MIT and Harvard neuroscientists found that people trained to meditate are better able to control "alpha rhythms" brain waves, thought to be responsible for minimizing distractions. After learning how to meditate, research participants' alpha waves were significantly amplified when focusing on specific body parts.
The findings suggest that those who suffer chronic pain—including stress—may benefit from meditation because of an increased ability to "turn down the volume on pain signals." If you have chronic pain or stress, mindfulness-based stress reduction or meditation may help you ease that pain. (For a quick jump start into meditating, see the lifehacker.com's layman's guide to meditation.)