In 2011, Sara Lazar and her team at Harvard found that mindfulness meditation can in fact alter the arrangement of the brain: Eight weeks of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was found to improve cortical thickness in the hippocampus, which governs learning and recollection, and in some specific regions of the mind that play roles in emotion regulation and self-referential processing. There were also declines in brain cell volume in the amygdala, which is in charge of panic, worry, and tension - and these changes fit the participants’ self-reports of their tension levels, suggesting that meditation not only changes the brain, but it alters our subjective perception and feelings too. Actually, a follow up study by Lazar’s team found that after meditation training, changes in brain regions linked to mood and arousal were also linked to developments in how participants said they felt - i.e., their emotional wellbeing.

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