In their book Mindfulness for Life, co-authors Hassed and McKenzie highlight a distinct correlation between levels of emotional intelligence and meditation, noting that through the process of meditation (or mindfulness as they call it) subjects became more self-aware, more motivated, and more able to enjoy a significantly better quality of life.
"Research has found that people who rate highly on mindfulness scales also rate highly on emotional intelligence (EI) and empathy. EI has a number of elements, including self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, motivation and social skills." (page 84)
"Since 2002 the core curriculum at Monash University has included a six-week mindfulness and lifestyle programme called the Health Enhancement Program… The key enablers are learning about mindfulness, motivation and behaviour change. A study on the programme published in 2009 showed that it significantly improved student wellbeing and quality of life even in high-stress pre-exam periods. The programme is currently being taken up by other universities and faculties in Australia and elsewhere." (page 273)
Dr. Hassed, Craig and Dr. McKenzie, Stephen. Mindfulness for Life. London: Constable & Robinson Ltd, 2012. Print.
In her book Beat Stress With Meditation, Naomi Ozaniec draws parallels between the act of meditation and the way human beings motivate themselves:
...It demonstrates that the brain is capable of being trained and physically modified in ways few people can imagine ... Ozaniec, Naomi. Beat Stress With Meditation. London: Hodder Education,1997.
"Meditation may appear to be a passive process, but in fact it is uniquely dynamic, creating greater levels of consciousness along with both short- and long-term neural change. Functional MRI has revolutionized brain research, making it possible to map changes in the brain. At the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience and the V.M. Keck Laboratory for Functional Brain Imaging and Behaviour where Buddhist meditation meets Western technology, the old notion of neuroplasticity has been reinvigorated. The term refers to the brain's ability to change its structure and function. Previously thought to be a characteristic only of the very young, it is now clear that the brain has the capacity to develop new neural connections throughout life. Clearly the neuroplasticity of the brain permits recovery from injury and disease; however, it now seems that this ability also responds to internal mentally generated signals (page 221)."
Ozaniec quotes Professor Davidson’s conclusions from studies of in which his team correlated emotional states and brain activity:
"What we found is that the long-time practitioners showed brain activation on a scale we have never seen before. Their mental practice has an effect on the brain in the same way golf or tennis practice enhances performance. It demonstrates that the brain is capable of being trained and physically modified in ways few people can imagine (page 222)."
According to Ozaniec and supporting research, "the brain, like the rest of the body, can be altered intentionally (page 222)."