The MBSR Programme and Mindfulness practice seems to promote a “left-shift” in the brain. This means that there is increased activity in the left frontal activity of the brain after MBSR training. This change in function seems to reflect the development of an “approach state,” in which we move towards, rather than away from, a difficult external event or difficult internal thoughts and emotions. The development of this approach mentality, or an openenss to be aware of difficult emotions, seems to be related to emotional strength and resilience.
A second effect which is being noticed is an improvement in immune function. Not only is general resilience developed, but the body’s ability to fight infection is improved. I have already written about the studies which have seen this in HIV cases.
Thirdly, the MBSR Programme is related to participants expressing a greater internal sense of stability and clarity. This is certainly my experience in the Programees we have run here in Geneva. However, it has been studied in a pilot study at the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center by Daniel Siegal. He found that adults and adolescents with attentional problems achieved more executive function improvements sustaining attention, diminishing distractibility) than are accomplished with justmedications for this condition. This research links in with the work done by Alan Wallace, Richie Davidson and Amiji Jha who have also found significant improvements in attentional regulation in those who have had mindfulness meditation training, such as enhanced focus.