University of Montreal researchers found that regularly practicing meditation can decrease physical pain by causing physical changes in the brain that reduce pain perception. Mindfulness meditation directs focus to the here-and-now experience without reacting to the perceived experience. Reacting to pain with stress and panic intensifies perceived pain. Practicing mindfulness meditation trains the brain to recognize and accept pain without stressing or panicking, allowing the individual to perceive a less intense pain. Researchers proved this effect by studying MRI images of long-term meditators that showed increases in areas of the brain associated with pain, decreasing their sensitivity to pain. Mindfulness meditation is therefore an excellent option for people who suffer from chronic pain.