Scientific American has published several articles examining neuroscience and clinical research that shows mindfulness and meditation practice actually change practitioners’ brains — how they respond to stimuli and stress, how they adapt and how they focus.

There is also evidence that meditation alleviates pain, anxiety and depression.

“There is a natural slowing down when you are not trying to do 20 things at once,” says Beth Cholette, psychologist, yoga teacher and clinical director of Geneseo’s South Village Counseling Services. “The practice of mindfulness is the opposite of multitasking. You sustain your attention on a particular object or task — or pause, and take it all in.”

Here, Cholette leads us in a mindfulness exercise to get started: