Saul Yudelowitz BSc (Hons)
Our modern medical model (MMM) to health has achieved some great goals and failed at others. On the whole acute disease is usually treated rather effectively using the MMM however chronic diseases show the shortcomings of the MMM.
Today we will be focusing on mental health and while chronic diseases lead to many diseases like diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, degenerative joint disease (DJD) and many others, the focus of mental health is to avoid brain disease like Alzheimerís and Parkinsonís, to name only two.
The basics of anatomy of the brain that we need to understand for long term mental health (LMH) is as follows:
The brain is basically divided into three interconnected parts
- The hind brain, this controls vital function like breathing and heart rate
- The mid brain which assesses emotion and decides in what direction to send the information thereby stimulating the cortex or the hind brain and
- The cortex, the part of the brain responsible for logic, your character and many other specific functions to the individual.
As I have stated this is a watered down version however there really is no need right now to understand neuroanatomy in more detail.
All experiences have an emotional value attached to them. Letís assume this value is the same as money where positive emotion places money into our bank account and negative emotion the converse. This gives us an overall P+L, so we are either, down, flat or up!
The significant difference here is that emotional experience is an individual experience so one person who might have a fear of spiders associates a negative experience while their sibling or partner could have a positive experience. The point here is that experience is learnt and recorded so that you have a memory of it. The memory of the experience is felt as emotion. This is why people donít remember what you said but will never forget how you made them feel!
When we have an experience our mid brain (MB) decides if it is a threat or not based on past emotional memory. If the experience is a threat, the MB stimulates the hind brain (HB) with far reaching effects on the entire body. The HB, when stimulated will cause blood to divert away from the non vital organs to the vital organs. Blood is diverted away from the cortex, gastrointestinal tract etc and shunted to muscles, the heart, the eyes etc. This is accompanied with an increase in adrenalin so depending on the intensity of the threat the mouth may go dryer, heart beats faster and harder, sweating increases, blood vessels constrict etc.
These symptoms many of us recognize and have experienced before. The main issue is that we experience them at an inappropriate time. When we are threatened like crossing the road and a car blasts the horn at us to move it or loose it, this response is correct and short lived. You donít feel these symptoms for hours, days or months after the experience.
The problem is when we allow these symptoms to carry on for long periods of time, whether, days, months or even years. An excellent example that most of us have experienced is the working environment when dealing with a difficult collage or customer. If the relevant issues are not resolved then there are low levels of chronic stimulation from the MB to the HB at the cost of the cortex getting the amount of blood it needs to work at an optimal level.
Here the next issue. While it would be quicker to let this collage or customer know what their issues are and they need to deal with them, this method just doesnít work so it requires a completely different approach to our fight or flight response.
Fighting the customer or running away from the customer will not resolve their issues or your!
There is only one way to recalibrate the neural system to dealing with these situations differently. Since experience is a lent function we need to recalibrate how we deal with the experience. This can be done is required if you want a brain that will function when you are old. The main reason among the many hundreds is this, chronic stress or diversion of blood from the cortex to the HB will result in the cortex ultimately having a reduction in function. This is the most commonly seen symptom in Alzheimerís disease and all neurodegenerative disease.
Having worked with the top athletes in the world, fighter pilots and many others who require a very high degree of neural plasticity to function well at there profession there are exercises that you can and should do to protect your brain. In the future I do believe that just as we are advised to exercise to keep our muscles healthy we will do this exercise to keep the brain healthy. The goal of these exercises is to be able to do them when using the right side of the brain. The right side of the brain processes information in series and so therefore can multitask at a very fast pace. To begin you would need to practice in a relaxed quite environment but as you progress you could be exercising and doing this exercise at the same time. This is what leads to enlighten that Zen talks about, which for accuracy stems from Indian culture and not Japanese.
There are three levels to the exercise. You should begin at level one and then progress from there at your pace.
Should you want to learn these exercise, contact us for further infomation.
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