Neuroscience of Achievement: Part 2

Disclaimer: I am by NO means an expert of Transcendental Meditation (TM) but I have been practicing TM for just over a year and I have had the opportunity to learn and interact with some of the world’s leading experts on TM. The focus of this article is on the specific aspects of TM that can enable you to perform better in any aspect of your life. However, if you are interested in the intricacies and nuances of TM or the vast amount of research conducted at institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Duke etc. please check out http://www.tm.org 

Why is practicing TM absolutely essential if you want to become the strongest version of yourself and maximize your performance both on the court and in the classroom? The three primary reasons you need to begin practicing TM are:

1. TM allows one to achieve Total Brain Coherence – You may be thinking that total brain coherence is some voodoo term. It is not. It is refers to how in sync the faint electrical impulses (which can be measured by EEG) emitted by your brain are. I will not delve into more detail into this fascinating topic but check out this link if you are interested in learning more. Why should you care if your brain wave coherence has increased? Increased brain coherence means that you are able to use more of your brain’s untapped potential. In addition, it allows one to deepen their understanding of currently learned material and improve the speed at which one learns new material because they are able to more quickly ascertain and identify connections between new material and things they already know (what learning is in a nutshell).

2. TM allows one to enter into a deep state of rest – For all the athletes this may be the most important aspect of TM for you initially. I do not want to delve into the intricate and riveting science about how the body enters into this deep state of rest in this post (check out tm.org if you do) so I do not get bogged down in details. But TM enables one to enter into a deep state of rest that is MORE restorative than sleep. This will give you that extra needed energy boost to accomplish and chase after those dreams you never thought would be possible. In this video below Jerry Seinfeld discusses why he loves TM, because it gives him energy! It does so by enabling him to enter a deep state of rest.

3. TM increases on threshold for a stress response – This aspect of TM has been the one that has best help support me in becoming the best that I can be. For a typical person when they enter any sort of stressful response, instantly adrenaline goes shooting through their bloodstream, and their heart begins to beat extremely fast. As a result of this sympathetic stress response your higher cognitive centers shut down and your brain enters a fight or flight mode. This was evolutionary advantageous if you saw a saber-tooth tiger out of the corner of your eye and you needed to flee for safety. However, in today’s modern age this easily trigged stress response is extremely maladaptive as “dangers” we face in today’s modern society aren’t nearly as pressing or fatal as those our ancestors faced. If you want to be calm under pressure and play at your best in the biggest moment you need to learn how to increase the threshold for which a stress response occurs. If you are unable to do so, your flight of fight response kicks in and your whole body tenses up and can’t perform your best. That is where the term “choke” comes from. However, when a lot of athletes do not perform well in a big game they decide that the problem has to be physical. That is absolutely wrong if they can make the shot, serve, or pass in practice but not in a game then the problem is clearly a mental one. They can physically complete the task but not under pressure, because their threshold for a stress response is to low. Practicing TM will allow one to decrease their threshold for a stress response allowing one to remain calm and relaxed in even the most stressful of situations.

So you may say that is all good and all, but what can you do now to take a step forward and learn how to use TM? Remember common knowledge is NOT common action. Therefore it is NOT good enough to intellectually understand how TM can help you. You NEED to take action. Go to http://www.tm.org and click find a TM teacher. It will be the best investment you will ever make in your life. For me personally it has absolutely changed my life for the better and I hope you experience the same thing. If you have had a similar experience I would love to hear from you. So please make a comment below sharing your experience with TM. As always if you have any questions or would like to me to discuss a future topic please comment below or message me on Facebook (Pavan Mehat) or LinkedIn.

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