How to rewire your brain

How meditation can change the structure of your brain.

At MindLabs, we help you rewire your brain to sleep better, stress less, feel more energised and think more positively.

How do we do this? Well, let's go back to basics...

How can I rewire my brain? 

Our brains are made up of billions and billions of neurons: we have motor neurons (that control our muscles), sensory neurons (stimulated by the senses) and inter-neurons that connect everything together.

These neurons are grouped together in something called a neural pathway, which sends signals from one part of the brain to another. There are billions of neural pathways sending signals to your brain right now - and you're making new ones all the time.

Every time you learn a new word, develop a new skill or make a new association, you create and strengthen neural pathways.

This is how we form habits: for better or for worse.

Let's take an example...

Say you're someone who likes a drink in the evening - particularly when you've had a long, difficult day. The more you reach for a drink when you're sad, the more you strengthen the neural pathway that associates being sad with drinking. If you decide, one day, you want to stop drinking - you're likely to find this quite difficult (but not impossible!) because of the associations you've made in your brain.

Fortunately, our brains are neuroplastic: this means they're flexible. Just as you can learn certain skills, behaviours or ways of thinking by strengthening neural pathways, you can unlearn them too. With practice, you can rewire your brain to encourage more helpful behaviours and thinking patterns, and build healthier, happier habits, like drinking water, or taking your daily dose of Vitamin B1 for mental wellness.

One key way that we can do this is through meditation and mindfulness, and this is exactly what we do at MindLabs. Our classes are designed to help you strengthen the parts of your brain that help you think more positively and rationally, become more attuned to the present moment and improve mental clarity and focus.

The more classes you take, the more you will strengthen these neural pathways and hone these skills.

Michael MindLabs class

How can meditation change the brain?

Here are just a few of the ways that practising meditation and mindfulness can rewire your brain:

  • When we meditate, we focus our attention on an anchor (like the breath). Doing this repeatedly strengthens the neural pathways associated with focus and concentration, meaning that we can focus better in all aspects of our lives.
  • Meditation has been shown to shrink the amygdala: the area of the brain that produces feelings of stress, fear and anxiety.
  • Meditation improves self-awareness, and particularly our connection with our bodies, strengthening the areas of the brain associated with interoception (awareness of your body's internal regulation).
  • Regular meditation weakens associations with the fear centres of our brain, and strengthens associations with the Assessment (reasoning) Centre, helping us to evaluate stressful situations more rationally.
  • Meditations designed to encourage more positive thinking use neuroplasticity to replace negative thinking patterns with a more positive reframing, and help you to more easily tap into positive emotions like compassion, hope and calmness.

Ready to rewire your brain? Download the MindLabs app and get started.