Recent Blog Articles

Men's Health

Mindfulness meditation improves connections in the brain

April 8, 2011
  • By Carolyn Schatz, Former Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch

About the Author

photo of Carolyn Schatz

Carolyn Schatz, Former Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch

Carolyn R. Schatz was the editor of the Harvard Women’s Health Watch from 1999 to May 2012. Before joining HHP, Carolyn developed and produced science and medical stories for NBC News in New York. She received two … See Full Bio
View all posts by Carolyn Schatz


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.


Peter Lind
February 9, 2012

This is a good reminder once again to be mindful. If we can have times throughout the day where we stop and pause and remind ourselves to become aware of our present situation we can become mindful. The next step of course is to do this throughout the day.

Some people even take it a step further and to actually practice meditation.

January 24, 2012

the points were sent across is very understandable. I loved it.

January 21, 2012

It is amazing how much more we now know about the brain. In recent years we are finding more and more out about the brain and how it works.

December 30, 2011

We don’t need to do MRI scans to prove the effectiveness of mindfulness or other therapies.

Ask a patient to say how much a particular therapy helped them on a scale of 1 to 5. This will be more accurate than an MRI scan at ascertaining the effectiveness of a particular technique.

Do neurologists spend their nights scanning their own brains working out whether they prefer cheesecake or chocolate ice cream? Surely it’s quicker just to taste them and decide from your actual experience!? This method is much cheaper and more accurate.

MRI scans are a less accurate and more costly way of saying if something is effective. The scans are missing the wood for the trees.

December 30, 2011

Nobody but we ourselves can gives us stress . The more you cling to ,the more you suffer from afraid of losing.Mindful meditation let us understand clearly that there is nothing to cling to because I,mine,you,yours do not exist in ever changing world.When we possess nothing we have nothing to lose, then we don’t have to afraid of losing anything.Everything including we human beings is changing with dynamic equilibrium.

December 30, 2011

You can find the step-by-step methods of meditation from the book Mindfulness of Breathing by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu translated from Thai version into English by Bhikkhu Nagasena.

December 27, 2011

Mindfulness meditation is not only good for physical and mental health but also help us live at the present moment.
With time it will help us understand who we really are.

Birdie Dykes
December 24, 2011

It is possible to just make everything right and at the same time having a gain in mental fitness through meditation? If this happens, a medical problem may be present but meditation brings a sense of peace and calm to help a person overcome the fear and anxiety associated with illness. This practice can help to improve quality of life while the body is healing. I am grateful for your post here.

December 8, 2011

Meditation has such a long tradition and I am always amazed at how much clearer I feel after a good meditation. Do you have any step-by-step methods you use to deepen your meditation practice?

December 26, 2011

I’m a big fan of mindfulness teachers Tara Brach and Jack Kornfeld. Brach’s Radical Acceptance and Kornfeld’s A Lamp in the Darkness both come with guided meditations on CDs that I use.

lee duploy
November 17, 2011

Tai Chi and dementia.

With an ever increasing older population and more media suggestions that we should live longer and be happier, there is growing evidence that a simple exercise like Tai Chi can delay the onset of dementia in older patients.
Tai Chi in a sense requires little thought but is a series of movemnts which allow the patient to participate without too much effort.

Hong Kong has among the worlds longest living older population, inspite of the populution so previlent here.
Tai Chi is practised in every park here by older folk , in my opnion definitely is proof of longevity.

I am surprised that hospitals in the west do not adopt this simple method of “mind body’ concept instead of persisting with distraction techniques which involves sedation and tv.

thank you

lee du ploy (hong kong)

Alice VR
December 27, 2011

I agree that Tai Chi is immensely powerful and a gift to us from the East. The hospitals where I live near San Francisco all offer classes in Tai Chi, as do other Wellness Centers and schools. None of them encourage TV as you suggested, though I would say many individuals may self medicate or distract in unhealthy ways. Here, exercise and meditation are very important and you do see Tai Chi in the parks in San Francisco!

Fern Almond
October 22, 2011

Have become very interested in self hypnosis and am trying various MP3 audio downloads for several subjects.
[URL removed by moderator]

October 18, 2011

Meditation really helps the body and mind to relax. A good practice to do especially for stressful people.
[URL removed by moderator]

Carolyn Schatz
October 9, 2011

An interesting new study based on a trial of mindfulness based stress reduction finds that mindfulness meditation helps relieve irritable bowel symptoms in women. To read an abstract of this study, go to

October 2, 2011

Great thing to share! I have the same feeling! For a great period I have thought that I cannot meditate, that it’s too relaxing for me. I’m the living proof that it’s not the truth. Music can do wonders!


September 28, 2011

Great article You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be really something which I think I would never understand. thanks for the sharing .

September 11, 2011

Great Post you guys!

Cheers, Mark Watson
[URL removed by moderator]

August 27, 2011

can’t wait to acquire the meditation excited.thanks for sharing

July 26, 2011

Excellent article Mindfulness has also been used to control depression and teen cutting
[URL removed by moderator]

July 25, 2011

Where can I get the meditation tapes?

July 15, 2011

Many people also use meditation to improve their health conditions. Since meditation can aid in relaxation, it can reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Meditating is a good way to forgo the tension of a bad day.
[URL removed by moderator]

Paul Ang
June 17, 2011

Regarding your statement, “A new study, published in the May 2011 issue of Neuroimage, suggests that one effect of all this focusing and refocusing is increased brain connectivity.” how do you do your study?


D. Taveras
May 11, 2011

Hi – I was at Harvard several years ago, and I remember purchasing, for $5, a mindfulness meditation tape. It was a wonderful resource for me for a long time. Unfortunately, I’ve lost that set of tapes. Can you let me know if I can re-purchase them? Maybe as CDs or MP3s

December 30, 2011

Thy using google… dur!

Jan Hoy
May 2, 2011

One of our leading heart specialists here in Sydney Australia
has recommended a product called RESPeRATE which is a twenty minute mediation to specially chosen music, but unfortunately we are not able to purchase it in Australia yet. Do you know of this product and what do you think? As a musician and retired teacher myself and having done class meditation with my students I would probably be able to set up something similar for myself and hubby?

kent norton
May 2, 2011

there are a ton of meditation and sleep videos and music free on u tube. you do not need to purchase it. there is software that willput the mp3 directly on your itunes. your brain will thank you.

May 2, 2011

Yoga and meditation put the busy mind at ease and create space for our wise self to find its wordless expression: intuition. We realize the joy of just being…

May 2, 2011

Maha Meditation can go deeper in terms of effect – not only improve connectivity of brain cells, but also repair and reform cells in other part of body. [URL removed by moderator]

April 28, 2011

I believe that meditation has so many positive effects on overall health because it brings the body back to “homeostasis,” or its natural state. All organs and systems within the body begin to work in harmony when they are not bothered by external stimuli.

Yoga is a great form of meditative movement that give these same results

Mike J Hughes
April 27, 2011

I like this very much .There is as yet much more esoteric mysteries that can not be revealed, as yet to dangerous due to the fact that the greater majority of humanity are not at this stage of development in mentality to use it wisely.

April 25, 2011

I recommend reading the book ” Mindfulness in Plain English ”
its my bible in Mindfulness Meditation

How to hypnotise
April 19, 2011

Very interesting, you are actually explaining a self hypnosis technique that I use to hypnotise myself. Remarkable that this is being studied by these research Universities and I guess it only cements the theory that these techniques have results.

Thank you for the interesting article.

Paul Wiwatowski

[URL removed by moderator]

kent norton
May 2, 2011

herbert benson, m.d. at harvard med studied the yogis 40 years ago. this is old research. meditation, yoga, tai chi, reiki. its all taught at harvard medical school.its been a long time coming

A Different Designer
April 18, 2011

Very Interesting.

Commenting has been closed for this post.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.