This is the 3rd part of the series which discovers the benefits of having a regular mindfulness practice. I try to add my personal experience regarding the benefit I write about. Those advantages stem from books, articles, videos, and my personal experience.
I recommend to read the 1st part which you can find here.
One of the most interesting benefits of a regular meditation practice is that it changes the brain, which is also called neuroplasticity. Maybe that sounds a bit scary at first but bear with me. Researchers from the University of Montreal looked at brain responses of meditators and non-meditators when experiencing pain. They found that the areas of the brain which regulate pain and emotion were significantly thicker in meditators. The thicker the region, the lower the pain sensitivity. There is evidence that our brain is constantly rewiring itself. No matter if we meditate or not. The problem is that our lifestyle leads us to be more and more prone to distractions, with shorter attention spans and an increased feeling of restlessness and action addiction. With meditation we can stop this process and rewire our brains for the better. As I don’t have a CT scanner at home, I can only tell how it feels. Even during meditation, I sometimes can feel as if something is changing in my brain. Maybe I am just imagining this though =). What I can say is that I see the effects of my practice on my action addiction and my attention span. I also see it declining once I take a longer break from my practice.
And good news for those with skin problems, related from stress. A professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School investigated whether meditation can influence the healing of psoriasis. Psoriasis is a treatable skin condition that has a strong relationship with psychological stress. With clear implications for other stress-related skin conditions, they found that the skin of meditators cleared at about four times the rate of non-meditators’ skin. That is actually something I didn’t pay attention to. So, I cannot really tell if that is true or not. Especially because I don’t have a real problem with my skin. But maybe my years of practice just prevented this from starting in the first place. If you experienced something regarding your skin and meditation, let me know!
A regular mindfulness practice changes your relationship with your phone. I admit, I often look at my phone during the day. Mostly because I am bored, and my brain looks for a stimulus. As getting a message releases dopamine in our brains, it is very normal that we reach out to our external body part. The more days I manage to meditate, the more I feel that I don’t want to have a look at my phone. Even if I do hear the sound that I got a notification. The craving is decreased, and the relationship is healthier I’d say.
Take care, Stephan