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Brain Files: Why Meditation Feels Sooo Good

The brain is a magical tool that enables us to access different parts of our psyche, different states of consciousness, and experience the world around us. In any given moment (waking) our brains are processing thousands and thousands of elements in our environment. This constant processing lends our brains to an immense amount of stress. But through meditation we can resolve this stress allowing for this processing to increase agility.

Your brain functions on four different wave frequencies, they are:

This means that we have several levels of functioning outside of the normal Beta state, which is how most people think of our brain as a whole. Furthermore, we can be conscious during each stage of these brain wave changes. This is done through meditational practice and sleep studies.

Buddhist monks have meditated for thousands of years, exploring these subtle realms of the brain. They’re extremely familiar with positive effect of meditation, including the way it works to instill the inner strength and insight needed for spiritual practices; meditation, or “sitting,” is to a Buddhist monk as to what prayer is to Christians, or even pre-game is to a football player. But instead of trying to self talk your way into a peaceful state of being, monks know the value of just letting things be as they are. This is the first key in achieving conscious awareness during one of these states. You must let your ego (sense of self) and other thoughts fade into silence. What happens next might surprise you.

Neuroscientists observing MRI scans have learned that with a meditation practice strength in the brain is achieved by reinforcing the connections between brain cells. In a recent 2012 study showed that people who meditate exhibit higher levels of gyrification — the “folding” of the cerebral cortex as a result of growth. The scientists suspect that gyrification is responsible for making the brain better at processing information, making decisions, forming memories, and improving attention. What this also does is confirm the argument regarding that meditation aids in the individuals ability to cope with stressors. Excitingly, science has now proven the validity of mediation in neuroplasticity.

When relating to the actual activity of brain wave function during meditation, study results have been linked to dramatic and positive changes in electrical brain activity, namely increased Theta and Alpha EEG activity, which is associated with wakeful and relaxed attention. These two states are most desired but the hardest to achieve due to our over-chattering of internal mental noise. In order to achieve levels of conscious Theta waves we must first learn how to navigate in silence. This doesn’t mean in the absence of noise, but rather that there is internal mental stillness. Once we have mastered in entry point and technique that helps us to achieve stillness, we can then venture in deeper to deeper Theta and Delta waves.

A very interesting  study from earlier this year showcased that meditators have a different expression of brain metabolites than healthy non-meditators, specifically those metabolites linked to anxiety and depression. This is very interesting considering how often we actually take time to sit in silence. The drug industry would be in trouble if we all starting sitting in silence for 30 minutes every morning – is it that simple?  Yes, it is that simple. As you sit in silence, your brain activity will start to calm. As it calms your level of operating brain wave will shift lower and lower, depending on your level of skill. And your level of shill is based on your ability to descend into stillness itself.

When you lower your brain waves via meditation you feel more relaxed and centered. This keeps us on track and refreshed. In fact, many have said that after a meditation session they feel as though they have slept for 8 hours. This is why meditation feels SOOO good! It’s because have let ourselves go into the vastness of stillness, allowing our brain to function on lower fluctuating wave frequencies, i.e. your brain relaxes.

Take time each day to try to reach the state of Alpha brain wave. You will know you have reached it when the wondering of your mind has ceased. Don’t try to force it, just let your thought be as they are. For the more you try to push them away the more they will solidify. Allow your thoughts to come and go, establishing a firm root in stillness. Look and “Listen” for silence. That will help your mind quiet. As they say, “seek and you will find…”

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2 Responses to Brain Files: Why Meditation Feels Sooo Good

  1. Nalliah Thayabharan says:

    Until we reached age of 4 during the normal state of eyes open, awake and alert our brains were functioning in the delta state, with brain waves function at less than 4 Hz. But still when we have deep sleep our brains function in the delta state..

    From age of 4 to 7, during the normal state of eyes open, awake and alert our brains were primarily operating in theta state, with brain waves functioning mainly between between 4 to 7 Hz. Now we experience this level of brain wave activity during sleep and during states of fear when the body goes into a fight,-flight or freeze response, (hyper arousal, or the acute stress response). This is a powerful level from which to initiate change and in this state, we only need mostly just one or couple of experiences of learning to change our behaviour.

    From the age 7 until we reached our puberty, during the normal state of eyes open, awake and alert our brains were mainly operating in the alpha state of 7 to 14 Hz. Now during light sleep, meditation, or eyes closed relaxation we reach alpha state. At this level effective learning can take place after about 21 repetitions. Practice a new behaviour for about 21 times and that behaviour becomes a habit. Strong levels of physical healing can take place when the brain is at 10 Hz

    Since puberty during the normal state of eyes open, awake and alert our brain operates in the beta state, 14 to 21 Hz during the normal state of eyes open, awake and alert. In this state it may take many thousands of repetitions to learn a new behaviour. To create significant change in our lives at this level takes extensive deal of time and effort.

    Brain waves less than 7 Hz are very ideal for rejuvenating and to maintain good health.

    0.5 Hz – Relaxation, Soothe headaches
    0.5 – 1.5 Hz – Pain relief. Endorphin release
    0.9 Hz – Euphoric feeling
    1 Hz – Well being. Harmony and balance
    1 – 3 Hz – Profound relaxation, restorative sleep. Tranquility and peace
    2.5 Hz – Production of endogenous opiates (pain killers, reduce anxiety)
    2.5 Hz – Relieves migraine pain. Produces endogenous opiates
    3 – 8 Hz – Deep relaxation, meditation. Lucid dreaming
    3 – 8 Hz – Increased memory, focus, creativity
    3.4 Hz – Helps achieve restful sleep
    3.5 Hz – Feeling of unity with everything. Whole being regeneration
    3.9 Hz – Self renewal, enhanced inner awareness
    4 Hz – Enkephalin release for reduced stress
    4 Hz – Allows brain to produce enkaphalins, all natural pain killer
    4 Hz – Full memory scanning. Releases enkephalins
    4.Hz – Vital for memory and learning. Problem solving, object naming
    4 – 7 Hz – Profound inner peace, emotional healing. Lowers mental fatigue
    4 – 7 Hz – Deep meditation, near-sleep brainwaves.
    4.5 Hz – Brings about Buddha’s state of consciousness, Buddhist chants.
    4.9 Hz – Induce relaxation and deeper sleep
    4.9 Hz – Introspection. Relaxation, meditation
    5 Hz – Reduces sleep required. Replaces need for extensive dreaming
    5.3 Hz – Allows relaxing breathing, free and efficient
    5.5 Hz – Inner guidance, intuition
    6.5 Hz – Activates creative frontal lobe
    7.5 Hz – Activates creative thought for art, invention, music. Problem solving
    7.5 Hz – Ease of overcoming troublesome issues
    7.8 Hz – Schumann earth resonance. Grounding, meditative, Leaves us revitalized
    8 Hz – Associated with the mouth. Brings creativity
    8- 10 Hz Super-learning new information, memorization, not comprehension.
    10 Hz – Enhanced serotonin release. Mood elevation, arousal, stimulant
    10 Hz – Provides relief from lost sleep, improves general mood
    10 Hz – Mood elevator. Used to dramatically reduce headaches
    10 Hz – Clarity, subconscious correlation. Releases serotonin
    11 Hz – Relaxed yet awake state
    11 – 14 Hz – Increased focus and awareness
    12 Hz – Centering, mental stability.
    12 – 15 Hz – Relaxed focus, improved attentive abilities
    12 – 14 Hz – Learning frequency, good for absorbing information passively
    13 – 27 Hz – Promotes focused attention toward external stimuli
    13 – 30 Hz – Problem solving, conscious thinking
    14 Hz – Awakeness, alert. Concentration on tasks, Focusing, vitality.
    16 Hz – Bottom of hearing range. Releases oxygen/calcium into cells
    18 – 24 Hz — Euphoria, can result in headaches, anxiety.

  2. thetawny says:

    Nice summation of what is becoming a huge body of research!

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