Mindfulness is all the rage right now and for good reason, the benefits of being able to be aware of yourself and your impact on others are great. Mindfulness has a lot in common with metacognition insofar that it provokes self-awareness and the more you practice it the better you get at it. If you haven’t tried mindful thinking then maybe this newest research will motivate you. It turns out that mindful people experience less pain than people who don’t practice mindfulness.
Whole brain analyses revealed that higher dispositional mindfulness during painful heat was associated with greater deactivation of a brain region called the posterior cingulate cortex, a central neural node of the default mode network. Further, in those that reported higher pain, there was greater activation of this critically important brain region.
The study provided novel neurobiological information that showed people with higher mindfulness ratings had less activation in the central nodes (posterior cingulate cortex) of the default network and experienced less pain. Those with lower mindfulness ratings had greater activation of this part of the brain and also felt more pain, Zeidan said.