Did you know you can train your brain to develop a skill much in the same way you can train your body to develop a skill? Think back to when you learned how to ride a bike. At first, it probably felt completely foreign to your body. But over time, the more you practiced, your body slowly became used to the feeling of pedaling, keeping your balance, directing the bike, and paying attention to your surroundings. You naturally developed the muscles, coordination, and rhythm needed to stay on the bike. Eventually, it became a habit.
It’s actually a very similar process when you are teaching your brain to do something like getting calm, focusing, and regulating your emotions — you have to train it.
You may be thinking, how do you practice getting calm if you don’t really know how you get calm in the first place? When you’re learning to ride a bike, you have to actually get on the bike and try pedaling, steering, and holding your balance — even if you don’t know how — in order to show your body what it’s like to be in that state. After you’ve done that a couple of times, your body becomes more and more used to attaining that state over and over again, every time you get on a bike.
It’s harder to do something like getting calm, focused, or more emotionally regulated without knowing how to do so beforehand. That’s because attaining a state of mind like calmness or focus actually involves a very subtle change in your brain wave patterns that you can’t consciously sense.
“Your brain’s electrical activity is measured in waves, and your brain waves are like the dashboard gauges that show you how well your brain is functioning,” says Dr. Ashley Wiegand, neurotherapist and psychotherapist at PALM Health. Based on what you are doing or what state of mind you are in, your brain wave activity shifts imperceptibly. It’s similar to your heart rate — depending on what you are doing and how you’re feeling, your heart rate fluctuates, but oftentimes it’s so subtle that you can’t feel it happening.
For instance, when you are stressed, certain brain waves are functioning at too high of a frequency. When you’re calmer, those brain waves slow down. Mood fluctuations, anxiety, and lack of focus all have characteristic brain wave patterns like this as well. The goal is to keep your brain in a quieted brain wave state. So how do you put yourself there? That’s where NeuroFit comes in.
What is NeuroFit?
NeuroFit is a type of neurofeedback technology. According to Dr. Wiegand, “Neurofeedback is a technique that measures your brain waves, records it, and provides live feedback in the form of visual or auditory cues that lets you know what your brain is doing.” Essentially, it’s a way to learn about your own physiology with the help of a machine.
For example, your live feedback session may work like this: you are watching a video that is controlled by the neurofeedback technology that detects your brain waves. When your brain naturally shifts into a more stressed state, the video will shut off. When your brain naturally shifts into a less stressed state, the video will come back on. The positive reinforcement of having the video come back on tells your brain that it is moving in the right direction and provides an incentive for it to do that again.
Over time, this shows your brain what it feels like to be in that less-stressed, more-focused, or emotionally-regulated state and trains it to be able to come back to that state on its own. The goal is for that state to eventually be your brain’s norm.
How NeuroFit Can Transform Your Wellness Routine
Stress, focus, and emotional/mood regulation aren’t the only things that NeuroFit can improve. “It’s also extremely useful for those who struggle with anxiety, headaches, and optimizing brain performance,” says Dr. Wiegand.
Peak brain performance can be taken in many contexts, whether that’s for your business, for athletic purposes, or for academic endeavors. NeuroFit can actually train your brain to reach a flow state more quickly and efficiently. A “flow state” is what is most commonly known as being “in the zone” — a state where your body and mind become fluid. You are totally absorbed in and completely focused on whatever you are doing — be it work, art, exercise, writing, or another activity. Being able to reach a flow state is so beneficial for your tasks at hand and for ensuring that your brain is reaching peak performance, so if you feel like you’ve had some trouble getting “in the zone,” NeuroFit can be a useful tool for you.
Stress, anxiety, mood, headaches, focus, and brain performance are all things that can be improved to a certain extent with a healthy lifestyle — like diet habits, regular exercise, and stress management techniques. But if you’re feeling particularly stuck in one or more of those areas, a service like NeuroFit can provide the additional support you may be looking for.
PALM Health will begin offering NeuroFit starting this October. With additional evening appointment times, no need for a clinician to be present, and seven different program options depending on what your goals are, NeuroFit is an accessible, advanced service that can be a transformative component of your wellness plan.
It’s important to stick with it and continue to train your brain regularly with NeuroFit over a long period of time, the same way you would practice riding a bike for a while before it becomes second nature. The more you train your brain, the better it will become at reaching and maintaining calmness, focus, and optimal functioning.
PALM Health is an innovative, whole-person medical and wellness company that helps people reach and maintain well-being. Our experts in medicine and wellness empower people to transform their health, become more resilient, and feel their personal best in mind and body.