The veteran meditators showed greater skill at choosing what to focus on among competing stimuli than either of the other groups, and were better able to filter distractions to remain focused.
Scientists at the University of Wisconsin studied the brains of participants before and after they received eight weeks of MBSR training and compared them with those of a group of nonmeditators.
At the end of the training, the subjects received flu shots and their antibody activity was tested. The meditators show elevated activity in the area of the brain associated with lowered anxiety, a decrease in negative emotions, an increase in positive ones and their immune systems produced more antibodies in response to the vaccine.
In other words, there may be a strong link among meditation, positive emotions and a healthier immune system. The potential implications of these findings for our health, mood and behavior are great.
As Dr. Richard Davidson once said, "We now know that the brain is the one organ in our body built to change in response to experience and training. It's a learning machine."
Meditation, it seems, is a good way to keep that machine in motion.