Brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor studied her own stroke as it happened — and has become a powerful voice for how we can choose to replace our stress, fear and anxiety with feelings of joy and deep inner peace.

Why you should listen

While teaching and performing research at Harvard Medical School about how our brain creates our perception of reality, a blood vessel exploded in Jill Bolte Taylor's brain. Within the course of four hours, she could not walk, talk, read, write or recall any of her life. It took eight years for her to completely rebuild her brain from the inside out.

Now, Taylor is not only an educator about neuroplasticity and the ability of the brain to recover from trauma, but she is passionate about helping people differentiate the skill sets and character profiles that radiate from our two limbic emotional and two cortical thinking modules of cells. We have much more power over what is going on inside of our brains than we have ever been trained, and replacing stress, fear and anxiety with feelings of joy and deep inner peace is a skill we all can learn.

She is the author of My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey (2008) and Whole Brain Living: The Anatomy of Choice and the Four Characters That Drive Our Life (2021).

Jill Bolte Taylor’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Jill Bolte Taylor

In Brief

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February 22, 2019

As usual, the TED community is making headlines. Below, some highlights. A close look at the beauty and pain of hospice care. End Game, a short documentary that follows the last few days of terminally ill patients, is up for an Oscar this weekend. The heart-rending film highlights the work of doctors and caregivers — […]

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Live from TED

Nuclear fission reactors, Africa’s Einsteins and the healing power of nature: A recap of “Beauty and the Brain,” All-Stars Session 2 at TED2014

March 18, 2014

By Liz Jacobs and Thu-Huong Ha   Our brains work in mysterious ways. They make us laugh, they make us cry, and sometimes, they make us 19-year old geniuses. The 11 speakers in this All-Stars session specialize in areas of the brain as diverse as personality, trauma and gender, but they all agree: Our minds […]

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TED Weekends wonders: Can you reset your brain?

January 4, 2013

One morning when she woke up, Jill Bolte Taylor felt pain behind her left eye similar to what she’d felt biting into an ice cream cone. Soon, her own appearance — from her hands to her reflection — felt utterly bizarre to her. Next she lost her balance and then her internal chatter simply stopped […]

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