January is the month we take stock of how we're doing and set our New Year's resolutions. The fact that we don't always meet our goals is not a reason to forgo making them this year. The process of self-reflection and contemplating how to bring greater benefit to ourselves and others' is worth it, even if we only make our list and proceed no further. For those of you who have improved mental health and wellbeing, being less stressed, enjoying life more, and having better relationships read on. NeurOptimal® neurofeedback can have a positive impact on those resolutions.
Here is our short list of results of neurofeedback
#5 benefit of neurOptimal®
taking a deep breath
You may not think breathing is a big deal but try stopping and see what happens! Kidding aside, one observation my neurofeedback trainers have made, and especially since version 3.0 of NeurOptimal® was released in spring of 2017, is that people are breathing more deeply, and immediately. Within the first fifteen minutes of clients' sessions, their breathing starts to deepen, often starting with a few deep sighs. Why would that happen? To answer first with a question: what does the body do when it's stressed? It breathes shallowly and it will hold for periods and you won't breath. I've noticed that when people have strong emotions arise, or they are talking through difficult problems, they will automatically change to shallow breathing or holding their breath. When the brain registers a safe environment (the stress response is when the brain is perceiving danger in the environment) it returns to deeper breathing. And often accompanying those deeper breathes, the shoulders drop. Signs the body is relaxing. NeurOptimal® helps us learn to reduce stress.
#4 Benefit of neurofeedback
Falling Asleep Faster
Most of our clients who have disrupted sleep-they don't get as much sleep as they'd like or don't feel well-rested when they get up-report they are sleeping better. Brain training is about helping us know when it's time to relax. Sometimes people could also use some tips for putting themselves to bed well. If you have children, you may recall that children don't spontaneously know what the best sleep hygiene is! We start by winding down, no stimulating stories or play, we have a bath, follow the same routine, read something soothing, and someone says "I love you" just as they are dosing off. If you now think about how you put yourself to bed and realize you need to reset your routine then download our e-book for suggestions. As research has shown, improve your sleep and improving your diet, exercising regularly, making better lifestyle choices all-round improve.
Less Attracted to the emotional rollercoaster (because you're no longer on it!)
While the other two benefits of neurofeedback are noticed within the first few sessions, the benefit of not being as attracted to the emotional highs-that worrier energy- or the lows-feeling blue or down-take longer to stabilize. It is closer to month two of brain training that clients will start reporting to us that they feel more grounded emotionally, less attracted to that 'emotional vampire' person at work, noticing they can unhook from the worrying thoughts, and pick themselves up faster if they've had a down day. If you take a look at the graph to the right you'll see how the middle zone is where we want to hang out when we're not stressed. If your New Year's resolution is to be more calm and focused, that is the energy we create when we're NOT in a stress response.
A Sense of Humor Emerges
A common comment I hear from NeurOptimal clients, usually around their 10th-12th session: "Natalie, I have the same problems. I just don't seem to worry about them as much." (And then usually a chuckle follows.) I don't need to go further into why having a sense of humor is important armor in our current national climate. The part you may not understand is that if we are seeing the humor in events it means that our brains are not habitually registering danger. Why is that important? Because when when we perceive danger the automatic functioning brain will use the stress response-punch it, run from it, play dead-as it's first problem solving strategy. When it's perceiving safety we have access to other strategies: contemplation of all our options, patience, creativity, focused long-term planning....and humor!
The #1 Benefit of NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback.....
Being in the zone: calm, open and present
The life we want to live is not fully realized not because we can't figure out what's important to us, or because we're lazy, but because the energy we habitually create to fuel our goals is the stress response. What does that feel like? A state of confusion, a feeling of lethargy, feeling speedy and disorganized, mind racing a mile a minute, or feeling reactive out of fear. Or some mish-mash of all that stressed out energy combined.
"Being in the zone" is well researched in the field of peak performance, whether in athletics or the arts. We can also call that the state of not-being-stressed or not perceiving eminent danger. Again if you look at the Zones graph you will see that we actually naturally calm and focused when we're not in a state of stress. Remove a habitual stress response and the "Zone" is revealed!
Being in the zone doesn't mean you are running at marathon-winning speeds when you go to work out. It means you are using the optimal energy for whatever the task is in front of you. Whether it's planning a strategy for meeting our resolutions, cooking dinner, or having a difficult conversation with your spouse. In all those situations we want to be able to be focused, open, calm and responsive rather than reactive. Put another way, we are able to show up as our best selves.
NeurOptimal Video: What Happens in a Session?
Watch a video on what To Expect in a Neurofeedback Session training with the NeurOptimal System
When does neurofeedback not work?
When you don't do it. The only way NeurOptimal can't have a positive impact on you achieving your New Year's goals is if you don't do it. It's that simple. In the same way, if you go to the gym you will receive some benefit to your mental and physical health. If you do NeurOptimal; you will as well. The questions is whether you have the discipline to train at home, or if you should first start with in-office sessions. For those who are not the best self-starters we recommend a few sessions in the office to see how easy the set-up is, and to start to feel the calming effects. Once people feel calmer, they can organize themselves better and create intelligent plans for meeting goals.
Our job at Neurofeedback Training Co. is to help you get into that zone so you can set and meet your goals for the new year! Learn more about creating greater wellness our blog series.