The problem: Making your mind up
We live in an age where the quantity of information available to us is increasing rapidly. But our brains’ computational capabilities are not changing.
In the 21st century, a fundamental question has become: how do we cope with and process all of this information? How do we make optimal decisions for ourselves amongst the oceans of data in which we are swimming?
We already have impaired cognitive functioning due to the sheer weight of demands on us in all aspects of life. More than ever before, we need to develop strategies to manage this information flow and carve a path through it.
But when we are stressed, our ability to manage information becomes hugely compromised.
One of the main issues is that stress disrupts something called executive function. This isn’t so much about the storage and retrieval of information, which itself becomes impaired by stress. It is more about what you do with this information. How you reason, how you organise the information strategically, how flexible you are with it and how it guides your decision making and problem-solving capabilities.
If this becomes disrupted, our decisions are not going to be as well conceived as they could be. In addition, stress also causes our perceptual capabilities to narrow, meaning we tend to operate with less information flowing in.
Even more challenging is the fact that the consequences of making a good or bad call often lead to a sense of pressure and strain which increases our activation of the stress response even further.
This vicious cycle of decision anxiety makes the whole process of making far-sighted and productive decisions even more challenging.
Having finally decided to take the course, I can genuinely say that Will really did change my life…over time I am seeing considerable positive changes in my life. I have more energy, I sleep better, my thinking is much clearer and I am way, way happier.
Phil, Artist, London
How can Vedic meditation help?
When we meditate, our stress response is no longer interfering so much. We find we are much more robust and full of poise. Even in the face of pressurised situations.
Our anxiety levels stay in check. Our computational processes are untainted by negative influences. Our greater perceptual capabilities and adaptability means we can absorb new information and respond in the most appropriate way at all times.
With practice, we find that nothing hinders our executive functions anymore and the unique brain state functioning that comes with Vedic meditation means that our capabilities not only remain intact, they actually develop considerably.
As a result, we find ourselves developing at a rate equal to, or in excess of the demands being placed upon us.
We find that our ability to navigate our way through the decisions of life becomes much less stressful and far more rewarding.
And if we make a mistake? We just pick up the pieces, learn the lesson, and move on. No beating ourselves up, no looking back forlornly, we make the best decision we can based on the information available to us, and we fearlessly glide into the future with ever more capability.