The Impact of Stress on the Brain: From Decisions to Instincts
- The brain has two components
- The cortex, which houses our individuality and where decisions are made, and the subcortical brain, which is responsible for basic animal functions
- Stress can influence both brains
- Primitive instincts such as mating, seeking safety and shelter, and survival (fight or flight) are all programmed in the primitive animal brain
- Traumatic experiences can lead to a ramping up of fight or flight instinct.
Understanding the Complexity of Fight-or-Flight Response in Soldiers After Deployment
- The Amygdala, located in the subcortical brain, is responsible for the ‘fight-or-flight’ response and is activated quickly
- The thalamus acts as a relay station to send sensory information to both the cortical brain and the primitive animal brain
- Soldiers returning from deployment often have their fight-or-flight response hyperactivated in situations that do not warrant it
- This response can be triggered by aggressive facial expressions or tones of voice.
Combat Trauma and Stress: Examining the Cognitive Impact of Hyper-arousal
- The primitive animal brain can hijack a memory when it is hyper-aroused due to stress
- Hormones are released, which interfere with sleep and concentration, making recall difficult
- Soldiers may experience this type of hyper-arousal from combat trauma as well as day-to-day stressors
- Descartes defined being through the thought process while Sartre’s definition focused on being the person who observes thoughts instead of being intrinsically tied to them
- To avoid headaches and other symptoms due to stress, physical therapy, relaxation techniques such as yoga, and devices can be used to manage stress.
Military Veteran Advocates for Meditation and Holistic Solutions Over Pharmaceuticals
- The speaker is an advocate of meditation, both for military personnel and in everyday life
- He emphasizes the benefits of holistic solutions over pharmaceuticals
- He plays a Gibson Les Paul guitar as a tribute to the men and women who have served in the military and those currently active-duty
- He expresses gratitude to those who have allowed him to live his life
- He provides a demonstration of relaxation techniques.