In recent years, scientists studying mindfulness have made some exciting discoveries. These studies have helped us understand more about how mindfulness works and why it can be so powerful.
Some of the fascinating discoveries centre on the impact that regular mindfulness can have on the brain. These findings suggest mindfulness can change the structure of the brain itself, which likely contributes to the many benefits experienced by people who practise mindfulness.
For example, one study found a reduction in the size of the amygdala — the part of the brain involved in stress response — in people who practise mindfulness. In contrast, another study found that areas of the brain responsible for attention and thinking were larger in those people as well.
These findings suggest mindfulness may directly influence the brain, which in turn affects how we think, feel, and behave.
Mindfulness can also help us respond to life’s challenges by training us to become aware of them — without allowing them to take over or dominate our thoughts. It helps us practise the art of letting go of things beyond our control. We can then work on accepting our current situation regardless of any difficulties we may be facing.
Depending on the type of mindful activities chosen, it can also activate the relaxation response — a powerful antidote to the stresses of the modern world.