Keep Calm & Get Some Headspace
Have you ever struggled to let go of your stressful or negative thoughts? Have you ever experienced physiological symptoms such as a heartbeat or sweating when thinking negative thoughts for prolonged periods of time? If you answered yes to these questions, especially the first one, you should first understand that sometimes it is normal for […]

Have you ever struggled to let go of your stressful or negative thoughts? Have you ever experienced physiological symptoms such as a heartbeat or sweating when thinking negative thoughts for prolonged periods of time? If you answered yes to these questions, especially the first one, you should first understand that sometimes it is normal for your body and mind to be stressed. However, if you feel like your body is perpetually under a state of stress - like going about your daily routine - that's not normal. While there are a few solutions you can take to deal with these feelings and symptoms, such as seeing your primary care physician or psychiatrist for a quick fix (i.e., medication), there is a helpful practice that does not require a prescription: meditation. .

Your brain in meditation

Before you laugh or roll your eyes at the mental image of you sitting cross-legged on the floor with your hands gently placed on your knees, listen to me. Meditation has been shown to have a positive effect on your health in several ways (Innes & Selfe, 2014). Research has shown that even meditation for brief periods (i.e. five times a week for eight weeks) helps reduce perceived stress, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and improve mental health. physiological health. Clinicians have even considered meditation as a way to improve symptoms associated with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer's disease (Innes & Selfe, 2014). While the research supporting this idea is not large, observational studies and small clinical trials have found benefits in participants with different memory disorders.

Research conducted by the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center has shown that more experienced meditators show significantly higher blood flow to regions of the brain such as the parietal cortex and prefrontal cortex, areas involved in processing emotions. and executive functioning (Fotuhi, 2014). Other studies have shown increased activation of the hippocampus and hypothalamus, areas responsible for memory and autonomic functioning (i.e. respiratory rate, heart rate, fight-or-flight responses, etc. .). You may be thinking, but I have no experience! Will I still see benefits even if I'm just getting started? Yes! Even novices will demonstrate increased activation in areas of the brain responsible for attention and regulation of emotions after a short time. With practice, however, your brain will literally increase in size, especially in areas associated with sensory processing, memory, enteroception (that is, a sense that helps you recognize what is happening. passes inside your body) and attention (Fotuhi, 2014; Innes & Selfe, 2014) In addition, meditation promotes activity in the alpha zone, otherwise known as a calm, cool and collected. You will probably notice this even the first time you try it.

The different ways to calm your mind

If you are one of these who claims you don't have enough time in your day to meditate, I call your bluff. Anyone can find five minutes. Trade a five-minute social media scrolling session for five minutes of meditation. I assure you that your brain and your body will thank you for it and, let's be honest, Instagram can wait. If you shake your head because you really you can't find five minutes in your day to do it, practice 7-7-7 instead. What is that? It is a deep breathing exercise. You inhale for a count of seven, hold for a count of seven, and exhale for a count of seven. You breathe all day without realizing it, I'm just asking you to take a few minutes to deepen the breaths and focus on it. . If that doesn't sound appealing to you, you can try the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique - thank you Keller (our team's social worker / therapist)! It involves pointing out five things you see, four things you hear, three things you feel (inside or out), two things you smell, and one thing you taste. You can do this anytime, whether you're stopped at a red light or washing your hands.

On the other hand, if you can find five to ten minutes to meditate every day or every other day, that's fantastic. Before you start reading and worrying about the different types of meditation and which one is best for you, take a deep breath. While it is true that there are different methods you can try (eg, guided, unguided, insight, appeasement, etc.), know that there is no “right” way to meditate. In addition, there are applications that structure the sessions to include techniques from each method such as "Headspace" and "Calm". During the meditation sessions, you will learn techniques such as focusing attention, body scanning, and note taking, to name a few. For a quick overview of these techniques, keep reading.

Focus attention: This circle goes back to the deep breathing I was talking about earlier. All you are trying to do is focus your attention on your breathing. You may find this difficult at first, and that's okay!

Noting: If you recognize that your mind is starting to wander, do not get angry; just "note" and refocus on your breaths. By noting, I mean identifying what broke your focus. Was it a feeling or a thought? Once you do this, bring your attention back to your breathing.

Body analysis: This technique connects the mind and the body. Imagine the sunlight streaming slowly from the top of your head towards your toes. As you scan, imagine the light easing pain or tension along the way.

Quick review and advice

-A bigger, quieter brain. Remember that the practice of meditation not only improves your physiological and psychological health, but stimulates brain growth.

-You don't have to say "oh". As you have learned, there are different ways to meditate. Try an app like "Headspace" or "Calm", or check out a guided meditation on Youtube. If you are not ready to do this, try the 7-7-7 breathing technique or the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique.

-Do not give in to fight or flight. Your stress response might kick in and tell you to run away - don't. Meditation regulates autonomic functioning (eg, stress response). So if you meditate, you are less likely to make stupid mistakes in dangerous situations.

If you suffer from anxiety and are looking for non-drug alternatives, including meditation and neurofeedback, NeuroGrow Brain Fitness Center is here to help! You can call our office at 703-462-9296 or click here to make an appointment.

This blog was written by Brianna Sirkis and edited by Dr Majid Fotuhi.


BrainHQ is your online headquarters for working out your brain. Think of it as a personal gym, where you exercise your memory, attention, brain speed, people skills, intelligence and navigation instead of your abs, delts, and quads. Just as our bodies require care and exercise over the course of life, so do our brains—especially as we age. BrainHQ provides the exercise your brain needs to be at its sharpest.

The BrainHQ brain-training program represents the culmination of 30 years of research in neurological science and related medicine. It was designed by an international team of neuroscientists, led by Michael Merzenich—a professor emeritus in neurophysiology, member of the National Academy of Sciences, co-inventor of the cochlear implant, and Kavli Prize laureate.

Changing your brain takes some work—so while the BrainHQ exercises are sometimes fun, they can also be difficult. But they always give a useful, meaningful workout to your unique brain. Using a special algorithm, each exercise adapts in difficulty as you work so that you always train at the optimum level for you—where you are most likely to improve your performance.

It takes less than five minutes to do each BrainHQ level, so you can use it in tiny biroutes or long blocks, depending on your schedule. Plus you can use BrainHQ on almost any computer or mobile device, so you can take it on the go. If you want, you can set up personal training goals and have BrainHQ send you training reminders when you want them.

BrainHQ has 29 online exercises that work out attention, brain speed, memory, people skills, navigation, and intelligence. If you want, you can have BrainHQ tell you exactly which exercises to do, and in which order : the personalized se progager feature, designed by scientists, continually measures your performance and serves up the exercises that are right for you.. Or if you prefer, you can design your own program, choosing exercises and workouts that meet your personal interests, mood, and schedule.

More than 100 published scientific papers show the benefits of BrainHQ exercises and assessments. Most of these were independently conducted by scientists at respected universities, such as the University of California, Stanford, and Johns Hopkins. Of course, every study is conducted on a different group of people, and individual results vary. Click any benefit below to learn more about the studies behind the benefit.

From staplers to shelves to software, Demco supplies libraries with what they need to run. In 2015, they added BrainHQ to that mix. Through Demco, libraries can purchase BrainHQ to offer to their cardholders. People “check out” BrainHQ for free, like they would a book. Right now, it’s available in many public and military libraries across the U. S. —with more on the way.

Brain sport has basic principles : variety and curiosity. When anything you do becomes second nature, you need to make a change. If you can do the crossword puzzle in your sleep, it’s time for you to move on to a new challenge in order to get the best workout for your brain. Curiosity about the world around you, how it works and how you can understand it will keep your brain sérieux fast and efficiently. Use the ideas below to help attain your quest for esprit sport.

Brain sport programs and games are a wonderful way to tease and challenge your brain. Suduko, crosswords and electronic games can all improve your brain’s speed and memory. These games rely on logic, word skills, math and more. These games are also fun. 1

You’ll get benefit more by doing these games a little bit every day. Spend 15 minutes or so, not hours.

Daily meditation is perhaps the single greatest thing you can do for your mind/body health. Meditation not only relaxes you, it gives your brain a workout. By creating a different esprit state, you engage your brain in new and interesting ways while increasing your brain sport.

Your brain needs you to eat healthy fats. Focus on fish oils from wild salmon, nuts such as walnuts, seeds such as flax seed and olive oil. Eat more of these foods and less saturated fats. Eliminate transfats completely from your diet.

Stories are a way that we solidify memories, interpret events and share moments. Practice telling your stories, both new and old, so that they are interesting, compelling and fun. Some basic storytelling techniques will go a long way in keeping people’s interest both in you and in what you have to say.

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