From Mindful Leader: The 4 Main Brain Systems Changed by Mindfulness Practices


The Attention System: The networks for attention and focus


Function: Enables you to focus sustained attention on a task while resisting distractions.

Key Structures Enhanced: The anterior cingulate cortex (error detection & awareness) and the right lateral prefrontal cortex (RLPFC – focus and distraction inhibition)

Key Structure Regulated: The default mode network (mind wondering and distraction)

Strengthening This System Corresponds To:

      • Lower stress arousal response and lower inflammation
      • Higher baseline level of equanimity
      • Composure in times of crisis


Awareness of Breath Meditation:

Is a workout for the attention system.

Bring your awareness to the breath as it is, moving in and out of the body.

Notice when you lose focus and the mind wonders away from the breath (This is your error detection system noticing your default mode network activating).

Gently guide your awareness back to the breath (This is your RLPFC focusing your attention).