How stress damages the brain

Stress, pressure, fatigue, poor diet, alcohol, and drugs damage neural connections between the brain's prefrontal cortex—or "CEO"—and the rest of the brain. When you are overtired or under intense mental or physical stress, the brain bypasses its "higher," more evolved, rational frontal executive circuits. Consequently, you respond to daily demands without thinking; you make impulsive, shortsighted decisions. When the CEO goes "offline," strong emotions, such as fear and anger, take over, adversely coloring your view of the world.

How TM optimizes the brain

The stress-reducing, nonreligious Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique provides the experience of "restful alertness," which reduces stress, strengthens communication between the brain's prefrontal cortex and different areas of the brain, and develops total brain functioning. As a result, the Transcendental Meditation practitioner displays stronger executive functions, with more purposeful thinking and farsighted decision-making. When the CEO is fully "online," the emotional response to the world is more balanced and appropriate.

Weak executive functioning

  • Rigid thinking
  • Impulsive, reactive behavior
  • Shortsighted decision-making
  • Poor working memory
  • Distracted attention
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Unethical thinking and behavior

Strong executive functioning

  • Purposeful, flexible thinking
  • Nonimpulsive, proactive behavior
  • Farsighted decision-making
  • Excellent working memory
  • Settled, focused attention
  • No substance abuse or addictions
  • Ethical thinking and behavior

Stressed physiology

  • Fatigue
  • High blood pressure
  • Eating and sleeping disorders
  • Weak immune system

Healthy physiology

  • Energy and vitality
  • Fit cardiovascular system
  • Balanced physiology
  • Strong immune functioning

Imbalanced emotions

  • Low self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Worries, anxieties, and fears
  • Shallow, divisive emotions
  • Unstable relationships
  • Depression

Balanced emotions

  • Self-confidence and secure self-esteem
  • Feelings of safety and peace
  • Compassion and empathy for others
  • Healthy interpersonal relations
  • Happiness and optimism

Loše izvršno funkcioniranje

 

  • Kruto razmišljanje
  • Impulzivno, reaktivno ponašanje
  • Donošenje kratkovidnih odluka
  • Slaba sposobnost pamćenja
  • Poremećaj pažnje
  • Zlouporaba alkohola i lijekova
  • Neetično razmišljanje i ponašanje

 

Dobro izvršno funkcioniranje

 

  • Svrhovito, prilagodljivo razmišljanje
  • Neimpulzivno, proaktivno ponašanje
  • Donošenje dalekovidnih odluka
  • Odlična sposobnost pamćenja
  • Smirena, usmjerena pažnja
  • Nepostojanje ovisnosti ni zlouporaba tvari
  • Etično razmišljanje i ponašanje

 

 

Fiziologija pod utjecajem stresa

 

  • Umor
  • Visoki krvni tlak
  • Poremećaji jedenja i spavanja
  • Slab obrambeni sustav

 

Zdrava fiziologija

 

  • Energija i vitalnost
  • Zdrav srčano-žilni sustav
  • Uravnotežena fiziologija
  • Snažan obrambeni sustav

 

 

Neusklađene emocije

 

  • Nisko samopoštovanje i samopouzdanje
  • Zabrinutost, anksioznost i strahovi
  • Površne, podijeljene emocije
  • Nestabilni odnosi s drugima
  • Depresija

 

Usklađene emocije

 

  • Samopouzdanje i sigurno samopoštovanje
  • Osjećaji sigurnosti i mira
  • Suosjećanje i empatija za druge
  • Zdravi međuljudski odnosi
  • Sreća i optimizam