This page summarizes research on the benefits of mindfulness, including neuroscience, the latest scientific studies, and specific benefits for students and educators.

Mindfulness Training leads to structural changes in the brain that develop and enhance the qualities including kindness, patience and compassion; in addition to increasing executive function and improving impulse control.

Research has found that mindfulness practices can be an effective method of treating anxiety, stress, and depression.

How Meditation Changes The Brain




Aroused when detecting and reacting to emotions, especially difficult or strong emotions such as fear. This part of the brain is less activated1 and has less gray matter density2 following mindfulness training.


Critical to learning and memory, and helps regulate the Amygdala. This part of the brain is more active4 and has more gray matter density3 following mindfulness training.

Prefrontal Cortex

The part of the brain most associated with maturity, including regulating emotions and behaviors and making wise decisions. This part of the brain is more activated following mindfulness training.5



Mindfulness is associated with emotion regulation across a number of studies6. Mindfulness creates changes in the brain that correspond to less reactivity7, and better ability to engage in tasks even when emotions are activated.8


People randomly assigned to mindfulness training are more likely to help someone in need9 and have greater self-compassion.10




Studies find that mindfulness reduces feelings of stress11 and improves anxiety and distress when placed in a stressful social situation.12

Boosts Your Immunity

Reduces the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Reduces Physical Pain



Improves children’s math scores


Reduces ADHD symptoms and symptoms of other learning disorders13

40% reduction in psychological distress, including stress, anxiety and depression15


1.) Lutz, A., Slagter, H. A., Dunne, J. D., & Davidson, R. J. (2008). Attention regulation and monitoring in meditation. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 12(4), 163–169.

Desbordes, G., Negi, L. T., Pace, T. W., Wallace, B. A., Raison, C. L., & Schwartz, E. L. (2012). Effects of mindful-­attention and compassion meditation training on Amygdala response to emotional stimuli in an ordinary, non-­meditative state. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 6.

2.) Hölzel, B. K., Carmody, J., Evans, K. C., Hoge, E. A., Dusek, J. A., Morgan, L., … Lazar, S. W. (2010). Stress reduction correlates with structural changes in the amygdala. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 5(1), 11–17.

3.) Goldin, P. R., & Gross, J. J. (2010). Effects of mindfulness-­based stress reduction (MBSR) on emotion regulation in social anxiety disorder. Emotion, 10(1), 83.

4.) Hölzel, B. K., Carmody, J., Vangel, M., Congleton, C., Yerramsetti, S. M., Gard, T., & Lazar, S. W. (2011). Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 191(1), 36–43.

5.) 14 Chiesa, A., & Serretti, A. (2010). A systematic review of neurobiological and clinical features of mindfulness meditations. Psychological Medicine, 40(08), 1239–1252.

6.) 3 Roemer, L., Williston, S. K., & Rollins, L. G. (2015). Mindfulness and emotion regulation. Current Opinion in Psychology, 3, 52–57.

7.) Goldin, P. R., & Gross, J. J. (2010). Effects of mindfulness-­based stress reduction (MBSR) on emotion regulation in social anxiety disorder. Emotion, 10(1), 83.

8.) Ortner, C. N., Kilner, S. J., & Zelazo, P. D. (2007). Mindfulness meditation and reduced emotional interference on a cognitive task. Motivation and Emotion, 31(4), 271–283.

9.) 6 Condon, P., Desbordes, G., Miller, W. B., & DeSteno, D. (2013). Meditation increases compassionate responses to suffering. Psychological Science, 24(10), 2125–2127.

10.) Birnie, K., Speca, M., & Carlson, L. E. (2010). Exploring self-­compassion and empathy in the context of mindfulness-­based stress reduction (MBSR). Stress and Health, 26(5), 359–371.

Neff, K. D., & Germer, C. K. (2013). A Pilot Study and Randomized Controlled Trial of the Mindful Self-­Compassion Program. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 69(1), 28–44.

Shapiro, S. L., Brown, K. W., & Biegel, G. M. (2007). Teaching self-­care to caregivers: effects of mindfulness-­based stress reduction on the mental health of therapists in training. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 1(2), 105.

11.) Chiesa, A., & Serretti, A. (2009). Mindfulness-­based stress reduction for stress management in healthy people: a review and meta-­analysis. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 15(5), 593–600.
Pbert, L., Madison, J. M., Druker, S., Olendzki, N., Magner, R., Reed, G., … Carmody, J. (2012). Effect of mindfulness training on asthma quality of life and lung function: a randomised controlled trial. Thorax, 67(9), 769–776.

12.) Hoge, E. A., Bui, E., Marques, L., Metcalf, C. A., Morris, L. K., Robinaugh, D. J., … Simon, N. M. (2013). Randomized Controlled Trial of Mindfulness Meditation for Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Effects on Anxiety and Stress Reactivity. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 74(8), 786–792.

13.) Mind & Brain: The Journal of Psychiatry 2 (1): 73-81, 2011

15.) American Journal of Hypertension 22(12): 1326-1331, 2009

16.) Journal of Social Behavior and Personality 6 (1991): 189–247.
Higher Stages of Human Development: Perspectives on Adult Growth (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), 286–341


  • 25% of teenagers suffer from anxiety disorders
  • 6.5 million children struggle from disabilities that impair their ability to learn
  • One in three children are either overweight or obese
  • One of every four adolescents will have an episode of major depression



  • Strengthens immune system
  • Improves digestion
  • Improves nervous system
  • Improves cellular regeneration
  • Decreases stress and anxiety
  • Assists in weight control
  • Boosts oxytocin levels
  • Lifts serotonin levels


  • Increases test scores
  • Decreases test anxiety
  • Improves concentration and attention
  • Improves information processing and decision making
  • Improves visuospatial processing and working memory
  • Improves gross motor skills and development
  • Decreases bullying
  • Improves problem solving skills


  • Improves communication and listening skills
  • Builds empathy and compassion
  • Increases self-esteem and a sense of belonging
  • Increase self-awareness
  • Improve self-expression, self-resilience, and self-sufficiency
  • Increases feelings of gratitude
  • Increases patience

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As Daniel Goleman states in Building Academic Success on Social and Emotional Learning:

“Most of us have assumed that the kind of academic learning that goes on in school has little or nothing to do with one’s emotions or social environment. Now neuroscience is telling us the exact opposite. The emotional centers of the brain are intricately interwoven with the neocortical areas involved in cognitive learning. When a child trying to learn is caught up in a distressing emotion, the centers for learning are temporarily hampered. The child’s attention becomes preoccupied with whatever may be the source of the trouble. Because attention in itself is a limited capacity, the child has that much less ability to hear, understand, or remember what a teacher or a book is saying. In short there is a direct link between emotions and learning.”