Those of us at INDY Neurofeedback were fascinated with a new study recently published in the medical journal Nature, which linked quieter brains with longevity. We were fascinated because it confirmed what we have been seeing in our neurofeedback clinic for years.
It makes sense that a less active or calmer brain would use less body energy. That’s the theory behind activities such as mindfulness and meditation – which have been around for thousands of years. It also supports the HeartMath HRV (heart rate variability) program all clients are taught in conjunction with our neurofeedback training.
In the Nature study, researchers from Harvard Medical School reported that a calm brain with less neural activity could lead to a longer life.
Here’s what the Harvard study showed:
- The study analyzed donated brain tissue from people who died (aged from 60 to over 100).
- A protein that suppresses neural activity — called REST — was found to be associated with neural activity and mortality.
- Researchers noticed that the longest-lived people had lower levels of REST as well as genes related to neural activity.
- The study showed that daily periods of slowed activity spent in meditation, uni-tasking, being in quiet environments, or sleeping, were just as important for life-long brain health and longevity as more well-known maxims such as staying active, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercise.
“Even though our brains weigh only about one-seventieth of our total weight, brains consume nearly one third of all the energy in our body,” explains Leanne O’Neil, owner of INDY Neurofeedback. “So it is incredibly important that we learn how to quiet our brains to give them a chance to rest – especially when all around us, we’re encouraged to multi-task and stay engaged.”
“Learning how to quiet our overly-busy, multi-tasking brains is vital for our mental health. And now, we know it is also connected to longevity.”
Here is what INDY Neurofeedback tells our clients:
- Begin to tune into and listen to your body. Find out where you are holding in tension, and acknowledge those areas. When you acknowledge your body, you are more open to what is really going on for you.
- Learn to recognize when you are feeling overwhelmed.
- Practice mindfulness and deep breathing.
- Try regular meditating. It’s a good way to stay tuned to your internal mental state.
- Learn to stop reacting and talking, and be present. Really listen to what others are communicating.
- Be brutally honest with yourself about having clear boundaries. Know when you need to take a break from work, children, problem-solving, or being with others.
- Spend time alone, doing what you enjoy.
Those of us here at INDY Neurofeedback have noticed that by incorporating both HRV and neurofeedback techniques, individuals can learn to gain control over various over or under active parts of our brains, providing the tools for healthier more optimal brain function.