For those unfamiliar with meditation, you might wonder why it’s so popular? Sure it can help to slow you down and maybe even give you just a bit more insight into yourself and the world around you. But they question remains, why is meditation effective when treating emotional and physical conditions like stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, and cancer?
Lynette Summerill considers the question in this latest EmpowHer post. According to Summerill, who references several scientific studies to support her beliefs, meditation helps to counter the effects that both fear and stress have on the brain; prolonged fear and stress are two main contributors to a weakened immune system.
Another study by Carlson and colleagues found patients with early-stage breast and prostate cancer experienced improvements in quality of life, symptoms of stress, and sleep quality.
Mindfulness meditation works, experts said, because of neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to reshape its structure and function depending on what neural circuitry is used. Mindfulness training has been shown to strengthen regions of the brain associated with attention and executive function, interoception (the ability to perceive internal body sensations and mental flexibility.
Mindfulness training has also been shown to attenuate activity in the amygdala (limbic area of brain associated with fear) and helps in everyday activities. When our brain is on “autopilot” we tend to have more stress reactivity and chronic stimulation of the amygdala brain region.
Read more on using meditation to decrease stress and fear and enhance your health here.