What Happens to the Brain When You Meditate (And How it Benefits You)

What Happens to the Brain When You MeditateBy: Belle Beth Cooper
Published: Lifehacker.com | 8/26/13 1:00pm

Ever since my dad tried to convince me to meditate when I was about 12, I’ve been fairly skeptical of this practice. It always seemed so vague and hard to understand that I just decided it wasn’t for me. More recently, I’ve actually found how simple (not easy, but simple) meditation can be and what huge benefit it can have for my day to day happiness.

As an adult, I first started my meditation practice with just two minutes per day. Two minutes! I got that idea from Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits blog, where he points out how starting with a tiny habit is the first step to consistently achieving it. So even thought two minutes won’t make much difference, that’s where I started.

Whether you’re as skeptical as I used to be, or you’re well ahead of me with a meditation habit of several hours, I think it’s always interesting to find out how new habits affect our brains. I had a look into meditation to see what’s going on inside our brains when we do this, and what I found is pretty interesting.

What is Meditation?

There are different ways to meditate, and since it’s such a personal practice there are probably more than any of us know about. There are a couple that are usually focused on heavily in scientific research, though.

These are focused attention, or mindful meditation, which is where you focus on one specific thing — it could be your breathing, a sensation in your body or a particular object outside of you. The point of this type of meditation is to focus strongly on one point and continually bring your attention back to that focal point when it wanders.

Read the full article by Belle Beth Cooper > Lifehacker.com