What Is the Science Behind Mindfulness?

27 May 2024

Feeling stressed? Mindfulness can help! Backed by science, it improves focus, reduces stress, and enhance compassion. Discover how meditation and mindfulness practices enhance your wellbeing.


Mindfulness and its most popular variant, meditation, have become mainstays of both corporate and personal wellness plans. But is there a scientific basis for this? Find out more below.

What Is the Science Behind Mindfulness?

Though mindful practices have a long history across different cultural and religious groups, our scientific understanding of them is still emerging. That said, scientists have made significant strides in the last few decades to better understand the impact of mindfulness and have established a growing body of research to support its benefits.

In this blog, we’ll explore the physical and mental health benefits of mindfulness and the science behind them.

Meditation, mindfulness and cognitive flexibility

The scientific basis for mindfulness can be found in its measurable capacity to promote neuroplasticity or to ‘rewire’ our brains. Some research suggests that the regular practice of mindfulness activities, such as meditation, can alter the functioning of certain parts of the brain, including:

  • the amygdala, which regulates fear, emotions and stress responses;
  • the pre-frontal cortex, which facilitates problem-solving and emotional control; and
  • the hippocampus, which supports memory and learning.

By strengthening areas of the brain that promote both emotional regulation and emotional intelligence, mindfulness practitioners tend to enjoy higher levels of cognitive flexibility. This makes them more adaptable to changing situations and less likely to be affected by the stress that such changes may otherwise cause.

The scientific benefits of mindfulness

1. Better focus

Mindfulness, specifically meditation, can help us develop a more active awareness of our surroundings, improve our ability to focus during problem-solving activities and reduce the tendency for our minds to wander when we’re trying to focus. Research has also found that mindfulness often increases the intensity of our response to positive stimuli and decreases the intensity towards negative stimuli, suggesting it can help counter our predisposition to fixate on negative information.

2. Reduced stress and improved mental health

People who engage in regular meditation have demonstrated an increased capacity to return to a baseline emotional state after a stressful experience. Neuroscientists think this is because mindfulness practices reduce activity in the amygdala while also increasing the amount of connection between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala, thereby decreasing reactivity to stress and hastening recovery time after a stressful event.

The stress-relieving attributes of mindful meditation can also contribute to the improvement of overall mental health, including reducing the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

3. Increased compassion

Mindfulness has been found to not only increase compassion, but also our capacity to act on our compassion. This is because the state of mental paralysis that many people feel when they witness suffering can be effectively broken down by the regular practise of mindful meditation. This is closely related to the changes in brain activity outlined above that contribute to stress reduction.

4. Improved physical health

Studies have found that regularly engaging in mindfulness activities can improve the function of our immune system and the health of our heart, decrease the decline in sensory perception and muscle control that tends to come with ageing, and slow down the speed of cellular ageing.

Mindfulness can also improve the quality of our sleep, particularly for people who have insomnia.

Mindfulness at Central Park

Are you looking for a workspace that aligns with your corporate wellness program?

With our exclusive amenities, including the CBD’s only dedicated green space, Central Park is equipped to support your organisation. 

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