"One of the things that meditation and basic mindfulness seems to be doing is quieting down this region of the brain," Brewer said. "It absolutely makes sense, given what we know about the default mode network."
Meditation isn't a cure for mental illness, Brewer said, but he said his study suggests that there may be a neurological basis for the benefits that many meditators report -- increased awareness, improved concentration, and a better ability to deal with the cognitive and emotional stresses of modern life.
Salzberg said she hopes that increased scientific study will continue to document the benefits of meditation for easing a troubled mind.
"It's quite great that in our contemporary time where science is the language of validation, there's evidence showing that in fact this is true," Salzberg said.