MIT and Harvard neuroscientists explain why the practice of meditation helps tune out distractions and relieve pain. In a study published in the journal Brain Research Bulletin, researchers found that people trained to meditate over an eight-week period were better able to control a specific type of brain waves called alpha rhythms.
The subjects trained in meditation also reported that they felt less stress than the non-meditators. “Their objective condition might not have changed, but they’re not as reactive to their situation,” Kerr says. “They’re more able to handle stress.”