I often compare meditation as a kind of mental hygiene: you clean your body physically every day, for me meditation has the same effect on the mind … of course, there are “cat cleaning day” (it’s a French expression, I hope it speaks to you !) when one is in a hurry, and the days of long and big baths when one can afford the luxury.
But beyond this daily “mental dusting”, researches have shown that contemplative sciences, including meditation, lead the mind to positive and socio-responsible behaviors.
The reason for this? Neuroplasticity or “Practice makes perfect”. Contrary to what we have long believed, neurons do not stop growing after 20 years old, it is possible for us to create new neuronal connections throughout our whole life.
Thus, studies have shown the thickening of certain specific zones of the brain according to the professions: among taxi drivers it is a zone of localization in space, with musicians a capacity of dexterity for example.
It has hence been proven that meditation increases, in the short, medium and long term, the capacities of direction of attention (in duration and discernment) and management of emotions. Moreover, researchers have also shown a progressive thickening of the insular cortex of meditators, this very brain area that governs … empathy and compassion!
Moreover, the biochemical reactions induced by these feelings stimulate and strengthen the immune system. The meditator thus becomes less vulnerable to intrusions (physical and mental) from the outside world. As a result, meditation is also very effective in fighting inflammation and chronic pain.
The most recent researches confirms that meditation has an effect at the genetic and enzymatic level, preventing cellular ageing.
So, shall we try ?!