Effects of Mindfulness Meditation on the Brain

Mindfulness MeditationMindfulness meditation affect the white matter as well as gray matter in the brain. Researchers observed that eight weeks of mindfulness meditation can actually change the structure of the brain. To get the benefits, you just need to practice 10 to 40 minutes of mindfulness meditation a day at home or office. Mindfulness meditation is used for the treatment of patients with depression, anxiety, stress, or pain.

Neuroscientists have also found that mindfulness meditation reduces stress, improves concentration, increases self-awareness, increases happiness, increases acceptance, slows aging and give benefits in cardiovascular and immune health. They found that mindfulness meditation increase the cortical thickness in the hippocampus area of the brain and reduces the size of the amygdala. Different parts of these brain regions are influenced in different ways.

Meditation is a complex emotional and attentional regulatory training. Different meditation techniques require different cognitive processes and thus produce different effects on brain structure. But, despite differences in meditation techniques and underlying cognitive processes, meditation has significant influence  on the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), the insula, the amygdala, the thalamus, and the hippocampus area of the brain.

Researchers observed that practice non-judgmental awareness of mindfulness meditation affect the white matter microstructure adjacent to five brain regions. These five areas are thalamus, insula, amygdala, hippocampus, and anterior cingulate cortex. They indicate that the practice of mindfulness meditation might result in white matter connectivity change and might provide evidence on its ability to help diminish age-related degeneration. The insula has been found to be highly involved in body awareness, which, in turn, is considered to be a relevant aspect of mindfulness.

Understanding the dynamic connectivity during meditation is an important aspect of modern meditation research. Meditation develop dynamic connectivity between the six regions of the brain.   Default mode network (DMN)  is a network of brain regions that are active when the individual is not focused on the outside world and the brain is at wakeful rest.  Mindfulness meditation leads to relatively reduced default mode processing.