacing a bad habit with a good habit.

* Meditation helps the brain regulate emotions by bringing in feelings of safety and wholeness into the self, once these feelings are brought into the present moment they travel through the brains neurotransmitters bringing the ability to regulate emotions.

In conclusion; it is easy to see several benefits meditation can offer anyone suffering from depression, when meditation is done on an ongoing basis it is also very logical to think that meditation could help depression and other emotional disorders.

I hope you enjoyed this article on how meditation could help depression. Being depressed is no fun, I know because I lived with depression for over 20 years. You can have a better life!

Feel at peace


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