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Overcoming the effect of workplace stress on the brain

Transcendental Meditation - New Zealand    Translate This Article
6 November 2011

Everyone is aware of the damage job stress can do to the heart—consider the elevated risks of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. But what can stress do to the brain—to vital executive functions, such as planning, decision-making and problem-solving abilities, even moral reasoning?

This was a question addressed by a panel of medical researchers and business leaders during a national brain conference for business in the US, entitled, ''Is the Workplace Bad for Your Brain?'' The conference explored the impact of job stress on the brain and presented new research showing the effects of Transcendental Meditation on executive brain functioning.

According to conference panellist Gary P. Kaplan M.D., Ph.D., a neurologist and clinical professor of neurology at New York University School of Medicine (USA), the high stress, long hours, bad diet, and substance abuse that permeate the workplace can take a terrible toll on the brain.

''Stressful experiences lead to dysfunctions of the prefrontal cortex, the so-called 'CEO' of the brain which regulates critical areas governing judgment, planning, decision making, moral reasoning, and sense of self. Over time, this can lead to impulsive, short-sighted, even violent behaviour; increased anxiety; depression; alcohol and drug abuse; memory loss; and an increase of other stress-related diseases,'' Dr. Kaplan said.

To counter the damage of stress, more and more business people are turning to effective non-medicinal antidotes, such as Transcendental Meditation, which research shows produces a state of 'restful alertness' in the brain—the opposite of the stressful 'fight-or-flight' response.

© Copyright 2011 Transcendental Meditation - New Zealand; Center for Leadership Performance

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