Maximizing Brain Power: Five Facts You Need to Know
We human beings are called the crown of creation because of our brain. Yet for far too many people, the brain does not seem to crown their lives with health, wealth, and love. Quite the contrary, it seems to malfunction in self-defeating patterns of stress, anxiety and depression. We now know that this means the brain’s fear center (the amygdala) is taking charge of our experience reducing us to fight or flight stress reactions that dump toxic stress hormones into our system.
Fact #1: Stress is Serious!
Chronic stress means the stress response system is turned on nearly full time and a build-up of stress hormones:
- • sinks higher brain networks involved in memory, learning, and decision-making, and conversely causing the amygdala to expand, producing higher levels of anxiety,
- • switches the brain’s emotional set point to negative, predisposing us to anger, aggression, insecurity, and depression,
- • deletes our energy and disrupts our sleep,
- • temporarily lowers IQ by as much as 40%,
- • causes marriage and family dysfunction,
- • dampens the immune system making us susceptible to acute illnesses that can later become chronic, and
- • damages chromosomes, causing chromosomes to produce abnormal cells that can lead to premature aging and life-threatening illness.
Chronic stress and the depression it leads to produces a brain scan that looks like this.
Stress is serious. It is life-threatening serious. It is not something we should someday do something about. We need to shift stress whenever it raises its ugly head, and we can.
Fact #2: The 50-10-40 Factor
This leads to the second fact to keep in mind, which is if we have a problem with stress, it is not necessarily our fault, but it is our responsibility to change and science says we can. Fifty percent (50%) of what causes a predisposition to stress is an up-regulating stress gene you inherited which was probably reinforced by your family of origin, wiring your brain for a hyperactive stress response system. This is going to drag your mind and your day into self-defeating bouts of anxiety, engendering a nebulous sense of threat when none exists.
It is common for a beleaguered mind to think that a change of circumstances will solve a stressful life, but research shows that circumstances are only 10% to blame for a stressful life, which means changing circumstances does not make a big difference.
The change that makes the biggest difference is a change of mindset. It accounts for 40% of whether you live a life of stress or the good life. And there is growing evidence that a shift to the positive can down-regulate the stress gene, placing you fully in charge of your quality of life.
Fact #3: Everything is Mindset
Your brain takes its direction from your state of mind. So, here is the third fact to consider: Everything for...