How Mindfulness affects our brain

Here are some of the benefits of mindfulness on our brains.
  1. Slows down degeneration of the prefrontal cortex. Researchers looked at difference in brain regions between 20 experienced vs 15 meditation-naive controls. Meditation experience was associated with greater thickness at older age in areas associated with sustained attention and interoceptive awareness (ability to respond appropriately to internal signals);
  2. Long-time meditators show attentional expertise. In response to distractions, one study found that experienced meditators have less brain activation in areas linked to discursive thoughts and emotions, and more activation in regions linked to inhibition and attention compared to beginners.
  3. Compassion training strengthens resilience. A test group that was trained in empathic resonance was showed a video depicting human suffering. After empathy training alone, brain scans showed negative affect and brain activation in response to the video. However, subsequent compassion training showed to reverse the negative affect, and showed augmented self-reports of positive affect.

"One of the key practical lessons of modern neuroscience is that the power to direct our attention has within it the power to shape our brain’s firing patterns, as well as the power to shape the architecture of the brain itself" Dan Siegel