The scientifically proven benefits of meditation for stroke rehab are continuously overlooked, and it makes us sad.
That’s why we’re diving deep into this important topic today. You’ll learn how meditation can grow the grey matter area of your brain and what other stroke survivors are saying about this essential habit.
The Benefits of Meditation for Stroke Rehab
If you’re suffering from post stroke depression or feel like you’ve hit a plateau, then meditation could be one of the most rewarding habits you develop.
Daily meditation is our top recommended habits because it’s proven to help:
- Reduce depression, tiredness, and fatigue
- Improve attention, emotion regulation, and mental flexibility
- Grow your brain and improve information processing
Yes! All of those things can be improved with daily meditation!
In this study, two groups of stroke survivors participated in conventional therapy. One group also included 20 minutes of meditation a day and the other group didn’t.
After one month of therapy, the meditation group showed significantly more improvement than the non-meditators. The study actually said highly significant; concluding that meditation should be incorporated in post stroke rehabilitation regimens.
This isn’t just casual advice from your alternative-medicine-loving neighbor. These are words written in a published scientific journal.
And it’s not the first scientific journal to prove the efficacy of meditation for stroke recovery. There are many other studies that show the same results: More meditation leads to more recovery.
And it helps grow your brain.
How Meditation Grows the Gray Matter of Your Brain
When you meditate, your mind expands – but only if you do it regularly.
Regular meditation grows the gray matter areas of your brain responsible for attention, emotion regulation, and mental flexibility. This makes your brain more efficient at processing information in these areas, which are essential skills for stroke survivors who are working on healing their brain.
The malleability of your brain is all thanks to neuroplasticity, which is how your brain rewires itself. While neuroplasticity is mostly discussed in regard to recovering from brain injury, it’s also the mechanism responsible for learning new skills.
Neuroplasticity works like this: Whatever you focus on day in and day out – that’s what you get good at.
For example, mathematicians have more gray matter in the areas of their brain responsible for arithmetic and spatial reasoning. Jugglers have more gray matter in the areas of their brain responsible for hand–eye coordination and multitasking.
Your brain will adapt to whatever you focus on and grow accordingly.
Meditation works the same way. When you focus on being calm, accepting, and peaceful (which are all evoked by a developed meditation practice), it will grow the parts of your brain responsible for those feelings and you’ll get good at feeling that way.
If that sounds like something you need, then developing a meditation practice is a must – and it all starts by making it a daily habit.
How to Make Meditation a Habit
As fun-loving humans, we’re really good at finding excuses to not meditate, but don’t let lack of discipline hinder your recovery.
The easiest way to make meditation happen is to make it a habit.
To do that, you need to schedule meditation into your day. When we make a specific plan to do something, we’re much more likely to stick to it. So don’t tell yourself that you’ll meditate at some point in the day. Make it a nonnegotiable commitment to yourself.
Then keep at it. Try not to give up even when things get tough. While meditation sounds easy in theory, it’s actually really hard at first and that can make it feel discouraging.
So we recommend starting with some guided meditations where you can focus on someone else’s voice. Then once you get accustomed to your sitting time, you can ween off guided meditations and try doing it solo.
Here’s a great resource that can help.
What Other Stroke Survivors Are Saying
Meditation is something that we hear the stroke community talking about a lot. (Yet the medical establishments, not so much.)
For one, Amy from My Cerebellar Stroke Recovery has a whole category category on her blog dedicated to meditation. It’s something she’s clearly passionate about because she’s experienced the benefits for herself.
Amy regards meditation as one of the most important ingredients for a successful recovery. Her advice for stroke survivors: “Get into an intensive rehab program and begin a practice of daily meditation.” Simple and effective.
Also, Dean from Dean’s Stroke Musings has a whole section for meditation on his blog too. Among the various posts he’s written, one of them caught our attention. Dean covered a great article from Business Insider where a neuroscientist discusses how meditation can help you develop emotional strength, better understand yourself, and manage stress.
The reason why stroke survivors love meditation: It works. The reason why the medical establishments haven’t caught on to it yet: The science is new and still needs to gain some momentum.
We encourage you to be part of this momentum. The benefits of meditation are all things a good stroke recovery needs.
Will you start meditating today?
What’s the one thing holding you back from using meditation to boost your recovery?
Leave us a comment below and let’s get talking!
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