Is Neurofeedback related to meditation? You betcha. I have worked with many people who come into my office and say that they meditate for an hour every day. Once we get their brain map, we can see a very different picture of how their brain is performing. Even though they think that they’re meditating at length, they likely are sitting in silence spinning their wheels. In their brain map, it shows that their brain is using too much Beta and High Beta, which are fast brain speeds. Those are the speeds that create overdrive and anxiety. Watch the video I made for a quick explanation and keep reading below to learn more about Neurofeedback and Meditation.
Watch the video I made for a quick explanation and keep reading below to learn more about the topic.
What is Overdrive and Does it Cause Anxiety?
So many of these people say that they feel anxious sometimes. Others report that they don’t feel anxious. Then I’ll ask them a couple of questions like “What do you do to relax?” Most of their responses are “I’m not really good at that.” These people are goers and doers, who never really stop. I consider this to be an overdrive mode. If you’re constantly going and doing, so is your nervous system. So you may not feel stressed but your brain is taxed. It is working extra hard which is not good for your health and your productivity over time.
What Happens to Your Brain During Meditation?
When you are meditating, and you’re able to do it without any assistance, you are calming your brain down by raising your Theta (slow speed). Therefore, a shift in your brain performance pattern toward sleep. However, if you slow your brain down and dangle it near Theta and Alpha (medium speed) you will enhance your level of calm. This allows your nervous system to get a break. During this much-needed respite, your brain recovers from the excessive use of that high fast speed in the Betas.
If you’re successful at it. During your meditation, you may be able to feel an empty mind. It feels like a massage for your brain. It’s a glorious feeling. That’s what meditation is supposed to do. So when you get into Theta and Alpha, your mind begins to empty the constant stream of thoughts from your day.
What Does Successful Meditation Look or Feel Like?
When you are successful in a meditative state your brain decreases activity and relaxes. I liken it to a brain massage. Just like in a massage, your muscle, the brain, actively is taught to reduce tension and activity. When done successfully, your efforts will carry over into your life. You will feel calmer and more relaxed. You will no longer have hypervigilance, where you’re looking out for issues. You will be able to go with the flow.
What Does Unsuccessful Meditation Look or Feel Like?
If you feel like you have a meditation practice but you’re not that good with going with the flow, you may not successfully be getting into the Alpha state. Likely, during your meditation times, you might be sitting still but you are still using Beta and High Beta to chew on your thoughts. That’s the goal of Neurofeedback.
RELATED: How Neurofeedback Works.
How Can Neurofeedback Help with Meditation Success?
First of all, if your brain is stuck in overdrive or anxiety mode it will be very difficult for you to get into a meditative state without assistance. Neurofeedback can help. It gives you feedback when your brain is producing more Alpha and when it’s producing less Beta. Then it rewards you for getting in the proper state. So you know for sure that you are being successful. And that’s not all, it is constantly moving you towards greater levels of success through automatic thresholding.
What is Automatic Thresholding in Neurofeedback?
Automatic thresholding is designed to make it easier for you to level your brain up in terms of calm focus a little bit at a time. You start with easier levels of success and then automatically the system makes it a harder level each time you are successful at meditating. This way your brain learns to produce more Alpha and less Beta incrementally. Thus, it scaffolds you towards success. If you are using too much Beta in the first place and then you just start meditating, it won’t work as well. It will be harder for you to be successful. Neurofeedback gradually bridges the gap between Beta and Alpha. That’s how it helps you to become successful at meditating.
How is Neurofeedback Effective?
You need to have time and training. So you need time, training, and thresholding. Or the triple T’s. You need time because you have to practice this skill. Training because you need assistance through the feedback to learn the new skill of meditating. Therefore spending that time training, with automatic thresholding pushing you to higher levels of success is the recipe you are looking for. That’s how Neurofeedback and Meditation are related. You can get your Neuro-Meditation headband HERE. This way you can start successfully meditating today.
What if I Have Anxiety?
If you struggle with anxiety and you know this is an issue for you, you might be better off with a full Neurofeedback program through a professional private practice like mine at Leigh Brain & Spine. Especially, if you go through a Neurofeedback program and you’re working with the highest level professionals, you should be able to get the greatest amount of gain in the shortest amount of time. Then, with your new, better brain pattern, you can springboard easily into a meditation practice. Now your brain is using that calm and focused mode and it’s time for you to build the habit of meditation.