Best Nootropics For Meditation
More of us are turning to meditation these days, and its for good reason, Meditation can significantly improve both our mental and physical well being if performed correctly.
But getting into a meditative state is not as easy as it seems – you are sitting there on your own, maybe in the dark, or overlooking some gorgeous countryside when suddenly your thoughts turn to tonights dinner, or that bill thats overdue for payment.
So how can we achieve the ultimate awareness when our everyday thoughts just keep cropping up?
“Some effective nootropics for meditation could help.”
This article discusses the health benefits of meditation and the steps required to get there. I will also cover the various brain functions involved in the process and uncover some of the best nootropic ingredients required to get you into that ‘Zen’ like state.
The Origins Of Meditation
Mediation is the act or art of basically letting go of all thoughts and memories to allow your mind to be completely clear and in the moment. Its main purpose is to allow us to reach self transformation at various levels by disconnecting us from our thoughts.
Meditation originated over 5000 years ago in eastern Asia the earliest records show it being practiced by the Vedas people of ancient India in or around 1500bc.
Meditation has its obvious benefits, its practice wouldn’t have survived for so many years if it didnt offer any rewards, but what are they? lets take a look:
Medication has been shown to offer many benefits – it’s an amazing way to reduce stress and anxiety. Experts tell us that it can also relief inflammation caused by stress and can help in the treatment of ADHD.
Its positive effects can be attributed to the feeling of calm that it provides, different patterns of breathing and changes in our focus can all help us to get rid of those worrying thoughts, stress and emotions.
There is one key reason why meditation is so good for us – It can literally alter the structure of our brain.
The Effects Of Meditation On Our Brain
Scientific studies have shown that mediation if performed regularly makes changes in the amygdala, the insula and the hippocampus in our brains.
These changes improved the capacity for learning, compassion, memory, and self awareness in meditators after just 8 weeks.
Going further, meditation can change our actual brainwaves, as we get into a meditative stay, our beta brain waves reduce, these are the brain waves responsible for processing information.
The brain then replaces these with alpha waves, the ones responsible for calm, clarity and harmony.
There are several styles of meditation and its important that we find one that suits us to make sure that we get the full benefits.
Different Styles Of Meditation
There are a number of meditation styles that can all make positive changes to our brain. here is a list of the most popular styles:
Presence or ‘Focused’ Meditation
Focussed or presence meditation involves us choosing one thing to focus our mind on to allow us to let go of our other thoughts. This can be anything involving one of our 5 senses. The most common one is to pay attention to our breathing.
Some try to visualise an image while meditating, the image below is classic example of the sort of thing that you could try visualising, keeping all other thoughts out of your mind.
Others try to focus on a particular object in the room, or maybe a smell or other sensations.
This process of bringing your thoughts and concentration back to this single point of focus can have long term benefits to the brain. Studies show that it can bring increased cortical thickness to the prefrontal parts of the brain.
Perspective or Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation is used to open the mind. To be more specific, its used to create and all encompassing awareness of our particular surroundings without any real concentration.
During periods of mindfulness meditation we are supposed to monitor both our own and others thoughts without judgement from an outside perspective.
Its main purpose is to help us understand others peoples viewpoints and to increase our own social awareness.
Metta, Affect Or Loving Kindness Meditation
This mediation help us to become more kind to others, which ultimately helps us to be more happier with our own lives.
It increases empathy to others and compassion by both sending and receiving love.
The process involves silent repetition and focussing on mantras of kindness to send good energy to others
Designed to help align the body and the soul, 2 classic examples are Yoga and Tai Chi. The fact is that you can turn any form of controlled movement into this form of meditation, whatever you do, you need to stay in the present, and ward off any distractions or outside thoughts or emotions while you move.
Some Useful Meditation Tips
Whatever the style of type of meditation that you decide to follow, these general steps should be taken to help you achieve a relaxed, focused state of mind.
- Turn Of That Phone – Silence or turn off your cell phone. You do not need to be disturbed by that phone call, email or text message as you are trying to clear your mind.
- Get The Mood Right – Get the meditation space right, if indoors, clear away any distractions, ease the lights, maybe set a few candles. If you prefer, get out into nature, somewhere away from crowds
- Warm Up – If you find it hard to settle down, try a few stretches, arm swings or even some yoga moves. it’s amazing how some defined movement can boost blood flow, helping to calm and settle you
- Get Comfortable – Make sure that you are comfortable before you start meditating, have a soft cushion with you to sit on, you don’t want to be sitting on an uncomfortably hard floor or wet grass for instance .
Could Using Nootropics Help Us Meditate?
There are a few different brain functions that can impact upon meditative brain states, some nootropics help to reduce the effects of stress, others activate calming brain chemicals.
Brain Functions And Meditation
Some nootropic supplements help to activate calming alpha waves along with increased acetylcholine and NGF production. Other types help to reduce the amount of stress hormone (cortisol) being released.
Experienced meditators are usually found to have a great level of alpha waves in their brain.
These are associated with higher levels of concentration and reduced response to outside stimuli.
So any nootropic ingredient that helps increase alpha waves is beneficial when trying to meditate.
Acetylcholine and NGF (Nerve Growth factor) Production
Acetylcholine is the natural brain chemical that enhances our attention processing and spatial awareness, in simple terms it helps us to improve our focus and basically ‘re-wire’ our brains faster in response to meditation.
NGF then helps implement this rewiring. Therefore any nootropics that help support both the production of NGF and acetylcholine is good for meditation.
Cortisol is the natural stress hormone that is released in response to stressors.
Some nootropics can reduce or even stop its release, helping to calm and even stop the bodies reaction to stressful influences, thoughts or emotions.
As above any nootropic that can do this can one help improve the quality of your meditation.
Useful Nootropics For Meditation
There are some natural nootropic ingredients that have shown great abilities at calming and focussing the mind, to help during periods of meditation.
They can help isolate specific brain chemicals, reduce or change brain waves to create less stress and sharpen focus and concentration during meditating.
L-Theanine – An all natural and proven nootropic compound, found in green tea. Meditative monks have used it for thousands of years to help provide them with a calm relaxed state suitable for meditation. The effects of L-Theanine have been described by experts as ‘mindful alertness’.
Technically – L-Theanine helps to increase alpha waves in the brain – very much like meditation does. It also helps to reduce stress, its beneficial effects can really help us slip into the deep state of thoughtless meditation that we desire.
Citocoline – Known to help support the crucial neurotransmitters acetylcholine and dopamine in the brain. Acetylcholine works in introverted people to speed the brain ability to process and store information by boosting alpha waves. In those who are more outgoing, dopamine helps to calm the brains processing speed, thus helping both extroverts and introverts achieve that mediative state.
Phosphatidylserine (PS) – reduces the release of cortisol and actively boosts acetylcholine helping to enhance a meditative state and boost focus and widening awareness. Experts tell us that this makes it easier to achieve a deep meditative state of mind
Lions Mane Mushroom – a natural mushroom that helps increase the production of NGF (nerve growth factor). This helps to rewire the brain, improving the brains reactions to meditation. When NGF is low it has been linked with poor moods, by boosting its production, the users moods can be greatly improved.
Maritime Bark Extract – Helps to relax blood vessels, allowing for a greater supply of blood, oxygen and essential nutrients like glucose to reach the brain. These all provide energy, boosting brain chemical production and increasing cognitive powers.
NALT (N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine) – Helps to reduce the brains negative responses to stress hormones, helps in the production of dopamine to boost the users moods, concentration and focus.
As a point of interest, NALT’s effects are increased when taken alongside my next mentioned ingredient Rhodiola Rosea
Rhodiola Rosea – A herbal based nootropic proven in studies for its ability to help reduce the effects on the brain of both long term and short term stress.
It works by maintaining healthy levels of acetylcholine along with other essential brain chemicals. Its effects are perfect for anybody trying to clear all thoughts and relax while meditating.
Combined with both NALT and Citicoline, Rhodiola Rosea appears to make up the perfect combination to help reduce the effects of fatigue and stress while getting into a state of concentrated relaxation
My Recommended Nootropic
Taking all these factors into account, there is one universal nootropic supplement that ticks all the above boxes, both on its effects and ingredients.
That product is called Mind lab Pro, made in an FDA approved facility in the US by UK based manufacturers Opti Nutra, its effects include, calming and relaxing the brain, boosting all cognitive functions, and ensuring optimum levels of all crucial brain chemicals.
On the evidence that I have seen, it certainly appears to be the best nootropic for meditating.