15 minutes of regular Meditation increase brain gray matter, cortical thickness and brain volume in the areas associated with emotions, introspection, memory and attention; helps reduce stress.
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, after analyzing data from more than 6,300 people, believes that there’s more stress in people’s lives today than 25 years ago. A 2011 poll conducted by Nielsen found out that 87% of Indian women felt stressed most of the time.
The American Medical Association notes that stress is the basic cause for more than 60% of all human illnesses and diseases. From headaches to anger to even strokes and heart diseases, stress causes untold damage to the human body.
The Stress chemical journey
Under stress, a part of the brain termed as the HPA is activated, which in turn, triggers the stress hormone cortisol and neurotransmitters like adrenaline which leads to anger. The brain also releases neuropeptide S, a protein that regulates stress by decreasing sleep and increasing anxiety. The neurotransmitter catecholamine released under stress, suppresses activity in frontal areas of the brain. As the frontal area of the brain is related to short-term memory, concentration and rational thought, stress also impairs our ability to handle logical work.
Meditation is the safest Medication
Meditation, probably one of the oldest healing techniques, is considered by many doctors and researchers to be of utmost help in controlling stress and related disorders.
Regular meditation is closely associated with lower levels of cortisol. This has been proved by Tonya Jacobs, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, after her three-month long observation of 57 meditators. People who meditate regularly have more gray matter in amygdala, a region connected to anxiety and stress, when compared to non-meditators.
Benzodiazepines and beta-blockers are mostly prescribed for treating mood disorders, the physiological side effects of which have been well chronicled. Considering the fact that meditation allows one to reduce stress with absolutely no adverse effects on the body, it is advisable for stressed people to incorporate meditation sessions in their daily regime.