New Science Shows How Mindfulness Meditations Change the Brain for the Better

A study published at the University of Utah has looked into how mindfulness affects the brain. Research shows just what happens in the brain during and after mindfulness meditations, and how this improves mental wellbeing.

person doing mindfulness meditations
Mindfulness can happen anywhere – source

Mindfulness, in theory, can be an amazing tool to improve mental health and positive feelings, but is it for everyone? How does it affect the brain, and can it apply to anyone? An officer worker, a stay at home parent, a health practitioner? Can it help individuals who suffer from mental illness, such as chronic stress, anxiety, and depression?

Let’s find out today.

What are Mindfulness Meditations

Mindfulness is the state of being conscious or aware of something. In mindfulness meditation, you are usually allowing the mind to rest on something, usually the present moment.

You may calmly be aware of your mind and bodily sensations. This allows you to calmly sort out thoughts and feelings with less judgment and negativity.

Science Behind Mindfulness

Here is the science behind this meditation technique.

Research at the University of Utah has found that mindfulness produces a natural high. This is a new insight into the chemical changes undergone in the brain.

The study focuses on theta waves, a type of brain frequency naturally occurring and located in the frontal region of the brain. People with low theta waves have trouble concentrating, low impulse control, negative thoughts, and a wandering mind.

Mindfulness meditations resulted in increased theta waves in this study with over 165 participants. These individuals had addictive personalities. When compared to therapy, individuals placed in mindfulness training had a larger increase in addiction treatment, reduction in pain, lowered stress, and increased self-awareness. People who did the mindfulness training also reported more self-regulation.


Mindfulness can be an effects tool in:

  • Reducing Addiction to Drugs
  • Increasing Self Control 
  • Reducing a Wandering Mind
  • Decreasing Rumination 
  • Reduction in Negativity
  • Increased Self Awareness
  • Reducing Stress
  • Reducing Pain 

Some of these benefits are caused by an increase in theta waves in the brain, which correlates to positive feelings and increased mental wellbeing.

How to Use Mindfulness Meditations Effectively

Here’s how to use mindfulness in a way that can help change and improve wellbeing. This study used Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE), so components of it will be outlined below:


Mindfulness is about becoming aware of where your attention goes, learning your cues, and shifting. Instead of focusing on detrimental stress or anxiety, bring attention to the breath and give little weight to negative thoughts.

By stopping and disrupting negative thoughts, you can adapt to a healthier mindset.


Reappraisal is about looking at how negative thoughts lead to addictive behaviors and negative emotions. Though mindfulness works, you cannot just ignore negativity. Instead, disengage from them.

The thoughts may occur but you can choose which to focus on and which to allow to flow out of your mind.


This aspect involves taking the time to enjoy naturally good experiences, like a beautiful sunset, a walk in nature, or a connection with someone you love.

The Takeaway

Mindfulness meditation can be a great tool for retraining the mind. Research shows how an increase in theta waves caused by mindfulness meditations increases mental wellbeing exponentially.

Mindfulness training includes mindfully assessing thoughts, rewiring negative habits in the brain, and taking the time to savor and enjoy the lovely things life has to offer. It can be used along with deep, conscious breaths to train the mind into thinking in a more positive way.

Mental health is just as important as physical health. Take steps to improve this aspect of wellbeing, which leads to better choices, and an increase in overall wellness.

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