As the mediator of your thoughts and actions, your brain allows you to make sense of and respond to the world around you. When the neuron-driven systems that regulate your brain are synchronized and in balance, you’re more likely to feel centered and in control.
But when any element of the coordinated brain activity that governs your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors is off-kilter, its effects can ripple across your brain and give rise to a wide range of emotional and behavioral issues as well as functional challenges.
To put it another way, brain dysfunction can leave you feeling as though you’re trapped in the backseat of a speeding car or stuck in a rudderless boat that’s aimlessly adrift on a vast lake.
If this sounds all too familiar, we can help. Read on to discover how targeted neurofeedback therapy trains your brain to recognize — and choose — healthy brain activity patterns so it can self-regulate better in virtually any situation.
When your brain cells (neurons) communicate with one another, they produce synchronized electrical pulses called brainwaves that allow you to perceive, think, understand, and take action. In other words, your brainwave patterns and your daily experience of the world around you are virtually inseparable.
To understand how your brainwaves drive your thoughts, feelings, and actions, it’s helpful to think of them as distinct but essential components in your “brain activity orchestra.”
Low-frequency brainwaves are like a deep and consistent drumbeat that keeps perfect time, while mid-to-high-frequency patterns are like light and flexible notes that drive the melody. These higher and lower frequencies link together through symmetry and harmonics to form a continuous symphony.
Whether it tends to be slow and subtle or fast and functional, your brainwave symphony creates the continuous spectrum of consciousness that guides you through life every day.
Brain activity imbalance
When something throws your brainwaves off balance, your mental, emotional, and physical health can suffer. If your “brain activity orchestra” is suddenly dominated by low-frequency brainwaves, you may feel tired, sluggish, or unshakably dreamy. And if fast or high-frequency brainwaves take over, you may feel energized and hyper-alert.
Chronic brainwave imbalance can cause — and perpetuate — a wide variety of mental health conditions and disorders. Over-arousal in certain areas of your brain can lead to anxiety, anger issues, and impulsive behaviors, while under-arousal in certain areas of your brain can give rise to depression, inattention, and insomnia.
People who are affected by conditions like attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), addiction, and bipolar disorder often experience varying degrees of under-arousal and over-arousal across their brainwave patterns.
The power of neuroplasticity
Your thoughts and actions as an adult are very different than those you had as a child, thanks to neuroplasticity, or your brain’s ability to reorganize itself and build new pathways in response to your experiences and environment.
With each new thought, emotion, or action, you create a new neural pathway. Each time you repeat the same thought, emotion, or action, you strengthen its neural pathway. Repeated often enough, these small brain changes can lead to major changes in how your brain works.
Think of neuroplasticity as the “muscle building” part of your brain — the thoughts and actions you practice often are the ones you become stronger at, while those you rarely focus on fade away. When thoughts and actions are repeated often enough, they become automatic.
Mind over matter, in action
Neurofeedback is a holistic and highly personalized form of brain therapy that harnesses the power of neuroplasticity to restore brain balance, improve thought patterns, and help you take control of your mind.
Here at Abbey Neurodynamic Center, we use electroencephalogram (EEG) neurofeedback to monitor, measure, and direct brainwave function. When we process your brainwave patterns and signals through specialized brain mapping software, we can visualize your unique pattern of brain activity and coordination.
Once we understand which areas of your brain are problematic, we can develop a targeted neurofeedback training plan that helps guide your brain into an efficient and fully functional state.
During each neurofeedback session, we show you the ebb and flow of your brain activity as you interact with a video game that you can control with your mind. When your thought patterns approach a more efficient, coordinated, or balanced place, the game continues to advance. The game pauses when your thought patterns reverse or head down a “wrong” pathway.
As your brainwave patterns continue to practice efficiency, coordination, and balance over the course of your treatment plan, you get better at controlling your thoughts and actions. Like any new skill, neurofeedback training simply requires time and repetition for success.
To find out how neurofeedback can help you, call our office in Palo Alto, California, or click the online booking tool to schedule an appointment with one of our brain specialists.