"Transcendental Meditation (TM) is an increasingly popular mental technique producing relaxation. To assess specific personal effects, a role construct repertory grid and an Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ) were completed by subjects, once before and twice after starting the regular practice of TM. Comparison subjects did not learn TM and were assessed in the same ways at the same times. Initially the two groups differed only in that meditation subjects tended to judge other people to be more unlike their ideal selves than did comparison subjects. This difference was maintained.
"With meditation subjects the grid results showed a systematic pattern of significant changes over the three tests. These indicate that meditators came to perceive their actual-selves as being increasingly similar to their ideal- and social-selves and that they developed a more strongly defined concept of their actual-selves.
" The strength of definition of self concepts was indicated by the newly defined index ‘Self Defining Polarization’ (SDP). EPQ results showed increased extraversion in meditators. Comparison subjects did not show consistent or significant changes between tests on any measure."
...With meditation subjects the grid results showed a systematic pattern of significant changes over the three tests. These indicate that meditators came to perceive their actual-selves as being increasingly similar to their ideal- and social-selves and that they developed a more strongly defined concept of their actual-selves.... Excerpts from Effects of Transcendental Meditation on self-identity indices and personality by Michael J. Turnbull, Hugh Norris Published on 04/13/2011
"Mindfulness training appears to enhance attentional monitoring systems in the brain, supported by the anterior cingulate and lateral prefrontal cortices. In emotion regulation, this prefrontal training seems to promote the stable recruitment of a non-conceptual sensory pathway, an alternative to conventional cognitive reappraisal strategies. In neural terms, the transition to non-conceptual awareness involves reducing habitual evaluative processing supported by midline structures of the prefrontal cortex. Instead, attentional resources are directed towards a limbic pathway for present-moment sensory awareness, involving the thalamus, insula, and primary sensory regions. In patients with affective disorders, mindfulness training acts as an alternative to cognitive efforts to control emotion, instead directing attention towards broadly monitoring fluctuations in momentary experience. Limiting cognitive elaboration in favor of momentary awareness appears to reduce automatic negative self-evaluation, increase tolerance for negative affect and pain, and help to engender self-compassion and empathy in chronically dysphoric individuals."
Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 2012 February; 57(2): 70–77.