Meditation is shown to have positive effects on brain functions. It leads to enhanced memory. Boston researchers have posited that regular meditation has an impact on the cerebral cortex of the brain, as it enhances the flow of blood to the brain which in turn strengthens the connectivity of the brain vessels within the brain leading to enhanced memory. It also helps in the betterment of the emotional regulation of the individual who practices meditation regularly. Meditation is an altered state of consciousness, wherein the concentration of the brain is streamlined and centered, which leads to heightened concentration and memory in the long run.
There are different kinds of meditation, two of which are mindful meditation and awareness meditation. Mindful meditation as the name suggests is the strong awareness of one’s present affective domains of life, at the moment. Research studies have proven that this focused and concentrated meditation has a physiological impact on the brain. It increases the density of the hippocampus which is the memory and learning center of the brain.
Simply put, mindfulness meditation (even when practiced for a few minutes each day) changes brain structure. Those areas that are responsible for helping us remember things more vividly, focus better and improve self-awareness are boosted. One more possible explanation of the positive impact on concentration could be that meditation reduces stress and anxiety.
The other type of meditation that is practiced in contemporary society is awareness meditation, which is the extended version of mindful meditation. Self-awareness can be used to harness so we can learn more about how the mind works, make better-informed choices, and react to challenging situations more thoughtfully.
Also, similar results have been found by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston who showed that regular meditation causes the brain’s cerebral cortex to thicken. According to the study, thickening occurs because meditation increases the size of blood vessels and the blood flow in the region. The brain’s outer cortex is responsible for higher mental functions such as concentration, learning, and memory. This, as suggested before, is a phenomenal discovery.
Investment advisor Walter Zimmermann is a compelling example of meditation’s literal value. In the Time Magazine article, “How to Get Smarter, One Breath at a Time,” Zimmermann explains how meditation forms the cornerstone of his ability to deliver high-value information to his clients. Zimmermann despite being in an extremely stressful job, still manages to gain great profits. He claims his secret weapon for staying sharp and remembering numerous facts is, daily meditation. He meditates for 40 minutes every morning and evening. A study in the journal "Consciousness and Cognition" found that even as little as 20 minutes of meditation per day boosts performance on timed concentration and memory tests.
Sara Lazar, a lead investigator in the Massachusetts General meditation studies mentioned above, had this to say about the significance of cortical thickening that occurs through regular meditation (from New Scientist.com): “You are exercising the cerebral cortex while you meditate, and it gets bigger,” she says. The finding is in line with studies showing that accomplished musicians, athletes, and linguists all have thickening in relevant areas of the cortex. It is further evidence, says Lazar, that yogis “aren’t just sitting there doing nothing”.