Genuine Heart Counseling, LLC

Effects on the Nervous System

As human beings we have an inherent ability for mindfulness, and this nonjudgmental, inward attention of mindfulness practice naturally activates our parasympathetic nervous system, our bodies natural calming system, and supports several aspects of wellbeing.

Mindfulness strengthens our:

  • Insula
    • Which supports emotional regulation, perception and self awareness
  • Hippocampus
    •  Which supports a stronger memory and strengthens our ability to reevaluate a potential threat
  • Prefrontal cortex
    • Which strengthens our ability for discernment, evaluation of consequences, and working toward a goal
  • Left frontal regions
    • Which produces a more uplifted mood

Meditation also:

  • decreases cortisol, our bodies natural stress hormone
  • strengthens the immune system


Aspects of mindfulness practice that directly impact on our bodies nervous system and support our tendency toward balance:

  • withdrawing attention from stressful matters
  • relaxing our bodies through mindful breathing
  • bringing awareness into the body


“…even a single breath from beginning to end-or a single step on the way to work-can be remarkably centering and calming”

Hanson and Mendius


Referenced from Buddha’s Brain by Richard Hanson and Richard Mendius