Advanced Mental Training to Maximise your Success

Brainwave control

This is one of my favourite videos showing brainwave control. It is old EEG technology, but proves the point that you can learn to control your brainwave activity.

Watch the first two minutes to understand what the lights are showing and then see how he stops his brainwave activity.

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“Brain Training” games don’t work

At last there is the evidence that brain training games don’t boost brain power. (BBC report)

When doing radio interviews, the most common question I am asked is how good are these electronic games recently promoted to improve brain function.  My reply is always the same…doing lots of sudoku puzzles simply makes you good at doing sudoku.  There is no wider neurological benefit which can be applied to other tasks.

If you want to train your brain, you need to

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Rewards work like medication for ADHD

Rewarding children for positive behaviours can have the same benefits as medication for children with ADHD.  This is according to a recent study at Nottingham University. (BBC news report)

Whilst this study is positive, it really isn’t anything new.  However it does reinforce the benefits of brain training; be that your own or helping your children.

For instance, neurofeedback training is a growing field of brain training which has been proved to have great benefit is assisting those with ADD/HD.  neurofeedback is based on providing positive reward for improved behaviour.  For example if you are trying to train someone’s brain to pay attention better, using neurofeedback you might reward low-beta brainwave activity and perhaps inhibit with theta activity.

This is typically done with  a computer game – perhaps the spaceship flies faster when you concentrate, which is a rewards.

This research from Nottingham University is interesting as it could be interpreted as encouraging reward for a wider range of behaviours.  This is perhaps something which parents know instinctively – reward for good behaviour and inhibit for poor behaviour.  But it is always nice to know that science agrees with our instinctive behaviours.  It is particularly good to know that we all have an option to train our brains beyond taking medication.

This is the message at the heart of what The Brain Training Company is providing.

Exercise Builds Brain Volume in Schizophrenia

From MedPage Today:

Three months of aerobic exercise significantly increased the volume of the hippocampus in patients with chronic schizophrenia, researchers said.

The increase was accompanied by “modest” increases in short-term memory and markers of neuron production, according to Frank-Gerald Pajonk, MD, of Dr K. Fontheim’s Hospital for Mental Health in Liebenburg, Germany, and colleagues.

But it’s too early to say whether incorporating aerobic exercise into treatment programs might reduce the disability associated with schizophrenia, the researchers said in the February Archives of General Psychiatry.

Among schizophrenics, the hippocampus, which plays important roles in memory and spatial navigation, is known to be reduced in volume, Pajonk and colleagues noted.

Unlike other forms of psychosis, they added in the journal, schizophrenia is characterized by persistent disability, perhaps because the production of new neurons is impaired.

As well, they noted, in healthy humans it has been shown that exercise stimulates the production of new neurons.

For those reasons, they speculated that aerobic exercise might increase the volume of the hippocampus in people with chronic schizophrenia, perhaps leading to clinical benefits.

Full, original report here

Be Happy, stay Healthy

In the news today, a recent study suggests that by keeping happy you may ward off heart disease. Does this mean that there is truth in the saying that someone is “heart-broken”?

(This is another story along the similar line on which I blogged last year – Meditation eases heart disease)

“US researchers monitored the health of 1,700 people over 10 years, finding the most anxious and depressed were at the highest risk of the disease. They could not categorically prove happiness was protective, but said people should try to enjoy themselves.”

“Essentially spending a few minutes each day truly relaxed and enjoying yourself is certainly good for your mental health and may improve your physical health as well.”

What do you think about this?  I think any adult who has faced stress or unhappiness will know intuitively that these states of mind are bad for their health.

This article brought to mind the fact that my alma-mater, Wellington College, introduced “Happiness lessons” a few years ago;

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Brain Training Gold at Winter Olympics

Canada’s first gold medallist at Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics used brain training.

The first few reports are starting to come out of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, about those athletes who have utilised brain training technologies.  Various brain training systems are used by an increasing number of National teams.  However for many it is a closely guarded secret to gaining that competitive edge.

Sports Psychology has been applied for many years and is now seen is essential for any top athlete, whatever their sport.  The brain training I refer to is the Sports Neurology – a new field of peak performance giving athletes an extra edge.  This encompasses the maturing field of neurofeedback as well as more cutting edge systems as used by The Brain Training Company.

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What happens in an actor’s brain?

This is a fascinating article from the BBC.  It looks at what an actor’s brain is doing during a performance.

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By Nick Higham
Today programme

Original article here with additional video and images.

For an actor, the performance conditions weren’t exactly ideal: flat on her back in a large machine, under strict instructions to lie as still as possible, speaking in short bursts interspersed with the shrill sound of a magnetic resonance imaging scanner.

But last week Fiona Shaw, one of Britain’s leading actresses – who has in her time played everything from the tragic heroine Medea to Shakespeare’s Richard II – volunteered in the cause of science to spend an hour having her brain scanned while “acting”.

Professor Sophie Scott of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London wanted to know what happens physically in an actor’s head when they pretend to be someone else.

She hoped that scanning Fiona’s brain in action would be able to tell us.

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Brain Training – saves money and you live longer…

The value of brain training is becoming increasingly black and white – you save money and live longer.  This month I have written two separate comments on recent research backing up the value of quality brain training.  However here I want to promote that the two are intrinsicly linked. Brain training in a corporate environment can save companies billions of dollars / pounds each year.  High quality brain training courses for an individual can mean you have more chance of living longer…

Facts:

  • Stress related illness cost the UK £28 billion each year
  • This is a 1/4 of the UK’s sick bill
  • More than 13 million working days a year are lost in the UK because of work related stress
  • Stress is thought to contribute to coronary heart disease (CHD)
  • More than $475 billion is spent annually in the USA treating CHD
  • Meditation, or relaxing the brain, can reduce number of heart attacks and stroke by 47%

Brainwave training is a simple and cost effective way assist with these issues.

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Controlling brainwave activity ‘eases heart disease’

The American Heart Association has published research showing that 20 minutes of meditation twice a day can lower your risk of heart attack and stroke by 47%.  This is a very powerful endorsement for just how important is it to learn to control your brainwave activity.

Whilst many of my clients are looking to improve their levels of focus and concentration, especially top athletes, it is just as important to be able to slow your brainwaves down.  I describe this as having full mobility of brainwaves.

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