Amygdala : Gate Keeper For Your Thoughts

Imagine you are trekking through a forest and suddenly come across a huge bear. What would you do? Would you choose to run for your life or would you face the bear and fight it? Our barin acts like a superhero and creates a series of natural responses that are genetically hard wired into our brain whenever we are in a similar stressful situation. This combination of reactions to stress is also known as the “fight-or-flight” response because it evolved as a survival mechanism, enabling people and other mammals to react quickly to life-threatening situations. These sequense of stress response starts with the “Gatekeeper of our thoughts” known as Amygdala. Amygdala is a small region of our brain, primarily associated with emotional processing, which sends the distress signal to other parts of the brain to act upon it.

Amygdala acts as a trigger point to awake the superhero inside us to fight against the stress that we have come across. Whether the stress is a short term like speaking in front of a crowd or long term stress due to passing away of a beloved one, our brain reacts to these responses and prepares us to deal with the situation by revving up our nervous system as if the “gas pedal ïs pressed down”. During short trem stress, the body revs up and also cools down after the response ends. However, chronic stress keeps the body in rev up situation for too long which creates a plethora of stress related issues primarily as hyper tension and anxiety.

Inability to deal with long term stress is one of the biggest reasons for hyper tension, heart failure, chronic pain etc. This natural fight response of our body that protects us eventually becomes the reason for most of our illnesses under long term stress. Therefore, “calming of the body” is the most effective solution to fight the ill effects of chronic stress.

Dr. Herbert Benson, director emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, has devoted much of his career to learning how people can counter the stress response by using a combination of approaches that focus on the relaxation response for chronic stress patients. Meditation, tai chi, yoga are the best calming exercises that can help you fight chronic stresses. These calming exercises keeps the mind and body in a relaxed state and helps us cool down the natural rev up state. Whether you are a student preparing for your exams, a mother with a child to look after, a working professional with a stiff deadline to meet or someone who is going through a trauma, meditation and other calming exercises help you directly fight stress.    

 

Source: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-the-stress-response

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The Latest In Military Strategy: Mindfulness

When we think of soldiers, things that come to our mind are being brave, strong and macho. However we seldom try to look into their lives during their duty and how it affects them in short term and long term. Lot of studies and research have published reports and media coverage about how they under go extreme physical and mental stress. Mental being most dangerous as it is long lasting and in some cases lead to permanent disorder. Being involved in combat missions, prolonged war, anti-terrorist missions and serious accidents, soldiers who either retire from their services or come back from missions show abnormaly high levels of stress called Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. People who suffer from PTSD often suffer from nightmares, flashbacks, difficulty sleeping, and feeling emotionally numb. This not only adversely affects the lives of soldiers and their families but put a huge pressure on their country to deal with the aftermath of war.  

It has been proven time and again that no matter how grave and complicated the mental issues are, Meditation works in most cases. Provided, a proper guidance and routine is followed for over a period to observe those visible changes. United States, NATO forces and handful of other nations whose armies are constantly involved in anti-terror operations or combat missions have been doing studies and reasearch for decades, for an effective and longlasting solution to deal with PTSD.

Mindfulness,the practice of using breathing techniques, similar to those in meditation, to gain focus and reduce distraction is inching into the military in the United States, NATO forces and those of a handful of other nations.

Indian Armed Forces has taken serious steps to include meditation in the fitness routine of the soldiers, specially for those who are involved in active operations.

The British Royal Navy has given mindfulness training to officers, and military leaders are rolling it out in the Army and Royal Air Force for some officers and enlisted soldiers. The New Zealand Defence Force recently adopted the technique, and Netherlands Military Forces are working on the idea, too.

The approach is based on the work of Amishi Jha, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Miami. She is the senior author of a paper published about the training’s effectiveness among members of a special operations unit.

The paper, in the journal Progress in Brain Research, reported that the troops who went through a monthlong training regimen that included daily practice in mindful breathing and focus techniques were better able to discern key information under chaotic circumstances and experienced increases in working memory function. The soldiers also reported making fewer cognitive errors than service members who did not use mindfulness.

The science and research has huge amount of evidence and data to prove that Meditation Techniques have long lasting impacts on our brain and have been proved to very effective in dealing with serious mental illnesses. With four weeks of experience can have significant improvement in pur daily lives. 

We at Neuphony, believe not only mental patients should follow the practice of meditation but evryone of us, who want to keep their mind fit and stay productive and healthy.

 

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/05/health/military-mindfulness-training.html

https://www.military.com/benefits/veterans-health-care/posttraumatic-stress-disorder-overview.html

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How To Use Social Distancing For Self Reflection

Begining of 2020 will be remembered for decades to come. We are going through a Pandemic. For most of the people this is once in a lifetime experience they do not want to remember. The effect of Covid-19 has touch everyone on this planet. For the first time we are fighting an enemy by not coming together but keeping ourselves away from each other. People are locked in their homes for days, in some cases weeks. A new lifestyle has been forced upon people for which they are not prepared. How can you even prepare yourself for such a situation? This extraordinary situation definetly demands an extraordinary effort from all of us. 

However, this coud also be the time that we never had for ourselves. We never realised how busy we got in our lives, so much so that, we did not spend time with ourselves for a long time. We were always overwhelmed with our daily routine, our professional work, our friends and relatives, always surrounded by people. May be we talked to our selves when we drove alone, or were commuting to work, taking out our garbage, doing the laundry. I believe, now is the time, that we did not even know, we have been waiting for.  

For a moment we can keep ourselves away from this unprecedented situation, far away from the anxiety and fear in the air, and just look inward. How about starting with pampering ourselves. Indulge in something we love but could not find time otherwise. How about gathering the courage and dig deeper. Self love manifests self reflection. Self reflection means lifting up your own heart and peeling back the layers one by one. It means being honest to oneself and asking where we made mistakes and the areas we need to grow within and hope we change.

If you are not happy with your body, take a good look at yourself. If you are not happy with your job, take a break and assess, what is that you do not like about it? How happy you are in your relationsips? Where have you overlooked, where you could do something to improve them or what is that you are looking for?

However, the best start would be to calm ourselves first and get rid of anxiety and noise that has been keeping us away from our own voice. To keep ourselves calm and peaceful during this time, we need meditation. How about starting with a 15 minute meditation session and then repeating it everytime you feel restless or drained out with stress. This would be the best opportunity to pick up this great habit that directly addresses mental health.

We at Neuphony believe in unlocking the true potential of human mind. We are fighting the menace of mental stress through meditation. We propose a 15 minute meditation session daily to calm ourselves down and get rid of unwanted anxiety. Join us in our drive towards keeping ourselves mentaly fit during this challenging time.

#meditationduringquarantine

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