How can meditation help to change structures in the brain? #4

This article consist of 6 parts. This is part 4. Written by Sophie Nusselder.

10.000 new brains cells a day

For a long time scientists thought the brain had a certain number of cells. What is quite new and beautiful information the last few years, is that everybody makes 10.000 new brain cells a day; especially in the brain region hippocampus[1].

The good thing about the fact that everybody makes 10.000 new brain cells a day is that we have the opportunity to decide where they go to. This means we are able to develop ourselves and learn new things. What helps us in learning new things is repetition: doing it again and again. Example: if you want to joggle with three balls and you’re willing to master this and you practise daily; after some time you will be able to keep the balls up. It’s a matter of practise, because the cells go to that part of the brain that you’re using most.

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Transforming negative to positive thoughts

In transforming negative thoughts to positive thoughts it works the same. If we are used to criticise ourselves and other people for how we are doing, acting or talking; we are feeding these negative thoughts over and over again. Now. Eighty percent of all thoughts are repetitive thoughts. So if we criticise ourselves over and over again we are always in the same pattern. If we want to transform and break negative thoughts and transform them in positive thoughts we have to work on it every day. In Tibet the word for meditation is GON; this means: to familiarize yourself. So if you familiarize yourself again and again with positive behaviour and thoughts; you change the structure in your brain.


Key word in this process is repetition. You have to work on it every day. It doesn’t help if you just do it once. Result: you start to live with self-compassion. When you fail or feel inadequate; instead of ignoring your feelings or immerse yourself in self-criticism; you are warm and understanding with yourself. You know imperfection, failure, and the experience of problems in life are inevitable. When you experience something unpleasant you are gentler with yourself. Instead of denying reality or fight against it; you accept the reality with kindness.

Personally I experienced this too. Ten years ago my mind was working different to the way it works nowadays. Ten years ago I was way more used to ignore my feelings and to put myself in self-critique. Nowadays I experience I am more warm and ready to understand myself when I suffer or feel my efforts aren’t sufficient. Result: I experience more emotional balance and this has also effect on the people, the animals, the plants: everything and everybody I surround myself with.

Is yoga and meditation the only way to get emotionally balanced? In the next part you can read my thoughts about this topic!

[1] Eriksson Ps, Perfilieva E, Bjork-Eriksson T, Alborn AM, Nordborg C, et al. (1998) Neurogenesis in the adult human hippocampus Nat Med 4: 1313-1317. doi: 10.1038/3305 (PubMed)

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