5 Ways to Beat Nighttime Anxiety

Image courtesy of FrameAngel at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of FrameAngel at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

One of the most challenging times of the day for people with anxiety is the time right before bed. After a long, stressful day, a person with anxiety may struggle to decompress, which can often lead to sleepless nights, which only contributes to the anxiety and stress felt the following days. Finding ways to relax before bed is the key to getting to bed in a timely manner. Here are a few ways to combat nighttime anxiety and fully relax before bed time.

1. Stretching – We hold so much tension in our bodies, especially at the end of a long, stressful day. Doing some simple, light stretches can help release some of this tension, which will help the body relax overall. Many people with anxiety also have issues with soreness and even bruxism (teeth grinding), so getting some stretches in before bed helps to prevent both of these things so you can wake up in the morning feeling refreshed, not sore!

2. Meditation – Meditating before bed helps you find peace and quiet in your mind so you can drift off to sleep with ease. Find some peace and quiet in your own home and meditate for a little while before going to bed. If quiet is hard to come by in your home, lie down and listen to a guided meditation through headphones. You can find many free guided meditations on YouTube to help you get ready to drift off to sleep. Try this one!

3. Essential Oil Diffuser – Many studies have shown the benefits of using essential oils for those struggling anxiety, depression, physical pain, stress, and more! There are particular oils that have been proven to benefit anxiety in particular. These include lavender, rose, chamomile, bergamot, ylang ylang, vetiver, and frankincense. Choose your favorite scent, put it in an oil diffuser, and turn it on when you are beginning your relaxing process before bed. Find essential oils and diffusers on Amazon.

4. Coloring – Adult coloring books have become the newest trend, however, did you know that they can help improve anxiety and sleep? Coloring is a relaxing, soothing activity that help with a number of mental and emotional issues. Focusing on coloring actually turns down the brain’s response to stress. Additionally, it is an activity before bedtime that does not require you to sit in front of a screen. Watching TV, playing on a cell phone, and other activities where one must stare at a screen have actually been proven to deter people’s ability to fall asleep. However, coloring still keeps a person actively engaged while also relaxing the mind.

5. Journaling – Many people know the feeling of lying awake in bed at night ruminating on all of the problems of the day, month, and/or year. However, writing a journal entry right before bed time gives us a chance to let out all our anxieties, worries, and fears. We can put the journal away right before bed along with all of these stressful emotions so that we can fall asleep easier, having already expressed the emotions that would normally be in our minds when we’re trying to sleep.

 

If you struggle with anxiety, stress-management, or sleep issues, schedule a free consultation with our director Dr. Ross to develop a wellness plan unique to your needs. Call 781-444-9115 or click here to schedule an appointment.

Grief and Neurofeedback: Coping with Loss

ID-10055137One of the most difficult life experiences every person will encounter is coping with the death of a loved one. Death triggers emotional grief that may be so intense and consuming that even the thought of living life normally seems absolutely impossible. There is no right way to grieve, and everyone grieves in their own unique ways. While it is perfectly natural to be sad after losing a loved one, many times grief can lead to depression or make already existing anxiety and/or depression substantially worse.

Not everyone who grieves will become depressed as a result, however grief can be a major trigger, particularly for those who are more prone to depression or have a history of depression. Everyone experiences varied symptoms of grief, however many of these symptoms are similar to those of depression, including debilitating sadness, changes in sleep habits, appetite loss or gain, and losing interest in activities once enjoyed. Grief typically affects people in waves with symptoms fluctuating through time and eventually lessening. However, when grief becomes so intense that is starts interfering with a person’s ability to live their life normally for an extended period following a death, treatment may be necessary.

Symptoms of grief should improve over time, and not worsen. If a person experiences any of the following symptoms after a loved one passes away and these symptoms only worsen over time, this person may be suffering from grief-induced depression:

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
  • Constantly thinking/longing for the loved one who passed
  • Difficulty focusing on anything other than sad thoughts
  • Difficulty accepting loss
  • Difficulty remembering good times/positive memories of loved one
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Feeling as though life has no meaning
  • Difficulty completing normal, every day tasks
  • Becoming unable to take care of oneself physically
  • Difficulty trusting others, even those once trusted

Neurofeedback works to calm the brain to help improve functioning. When the brain is functioning more calmly, the person feels less overwhelmed and more capable of functioning normally in their every day lives.

In addition to neurofeedback, therapy is also recommended for people struggling to accept the loss of a loved one. Click here to set up a free consultation with our director Dr. Jolene Ross to develop a plan unique to your situation.

Panic Attacks and Neurofeedback

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

While it is normal to feel anxiety during certain stressful life situations, anxiety disorders affect a person on a daily basis, causing anxiety and fear when there may not be an obvious cause or reason. Panic disorder refers to someone who’s fear response is not functioning the way it normally should, causing physiological symptoms accompanied by intense anxiety.

One of the most notable symptoms of panic disorder is the panic attack, a sudden, overwhelming rush of panic and fear that causes physical responses as well as uncontrolled emotional distress leaving the sufferer confused, fearful, and powerless. While panic attacks vary in symptoms and length, panic attacks usually come on quickly and last an average of ten minutes. Sometimes, panic attacks have a direct, obvious cause while other panic attacks seem to be triggered out of the blue, leaving the sufferer confused in addition to fearful as they occur. Panic attacks can have an extremely negative impact on a person’s daily functioning as the person does not know when the next attack will strike, leaving them feeling powerless to their own mind and body.

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Symptoms of panic attacks may include:

– Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath

– Increased heart rate

– Dizziness

– Shaking/trembling

– Hypersensitivity to being touched

– Hypersensitivity to noise

– Sweating

– Crying

– Immense fear/dread

 

Panic disorder is often caused by abnormalities in brain function, which triggers the body’s “fight or flight” response at unnecessary moments. This can be caused by traumatic life events that have changed the brain’s strategy of coping or simply due to a genetic predisposition. Stressful life events, such as sudden death of a loved one, can also trigger panic attacks, which have the potential to recur and evolve into panic disorder. Additionally, substance abuse can interfere with the brain’s ability to process stress and anxiety.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Neurofeedback targets the parts of the brain at the cause of this reaction in an effort to retrain the brain to function more efficiently so the “fight or flight” response is not triggered. The brain learns how to cope with anxiety and fear appropriately during neurofeedback sessions resulting in an overall decrease in anxiety, mood improvement, and increase in daily function.

Neurofeedback can help you calm the struggle so you can live with reduced emotional distress caused by panic disorder. Click here to set up a free consultation with our director Dr. Jolene Ross.

8 Ways Neurofeedback Improves School Performance

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Neurofeedback works for students of all ages ranging children and young adults in grade school to college level students. Younger ages benefit from neurofeedback because the sessions strengthen and enhance brain development. For older students, neurofeedback keeps the brain strong and healthy and prevents the decline of memory and other executive functions vital to academic success. Read the eight ways neurofeedback improves school performance by boosting brain function!

Image courtesy of Paul Gooddy at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Paul Gooddy at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 1. Attention – Being a good student heavily relies upon being able to sit and listen during lectures and classes. Neurofeedback improves the brain’s ability to maintain attention for longer periods of time which directly impacts how much information is absorbed in any given class session. This benefit of neurofeedback is particularly important for students who struggle with ADD or ADHD, as it minimizes the possibility of distraction and having the brain “zone out”.

 2. Focus – Students often face heavy workloads and long study hours during the semester. Neurofeedback directly improves a person’s ability to focus, making it easier to complete work at a faster rate with better completion. Additionally, more information will be absorbed if a person is focusing better during the hours that they study. This will positively impact test taking because the improved study ability will ensure the students are adequately prepared for important exams.

3. Memory Studying for certain subjects often requires a substantial amount of memorization for exams. Neurofeedback works to enhance the brain’s ability to absorb and hold information for easier recall in times of need.

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

4. Test Performance – If a student struggles with test taking in general, neurofeedback strengthens the student’s ability to focus while actually taking the tests, promoting better test outcomes. Test results are sure to reflect a person’s strengthened ability to memorize as well.

 5. Sleep Quality– The success of students is heavily determined by the amount and quality of sleep a person gets. The brain does not function at highest capacity if the brain is tired. Neurofeedback specifically improves a person’s ability to fall asleep, to stay asleep, and enhances overall sleep quality.

6. Anxiety Reduction – Neurofeedback can be specifically used to lower a person’s anxiety. When it comes to school performance, anxiety can be crippling, especially in times of high stress such as during final examinations. Training the brain to function calmly and effectively will reduce anxiety levels, setting a student up for success.

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

7. Mood Improvement – The stresses of life outside of school do not disappear during the semester. If a person struggles with mood issues, such as depression, this will likely have a negative impact on school performance. When the brain is functioning more calmly and working at it’s highest aptitude, depression symptoms often decline and/or disappear.

8. Learning Disability Improvement – If your child or you struggle with a learning disability, school can be much more difficult with which to keep up. Certain tasks may take longer and may not register as easily. Neurofeedback works to reduce the symptoms of learning disabilities to ensure for better success. Each person has different, unique needs, which is why neurofeedback sessions begin with taking a quantitative EEQ brain map to pinpoint where in the brain these issues are initiating. The protocol for the neurofeedback sessions is then determined based on these individual needs.

 

To schedule a free consultation with our director Dr. Jolene Ross, click here.

Why December is Great for Neurofeedback Booster Sessions

Image courtesy of Feelart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Image courtesy of Feelart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Neurofeedback helps to retrain the brain to function at it’s optimal ability, creating safe and long-lasting results. However, patients can return to Advanced Neurotherapy for occasional booster sessions to ensure the brain continues to stay on the right track. December is an excellent time to come in for a booster session for several reasons!

  1. Finals – If you are a student, December brings the hardest exams of the semester. In addition to the actual tests, students spend long hours compiling information and studying to prepare. A booster session keeps the brain functioning at it’s best to ensure success during difficult academic periods. The better the brain functions, the better performance a person will give on their exams.
  2. Depression and Anxiety – For many people, the holidays provoke many emotional symptoms of depression and anxiety. Although the holidays are meant to be a time of happiness and celebration, often people feel increased symptoms of emotional distress. Booster sessions provide emotional assistance to the brain as neurofeedback teaches the brain how to cope.
  3. Stress – The holidays bring about a substantial amount of stress. Holiday parties, financial struggles, and family-related issues can impact a person heavily during this time of year. Neurofeedback helps the brain handle the stress with greater ease. A booster session provides excellent stress management.
  4. Grief – For those who have lost loved ones over the years, the holidays can bring feelings of immense sadness and grief. To help the brain cope with the grief and try to improve emotional stability, boosters sessions are very effective.

To schedule a booster sessions, please call our office at 781-444-9115!

Booster sessions are effective year round! Read our list of 10 Reasons Why Neurofeedback Booster Sessions are Beneficial to Clients.