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Dr. Judson Brewer notes that the psychological hallmark of many forms of mental illness — anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and schizophrenia — is a preoccupation with one’s own thoughts, specifically the negative ones. A series of studies have linked these disorders with overactivity or faulty neurological wiring in the default mode network, the brain region that was less active in experienced meditators. Meditation isn’t a cure for mental illness, Brewer said, but he said his study suggests that there may be a neurological basis for the benefits that many meditators report — increased awareness, improved concentration, and a better ability to deal with the cognitive and emotional stresses of modern life.

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