Martha Stewart Living magazine featured an article called Maintaining Your Brain, by Jennifer King Lindley, in their March 2019 edition. It opens with, “We track our heart rate, exercise our muscles, and protect our skin with sunscreen. Yet despite all the thinking our brain does for us, we rarely stop and think about it.” I was really glad to see this article about basic brain fitness and so many more that seem to be popping up everywhere. They all point to two things:

  • Brain fitness is essential to our overall health
  • Because of advances in technology and in neuroscience, we can now significantly impact the brain’s functioning.

Lindley’s article discusses the importance of:

  • Connecting with friends
  • Lightening your load
  • Brain food
  • Exercise
  • Sleep
  • Exploring new territory

But chronic stress can make many of Lindley’s suggestions difficult to even begin for many of us. For those of us who live life like it’s an extreme sport, or for those of us who have a trauma history, or a troubled marriage and kids, accomplishing even one or two things on this list can be monumental. This is where neurofeedback came in for my family and for so many of our clients.

Brain Fitness IS Fitness 

Photo by Microgen

Functioning well mentally and emotionally can feel out of reach at times. Most of us are familiar with turning to medications to get the brain working better, and most of us who have taken that route have experienced the difficulties with it. What I have found is that I needed the neurofeedback in order for me to be able to do some of the lifestyle changes on Lindley’s list. 

For example, exercise has been hard for me in the last several years. Because of a condition I have (I’ll be posting about it soon…shout out to my fellow POTSies for now), exercise doesn’t typically energize; it fatigues. So, I just stopped. But then neurofeedback entered my life and after some time, I started to experience an overwhelming urge to be outside. I had no explanation, only a very strong desire. The desire (and a good friend) eventually grew bigger than my fear, and I got outside. In the mountains. In Colorado! (So they’re really big ones!) Now I’m signed up to do a 4-day backpacking trip in Thunder Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. And we’re hiking 5-7 miles a day! And so far, no fatigue! It’s been about a year.  

Your Brain Has Your Back

The beauty of this process for me has been the learning that my brain has my back. Because the NeurOptimal® approach allows the brain to decide and because my life has improved so dramatically with no outside expert telling my brain what it needs to do. After living with a chronic condition (or two) for many many years now, I was in a place of really not trusting my body. Now I know that she has my back. She just needed a little more information, and she got that via NeurOptimal®. 

As one of our client’s who’s completed about 30 neurofeedback sessions just wrote me in an email, “I told my friend, I do not know what is going on, but I am feeling different. I am more organized around the house and less forgetful. I am feeling rested and ready for whatever the day brings. And my stomach feels so good!  My friend [who is also doing neurofeedback] told me she thought it was a miracle. I was thinking the same. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

She also told me about her 9-year-old son whose life seems to be improving significantly as well. She said, “I was talking with my sister about the phenomenon of the shift. My son was listening and told me he had a shift too! He said it had happened the week before. He told me that his life had felt like being in a black hole. I did not know he was feeling that bad inside, and my heart was broken. He always was smiling! I asked him how he is feeling now since the neurofeedback. He told me that he cannot find the word to describe his feeling, that there is not a word to describe it. He was feeling like never before, and he thought the word might be joy! He was so happy telling me.  He told me he was feeling miserable thinking constantly what if, what if, if, if, if, if… But not anymore!” I had the privilege of speaking to this young man as well over video chat. I was struck by how both had these significant shifts relatively close to each other. It’s the very reason we are “Whole Family” Neurofeedback—when our boat rises, so do the boats around us. I am looking forward to seeing what more this family can accomplish on their journey towards greater brain fitness!