Meditation has long been known to have dozens of health benefits that help you to lead a longer, more fulfilling, and more productive life.
Among these many benefits is that natural ability to increase your memory power, enhance brain function, and raise your IQ.
While these may sound like far-reaching claims, the core idea boils down to a few simple reasons. In this post, I’ll show you how.
If you’re just getting started with meditation, I recommend you read this post on what to expect from your practice, in order to help put these benefits in perspective.
How Meditation Improves Brain Function and Memory
There are three primary effects that meditation has on your brain, which can lead to an increase in your memory power and global brain function. They are:
- Meditation Relaxes Your Mind and Improves Receptivity
- Meditation Creates New Synaptic Connections
- Meditation Improves Brain Chemistry
Let’s take a look at each of these in turn.
Meditation Relaxes Your Mind and Improves Receptivity
The first way in which meditation helps you to improve your memory is through relaxation.
When you are relaxed, your brain enters into a different state of consciousness, in which it is more receptive to intuitive impulses and knowledge originating from the subconscious mind.
Experienced meditators are able to deliberately slow down their brain wave patterns, which means that they can enter these heightened states of awareness and consciousness on command. As they do, they begin to rewire their brains to improve mental acuity and performance.
Meditation Creates New Synaptic Connections
In addition to having a power effect of the receptivity of the brain, the calmer state of mind induced by meditation allows the brain to more easily create new synaptic connections.
Every time any thought fires in your brain, two synapses are connected. In most cases, our thoughts follow along heavily trodden paths, mapped by years of consistent thoughts and beliefs.
Quieting the mind gives you an edge in taking control of those patterns by making it easier for you to break out of mental habits and forge new patterns. This leads us to have more creative thoughts and ideas, but also does wonders for helping us to break out of any negative or destructive patterns we may have formed over the course of our lives.
Read more about letting go of past negative emotions.
Meditation Improves Brain Chemistry
Lastly, meditation has been show to dramatically improve brain chemistry and improve production of beneficial hormones like serotonin and oxytocin..
Your brain is constantly responding to your every thought and mood. When you have negative thoughts, or are triggered by stresses in your environment, your brain releases different chemicals than when you are relaxed, at peace, and happy.
These chemicals are often self-reinforcing, as bad moods tend to lead to more bad moods, and good moods lead to more good moods (a phenomenon explained by The Law of Attraction). Meditation has the power to stop whatever cycle you’re currently in, and literally reset your brain chemistry so you can begin to produce more positive chemicals, and fewer destructive ones.