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


The Connection System: The networks for compassion and empathy


Function: Enables you to form emotional connections, see other perspectives, and tend-and-befriend.

Key Structures Enhanced: Vagus nerve, temporal parietal junction, mirror neurons, right amygdala, and networks for parental love and positivity.

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

Strengthening This System Corresponds To:

      • Higher vagal tone: increased ability to attune to people, plus stronger immune system and resilience to stress
      • Enlarged right amygdala: increased sensitivity to emotions and pain of others
      • Increased activity in the positivity network (increased happiness, joy and well-being)
      • Reduction in unconscious bias


Cultivating Compassion:

Is a workout for the connection system.

Think of a person you want to connect with. Invite feelings of goodwill towards that person by saying these phrases:


May you be safe

May you be healthy and strong

May you live with ease

May you be kind to yourself