Life in NYC or any large metropolitan area has its ups and its downs. We are constantly bombarded with people in our personal space, loud noises, strong smells and the list goes on and on. Our central nervous system is taxed and most of us are living in a state of stress as our bodies respond to the environment around us day to day. Therefore, finding ways to slow down, calm down, and destress can be very important. In this article therapist and neurofeedback trainer, Alison Pepper LCSW explores ways to de-stress.
Are we a Nation Under Stress?
Stress is ever prevalent in our society today especially after the Covid-19 pandemic. Stress is now being expressed and experienced on a much higher rate now than it was 20 years ago. Dr. Sanjay Gupta explores this in a recent documentary for CNN, One Nation Under Stress. Watch the trailer below.
5 ways to slow down and destress in NYC
Explore new ideas and inspiration on how to deal with stress
1) Neurofeedback Training
Neurofeedback is a safe and non-invasive brain training tool that builds resilience and flexibility. The NeurOptimal® neurofeedback machine works by training the brain to use present moment information to decide what to do next, rather than old, out-of-date information.
This advanced brain training technology--developed in part by NASA-level engineers -- works by triggering what is called the orienting response, which is the brain’s ability to sense change in the environment and take in new information about what is different. This helps the brain and central nervous system reset itself by looking at habitual patterns on a subconscious, electrical level.
Neurofeedback might be for you if you are
- Feeling frazzled or stressed
- Looking to calm down and relax
- Hoping to enhance your creative process
- Support or deepen your meditation practice
- Find more internal and external stability
- Longing to connect more with the world around you
Neurofeedback sessions offer you time to simply take care of you. A program lasts 33 minutes, and a session takes a total of 45-50 minutes. It's a very relaxing session and sleep is encouraged during a training session.
Here are some neurofeedback reviews from New Yorkers:
"I highly recommend Neurofeedback to anyone who want to feel more focused and relaxed. This is the place! Convenient location [at Union Square], super friendly knowledgeable staff, wonderful relaxing experience, great benefits."
"I found that neurofeedback was very effective for me, and so so calming among many other benefits. I did so much research on where to go for training and I couldn't be any happier with my choice! I highly recommend it!!!"
"I feel that I'm more present as a result of the neurofeedback training. It seems to me that it complements and supports meditation."
To learn more about neurofeedback and how to get the best results from brain training check out this blog by therapist and expert neurofeedback trainer Natalie Baker LMHC.
If not located close to our NYC Neurofeedback Training Co. location, we also offer home system rentals. The system we use, called NeurOptimal neurofeedback is fully automated and easy to use. Learn the cost and how to get started with home neurofeedback here.
Meditation is a powerful practice that has been utilized for over 2500 years. Whether meditation is part of your spiritual path or part of your health and wellness routine it can bring tremendous benefit and support. Research today confirms that meditation can greatly impact and change the brain.
Neuroscientist Dr. Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin has done extensive research on meditators and documented the brain changes from meditation using fMRI imaging. His main findings show that the right pre-frontal cortex, which is connected with experiencing sadness, has decreased activity after meditation training and the left pre-frontal cortex, which is connected with feeling happiness has increased activity.
Mindfulness meditation has now been linked to enhanced mood regulation and positive emotions, as well it builds focus, awareness, and empathy. Meditation is not only for adults, the research is also being done on children and showing that they benefit greatly from the practice at home and at school.
Meditation Instruction NYC
One aspect of my work as a therapist and neurofeedback trainer in NYC is providing meditation instruction when needed and appropriate. I teach in meditation centers and at schools from time to time. My focus is helping others to start a meditation practice. If looking to learn to meditate or help your meditation practice, here are the areas we would explore together:
- maintain a regular practice by finding the inspiration to continue meditating even when life is stressful or when meditation feels flat or boring.
- prepare for retreat as well as integrating upon retreat from retreat
- connect with the Buddhist teachings like the 5 wisdom energies, the 4 karmas, or the 5 scandas can help people work with their mind and work with difficult people or situations in their lives
If you have a meditation practice, ask yourself
- how is it benefiting your daily life
- and how can you take that deeper?
If you are hoping to start a meditation practice consider what inspires your and how you would want to connect? The classic meditation book The Wisdom of No Escape by Pema Chödrön is a helpful read, or explore an app such as Headspace or Buddhify. There are hundreds of podcasts and classes available in NYC as well as retreats in upstate NY. But wherevere you are, anyone can practice meditation, and it's free!
3) Getting creative with exercise
A little bit of exercise can go a long way. And getting creative about how you think about exercise and how you do it can really help. It doesn't have to be this long tiring thing you do at the gym.
It can be short and sweet but the key is that one does it. So being realistic to what will fit into your life and what's inspiring to you is important.
As routine is important for our minds, to relax, it does magic for our bodies as well. Regular sleep, sport, eating habits. Most of people don't realize it until they have a problem. Sensitive people see it on a daily bases. Did they skip an hour of sleep? Or a meal? Or did they skip daily exercise A simple routine-skip can lead to constipation, tireness, headaches or angry mood during the day.
4) Getting outside and getting out of the city
Getting out of the city might not always feel doable but even within NYC there are places like Inwood Park, Central Park, and Prospect Park where you can find some green, some space, and some sky. Connecting with nature has been seen to reduce heart rate and decrease feelings of depression and anxiety. Like meditation, exercise, and neurofeedback nature has a positive impact on the human central nervous system. Spending time outside or out of the city can be a powerful way to recharge and relax.
Being outside; walking by the ocean, hiking in the woods, swimming in a lack, or playing sports are all moments we can disengage from our screens. As technology gets better and faster our need to stay connected grows to. Being outside in an opportunity to work with our phone or screen habits directly.
5) Discovering quiet places
Like in nature finding places where you can experience some stillness and quiet will go a long way to support a frazzled nervous system. The city offers so much but I think we forget at times that all the city has to offer is not helpful or support to mind, body, and spirit. Places that are quiet and calling could be the tiny park outside your office or the tea shop you pass by on your way home that is always empty. Quiet spaces could be stepping out of your house when young children screaming inside to walk around the block, your hair salon, nail spot, favorite bookstore, or place of worship.
Once you find these quiet place, visit them. Make time for them and for you. The more one can decompress the more one can open up and do. The challenges of life will constantly ebb and flow around us but how we care for ourselves will greatly impact how we feel and how we can care for others.