Have you ever reacted negatively to something, and then felt like you’re repeating the same mistakes by dealing with it the same way as you did in the past?
Our brains are naturally programmed to look at the past as a way to deal with the present. This is because our brain relies on a set of neurons in the brain called the Amygdala to store memories. This is also the same part of the brain that handles anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and phobias.
Humans are slowly becoming more aware of just how much power they actually have over their bodies and their minds. Science shows that after 8 weeks of taking a mindful minute of meditation every day, the amygdala appears to shrink.
As it shrinks, the pre-frontal cortex, which is the part of the brain responsible for sharp thinking, concentration and decision making, appears to thicken.
Meditation enthusiast and professor at Fanshawe College Dan Woodward says that meditation helps your thought waves bypass the amygdala.
“When you meditate, you are teaching your brain where to direct your thoughts. Meditation helps bypass thought waves past the amygdala and straight to the pre-frontal cortex. From there, your brain recognizes that you have a chance to respond to a situation, rather than react.”
Dan became passionate about mediation when he started to notice the affects it took on his life. He runs meditation classes every Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the Health & Wellness center in Fanshawe College. This isn’t the only group he teaches, his passion has driven him to the point where independent sports teams such as the Western football team and the junior London Knights have approached him for some guidance.
Woodward says that much of the success athletes have outside of their physical abilities comes from meditation and how they rewire their brain.
“LeBron James, arguably the best basketball player right now, practices yoga every day. He attributes yoga to his ability to play 120+ games a season. This is the reason why injuries don’t hold him back. Sure, they slow him down, but he recovers faster thanks to meditation”
Now that more people are starting to realize the importance of meditation, Woodward is one of many people that hope more places incorporate a mindful minute before any work is started.
Woodward, who also teaches business at Fanshawe College, says he starts off his classes with a mindful minute to ensure everyone is mentally prepared to tackle the day.
Dan hopes that more people start to realize the wonders meditation can do, and stresses the importance of meditation by saying that your brain requires it just as much as your body requires exercise.