Most of you familiar with this blog know that I am strong believer in the mind body connection. All our thoughts, emotions and actions originate in the brain and ultimately affect the body. In computer terms, the brain is the software and the body the hardware. Anything that harms brain function ultimately harms the body as well.
Unfortunately one of the most pervasive negative influences on brain function is stress. When the fight or flight response is engaged, the cognitive portion of the brain shuts down, allowing us to react instinctively. In our evolutionary past this response undoubtedly saved our bacon. In the modern world it often leads to a rash reaction – frequently requiring an apology later on.
According to developmental molecular biologist Dr John Medina “stress damages virtually every kind of cognition that exists. It damages memory and executive function.” What then is the ancient brain to do in the modern world, where stress lurks at every turn.
- Exercise. Researchers studied two groups of individuals, one active and the other sedentary. The active group had significantly better scores in all areas tested, including spatial tasks, executive function, reaction times and quantitative skills. The sedentary group, however, showed rapid improvement across the board after a short period of regular exercise. According to Medina, the best format for a business meeting would be a slow steady walk of around 1.8 mph. The steady rhythm relaxes the brain thereby enhancing executive function as well as increasing blood flow and oxygen to the brain.
- Slow rhythmic breathing to engage the relaxation response. Harvard research has proven the relaxation response to be effective in treating a plethora of disorders as well as enhancing brain function. A simple way of engaging this response is to place your fingertips three fingers below the navel. Breathing so that your fingertips move away from the spine on inhalation, use a six seconds inhalation and six seconds exhalation tempo. Even one minute of this will help to clear the fog and help to restore the brain’s executive function. This type of breathing has not only been proven effective in many studies, but has also existed for thousands of years in forms such as Tai Chi, yoga, and tantric sex.
- Surround the dragon. Eat an unprocessed organic diet with adequate protein fibre and fat to stabilize blood sugar. We all know what happens to brain function when blood sugar drops.
- Turn on and tune in. Listen to Baroque music. Studies by Tomatis and others have shown that high frequency Baroque rhythms enhance energy levels in the cortex of the brain.
- “When at peace, prepare for war.” This quotation by the Chinese philosopher General Sun Tzu speaks volumes in terms of forward planning. Value yourself and your performance enough to apply these principles and techniques in your own life. Investing a little time and effort will yield dividends not only in brain function but also in health, prosperity and happiness.
Yours in health,
Corporate Health Management
P.O. BOX 90943 A.M.S.C AUCKLAND 1142
021 638 383
Contact David for:
Personal Training, Exercise Regimes & Corporate Breathing Seminars