UCLA neuroscientists used MRIs to scan the brains of long-term meditators and found that areas of their brains were larger than normal, especially in regions associated with emotions. Eileen Luders, the lead author and a postdoctoral research fellow at UCLA’s Neuro Imaging Laboratory, said: “We know that people who consistently meditate have a singular ability to cultivate positive emotions, retain emotional stability and engage in mindful behavior.” Other benefits to meditation include better focus and control over emotions, increased immune function, and stress reduction. The people studied varied in the amount of years they had been meditating (from 5 to 42 years) and they said they practiced 10 to 90 minutes every day and that deep concentration was an essential aspect of their practice. These people had larger cerebral measurements compared with the control group (along with increased volume in the right hippocampus, gray matter in the right orbito-frontal cortex, the right thalamus, and the left inferior temporal lobe). These areas are closely linked to emotions and researchers think this is the key to understanding why meditation allows you to handle whatever life throws at you.
information from UCLA Magazine