The average human being is dealing with 50 000 more bits of information per second than they were 50 years ago. That is an incredible statistic to ponder. The average brain is simply unable to cope with this bombardment of information, and has taken measures to protect itself. In addition, the effects of the stress that we live with every day should not be underestimated.
Early this century, Walter B Cannon carried out tests on cats at the Harvard Medical School. By feeding the cats food containing a radioactive element, he could track the progress of their digestion. Calm cats had a wave-like motion of food moving through the intestines. But if the cats were deliberately upset, digestion ceased. For around one hour, the food did not move through the intestines. A simple illustration such as this enables us to perceive the profound effect that excess stress has on our every-day functioning.
When we experience small amounts of stress, it has a beneficial effect of making us both aware and efficient. However, large amounts of stress have the opposite effect, resulting in depression, disorganisation and inablility to focus. Excess stress has a profound effect on the actual structure of the brain, increasing cell death and reducing the number of connections between brain cells. This effect is even more severe if the stress is experienced at an early age.
The most amazing change in J was the way he started to relate to his family again.