Dr. Richard Davidson has been studying mediation for decades. A friend of the Dalai Lama, he has scanned the brains of Buddhist monks and tells us the brain can actually make new connections, even grow new neurons is this state called neuroplasticity. He believe with practice, it can improve symptoms of social anxiety, phobias and inflammatory problems.
In a study of 34 mediation trials, a government panel found it can reduce chronic and acute pain. While the evidence is weaker on the effects on stress and anxiety, there were benefits.
Patrick says thanks to meditation, he has quit smoking and is off his ADHD meds.