Skip Navigation

HHS HealthBeat (May 13, 2011)

Meditation and the brain

Woman meditating by the sea
Listen to TipAudio

Take the Next Step

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Nicholas Garlow with HHS HealthBeat.

An eight-week study found that meditation can affect regions of the brain that are associated with sense of self, empathy, muscle control, stress and memory. The study shows that those effects may last longer than just during the period of meditation.

Sarah Lazar is a scientist at Mass General Hospital in Boston.

“If the brain is changing, then that could support altered functioning, altered behavior, altered mood, throughout the rest of the day and not just while you’re sitting and meditating.” (9 seconds)

The study used breath awareness meditation, yoga and body scan meditation.

“All three of these meditation techniques are taught in a way to enhance mindfulness. It’s been defined as paying attention in the present moment, on purpose, with a specific non-judgmental attitude.” (11 seconds)

The study in the Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Journal was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Learn more at

HHS HealthBeat is production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Nicholas Garlow.

Last revised: May 19, 2011