Brain Training to Get More from Your Brain

Over the last 10 years scientists have found that mental training—meditation, biofeedback, cognitive therapy, cognitive training—can help improve specific brain functions. Mental or brain training physically strengthens the brain areas; that is, they get more neurons and stronger connections among neurons.

Here’s a brief look at some key brain training techniques:

Meditation—Meditation has been shown to improve specific cognitive functions such as attention. It employs techniques ranging from concentration, mantra, and mindfulness to body relaxation, breathing practice and mental imagery. Scientists continue to research what elements of meditation may help manage stress and improve memory. Preliminary results in terms of the impact on brain functions seem promising.

Biofeedback—Biofeedback has been used in medicine for decades. Biofeedback-based devices measure and graphically display various physiological variables such as skin conductivity and heart rate variability, so that users can learn to self-adjust and manage stress better.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)—CBT is based on the idea that the way people perceive their experience influences their behaviors and emotions. The therapist teaches the patient cognitive and behavioral skills to modify his or her dysfunctional thinking and actions. CBT aims at improving specific traits, behaviors, or cognitive skills, such as planning and flexibility. It has been shown effective in many studies and contexts such as depression, high levels of anxiety, insomnia and even to help dieters acquire new skills in order to achieve their goals.

Cognitive Training—For many years, neuropsychologists have used cognitive exercises (including computer-assisted strategies) to help individuals suffering from traumatic brain injuries. Cognitive training methods are accessible to the public through programs and services like Optiminds, which focus on improving areas such as working memory, speed-of-processing and auditory processing.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has been helping to improve the study, reading and cognitive skills of clients of all ages. Find out more about Optiminds brain fitness programs and cognitive skills training by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or email us at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit our website at www.optimindsct.com.

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