“If the mind is willing, the flesh could go on and on without many things.” – Sun Tzu
When we think of health and fitness, diet and exercise are first to come to mind. However, one of the most important things many people tend to take for granted is the brain. The brain is the most complex part of the human body and called the seat of intelligence. Meditation has long been known to be beneficial and though many people consider it a "spiritual" practice. It actually has benefits based on science. The brain activity is known as waves and these waves occur naturally in our different states of consciousness.
Gamma wave is associated with the formation of ideas, language and memory processing. Gamma waves have been shown to disappear in deep sleep. Beta waves occur when we are fully awake. This is generally the mental state most people are in during the day and most of their waking lives. Usually, this state in itself is uneventful, but don't underestimate its importance. Many people lack sufficient beta activity, which can cause mental or emotional disorders such as depression and ADD.
Alpha waves you are awake but relaxed and not processing much information. When you get up in the morning and just before sleep, you are naturally in this state. When you close your eyes your brain automatically starts producing more alpha waves. Alpha activity has also been connected to the ability to recall memories, lessened discomfort and pain, and reductions in stress and anxiety. Alpha is the state we enter in meditation.
Theta waves produce light sleep or extreme relaxation. Theta is also a very receptive mental state that has proven useful for hypnotherapy, as well as self-hypnosis using recorded affirmations and suggestions.
Delta is deep, dreamless sleep. Delta is the slowest band of brainwaves. When your dominant brainwave is delta, your body is healing itself and "resetting" its internal clocks.
The brain still is a mystery. Despite recent advances in the cognitive and neurosciences, there's still much we don't know about the human brain.
There are many tools and apps available for exercising the brain. Like Luminosity and Elevate. Meditation has been around and practiced since 6th to 5th centuries BCE. It's origins were rooted in spiritual practice. Brain waves were discovered by German neurologist Hans Berger in the mid 1920's when he was trying to record what he thought was psychic energy. These brain waves can be affected when meditation is practiced regularly.
If you think your memory isn't as good as you'd like it to be. There's actually exercises you can do to for this too. Check out this cool video and see how you do! Alex Mullen is a world memory champion.