Transcending…and increased impulse control
Under stress, the prefrontal cortex of the brain is disabled and actions automatically become impulsive
Through recent discoveries about brain functioning we can now explain how stress interrupts the normal functioning of the brain and increases impulsive behaviour.
The prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain right above our eyes, is responsible for our “higher thinking” – long-term planning, impulse control, deciding whether something is right or wrong. This part is sometimes referred to as the “CEO of the Brain”. The prefrontal cortex is one of those aspects of the human brain that distinguishes between man and animal.
Normal functioning of the brain
When the brain functions normally, information comes in via the senses and is then sent to the prefrontal cortex for processing and all decisions that are made are sent to the motor system, prompting the relevant muscles, etc., to respond.
Functioning of the brain under stress
When under stress, this flow of information changes. Information no longer flows via the prefrontal cortex, but flows directly from the senses to the relevant motor part.
The brain is designed like this for a very good reason, for our survival. When we cross a street and a car is approaching rapidly, for example, we don’t want to create a situation in which we take our time to think about how we should respond. We immediately, impulsively, jump out of the way. There is no time to think. The mechanism that disables the pre-frontal cortex when we are under stress, exists to protect us.
However this mechanism was not designed for situations of chronic stress. If people are continuously subjected to stress, then the prefrontal cortex becomes increasingly disabled. This results in short-sighted thinking and impulsiveness. People start to behave like animals more than human beings. They can no longer see or judge the longterm consequences of their actions.
Transcending activates the frontal brain
Transcending has the opposite effect of stress. It actually increases activity in the prefrontal cortex.
When we transcend through TM, the body experiences a deep state of rest, allowing the body to dissolve even our deepest tensions, and causing the frontal brain to become more active. This can be measured via neural imaging scans that measure blood flow to the brain. The activity in the thalamus (related to bodily functions) reduces, indicating a state of relaxation, while activity in the frontal cortex increases. The meditator experiences “restful alertness”.
These changes in the brain turn out to be unique to the experience of transcending during TM. Ordinary relaxation, experienced with most other meditation or relaxation techniques, do not (to the same extent) show these changes.
During transcending the frontal brain not only becomes activated, but also the coördination with other parts of the brain, disrupted during stress, is restored. This can be measured through EEG coherence measurements. (For more info. see transcending = full brain development.)
Regular experience of transcending through TM helps create optimal brain functioning; and then naturally behaviour becomes less impulsive. This helps people to be increasingly and spontaneously aware of the long-term consequences of their actions, and act accordingly.
How can a simple technique do so much?
600 studies confirm the effect of TM with:
- Less stress
- How TM works
- Emotional stability
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Better Health
- General Health
- Becoming Younger