How Meditation Works

The Atlantic looks at the research and a few personal cases to understand why mindfulness meditation is having its moment in the West.

With millions of Americans taking up mindfulness and meditation, The Atlantic asks: how much good can mindfulness do when it comes to life’s “most mentally taxing episodes”?

The article delves into current research, mainly a comprehensive study from Justus Liebig-University in Geissen, Germany and Harvard Medical School, demonstrating the various neurological and conceptual processes underlying mindfulness.

From The Atlantic:

The report suggests that mindfulness meditation operates through a combination of several distinct mechanisms: attention regulation, body awareness, emotion regulation, and a change in perspective on the self. Each component is believed to assist us in various aspects of our lives, and when functioning together, the cumulative process claims to lend an enhanced capacity for “self-regulation”—the ability to control our own “thought, affect, behavior, or attention” (The loss of which has been cited as the cause of much psychological distress and suffering).

From the personal perspective, we’re introduced to Deb, who is diagnosed with breast cancer and gets into mindfulness through her treatment at Duke Integrative Medicine. She says mindfulness meditation diminished the anxiety she experienced from her diagnosis: “It meant taking a thought of anger or fear, and ‘dropping it like a boulder'” and learning how to stop living her life “in earnest and clawing for each day, but just to take it in.”

To read the rest of the article, click here.