Most people who seek Sahaja are there for deep spiritual benefits. But from time to time, it is fantastic to know that a powerful form of meditation like Sahaja has several benefits demonstrated by science and to understand the complexities of how meditation works within us.
One of these intriguing areas is the impact of meditation on our neurochemicals.
The average adult human brain weighs about 3 pounds. and contains about 100 billion nerve cells (neurons). Our emotions and feelings are formulated at the cellular level through the behaviors of chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters, which are released at synapses (nerve junctions). More than 100 neurotransmitters have been identified.
Neurochemists are involved in the ability of meditation to provoke an altered state of consciousness in a very positive way.
Neuromodulators, which are severely affected by meditation, are neurotransmitters that modulate or adjust the normal effect of a particular neurotransmitter (e.g., increasing or decreasing the effect of another neurotransmitter; shortening or lengthening its effect). activity).
We grow new neural connections every day. And by influencing the actions of neurotransmitters and neuromodulators, meditation can become a continuous stimulus to make permanent changes in the brain and nervous system, hence our mental health and well-being.
So what exactly does meditation influence when it comes to neurochemicals?
Meditation generates positive emotions, bonds, and social skills.
Arginine vasopressin (AVP) has been shown to be a dramatically increasing hormone (2.6 to 7.1 times normal plasma levels) during meditation (O’Halloran JP, et al, 1985). AVP has been found to help maintain positive emotion (Pietrowsky R., 1991), self-perceived fatigue, and significantly improve new memory consolidation and learning (Weingartner H., et al, 1981).
Strong increases in AVP can also help improve the meditator’s memory of their experience, perhaps explaining why meditative experiences are often remembered and described in vivid terms. Talk to a Sahaja practitioner and you will almost inevitably hear some amazing stories of their meditation experiences firmly etched in their minds.
AVP has recently been shown to significantly influence social behavior by mediating the secretion of the neurohormone oxytocin (Ebstein RP, et al, 2009). Oxytocin is critical for bonding, trust, and socialization skills, and a deficiency of this hormone has been shown to be involved in the cause of social deficits in people with autism spectrum disorders (Ebstein RP, et al, 2009).
Meditation increases our mood along with a greater sense of joy and pleasure.
Dopamine is involved in the regulation of attention and is associated with feelings of pleasure and reward. It is the main neurotransmitter involved in motivation and motor activity. Dopamine is also involved in releasing natural endorphins to feel good, which act as natural mood enhancers and have a calming effect on us. The researchers found that meditation caused a 65% increase in dopamine release in the limbic or emotional brain regions.
Perhaps it is not surprising that people like to remain in this state of deep meditation, giving up their worries about their problems.
Serotonin, a neurotransmitter to feel good, is the main neurotransmitter that influences mood. Serotonin has been found to increase after meditation and higher overall levels have been measured in long-term meditators (Newberg, A., Iverson, J., 2003; Bujatti, 1976).
Meditation eliminates the stimulator of stress and anxiety.
Epinephrine is both a neurotransmitter (which acts on the brain) and a stress hormone (which acts elsewhere, such as the heart or glands). It stimulates our sympathetic nervous system to produce fight or flight responses, such as increased heart rate, increased blood glucose, and increased blood flow to the muscles.
Studies have found reduced levels of adrenaline during meditation (Walton, KG, et al, 1995; Infante, JR, 2001). During meditation, the hypothalamus can inhibit adrenaline production from the adrenal medulla, which decreases anxiety. Decreased adrenaline, along with the state of deep relaxation experienced during meditation, allows the hypothalamus to produce tranquility (Chugh, D., 1987).
Meditation promotes relaxation.
Well, we all know that, but how exactly? During meditation, activation of the right amygdala in the brain causes stimulation of the hypothalamus. This process stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is associated with a feeling of deep relaxation and quiescence.
Meditation increases concentration and improves overall mental health.
Several studies have shown an increase in serum GABA during meditation, which improves your sense of focus by limiting the distracting external stimuli in the visual cortex. It also produces a number of important mental health benefits.
GABA has a calming and anti-anxiety effect on the brain by modulating or regulating the activity of other critical health neurotransmitters. Its activity is inhibitory: it helps keep other neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine, adrenaline and dopamine under control and balanced. Inability to produce and circulate adequate levels of GABA has been associated with conditions such as anxiety, stress, insomnia, and epilepsy.
Meditation enhances happiness and well-being.
We also know this benefit of meditation, and for quite some time now, but you should be happy that this is not just based on a healed science, a strange self-suggestion, or a simple well-being factor.
A study of men found that Sahaja meditation caused a 70% increase in beta-endorphins, as measured by blood plasma levels (Mishra, R., Barlas, C. and Barone, D., 1993).
Endorphins create a global feeling of happiness and well-being, known to athletes as the “high runner.” Endorphins can help lower blood pressure, depress breathing, reduce fear, reduce pain, and produce feelings of joy and euphoria.
Do you often see meditators feeling young and fresh? Regular meditators have significantly lower levels of cortisol, which is an age-accelerating hormone (Sudsuang R., Chentanez V., Veluvan K., 1991; Newberg, A., Iverson, J., 2003).
Meditation improves sleep quality.
Meditation is thought to increase melatonin levels by increasing its synthesis in the pineal gland (Massion et al., 1995). Sahaja meditation techniques direct the flow of energy through the energy centers or chakras of the body and can selectively activate or suppress various glands associated with these energy centers. The pineal gland corresponds to the Sahasrara chakra located in the crown of the head.
In Sahaja meditation, Sahasrara is associated with the attainment of the state of thoughtless consciousness, the integration of the energy of all chakras, unity with the collective consciousness, and feelings of joy.
So how do you maximize the benefits of meditation?
Meditation does much more than calm you down or simply relieve stress. Scientific evidence shows that it can bring deeper benefits by influencing the neurochemicals in our brain. Here are some key steps in Sahaja meditation to maximize your benefits:
- Plan to meditate at least twice a day for 15 to 20 minutes. Choose early in the morning as one of these sessions.
- Try to attend as many online group meditation sessions as you can; these improve quality and care control and give you better results much faster.
- Focus on your experience and improve in all aspects of your life. It is not enough to acquire knowledge about meditation.
- Deepen the benefits by trying to establish and experience them first. Then we are here to give you a lot of insight into how and why these great things happen to you when you meditate.
- Do not expect magical or instantaneous results from meditation: the effects of meditation-influenced neurochemicals gradually affect our nervous system. You will see a steady but steady improvement in many aspects of your health and well-being. But of course you have to work for it: meditation is not a pill you can take and finish.
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