Yoga and meditation physically changes the brain to reduce anxiety and strengthen rational thinking.
Science proves meditating restructures your brain and trains it to concentrate, feel greater compassion, cope with stress, and more.
In a study published in the journal NeuroImage in 2009, Eileen Luders and her colleagues compared the MRI brain scans of 22 meditators and 22 age-matched non-meditators and found that the meditators (who practiced a wide range of traditions and had between 5 and 46 years of meditation experience) had more grey matter in regions of the brain that are important for attention, emotion regulation, and mental flexibility. Increased grey matter typically makes an area of the brain more efficient or powerful at processing information.
The prefrontal cortex, is the most evolved part of the brain and is responsible for positive capacities like concentration, happiness, creativity, and rational thinking. Studies using EEG have shown that meditation strengthens communication between the prefrontal cortex and other areas of the brain.
A 2010 study found that subjects who meditated 30 minutes a day for eight weeks had a reduction of grey matter in the amygdala—which is linked to fear and anxiety.
According to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience in April 2011, brain scans of this region demonstrated that mindfulness meditation can dramatically reduce sensitivity to pain—even more so than morphine.