Book: Buddha’s Brain

I’m reading the book Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love & Wisdom by Rick Hanson PhD and Richard Mendius MD and can’t resist sharing something I just read. It’s about how meditation affects the body/mind. It cites studies (which I won’t do here) showing that meditation does the following:

  • Increases gray matter in the insula, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex.
  • Reduces cortical thinning due to aging in prefrontal regions strengthened by meditation.
  • Improves psychological functions associated with these regions, including attention, compassion, and empathy.
  • Increases activation of left prefrontal regions, which lifts mood.
  • Increases gamma-range brainwaves (above beta, optimal cognitive functioning) in experienced meditators.
  • Decreases stress-related cortisol.
  • Strengthens the immune system.
  • Helps a variety of medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease, asthma, type II diabetes, PMS, and chronic pain.
  • Helps numerous psychological conditions, including insomnia, anxiety, phobias, and eating disorders.

The key is to develop a regular daily practice, no matter how brief. Even one minute before sleep makes a difference, if done consistently.

1 thought on “Book: Buddha’s Brain

  1. Hi Mary Ann,

    You might be interested in a 6 series teleseminar that Dr. Hanson is doing, beginning July 13, with Sounds True. It’s titled Awaken Your Brain. There will be live Q&A and an online forum for discussion. A chance to engage with Dr. Hanson in person! There’s more info at



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