Meditation / Sitting in silence
Conscious sitting in silence or a more popular word 'Meditation' has many positive effect on the brain and body.
- Firstly, the tightly strong connection between the 'Self Referencing Centre' (SRC) in the medial pre-frontal cortex and the physical body starts to break down. This SRC or 'Me Centre' references back to you, your perceptive, your experiences, which if held tightly can cause mental exhaustion and physical issues in the body. Examples include if you think you are correct in a situation, won't listen to anyone else, no other option matters, all part and parcel of the ego.
When this connection breaks down, you may feel calmer, more peaceful and a decrease in any anxiety. With regular practise these neural connections between the SRC and bodily sensations such as emotions and feelings (anger, fear, etc) can decrease.
- Secondly, the 'Assessment Centre' in the lateral pre-frontal cortex is able to make rational decisions rather than from a place of reaction. You are able to watch emotions rise and fall without being attached to the story behind it.
- Thirdly, meditation increases the alpha brain waves which 'lowers the volume' on distracting information
Further benefits of mediation:
- Increases memory recall
- Improves performance on attention based tasks
- Improvement in sleeping
- Pain reduction
There are many ways of meditating and you have to find the one that suits you.
The basics include:
- Sit with a straight back and both feet on the floor if possible
- Hands in lap with least dominate hand resting in other hand
- Close eyes and take a few slow deep breaths to start
- Then all you need to do is sit
- If you feel thoughts rushing around in your head and entrapped in a 'story' then the moment you notice go back to the breathing and follow your breath in and out
If you are able to do a few minutes each day that is great! Then build up gradually to 30-45 minutes.
It is never too late to start!
During sleep the brain is still active, it is at this time that is is able to clear out toxic substances and harmful proteins and release them back to the liver for removal, this process is called the 'glymphatic system'. The cerebral fluid is pumped through brain tissue and flushes toxic substances back into the circulatory system of the body. During sleep this glymphatic system is 10 x more active than in the waking state, and so is vital in processing harmful proteins such as those linked to Alzhiemers disease from the body.
Social engagement is associated with increased life span and may have positive effect on mood, it can support brain health and may also delay the onset of dementia. Being socially active may mean seeing friends and family, or you may like to join a club or group such as a walking group or a club playing cards.