You know diet and exercise can improve and extend your life. But what about mental fitness? Did you know…
Your brain – just like your body – can be trained for better strength and stamina. And the more flexible and resilient your brain, the better you function.
The capacity of our brain to change, known as neuroplasticity, gives us the opportunity to transform our lives, regardless of age. This was explored and experienced first through meditation, and later through neurofeedback training (one of the many good references is Bessel van der Kolk’s best-selling book The Body Keeps the Score, published in 2014).
Feedback changes who we are
Neurofeedback is based on the principle that when the brain receives feedback about what it is doing, it changes itself. Let’s see this principle in action. A mother is cooking a meal on the stove. The curious child, who hasn’t yet discovered what heat is, innocently puts their hand on the stove. The child quickly pulls away, learning not to touch hot objects. In scientific terms, the CNS (Central Nervous System) of the child adapted, based on the new information it learned from the experience. During our daily lives our brains constantly seek to learn and optimize by receiving feedback, and given the appropriate feedback we can increase our resilience and flexibility.
What happens in a neurofeedback session
During a neurofeedback session, the capacity of the brain to adapt and become more resilient through feedback is utilized in the following way. You sit or lay down comfortably listening to music for thirty-three minutes, while connected to EEG sensors that read your brain activity. The EEG is analyzed by the computer, which introduces small interrupts in the music, depending on what your brain is doing, moment by moment. These interrupts provide information in the language that the brain can directly understand, which it uses to balance and optimize itself.
The value in neurofeedback is that it can give high quality feedback to the brain through the interruptions in the music, which is made possible by the EEG. The high accuracy and time sensitivity of the information that the brain is provided with allows the trainee to observe significant changes within only a few sessions. While not a treatment but rather training, neurofeedback commonly leads to the overall improvement of one’s life and the diminishment of many issues. Anything related to brain activity can be potentially improved with neurofeedback, such as psychological-related activity, concentration, sleep, stress, burn-out, confidence, self-esteem, life satisfaction, migraines, to name a few. Regardless of the reason for training, neurofeedback has a very good chance of helping you: statistically, more than ninety percent of trainees experience good or very good results.
My personal discovery of neurofeedback
After looking into the research, I (-ed: Nick Kontaras) decided to train with dynamical neurofeedback for six sessions at first, which is usually enough time to let the effects of neurofeedback unfold. The first noticeable change came within four sessions. Suddenly I realized that I was being significantly more relaxed around people who I didn’t know, which was surprising, since I had social anxiety for as long as I could remember. As the social anxiety was fading away, it seemed worthwhile to keep training, if only to see what other changes may come. The next significant change came after ten sessions, where I started finding a voice of increased confidence at work and social relationships. While before I was often not able to speak up for myself and make my inner reality known, I started gaining a certain calm assertiveness, the ability to express myself in an honest and clear way. As training continued I experienced many more benefits, including better focus, sleep, less unwanted thoughts, and a more joyful state of being. At this point I felt that the effects of neurofeedback were life-changing, and seeing the vast potential of neurofeedback to change your life, I decided to dedicate myself to becoming a neurofeedback trainer.
The following is a testimony of Rianne, one of our trainees, who agreed to share her neurofeedback experience with us.
“My first Neurofeedback training happened a week before the passing of my father. Surprisingly, when it happened I found acceptance & peace in my heart. Since then, I continued my training and started noticing changes within myself. I feel good about myself, accepting & valuing myself much better. More importantly, it helped me become more present and be aware of my thoughts & emotions. Because of the sessions I had, I’m able to rise above my emotions. Slowly, I am no longer reacting & allowing my emotions overpower me. Until now, I continue to experience positive changes because of Neurofeedback. It is a worthy training to undergo to help you with your self – development journey.” – Rianne
Given our personal experience with neurofeedback, we are excited to share it with everyone who wants to discover what it can do for them. As a reader of Eindhoven News you are invited for a free introductory neurofeedback session (3 in total, first come, first serve), to our office in the center of Eindhoven, at Paradijslaan 34a, 5611KN. To book your session please send us an e-mail at [email protected], mentioning this article.
Nick Kontaras is a neurofeedback trainer at Brainpeace in Eindhoven, organizer of personal development group High Consciousness and Personal Development, life coach and meditation teacher. His main interests lie in neuroscience, psychology, personal development and mindfulness.