The Science Behind Mindfulness

Train the Mind. Change the Brain.

Only a few decades ago, scientists considered the brain to be fixed and unchangeable by the end of adolescence (mid-20's). Then came the notion of "neuroplasticity," or the capacity of the brain to change with new experiences throughout the life span.

Mindfulness practices are increasingly being utilized to cultivate attention in the here and now, providing a concrete path for neuroplasticity, or changes in the structures and function of the brain.  Meditation practices work to train your mind on what you are thinking and feeling in the moment, and result in changing the structures and functions of the brain, allowing you to respond more thoughtfullty, rather than react in patterned ways that make things worse.

Research findings support that a regular mindfulness meditation practice helps the brain switch more naturally from a fight or flight response (driven by the amydala and sympathetic nervous system) to a more balanced emotional response (by engaging the parasympathetic nervous system). In fact, research supports the fact that as little as two weeks of a regular meditation practice can produce measurable changes in the structures of the brain.

If you would like to learn more about the science behind mindfulness, take a look at these videos of researchers Dr. Richard Davidson and Dr. Sarah Lazar.  If they don't crack the skeptic in you, no one will! 

Meditation, Science & The Mind - Pt. 1 - Dr. Richard Davidson - Benefits of Meditation on the Brain.

Transform Your Mind, Change Your Brain

Dr. Sara Lazar: The Impact of Mindfulness Training on Brain Plasticity and Cognition