What does meditation actually do to the brain?

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I know it’s supposed to reduce stress, make you relaxed, even reduce anxiety/depression and whatever. But what does the meditation process actually change in your brain? And why do certain actions (like focusing on your breathing) bring these changes?

In: Biology

There are a few different types of meditation with a few different goals.

One goal is to just relax. Another goal is to think clearly without fleeting “automatic” thoughts. By focusing on your breathing for example, you aren’t distracted by fleeting or “automatic” thoughts. It relaxes you. By getting rid of these automatic thoughts (the kind where you aren’t *trying* to think of this particular thing; it just happens), you can focus on a specific concept or issue you are trying to consider.

Edit: sorry, my response doesn’t have anything to do with the biological side of it. I’d assume it decreases cortisol levels though?