Guide to Stress-Free Living – Dr Amit Sood

Book Review:  Julia Tyack

Your Brain May Be Set On Default Settings To Survive In A Prehistoric Age.

Spin off From Neuroplastic research is providing amazing insights for thriving in the modern world.

”A new study from investigators at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine at have found that eliciting the relaxation response—a physiologic state of deep rest induced by practices such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing and prayer—produces immediate changes in the expression of genes involved in immune function, energy metabolism and insulin secretion.

“Many studies have shown that mind/body interventions like the relaxation response can reduce stress and enhance wellness in healthy individuals and counteract the adverse clinical effects of stress in conditions like hypertension, anxiety, diabetes and aging. Now for the first time we’ve identified the key physiological hubs through which these benefits might be induced,”said Herbert Benson, HMS professor of medicine at Mass General and director emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute.

The human brain is being studied as never before, even in the last few months, neuroscience is taking giant steps in giving us up-dated instructions for managing the most amazing entity known in the universe.  Many of us are running on outdated instructions as we move ever faster towards a more complex world and society. The question for each of us to decide is; How do we want to live? How much joy and pleasure do we want in our daily living?  How much is being part of a better world and brighter future for us and our children do we wish to create?

Accepting our minds are flawed and learning to over-come these imperfections is essential to learning to thrive in our modern world. Our brains have two basic settings according to this new research, Focus and Default. In default mode the brain operates in a fear state similar to how we would need to be in the jungle surrounded by lions and tigers if we wanted to survive. In our modern world we do not face these same threats so when our minds go into default they actually start to imagine or fabricate fear and worry scenarios.  In our modern world the age of the “knowledge Worker” focus is the state we need our brains in to be most effective. When athletes talk about getting ‘in the zone’ or into ‘flow’ this is a heightened relaxed state of focus which allows us to effortlessly achieve what we desire. It can also be euphoric to an extent. Getting the most out of our minds is critical to thriving in our modern age.

History’s glowing chapters weren’t written by our mind’s flaws, they were penned by our ability to overcome those flaws. The invention of the wheel and the discovery of fire, farming, automobiles, the Internet, missions to the furthest reaches of the solar system – these countless human accomplishments testify to our ability to transcend our limitations, collaborate and create a whole much larger than the sum of its parts.  Dr. Amit Sood, M.D., M.Sc The Mayo Clinic expresses it this way, “Magical as it may seem, this triumph is so universal I call it “common magic”. How fortunate we are that we hold the power

Dr. Sood and Dr Benson deliver courses and write books that give us a new way forward.  They explain how this neuroplasticity knowledge has changed their own lives. They are more joyful, kind, attentive, relaxed, and enjoying the pleasure of stress-free living even while functioning in what are regarded as demanding, high stressed medical careers.

Dr. Sood tells in his book on Stree-Free Living that the brain operates in two modes; focus and default.  Human self-consciousness has the ability to choose which mode to be in and when.  Being in the default mode for too long can become a black hole that sucks in energy at tremendous rates and leaves life depressed and drained.  We can choose fatigue or high energy living, mostly the choice is ours.

“Your brain and mind work very hard to keep you stressed.” Says Dr Sood. This heightened fight or flight state would have served you well living in the jungle with lions and tigers. To be highly productive, creative and in a more pleasing state our minds need to be relaxed not reactive. “If you are willing to learn, then no matter your age, the best is yet to come.” Studies are showing that focused living in and for the moment calms the stormy background firing of brain neurons and enables high efficiency function. When parents reclaim their own mind’s in this way children learn to relate to the world differently and recapture the novelty in the world of childhood wonder. Leaning how the brain under higher self-conscious guidance defaults to novel and pleasure (rather than the ancient fear default) changes our world and relationships.

The entry door to this new mental world is attention.  Now attention at first takes discipline. How do we, when we are already tired and stressed find energy for attention. Dr Sood lists the lifestyle points that centres like the Mayo Clinic and Tyack Health has spent years developing. These support us all in achieving a life that is above all expectations.

  1. Eat healthy, nourishing food.
  2. Sleep seven to eight hours each night.
  3. Keep company with good people.
  4. Avoid news overdose. (seek knowledge, good news stories, and inspiring authors)
  5. Follow an exercise routine.
  6. Do something meaningful each day.
  7. Think good thoughts of others.

“Each of these steps, individually and together, will increase your energy.” Says Dr. Sood.  From such a platform of body well-being mind enhancement and stress-free-living more easily springs.

I trust you will join me in the absolute awesome excitement that human self-consciousness holds the keys to a better brighter future for us all and human societies. The Mantra for the future “ Survival of the kindest”, Dr Sood, who is but one of voices all over the world showing modern man a way to a life of true lasting pleasure, love and kindness with the best is yet to come .