A neurologist who specializes in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease and dementia explores how we can tap into “the neurology and physiology of our body's innate 'calm' mechanisms” to achieve greater health, happiness and success.
The director of the New York Memory and Healthy Aging services, Devi (What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Alzheimer's Disease, 2004, etc.) unravels the functioning of the core brain, where gut reactions are processed, and explains how we can train ourselves to relax and recharge in order to face the 24/7 pressures of the fast-paced modern world. The author describes the way in which the core brain works by controlling emotions and impulses as we navigate the outside world “and the vast environmental sensor and receptacle that is our body.” Fight-or-flight reactions, as well as our relative sense of well-being or malaise, are mediated there by the vagus nerve, a frequently overlooked neural conduit that bypasses the spinal cord to connect with the body's organs. It provides a constant stream of information that tells the brain when to stress out and when to relax and monitors processes such as blood pressure. The core brain is the seat of the sympathetic nervous system, which releases an adrenaline surge when we perceive danger, and the parasympathetic system, which provides the all-clear signal when it is safe to calm down. Devi provides anecdotal evidence suggesting that meditation and yoga, by releasing bodily tension, cue the brain to relax, and she examines how affectionate gestures and shared laughter provide a similar release.
A welcome alternative approach to overtaxing our brains and then reaching for the pill bottle—should warrant serious attention.
“Calm Brain brings the power of cutting edge neuroscience to everyday life. For anyone who wants to take charge of the 21st century while remaining calm, focused and productive - this is the book for you.”
—Henry S. Lodge M.D., author of The New York Times bestseller Younger Next Year
"A Calm Brain shows readers why the brain craves calm, and how this will improve your health and happiness. Blending stories, science, and practical advice, it offers a path to a calmer life."
—Paul J. Zak, author of The Moral Molecule
"Summer's supposed to be the time when you shift into vacation mode and slow down, but if you can't, this neurologist author offers insights into managing stress and much more."
-Los Angeles Times, *Summer Reading List Pick*
About the Author
Dr. Gayatri Devi is a neurologist and the director of the New York Memory and Healthy Aging Services. A clinical associate professor at the NYU School of Medicine, she is the president of the not-for-profit National Council on Women’s Health. She lives in New York City.