Functional MRI brain scans have demonstrated increased activity in the prefrontal cortex, insula and anterior cingulate cortex. These areas are important for the executive function of our brain including awareness, concentration, decision making, memory, emotional regulation, coping and self-referencing. The brain’s “fight or flight” centre, the amygdala that is associated with fear and emotion decreases in activity in response to mindfulness. There is a decreased connection between the amygdala and other parts of the brain and increased connection with higher brain areas. There are also structural changes in our brain with thickening of our cortex. Therefore as we meditate we change how our brains work that results in greater calm, loving kindness, compassion, equanimity and self-regulation. As we practice mindfulness ultimately the practice does us!
– Phil Blustein