We live in stressful times. We are holding down two or more jobs. We are putting up with heavy job loads and unreasonable demands. We are swallowing outrage and frustration with unfair situations and irrational superiors because we cannot afford to be laid off or fired. Or we have already been laid off and we are struggling to find another job. Or we have given up and are coping with unemployment.
Outside strains like these are called stressors. Stressors are the barely-tolerable pressures that bring us unhappiness and, eventually, disease.
Some people hardly seem to be affected by stressors. They maintain a sense of perspective and a sense of humor. They remain calm in the midst of adversity and catastrophe. Other people are overwhelmed by a lesser number and intensity of stressors and slide downhill, losing relationships, jobs, and eventually their mental and physical health. What makes the difference?
The important question is why so many of us don't have the degree of inner strength that would protect us from stressors and would allow us to express our inner creativity and intelligence fully, resulting in a happy, productive, successful, and fulfilled life.
If inner strength is natural and normal for some people, what limits it for others? What causes inner weakness?
Stress is the response of the nervous system to stressors that are too large to handle. It is the internalized result of external overloads. It consists of stored abnormalities that serve to protect us from repeated exposure to the same overloads by limiting our functioning. An analogy may help make this clear.
Consider modern buildings. They are protected from electrical fire by a system of separate circuits, each protected by ts own circuit breaker that interrupts the current in the circuit whenever there is an electrical overload, whether caused by using too many appliances or by a short-circuit. In the absence of circuit breakers, the intense heat caused by the high current could result in serious fire. If one or two breakers are tripped, the building still functions. One can run an extension cord from an outlet that is still working to where one needs it. It's not convenient, but it's much better than having just one breaker to protect the whole building.
Like a modern building, we hypothesize that the human nervous system has a distributed "graceful degradation" mechanism that protects it from serious damage when it is overloaded. While we haven't as yet identified it in terms of anatomy or biochemistry, researchers can observe the very real negative physiological and mental effects of stressors on people over time, using measurable effects such as reaction time, anxiety, trust, anger, memory, creativity, problem solving, skin resistance, EEG, blood pressure, and blood chemistry, among others.
The natural way (actually, the only way) to eliminate limitations in the human nervous system (our stresses) is to improve our life by removing at least the worst of the stressors (for example, by getting treatment for a medical condition), then expose the nervous system to deep rest. As you can see, this is a nice parallel between how an electrical system works in a building and how the nervous system works in the human body.
We know that the deep rest we gain through sleep is refreshing; there is no doubt that it helps eliminate stress. But it is clearly not enough to prevent the loss of creativity, intelligence, and joy that seems to plague many of us as we grow older. If we experience a traumatic experience, we may have nightmares for years before sleep finally dissolves the resulting stress.
What we need is a natural method of gaining deep rest that is much more efficient, because the rest is deeper. Does such a method exist? The answer is yes, and it's called transcending.
What emerged from this wildly successful journey was the formulation of Transcendental Meditation®, a seven-step course of personal instruction taught in TM® centers throughout the world. Scientific researchers were immediately attracted to this "new" technique as a result of their personal experiences and observations, and their many high-quality research projects generated remarkable results that were published in over one hundred peer-reviewed scientific journals.
We have learned from these studies that TM®generates a broadly beneficial and unique state of physiology that has been called "restful alertness", a state of rest that is much deeper than sleep. More accurately, it teaches a simple, effortless, and natural technique called transcending, which quickly reduces the metabolic activity of the body, while very gently keeping the mind alert.
But Transcendental Meditation®, fortunately, holds no monopoly on this natural technique. NSR© teaches apparently the identical effortless mental technique by using completely different instructional methods (see the details below). Our research studies replicate many of the Transcendental Meditation® results, and our unsolicited testimonials describe much the same sorts of results.
With the regular practice of NSR over a period of months and years, ever deeper stresses are released, continuously providing the possibility of releasing yet deeper stresses. It's like peeling layers from an onion. Eventually, stresses of which we were not even aware (because we were so used to them) finally dissolve, giving us the flexibility and virtual immunity to stressors that is natural and spontaneous in a fully functioning nervous system.
This is the great value of eliminating stress. And anyone can do it easily and effectively by learning NSR©.
The Wikipedia article on Stress
As described in detail above, Natural Stress Relief© was developed to provide an inexpensive alternative to TM®, that focuses on reducing stress, having low course prices, providing effective support, and omitting the unnecessary mysticism promoted by the TM organizations.
The heart of NSR© is the technique known as transcending. As explained in detail at this link, transcending is a unique practice leading to a unique state of consciousness. Whether taught by the NSR© or TM®organizations, transcending is a remarkably effective method for producing a state of rest much deeper than sleep. This means that much deeper stresses can be dissolved.
The lawyers for TM® have asked us to state that these two systems of instruction are not in any way directly associated; they are in fact taught by completely different, unrelated, and indeed competitive organizations: see our comparison between these two systems of instruction. In the American spirit of improvement through competition we are proud and happy to offer the world a more attractive alternative to TM® for practical stress reduction and the efficient and effective development of self-actualization.