What Are The Benefits Of Meditation? | Next Level Living Ep. 5

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– [Voiceover] Whether
you think it’s the door to enlightenment or just a way
to lower your blood pressure, meditation isn’t just for religious folks. Anyone can feel the benefits. But what’s behind those benefits? When we take a peek into the brain, we realize it’s actually quite a mystery. (soothing flute music) (fast drumming) (soothing flute music) – Think about the brain as a muscle. You know, if you go and you
lift weights, what happens? Your muscle gets physically thicker and you get functionally stronger. You can lift more things. Well, the brain is sort of the same way. The more you do a practice
like meditation or prayer, your brain physically gets thicker, and it functionally works better. I’m Andrew Newberg, and
I study neurotheology, which basically is the
study of the relationship between our brain and our
religious and spiritual beliefs. – [Voiceover] In his lab, Dr. Newberg has studied Buddhist
monks, Sufi practitioners, Muslim meditators, Franciscan nuns, and even Pentecostal glossolalists, AKA tongue speakers. (high-pitched vocalizing) Right when they reach the climax
of their meditative state, he takes a snapshot of their brain. ‘Cause MRIs are a little
too loud for meditation, he uses SPECT imaging. – Single-photon emission
computed tomography. SPECT stands for Single-photon
emission computed tomography. – [Voiceover] It’s a less
distracting imaging technique that causes the active parts
of the brain to fluoresce. Mostly, the results
were what you’d expect. Concentration and
language centers light up, while the parietal
lobe, which connects you to where your body in space, shuts down. But then, a surprise and a mystery. – [Voiceover] The thalamus. – The thalamus is a very key structure. It takes a lot of the sensory
information that comes in from the outside world,
particularly vision and what we hear. – [Voiceover] When you’re
in a dark, quiet room with your eyes closed, meditating, you’d expect the sensory hub to go silent. – But what we actually
see is just the opposite. It looks like the thalamus
generally becomes more active. – [Voiceover] How is this possible? Where is all this new
sensory input coming from? Could this be proof of profound connection between the psyche and a higher power? – We don’t know. What is does prove is that these practices really
do change your brain. – [Voiceover] Let’s get an
expert meditator’s take on this. – Everything cool?
– [Voiceover] Yep. – Okay, got it? – Yeah, we’re ready? – Hi, when I’m meditating
consistently, my brain is quieter. And then, I feel like
I’m more able to just handle whatever comes my way. – [Voiceover] Meditation
can improve concentration, lower levels of depression and anxiety, and generally, make you more even-keeled. – Meditation can happen anywhere. You can just sit on a couch or a chair with your back supported
and your head free, so that you can just
focus on your breathing. – [Voiceover] There are lots
of different ways to meditate, but most meditators find
these practices helpful. Get comfortable in a quiet place. Turn off distractions like your
phone and other electronics. Focus on your breath,
repeating and counting through a consistent pattern. As your practice improves,
you can gradually meditate for longer and longer periods of time. How do you like to meditate? – Well, that’s the thing. For me, personally, it can
happen in lots of different ways. – [Voiceover] Try practicing
mindfulness whenever and wherever you are. – Instead of just having
your cup of coffee, imagine the coffee beans
being picked at their peak of plump ripeness, being
roasted, pouring it in with this wonderful water, and then, have that cup of coffee. Now suddenly, your morning
becomes a whole different kind of experience for you. And you’re not going through this in this mindless kind of way. – [Voiceover] The payoff
could be life changing. Meditation is more than
just a tool to destress. It can be a way to change
your whole outlook on life, the world around you, and maybe even reality itself. (brisk classical music)

 

5 Responses

  1. MRiitta

    February 24, 2016 5:34 pm

    Praying something for yourself is not so spiritual.. and yet.. all of the prayings are like that.. and then we call that kind of behaviour spiritual.. I am totally connfused!

    Reply
  2. TimeBombStereo

    March 28, 2016 8:52 pm

    Meditation has help me in so many ways. I have anxiety and depression and meditation has help me in some of my post tough times.

    Reply

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