decreased volume of gray matter in the amygdala,

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“Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness”

 

Mindfulness practice has also been associated with decreased volume of gray matter in the amygdala, which decreases reactivity to trauma-relevant triggers.

 

 

 

In an eight-week study, individuals who participated in a mindfulness-based program were reported to have significantly less perceived stress and reductions in the amygdala gray matter density.

 

 

In other studies, meditators have shown decreased physiological reactivity after being exposed to a stressor, and a lower amygdala response to emotional stimulation during meditation.

 

 

Following in the footsteps of these researchers, the group found that these changes transferred to nonmeditative states—that the decrease in amygdala activity occurred following meditation as well.

 

 

More generally, mindfulness meditation has also been shown to activate areas of the prefrontal cortex involved in emotional regulation.

 

 

There are several theories as to why mindfulness decreases amygdala activity and improves emotional regulation, including the idea that our enhanced ability to regulate attention is an important resource when we’re confronted with stressful events.

 

 

If we have some control over what we focus on, we can cope more effectively with our emotions and behaviors.

 

 

The above findings offer us some clues as to why mindfulness has been shown to diminish stress and emotional reactivity, and improve overall health.

 

 

But great gaps in understanding remain.

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