To summarize the positive changes that mindfulness promotes in the brain, think of the following six steps:
When you are mindful, you are paying attention to the reality of the present moment with accuracy and clarity.
This clarity redirects your attention away from ruminative stories about the future and the past to pay attention to the richness of the moment (the experiencing mode rather than the narrative mode).
This, in turn, turns down the reactivity of the emotional brain and leads to relaxation without having to keep mounting a stress response to imagined threats.
Over time (and as few as eight weeks), this will lead to neural connections developing in the prefrontal cortex of your brain that will help you to be more mindful and have more social and emotional intelligence.
This leads to a state of self-attunement and either an enhancement of your ability to be intuitive or empathic or to helping to overcome deficits in these areas if you did not have optimal attachment growing up.
Finally, you experience a state of equanimity with an increased ability to cope with whatever life throws your way.
All this from sitting down on a cushion and being quiet!