Science now proves it: When you are eating healthier, exercising regularly, and practicing stress reduction, you not only feel better, but you’re able to make better decisions. Studies show in just 14 days, a combination of these three changes, along with memory exercise, improves cognitive function and brain efficiency. Add meditation to your routine and you’ll thicken the prefrontal cortex, enabling you to manage impulses and more effectively make decisions by weighing consequences. In other words, you’ll find it easier to say “no” when the impulse arises. A client of mine shares this insight: “My meditation practice and having time to decompress is essential for my health. It keeps me balanced and helps keep my cravings for sugar at bay.”

Functional magnetic resonance imaging on Tibetan monks, who meditate daily, shows higher brain activity in their PFC, and scans of longtime meditators averaging six hours per week indicate a thickening of the cortices. Research has found that people who were least likely to relapse in alcoholic abstinence programs had thicker cortices, and when they did fall off the wagon, they experienced less severe relapses. Peeke says that “meditation significantly helps restore PFC function and, like exercise, optimal benefits occur when meditation is practiced consistently.”