Neurofeedback teaches the brain to change its functioning by showing the subtle changes in EEG (brainwaves) as they occur. This process of learning to self-regulate at the level of neuronal firing can teach the brain to quiet the mind, or to activate areas that might contribute negatively to mood or motivation. Working within the framework of the arousal model, neurofeedback training can impact the level of alertness and its effects on performance and sleep. Relying on the brain’s capacity to make changes to itself (neuroplasticity), Neurofeedback allows for users to practice different brain states. When an experience is repeated, the brain learns efficiencies and alters both in its structure and function. This is to say that as we practice activities, the brain organizes itself to better carry out those activities.
Unfortunately, much of what we practice is not in line with the best version of ourselves. We often practice being depressed or anxious in our internal states of arousal, and the environments in which we are immersed can create a brain that struggles to function optimally as the environment changes. For example, most children who struggle in their school environment have other areas of their life in which they excel or have unique and incredible gifts which are freely displayed given the right conditions. Neurofeedback enables us to increase the strength of desired brain states and increases the brain’s state flexibility so that it can better meet the demands of all areas of our environment.
Practicing desirable mental states provides high performers and elite athletes the opportunity to strengthen neural networks and build a more effective and efficient brain. Those working in high stress and demanding fields can learn to conserve mental energy and time that was previously spent maintaining composure and emotional control, or second-guessing and over-analyzing decisions. Accessing calm, focused, or ‘flow’ states more readily enables users to increase their presence on the field, in the office, at home with family, or when checking in with yourself. What was once restricted to experienced meditators can now be achieved by anyone who has access to Neurofeedback and has the desire to lead a more balanced and intentional life.
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