BY HOLLY ST. LIFER
Meditating is difficult for me. I work on it during my yoga practice – staying present, focusing on my breath. But yesterday, my worry over my daughter’s ability to pay her own rent and how I would start this blog post filled my mind. Acknowledging these distractions I brushed them aside with an exhale. More thoughts flooded in of course, but meditation is proving to be so emotionally and psychologically restorative, I continue to keep at it.
One study found meditating may actually change the brain for the better: M.R.I. brain scans taken before and after the participants’ meditation regimen found increased gray matter in the hippocampus, an area important for learning and memory. The images also showed a reduction of gray matter in the amygdala, a region connected to anxiety and stress.
In an Experience Life article, Rick Hanson, Ph.D, cofounder of the San Francisco–based Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom said, meditation also develops the circuitry in the left prefrontal cortex, an area that dampens negative emotion, so you don’t get so rattled by anger or fear, shame or sorrow.
After three months of practicing yoga twice a week, I am noticeably more grateful, forgiving and able to let go of the aggravating stuff faster and easier. I’ve always believed it’s never too late to change. To become better versions of ourselves. It’s reassuring to have this research to prove it.