London Cabbies, the Brain and Your Stress Habit?
How could studying the grey matter of cab drivers thousands of miles away help you to better manage your stress levels? Due to what is known as neuro-plasticity, the answer is quite a lot.
The process of becoming a licensed London taxi driver is notoriously difficult due to the layout of that city. Unlike major metropolitan centers such as New York or Philadelphia, whose streets are for the most part arranged in an orderly grid system, London has retained a medieval floorplan that follows no apparent rhyme or reason. It is an incredibly easy city to get lost in.
Would-be cabbies have to memorize that complicated warren of streets during a process called The Knowledge, which is widely considered one of the toughest exams of any kind in the world.
Neuroscientists have studied the brains of those who passed the test and go on to become drivers and have found the grey matter associated with managing spatial relationships becomes noticeably larger than normal. Similar studies involving accomplished musicians have shown that they experience changes to the size and density of the brain regions that deal with manual dexterity and processing sound.
It is not unlike a muscle that grows larger and stronger because it is habitually exercised. The brain responds to what we think and do.
Continual mental and physical tension also change the brain-you can actually become skilled at being anxious-what some have called being a stress collector.
Like any habit, being perpetually stressed can be a challenging one to break. Fortunately it is possible to learn new patterns of thought, feeling and behavior. Learning and practicing self-hypnosis techniques enable you to rewrite outdated and ineffective responses. There is a way out of being stuck.
If you would like to learn more, please consider yourself invited to the upcoming Anti-Stress Toolbox Class to be held on Tuesday, May 15 @ 7 PM. Its a great introductory experience for newcomers as well as a good refresher course for anyone who may be in need. You can learn more at the Upcoming Events page.