Hey, here’s a really cool idea: NEUROFEEDBACK for anxiety
Do you carry around a lot of tension, stress, and anxious feelings in your body? Does your mind race and recycle certain thoughts? Do you find yourself distracted with worrisome, rigid, stressed-based behavior? You may have anxiety. Most people are on the spectrum of anxiety–but some people suffer daily from these symptoms. Ugh. Being a therapist, I’m always on the lookout for innovation in this area.
In a recent article from The Optimist, Neurofeedback was researched and found to be an efficient tool toward managing those awful, anxious states of mind.
In a nutshell, like the photo shows, clients are hooked up to wires and scanners, and then watch images on a screen. When you learn to control those images on the screen through deep breathing and willful thoughts, you begin to control your nervous system–and your mood.
In the research study, clients began with an MRI. While the fMRI showed which brain regions were active, the EEG measured the activity in the amygdala. Participants are coached to learn deep breathing, relaxing and very subtle states of mind to control the action in their brain.
Then the neurofeedback process begins…by watching a movie of someone riding a skateboard –and trying to control the speed with their minds! Participants were asked to try and mentally make the skateboard go faster or slower. If they were successful, it meant they were controlling the activity within their own amygdala. Interestingly, participants are simultaneously watching imagining of their own brain during this activity. Gaining control of the pace of the skater –with immediate visual feedback–increases their overall control of brain activity.
Results from the tests revealed that people who are able to reduce unwanted brain activity–can effect their mood. One researcher commented, “It’s actually quite amazing that this plasticity takes place after one or two sessions.” ONE OR TWO SESSIONS! Its really worth finding a local neurofeedback provider and seeing what a couple of sessions could do for your own peace of mind.
In many ways, its a mindfulness awareness practice, with a focus on developing the skill set to control body states, breathing, and brain activity. Fun.