Meditation Spirit > Meditation > This is your brain . . . this is your brain on Meditation
This is your brain . . . this is your brain on Meditation
This is your brain . . . this is your brain on Meditation

An introduction to the neuroscience of meditation

Pam McDonald, LCSW-C

Meditation aids the nervous system by balancing the SNS and the parasympathetic nerve system (PNS). The PNS is crucial to survival; it controls the resting state of relaxation and maintains steady-state activity. When the SNS and PNS are balanced, we feel energized and relaxed, alive and centered.

Knowing more about how the brain functions, we can help maintain balance in our nervous system through a simple practice. The Heart Math Institute developed the following technique to help reduce stress and increase positive feelings. Try it and Be Well!

1. Practice breathing with an equal inhalation and exhalation. You can count, 1-2-3 on the inhale and 1-2-3 on the exhale.

2. At the same time, focus on your heart and imagine that you are breathing in and out through the heart area.

3. As you breathe evenly through your heart, bring to mind a pleasant, loving, happy experience or feeling of gratitude for something in your life. Focus on this good feeling and breathe it in and out through the heart.

4. Continue this for a minute or longer and notice the changes in your body and mind.


Want to Know More?

Mindfulness practices are being used in stress reduction programs, chronic pain management programs, and mental health therapies with documented success. There are many easy to use, practical applications that can start you on the road to better health. Here is a sample of what is available.

* Rick Hanson, Ph.D., (author of Buddha's Brain): and his non-profit organization with news and tools for happiness, love, and wisdom:

* Dr. Daniel J. Siegel's (author of Mindsight, The Mindful Brain and The Mindful Therapist):

* Meditation and psychotherapy programs:

* Mindfulness-based program for treating chronic pain:

* Information about Ronald D. Siegel's, Psy.D., new book, The Mindfulness Solution: Everyday Practices for Everyday Problems:

* The Heart Math Institute:

* The Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society (Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D.):

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