Transcending…and re-setting the emotional balance
Under stress, the prefrontal cortex of the brain disables itself. Transcending re-activates it.
The experience of Transcending is one of increasing inner peace and emotional calm. The more we experience this state, the more the brain will habituate to this experience with consequent improvements in emotional stability.
The pre-frontal 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 pre-frontal 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 pre-frontal 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.
In the case of stress, this flow of information changes. Information no longer flows via the pre-frontal 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 should 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 pre-frontal cortex becomes increasingly disabled.
It has been known for a long time that emotional instability is linked to stress, but researchers are now able to provide a clear scientific explanation for this. Stress causes the frontal part of our brain, the part of our brain that is responsible for our emotional stability, to disable itself – for more detail on how stress affects the brain, see Impulsivity. Chronic stress can cause the amygdala, that part of the brain that governs fear, anger, etc. to get locked in “on” position.
Transcending activates the frontal brain
Transcending has the opposite effect of stress. It actually increases activity in the pre-frontal cortex.
Transcending is a situation in which the body enters into a deep state of rest, allowing the body to remove even our deepest tensions, and causing the frontal brain to become more active. This can be measured, for example via neural imaging scans which measure blood flow to the brain. The activity in the thalamus, which relates to bodily functions, reduces, indicating a state of relaxation, while activity in the frontal cortex increases.
These changes in the brain turn out to be unique to the experience of transcending during Transcendental Meditation. Ordinary relaxation, experienced with most other meditation or relaxation techniques, do not show these changes to the same extent.
During transcending, the frontal brain doesn’t only become 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. Recent research has shown that emotional stability is also directly linked to EEG coherence, on which transcending also has a strong positive effect.
The experience of Transcending is one of increasing inner peace and emotional calm.
Transcending’s effect on the brain is the opposite of that of stress. Transcending can increase activity in the frontal part of the brain and release the amygdala from its permanently “on” position. The more we experience this state, the more the brain will habituate to this experience with consequent improvements in emotional stability.
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